Applied Performance (Community and Education) - BA (Hons)

Course Overview

The essential course information

How to apply
UCAS Code:
BA (Hons)
Full Time (3 years)
Birmingham School of Acting
City Centre

Develop and perform performance projects, such as theatre, spoken word and dance, that challenge perspectives with our Applied Performance (Community and Education) degree course.

What's covered in the course?

BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community and Education) gives you the opportunity to work as a performance maker/artist through devising, writing and physical movement-based acting work, as well as delivering workshops in community or educational settings.

You'll get stimulating, practical training at Birmingham School of Acting to prepare you for a career in an inspiring and rewarding area, using a variety of areas of applied performance.

Many graduates progress on to specialist masters-level study of applied performance in particular settings, work within settings such as health, prisons or with young people, or go on to teacher training programmes to qualify formally to teach Drama.

Community-based performances

The course is partnered with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, one of the UK's leading production theatres. This gives you fantastic opportunities for you to engage with The REP's facilities, productions and participation programmes.

The course embraces students from a wide variety of performance backgrounds and actively encourages you to develop your own areas of interest and practice. Recent students coming on to the course have included spoken word artists, musicians/singers, dancers and those with interests as diverse as puppetry and arts administration.

Many students have gone on to, or come to the course with the ambition of, developing and running their own community-based company.

Staff, students and graduates from the course also run Outspoken Performance, the degree course's own production company that aims " empower young people to be politically active in their City, using art as protest, making new, innovative work in Birmingham with social and political objectives."

"It's a brilliant course. It's not just about performance skills. We learn about different types of theatre, different types of communities and vulnerable people.

"It helps us decide what we want to specialise in, what we want to do with our lives, and it gives us the opportunity to challenge stereotypes and say, it's ok to talk about this."

Danielle Cairns, Student, The Guardian, 2 May 2013

Why Choose Us?

  • Benefit from close collaboration with a number of theatre companies and venues, such as Birmingham REP Theatre, Playhouse Theatre Company, Big Brum, HEARTH, Women and Theatre, The Drum and mac Birmingham.
  • The course embraces students from a wide range of performance backgrounds, from spoken word artists to musicians/singers and dancers, as well as those interested in puppetry and arts administration.
  • The School is a specialist drama school and part of the umbrella group for all specialist drama schools, Drama UK – the only Midlands member.
  • We offer an accessible alternative to London drama schools – while still being less than one and a half hours from London.
  • Outstanding studio space is available to you for performance, including specialist sprung floors.


She from She on Vimeo.

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

You should normally have an A-level or equivalent in drama, dance, performance or a related arts subject. We also welcome applicants with practical experience in the performing arts. You will normally need a range of GCSEs plus a minimum of one of the following:

  • 240 UCAS tariff points
  • A-level in Drama or related subject (C), and two AS-levels both at grade (D)
  • Two A-levels, (C) Drama or related subject and (D) in another A-level
  • BTEC National Diploma (Merit) in Performing Arts
  • BTEC National Certificate (MM) in Performing Arts
  • GNVQ Advanced (Merit) in Performing Arts

Admission to this course is via interview. Please see our Guidance for Applicants for more information.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete the most appropriate online application form from the list below.

Please download and read the Guidance for Applicants before making your application.

Download Guidance for Applicants

UK/EU students:

Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: W490.
Apply via UCAS

Non-EU (International) students:
Online application for non-EU students
Sep 2015 BA (Hons) Full Time (3 years)

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

UCAS Information

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £9,000 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £12,600 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Apply via UCAS for this Course

Additional costs

You will be required to equip yourself with clothing and footwear appropriate to the often physical nature of classes.

Financial Options and Advice

We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.

Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Employment Opportunities

This course offers a stimulating, practice-based training that will prepare you for a career within a variety of areas of applied performance, providing the possibility to work as a performance maker/artist through devising, writing and physical movement-based work and as a practitioner delivering workshops in community and/or education settings. It also offers you the opportunity to progress on to specialist Master's level study of applied performance in particular settings or with particular groups of people such as health, prisons and young people. Alternatively, graduates also go on to PGCE or GTP programmes to qualify formally to teach Drama. within community theatre, providing the possibility to work as community artists, workshop facilitators, writers, choreographers, devisors, community arts administrators or performers.


During Year 1 there are visits by different practitioners, artists and companies who deliver seminars and workshops and talk about their work. You will also participate in some workshops or observations of workshops led by companies.

In Year 2 you will have a professional placement in a theatre, education or community company; there are also classes in arts administration and business.

