Transform your interest in applied drama and develop the skill, knowledge and confidence to take on a career in applied performance. Our BA (Hons) Applied Performance degree focuses on community and education, teaching you to develop workshops, engage with communities and excel within the delivery of theatre in education.
Part of one of only 18 schools accredited by Drama UK, this course will prepare you for an exciting, creative career as an Applied Performance practitioner.
Through our BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community and Education) programme you’ll have the opportunity to develop your artistic practice. This course allows you to specialise within your own area of interest, giving you the chance to craft your future.
Throughout the course you will regularly work with participants and communities in both formal and informal settings. Through experiential learning you will transform yourself from student to practitioner, working in partnership with your tutor, who will aid you to identify and undertake the roles of a director, performance maker and facilitator. We bring in an eclectic range of artists and companies to deliver workshops and seminars, giving you the chance to experience different styles and forms, all to inform your own practice.
You’ll join your course mates in forming a professional company, where you will work collectively. Within this company you will be expected to undertake individual roles and responsibilities, developing your professional abilities.
Professional practice is at the core of this programme’s delivery. With strong industry links and on-going relationships with educational and community based organisations, we aim to prepare you thoroughly for a career in applied performance.
At Birmingham School of Acting we believe that making and applying performance with social and political objectives has the potential to have a significant impact on the lives of individuals and communities. We use performance as a tool to raise awareness, inform, educate, empower, and instigate change and as a method of intervention.
As an emerging practitioner we will supply you with artistic space, autonomy and choice. With a primary focus on performance you will explore cultural discourses, developing an understanding of the awareness of critical reflection.
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."
Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 11 June 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.
Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.
Want to join us in September 2016? UK undergraduates can receive up to £4,000* in non-repayable financial support.
International undergraduate students can receive scholarships worth up to £1,500*
*(criteria will apply)
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
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 including English Language at grade C or above, plus a minimum of one of the following:
240 UCAS tariff points
Two A-Levels at grade C (including Drama) plus two AS-Levels at grade C
A-Level Drama or related subject (C), and CC in two further A-Levels
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (MMM) in Performing Arts or related subject
BTEC Level 3 Diploma (12 Units) (DD) in Performing Arts or related subject
BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma when studied alongside other qualifications
Admission to this course is via interview. Please see our Guidance for Applicants for more information.
Application process also involves an interview
If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2016/17 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.
To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:
280 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
be predicted DMM profile at BTEC level
You will also be required to attend an interview.
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£9,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£15,500 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.
Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.
The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.
All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Want to join us in September 2016? Undergraduate students can receive up to £4,000* in non repayable financial support.
*(criteria will apply)
During your first year of study you will be introduced to applied performance in a range of community and educational settings. Your first year will be delivered through a series of six modules, each focusing on a different aspect of applied performance. You will develop skills and techniques in performance through skills-based teaching.
You will undertake weekly voice and movement classes through the Skills Workshop module, and you will be taught acting techniques through the Performance Workshop module. Regular dance theatre workshops and one-off workshops focusing on a range of art forms take place throughout your first year. You will have the opportunity to explore performance poetry, story-telling, physical theatre, clowning, mime, mask, singing and aerial work. Your first year of study offers you the chance to explore different art forms and creative space, developing your own artistic practices.
Through the Workshop Facilitation module you will establish the tools for designing and facilitating a workshop for a specific audience. You will undertake a performance project at the end of your first year, which usually takes places at mac Birmingham, and is intended as a children’s and family theatre piece. You will also explore the meaning of community, identity and their relation to culture and arts. You will learn through seminars and workshops, with an introduction to critical theory and contextual studies.
120 Credits - Cert HE
Within this module you will be assessed through your contribution to workshops, with the support of a written essay. The module will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skill to operate as a reflective performer by exploring skills such as improvisation, devising, character work, acting techniques, poetry, mask movement and physical theatre.
Community and identity
Within this module you will investigate community arts practice in the UK, exploring the relationship between culture and art. You’ll cover topics such as the reality of community within Birmingham and beyond, and the exploration of identity. You’ll explore current cultural issues through debate and discussion, supported by written coursework.
Contextual studies and critical theory
This module is assessed in an even split between a practical exam and a written assignment. You’ll investigate identity forms, practices, traditions and histories of performance and theoretical explanations of those histories in both Western and non-Western traditions, analysing and critically exploring the work of key practitioners and applying critical theory to a performance text.
Skills workshop 1
Your assessment will be delivered through a practical exam and a reflective journal. You will be taught through studio-based workshops and explore the wide range of physical and vocal possibilities both individually and as a group. You will explore health and safety and how to use your voice and body creatively.
The project aspect of your first year is designed for you to demonstrate techniques in performance, voice and movement. You will develop your characterisation, image, text and narrative skills in the creation of a performance. For a specific audience, you will perform an imaginative and dynamic piece as part of an ensemble.
This module is designed to develop your awareness and understanding of delivering workshops. You will learn how to write aims and objectives, design a workshop plan for a specific group and develop and facilitate a workshop experience, demonstrating good practice. You will be assessed through practical exams and coursework.
