Undergraduate Course

BA World Performance

BA World Performance


The details
World Performance
October 2019
3 years
Southend Campus

BA World Performance is a creative and challenging course combining practical performance skills with an exploration of global performance traditions. You study theatre, dance-drama, masks, music and dance from across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, while simultaneously developing skills in media, writing, performing and directing.

Throughout the course you devise, research, create and perform projects reflecting the range of influences and styles encountered. This helps you to develop skills and experience that take you beyond the definition of the “professional actor” in the traditional sense.

Why we're great.
  • Practical skills in global performance techniques.
  • Visiting international practitioners.
  • Opportunities for study overseas.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Your future

Graduating students will be equipped as performers and could also be producers, writers or researchers because they will have add-on skills that “traditional actors” do not possess. They will also have knowledge of different cultures that will prepare them for working anywhere in the world.

“I have had unique opportunities to meet and work with expert practitioners from around the world and to learn skills that will set me apart from other drama school graduates. I would recommend East 15 and its courses to any student looking for contemporary training for the theatre of today – the industry is changing and East 15 has their finger firmly on the pulse.”

Natalie Bradbury, BA World Performance

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Successful audition or interview, plus
A-levels: BBC, or the equivalent in UCAS tariff points, to include 2 full A Levels

IB: 28 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM (in relevant subject)

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

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English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.


Example structure

We offer dynamic and unique course for actors, directors, technical theatre specialists and students of theatre practice. Training at East 15 draws upon 50 years of tradition combined with a keen sense of the world of stage and screen today.

Our carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore and develop your specialist training.

Performance Skills

Warm-up and preparation techniques: This unit teaches and practises a range of sound techniques for preparing the body and voice for performance or class work. Anatomy and physiology for the performer: Offers an overview of the basic science underlying movement and vocal production. Vocal skills: The development of your vocal capability, with attention to fitness, breathing, and clarity; and a study of the ways in which the speaking voice may be used creatively in performance. Singing: The development of your singing voice, allied to vocal skills (above). Exploration of individual singing range and introduction to ensemble and harmony skills and basic music theory. Development of individual singing warm-ups. Movement: Development of your fitness, balance, and body-awareness, and a study of the creative use of movement in performance.

View Performance Skills on our Module Directory

Music and World Performance

Western musical performance: May include an examination of opera, music hall, choral performance, the Broadway musical, etc. Study is through both lectures and workshop sessions. Asian musical performance: May include study of, for example, Gamelan, Kabuki, Noh, Kathakali, Chinese Opera, etc. Study is through both lectures and workshop sessions. African or South American musical performance: May include the study of, for example, African drumming, Samba, Calypso, etc. Study is through both lectures and workshop sessions. Performance project: A group practical project, led by a tutor, which allows you to develop, select, and apply musical elements in a specific performance form.

View Music and World Performance on our Module Directory

Ritual and Religious Performance

Defining ritual in and as performance: Building on Year One work in Theatre Anthropology, and introducing the work of Richard Schechner, a consideration of the ritual roots of much World Performance and the interpretative implications of this complex interrelation. Case study one: sacred performance: An examination and practical exploration of one or two performance forms situated within or arising from an explicitly sacred context (eg Balinese Temple Dance, Ancient Greek tragedy, African spirit dance, Native American hunting dance, etc). Case study two: ritualised performance: A study, including particular attention to training methods, of one or two performance forms in which recognisable ritual is a major element of both the creation and the spectation of the work (eg Noh Theatre, Chinese Opera, Carnival, Javanese Shadow Puppetry, etc). Group practical project: Working under the guidance of tutors and in groups of four or five, students create a short ritual or religion influenced presentation, demonstrating understanding and skills derived from one of the case studies.

View Ritual and Religious Performance on our Module Directory

Visiting Artist

Context: Seminar and workshop sessions, supported by your own independent research, to introduce the specific context of the visiting company’s work. Workshops: Practical workshops with members of the visiting company, supported by East 15 tutors where appropriate, to develop your performance skills and to create the assessed performance.

View Visiting Artist on our Module Directory


The module engages you in a study of two or three mask-based performance forms, with an overview of interpretative and performative issues in mask work.

View Mask on our Module Directory


This module offers you an exploration of different manifestations of Comedy, through case-studies of two or three comic performance forms, including verbal and physical comedy, from a range of cultural backgrounds. You gain an understanding of the universality of comedy across multiple cultures through one or two case studies. The emphasis is on the understanding, development, selection, and application of performance skills.