Year 3 prepares you for work in different communities by giving you the chance to create work, performances and workshops in various communities and education settings. Previous projects have included working with homelessness, reminiscence and work with patients (including military patients) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

In 2013, one of our students is even heading off to Birmingham's twin city in the USA, Chicago, to complete her placement. She will be reporting back on completion of her placement. However, Margaret did leave this report prior to her trip:

"In July 2012 I made contact with Birmingham City Council to find out if the organisation Gallery 37 were still running any projects, as I was really excited by the projects they had done previously with communities in Birmingham. After speaking to a Council representative I found that Gallery 37 stopped running any projects as of 2009 due to the unfortunate cuts to Arts Council funding. So I decided to get into contact with Gallery 37 in Chicago which is where the Gallery 37 in Birmingham had been brought over from.I spoke to them and explained that I was looking to do a six-week internship with them and explained my reasons why. I was delighted when I said that I might be able to work with them but I wouldn’t find out for sure until around December 2012/ January 2013 when they would be planning their spring programme.

I kept in contact with them just to make sure that they would see my interest and passion for art work in community and educational settings and would be able to see the benefits I would hopefully be able to bring to their organisation and vice versa.

In February 2013 I received an email confirming that I could come to work with them in Chicago. I then contacted the Council rep I had spoken to back in July and asked if there was any possible chance that I could apply for funding for my flight and accommodation costs from the Trustees of Gallery 37 Foundation. After finding out that there could be a scope for me to receive a grant, on the terms that I put together a presentation of my internship and present it back to the Trustees, I applied. I was successful and received a letter and a cheque in the post of £650!

At the moment I'm not too sure what to expect as I have never done anything like this before, especially not on my own. Initially I embarked on this road thinking that it was a good idea not for one moment did I think of it as a plausible one. I've been informed that my role whilst on my placement will be their Youth Outreach Officer, which sounds very hands on and daunting. However I'm very much up for the challenge, mainly because I'm going to be seeing a lot of Chicago and working with its different communities. As the days are getting closer I'm getting more and more excited and think that this experience will help me find my feet as a professional in my own right whilst meeting industry professionals and working within a community setting of my choice. I can't wait!"

Course Structure

Year One

You'll focus on developing your performance skills through a series of practical workshops, projects and classes, and be introduced to key ideas and elements to practical work; informing you as a future performer, maker of work or workshop leader.

In two core modules students explore the notion of community and identity and consider performance in terms of history and culture.

'The Superheroes' was devised and performed entirely by Year 1 students in 2014

Year Two

We'll help you to develop practical skills and discover how to apply them to different kinds of work and communities.

You'll also study arts administration, as well as making new work through devising or writing for performance. The year will include a professional placement within an industry, community or education setting.

Year Three

In year three, you'll put your skills and experience into practice by creating new work and outreach projects with communities in and around Birmingham.

The course is enhanced by guest speakers from various community companies from around the West Midlands, talking about their work and occasionally giving workshops and by visits out to see work in the area.

One group of final year students created a piece of theatre to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The resulting piece, entitled Déjà View, was performed at The Drum by the students' new theatre company, Outlined.

Student Martha Barnes said: "When choosing a theme for the piece we brought up a lot of issues that we were passionate about. PTSD was one of these issues amongst many others, but we then realised that the other issues, such as domestic violence and injustice, could all result in PTSD.

We had a packed audience and the responses we had after were brilliant! The piece certainly reached out to people and some of audience could relate to issues raised."

Read more

Course Modules

Year 1
Skills workshop Contextual studies Community and identity Performance workshop Project
120 Credits - Cert HE
Year 2
Skills workshop Project 2 Professional practice and administration 1 Devising and writing / choreography Applied practice and theory
240 Credits - Dip HE
Year 3
Professional practice and administration 2 Collaboration project Outreach project Community Arts Project
360 Credits - BA (Hons)

Hannah Phillips

Course Director, BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community and Education)

Hannah Phillips is a Performance/Theatre Maker and Lecturer. She specialises in Applied Theatre/Performance, making work with social and political objectives. She uses performance/theatre as a tool to raise awareness, inform, educate and sometimes instigate change. Specialist areas include Feminist and Queer Performance, devising performance and making work with or for young people. She is currently the Course Director of the BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community and Education) Programme at Birmingham School of Acting.

Kirsty McTighe

Kirsty McTighe started her career as an actor/teacher at the Playhouse Theatre – a position she was offered as a result of the partnership between BSA and Birmingham REP.

I chose to study at Birmingham School of Acting because I was interested in performing arts and working with children. I had never thought of looking for a course like Community and Applied Theatre (now known as Applied Performance (Community and Education) before, and came across this course after the UCAS deadline but it sounded very interesting so I decided to decline my drama offers and pursue it.

The thing I enjoyed most about Birmingham School of Acting was that it was small enough for you to know everybody in the building and have more direct contact from tutors but you could also have the big university experience. I also loved the fact that most of what we did was practical.

This course led me to something which I love and am passionate about. I am in a job which is precisely what I learnt to do on my course. I wouldn't be able to work to the standards I do now if I hadn't learnt and practiced on the applied theatre course. I am still learning more every day and loving every second!

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.


T: 0121 331 7563

We have Frequently Asked Questions sections relating to applying to drama school and to auditioning.


For an overview of our undergraduate courses and a range of other information order a printed Prospectus or download a PDF of our Prospectus (16Mb).

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