Your second year of studies will be delivered through skills based classes, such as the Skills Workshop Two. You will continue to have weekly voice and movement classes, focusing on the facilitation of physical and vocal warm-ups within community groups. With a focus on making performance you will build upon the skills practiced in your first year during the Workshop Facilitation module.
In the Project Two module you will take part in three performance projects, including a theatre in education and a theatre for young people piece as well as a devised site specific piece. You will also take part in pre-show and post-show work which you will devise in small groups.
You will also produce theoretical work that mirrors that of your practical work. You will explore the wider implication of various social and political approaches to practice. Within the Applied Practice and Theory module you will develop your workshop facilitation skills, and deliver workshops to schools.
Throughout the year you will also have seminars and workshops that are led by guest practitioners and lecturers who work within different fields of applied practice, such as education, health and prisons. You will research into an area of your choice, allowing you to enhance your knowledge of your personal interests.
A key aspect of your second year of study is a six week placement in term three.
240 Credits - Dip HE
Devising, making and writing
Within this module you will produce new, creative and effective performance material. You will research and source material constructing performance and the basic frameworks needed in order to make and write a piece of performance. You will be expected to critically reflect on your work and produce a written evaluation.
Applied practice and theory
Within this module you will gain an understanding of the relationship between performer and spectator, and how this alters in different contexts. You will explore the practice and theory of applied performance and will critically analyse an aspect of this. In addition to this you will create participatory performance work.
Professional practice and administration skills
This module will help you to identify the administrative requirements of a company or venue. You will explore the management of a small production company, gaining insight into budgeting, funding and legislation issues. You will undertake a work placement and you will be expected to present your findings to your tutors.
This module, much like the project in your first year, is a purely practical module. You will be expected to conduct research and apply specific forms of applied performance. Focusing on the production of work for young audiences, you will demonstrate the relationship between performance material and its intended audience.
Facilitation in context
Within this module you will design and articulate a workshop plan for a selected group of participants. Writing the aims and objectives for this workshop, you will create learning opportunities within drama, with consideration of the needs, aspirations and experience of your participants.
Skills Workshop 2
Through collaborative learning in small groups, your second year skills workshop module will provide you with the necessary information and skill to create and facilitate safe practice and warm ups. You will explore deeper into the techniques of movement and voice.
Your final year of study builds on the skills you have developed throughout the course. You will engage directly with the community, pursuing your own areas of interest. With several major practical projects you will establish yourself as a well-trained and informed Applied Performance practitioner.
Through an Outreach Project you will produce a workshop for a particular community as well as a detailed outreach pack containing research on the play, its production and rehearsal process. The pack will also research ideas and themes contained within the relevant work that places its status within a larger theatrical and social context. Offering teachers and facilitators suggestions for further investigation and development, and demonstrating your knowledge and skill.
You will work in small groups to devise a multi-disciplined, site specific piece of work. Responding to a series of workshops delivered by industry professionals, you’ll apply your own areas of interest and think critically and effectively. You will develop an in-depth knowledge of theoretical and practical aspects of Applied Performance, with a final project that will demonstrate this.
In the Applied Performance Project you work with a community group through community visits, research and a feasibility study. You are expected to manage and administer this project, taking responsibility for the budget. Within your group you will develop a series of workshops with the community group and an end event or performance with, for, or by the community group.
360 Credits - BA (Hons)
Within this module you will devise Applied Performance project proposals. You will be expected to identify theories and models of applied practice appropriate for a particular community. Engaging with the culture and history of this community you will produce a viable business plan alongside productive and effective aims and objectives.
Collaboratively producing interdisciplinary work for a specific audience, you will be expected to produce a piece of intellectually and artistically challenging work. The work you produce may be site-specific, immersive, interactive, pop-up or studio based. You will be mentored by tutors and industry based artists through a series of presentations of the proposal, ideas and a pilot piece of work.
This module is designed to teach you how to effectively design a workshop and outreach pack. Identifying an appropriate process or model of practice for a particular community group you will facilitate a workshop. You will be required to give clear instructions and articulation of ideas to workshop participants.
Applied Performance Project
Working within a small company you will develop a community arts engagement project. You will work with partner organisations, arts centres and third or public sector organisations, facilitating effective workshops and creating a participatory community arts event. You will be expected to critically reflect on your work and its effect on the target community.
Throughout the course you will be taught through a series of modules. These modules will each cover a different aspect of the applied performance field, teaching you a diverse yet specialised combination of knowledge and skill. You will develop the aptitude to apply your learnt knowledge to contemporary practice and current scholarship.
'The Superheroes' was devised and performed entirely by Year 1 students in 2014
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."
While there are not any timetabled trips or visits within this course you will be expected to facilitate and attend several visits as an aspect of community engagement. These visits are integrated within your modules and you will be assessed on how they contribute to your overall piece of work for the module in question.
In most cases you will work collaboratively within a group to organise these visits, at times you will be expected to deliver workshops within a community visit. It is advisable that as a student you engage as much as possible with activities and events that relate to your desired profession. Birmingham School of Acting frequently produces performances in venues across the city throughout the year.
