BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance

Explore theatre both practically and theoretically in our ground-breaking Theatre and Performance degree. This innovative course is designed and delivered in association with the Octagon Theatre Bolton, which has an outstanding national reputation for its work. This creative and educational partnership combines academic study with deep insight into, and experience of, professional theatre and performance practice.

BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance

Course details

The University of Bolton’s BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance, offered in partnership with the Octagon Theatre Bolton, focuses on helping you develop the skills and knowledge needed to forge a career in theatre, the wider creative industries sector or education.

Designed to develop your understanding and experience of theatre-based activities, this dynamic course covers performance and direction, production management, participatory theatre, playwriting and street theatre. Our knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff will also guide you in an exploration of the historical and contemporary context of theatre and performance, the theories and applications of theatre, and help you develop crucial academic study skills.

Our industry-engaged staff currently include our Professor of Theatre David Thacker, one of the UK’s most distinguished theatre directors. You’ll also meet and work with theatre practitioners – from writers, actors and directors to designers, managers and technical team-members. The knowledge you gain will form a basis for debates about the function, relevance and sustainability of theatre in the 21st Century. Overall, our primary focus is to prepare you for employment in the world of theatre and the wider creative industries, as well as study at Master’s level.

  • UCAS points: 104
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W420
  • Duration: 3 years

Course highlights:

  • Our Drama, Dance and Cinematics courses are ranked top in the North West and top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction by the Complete University Guide 2018.
  • We provide opportunities for you to hear from a variety of relevant guest speakers, including professional actors, theatre makers and producers.
  • You’ll have the chance to directly observe and learn from the process of productions at one of the UK’s leading producing theatres; the Octagon Theatre.
  • You’ll be able to gain unique backstage experience and benefit from work placement opportunities. Our excellent industry links mean we can offer you an exciting range of placements across the North West.
  • We’ll encourage you to work creatively and imaginatively in a group, and to collaborate with colleagues studying interrelated disciplines, such as Creative Writing and English.
  • As well as behind-the-scenes access, you’ll benefit from reduced-price tickets to Octagon performances and events.

Key features:

  • This degree has been designed in direct collaboration with colleagues at the nationally acclaimed Octagon Theatre, Bolton. It offers a comprehensive insight into the creative work and professional practices of the Octagon.
  • The majority of your practical work will take place in a purpose-built educational facility, with practice studios and performance spaces.
  • Hands-on, practical experience, workshops and read-throughs are combined with theory and academic learning to offer an innovative approach to theatre and performance studies.
  • You’ll study both classic and contemporary plays and participate in devised theatre and writing for performance. There will also be opportunities to develop skills in directing and participatory theatre.
  • Each year, you’ll be given the unique opportunity to observe the production process of two plays, currently directed by the Octagon Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director and Professor of Theatre, David Thacker.
  • At the final level of the course, you’ll put the skills and knowledge you’ve gained into use through an industry placement and a practical major project or written dissertation. You’ll have the opportunity to present your work as part of the Bolton School of the Arts final-year Creative Show and Showcase events.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 104
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W420
  • Duration: 3 years

Any subjects are acceptable at Level 3, but a drama, performance or literature-related subject will give you an advantage. You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) including English.

You'll be required to attend an interview as part of the application process.

Some work placements involved in this course involve unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults, also known as regulated activity. If you’ll be undertaking a placement that involves regulated activity you’ll have to get an Enhanced Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) beforehand. Charges are payable to cover the cost of the DBS Enhanced Disclosure application and annual registration with the online Update Service. Find out more

If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

Career opportunities

A degree in Theatre and Performance can offer you a pathway into many careers in professional live theatre production and performance, as well as other related careers in the diverse artistic and entertainment industries.

Some of the key skills associated with this degree include performance and presentation skills, strong verbal and written communication skills, the ability to work under pressure, project management skills, and leadership skills. Graduates can also expect to possess the ability to work individually and collaboratively, and demonstrate creative problem-solving skills, listening, clarifying, questioning and responding skills, and critical thinking skills.

