Performing Arts Degrees

Fancy yourself as the next Kate Winslet or Benedict Cumberbatch? Think you were born for the stage? Taking a performing arts degree is the logical step towards the career of your dreams.

About Performing Arts

Contrary to old stereotypes, a performing arts degree is most definitely not a soft degree choice. It tests you physically, creatively and mentally, and pushes you to leave your comfort zone while embracing new ways of expressing yourself. It’s a course ready-made for extroverts, whilst introverts learn to extract the most from themselves - consider Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves, perhaps the most famous introvert of them all!

There is also a lot more to a performing arts degree than simply reciting tongue-twisting Shakespeare rhapsodies. As well as performance, you will also get to learn more about directing, lighting, design and even stage management.

The course lasts for three years if you choose to study full-time and six years if you prefer to study part-time.

Topics Covered

A performing arts degree is a mix of theoretical and practical study, and the exact mix will depend on the uni that you apply to. Each program is made up of a series of core modules, as well as a few optional ones. Each course differs, but topics you might study include:

  • Theories of Performance
  • Histories of Performance
  • Analysing Practice
  • Performance Projects
  • Introducing Performance
  • Introducing Visual Theatres

Most performing arts degrees are assessed on coursework alone, though this is really an umbrella term and coursework structure and what it entails will again depend on the university you apply to.

You will also be required to write essays, attend seminars, and you may also have to log a journal. In the third year, a dissertation is usual.

Entry Requirements

Typically, universities are looking for students with A-Levels of BCC or a DMM if you have studied a BTEC. At least one of your subjects should be relevant to the performing arts, although you might still be considered if you have relevant experience.

It’s worth bearing in mind that, although grades are requisite, they are not the only thing your application will be judged on. You will also be judged according to your experience and personal profile, while an audition is usually always a key part of the application process. Most universities will ask you to take part in an hour + workshop, and you will be assessed on your performance.

Career Prospects

Upon graduation, you will be newly armed with a range of practical and creative skills that are useful to a wide range of jobs and careers within the arts. Popular jobs/careers that you might want to consider include:

  • Actor
  • Dancer
  • Stage Director
  • Community Arts Worker
  • Theatre Director
  • Music Therapist
Alternatively, if you don’t wish to head into the arts immediately after graduation, other careers open to you are:
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Broadcast Presenter
  • Higher Education Teacher
  • Further Education Teacher

You may also decide to go onto further education by pursuing a Masters degree.

Throughout your course, it’s well worth supplementing your degree with relevant experience. You could, for example, audition for local plays which will strengthen your resume.