We recommend you attend these performances not only to familiarise yourself with the Birmingham performing arts industry, but to network and broaden your knowledge.
|31||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|62||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
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Birmingham School of Acting is accredited by Drama UK, the national organisation of drama schools. This means we are recognised as an institution whose courses deliver a conservatoire level of training, enhancing career development through professional, intensive and work-oriented study.
This accreditation not only recognises the high standard of staff and students within the school, but offers the chance for acting students to perform at showcases in the UK and internationally (as appropriate).
If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.
actor/teacher at the Playhouse Theatre
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.
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.
Throughout the programme you will develop both personally and professionally, graduating as a fully-trained applied performance practitioner. You will develop the necessary knowledge, understanding and skill to develop a career within applied performance, and further afield. This course will give you the space to nurture and develop your talent, providing you with the skill to operate with reflective, specialist awareness.
An understanding of the relationship between theory and practice will be developed through exploration of a range of cultural and theoretical discourses. Establishing your research, academic, discussion and creative presentation skills you will develop confidence and competency in delivering work. You will establish yourself as a well-informed practitioner by developing an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the contexts and histories of applied performance, theatre and drama.
The practical skills you’ll develop will allow you to make interdisciplinary, original work, catering to the needs of specific audiences. You will be able to work collaboratively to devise and write performances. In addition to this you will nurture your ability to plan, write, develop and facilitate workshops for groups, catering to different needs and contexts.
You will learn a range of applied performance practical skills and methodologies appropriate to practice within community and educational contexts. Collaboration, leadership, communication, professionalism, and administration skills within professional contexts will be developed throughout the programme. This programme is designed with the purpose of encouraging you to realise your talent and skill. Through intensive work, and creative exploration you will develop versatility and a proactive attitude. You’ll graduate with the ability to take on numerous roles, particularly through the development of a specific set of skills.
In the second year of this course you are required to undertake a six week placement of your choice as part of the Professional Practice and Administration module. The placement will be self-directed – you will hold the responsibility for identifying an organisation or company, and we will help facilitate this.
In the past students have undertaken placements at hosts such as: Big Brum, The Playhouse, Women and Theatre, Birmingham mac, Birmingham REP Theatre, Chickenshed, Birmingham Hippodrome, Pines Special Needs School, Greenwich Young Peoples Theatre and Soho Theatre and Writer’s Centre.
The placement aspect of this course is designed to allow you to gain authentic experience of a working creative company or organisation. You will be expected to develop a comprehensive, hands-on understanding of the administrative requirements of a company, including getting a sense of suitable sources of financial support, or different types of investment that are relevant within a professional environment.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
In 2013, one of our students headed off to Birmingham's twin city in the USA, Chicago, to complete her placement. She left 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."
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
The high-level of training we offer will pave the way for your future creative career. Recent graduate success includes Katie Finch, who works as a Learning Assistant with Frantic Assembly and Alison Hanson who has taken on work as the Early Years Officer for Birmingham REP Theatre. In addition to this our graduate Bethan Ball completed a paid internship with The Birmingham Hippodrome and Kim Allsopp has been offered work with both the Playhouse Theatre Company and Birmingham REP Theatre.
Graduate employment is very important to us, which is why we have developed our own company. Outspoken has been designed to employ graduates and give current students further professional experiences.
Outspoken’s first piece of work was Heterophobia – a piece of work which aimed to challenge young people’s preconceptions around issues of sexuality. The performance was programmed by Birmingham Hippodrome.
Graduates of this course develop essential skills and knowledge required for further study. If you wish to develop your studies to the next level, this course will give you the confidence and advanced scholarly knowledge required for a Master’s degree within the arts.
The course seeks to advance your knowledge, understanding and of Applied Performance, focusing on community and education. You will develop a theoretical and practical knowledge which can be applied to further study within the field.
A number of graduates also go on to a postgraduate qualification in teaching, sometimes for Primary, others for Secondary Drama, as they are able to draw on the skills and experience in workshop facilitation they develop as part of the Applied Performance course.
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 international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.
The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.
So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.
Overall measures: ranked positions
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
Birmingham School of Acting (BSA) is based at the University’s City Centre Campus. A part of the Arts, Design and Media faculty, BSA is based within Millennium Point but also has access to facilities at the Parkside building.
The Parkside building boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as radio and television studios, edit suites, photography studios, and much more. In addition to this we are currently constructing a new £40 million home for the Birmingham Conservatoire, due to open in 2017.
There are ten rehearsal spaces, a ‘black box’ performance studio, showers, lockers and workshop space within the Birmingham School of Acting. The ‘black box’ performance studio, also known as the Patricia Yardley Studio, is our in-house performance theatre. Using variable acoustics which can be adjusted, and housing a fully operational lighting rig and a quadraphonic sound system.
Each studio contains: specialist acoustic panelling; specialist sprung floors; a heating system that radiates heat equally around the studio; and an air replacement system that maintains a constant room temperature.