What can I do with this qualification?

Jobs directly related to this degree include acting, directing, applied theatre practice, writing for performance, stage management and community arts. Some of the more common employers include arts organisations, education institutions, leisure companies and voluntary organisations.

Short-term or freelance contracts, attending auditions, and collaborating with other artists and putting on your own shows, are all part of a performer's lifestyle. You may specialise further, learn additional performance skills or undertake academic research into an aspect of your subject that interests you. Alternatively, you may take a vocational course, such as a diploma in arts administration or a teaching certificate, which will open up alternative areas of employment.

Alternative career options

  • Arts administration
  • Broadcast presenting
  • Teaching
  • Theatre stage management
  • Agent work
  • Event organisation
  • Journalism
  • Youth work
  • Radio production
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Communications
  • Casting
  • Set and costume design
  • Public relations
  • Modelling
  • Sales

Professional recognition

Fees & funding

Home/EU fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/222022/23
2019/20 £9,250£9,250£9,250-£27,750
2020/21 -nullnullnullnull

International fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/222022/23
2019/20 £12,450£12,450£12,450-£37,350
2020/21 -nullnullnullnull

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


September start

Please apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for September entry.

The online application form and guidance notes are available on the UCAS website.

You can apply for up to 5 courses through UCAS (at the same or different institutions) for a fee of £24. Alternatively, if you only wish to apply for a single course at a single institution then a reduced applicant's fee of £13 is applicable.

You will need the following information to complete your UCAS application form:

  • Institution Code Name: BOLTN

  • Institution Code Number: B44

UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Tel: 0870 1122211


The University welcomes applications from international students from all over the world. We try to make the application process as simple and as fast as possible for our international applicants.

This course is not currently accepting online applications

Please contact Admissions by telephone on 01204 903903 or email

University of Bolton
Deane Road
Bolton, BL3 5AB
United Kingdom

Tel: 01204 903903

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Creative Skills
  • Play in Production
  • The Performer
  • Theatre History
  • Participatory Theatre
  • Devising Theatre
  • Performance and Direction
  • Writing for Stage
  • Technical Production, Design and Management
  • Community Theatre
  • Producing a Play
  • Creative Research
  • Major Project
  • Industry Experience in Theatre and Creative Arts
  • Street Arts
  • Practical Playwriting
  • New Directions in Theatre

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course is a partnership between the University of Bolton and the Octagon Theatre, Bolton. Teaching will take place at a number of locations and travelling will be required, including for your industry placement.

Teaching and learning will combine both the theoretical and contextual aspects of the theatre and performing arts with practical elements, such as acting, producing and directing. The programme is student-centred with an impressive staff-to-student ratio, personal tutoring and pastoral care offered. You’ll benefit from being part of a friendly and supportive intellectual community, developing close working relationships with your tutors, all of whom are actively engaged in theatre and the arts and culture sector. You’ll also work closely with your fellow students, as well as colleagues from crossover disciplines, such as English and Creative Writing.

There will be opportunities for you to observe and evaluate the full production process in a professional producing theatre and you’ll participate in a number of practical production exercises. Visiting speakers who are practicing professionals will be invited to contribute to the programme and several will be delivering specific sessions to supplement and enhance your learning experience. Practical projects related to industrial practice will give you an insight into the professional environment.

Assessments will typically consist of practical and theoretical work. You can expect assessments such as practical productions, portfolios, oral presentations, essays, reports, blogs, journals, reflective commentaries and regular updating of Personal Development Plans.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (60%), Practical exams (40%)
Level Two Coursework (62%), Practical exams (38%)
Level Three Coursework (77%), Practical exams (23%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (63%), Placement/study abroad (3%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (34%)
Level Two Guided independent study (61%), Placement/study abroad (5%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (34%)
Level Three Guided independent study (75%), Placement/study abroad (7%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (18%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • UCAS code:
  • Course type:
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
    BA (Hons)
  • UCAS points:
  • Duration:
    3 years

Contact us

Nicola Shaw
Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903317

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903