View Comedy on our Module Directory

Non-Western Character Acting

This module offers a theoretically-informed study of manifestations of character role types in performance, exploring cultural prescriptions and attitudes in relation to character and performance in a variety of social and historical contexts, and case studies of two or three performance forms where character role types are highlighted (eg Kabuki, Chinese opera). There is specific attention to performance skills appropriate to the case-studies.

View Non-Western Character Acting on our Module Directory

Media and Theatre Production Skills

This module introduces hands-on skills in camera use and editing as well as writing for the camera. In addition, you receive an introduction to stage management and production skills and an introduction to the basic principles of lighting for performances. You learn in workshop and studio settings. The module emphasises an understanding of the technical processes underlying your own practical work. The module includes the development and production of a short film (3-5 minutes long) from conception, to final completion of script, shooting of the script and post-production (editing) of the film for final screening. It also includes workshops in stage management and lighting, leading to a technical analysis of a theatrical production.

View Media and Theatre Production Skills on our Module Directory

Applied and Political Theatres

Overview: theatre and society: A survey of forms of theatre and performance which refuse to be, or seek to be more than, entertainment and has agendas beyond the aesthetic. Case study one: core theatre: An in-depth study of one form (e.g Ancient Greek theatre festivals, Passion Plays, initiation rituals) in which the performance is an essential event in the life of the community that produces it. Case study two: engaged practitioners: An in-depth study of one form (e.g Brecht, Agit-Prop Theatre) in which practitioners stage for an audience material with an explicitly radical socio-political content. Case study three: engaging the audience: An in-depth study of one form (e.g Boal’s Forum Theatre, Invisible Theatre, or Theatre of the Oppressed, Worker’s Theatre, 1960s ‘Happenings’) which rely for their effect on the active involvement and participation of the spectator.

View Applied and Political Theatres on our Module Directory

Professional Preparation

This module provides you with the necessary skills and preparation to launch your professional careers. You receive specific training in audition and interview technique, in marketing skills such as web design, CVs and letters of introduction and legal and financial issues affecting professional actors. Opportunities are provided for workshops, meetings and lectures by and with industry professionals such as agents and casting directors, as well as with working actors and directors. Throughout the module students will be given practical assignments on which they will receive feedback from guest lecturers and industry professionals. In addition, this module provides you with the necessary professional preparation and skills to launch your acting career. You will develop the ability to understand and apply critical self-assessment in order to improve performance and employability.

View Professional Preparation on our Module Directory

Devised Project

Rehearsals and production meetings: By negotiation, tutors attend rehearsals and production meetings to support, guide and advise you. The majority of rehearsal time is untutored. Production: Performance of the finished piece for an audience. Tutors offer feedback to inform your reflection on the finished work.

View Devised Project on our Module Directory


Year 1

Your first year provides a foundation of performance and study skills, and introduces a range of cultural influences and performance possibilities. This includes:

  • Exploring Western performance practices in world context
  • Developing knowledge of different performance traditions across the globe
  • Studying the role of music in world performance
  • Experimenting with your own performance interests and abilities
Year 2

For your second year you concentrate on a range of case studies that allow you to develop knowledge of different traditions, approaches and issues in world performance. In addition you have opportunities to:

  • Develop and apply high-level performance skills
  • Work with visiting practitioners in non-Western or intercultural performance forms
  • Undertake a major performance
  • Carry out and present independent research
Final year

Your third year allows you to undertake a series of major independent group performance projects. These help to develop your skills and your understanding of collaborative work, while giving you freedom to pursue your own aesthetic, intellectual and professional interests.

In addition to undertaking further research study, we help you to develop personal management skills and entrepreneurial awareness to prepare you for professional life after you graduate.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee


Additional costs for materials and field trips of up to approximately £650 per academic year. Equipment lists are reviewed annually.

International fee


Additional costs for materials and field trips of up to approximately £650 per academic year. Equipment lists are reviewed annually.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next


Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

You also need to complete and send us a completed East 15 application form, including a copy of your audition payment receipt so that we can arrange your audition.

For full details, please see the East 15 website.

Apply now


Applicants to this course will need to book an audition. If you apply to us through UCAS we will send you information on how to do this. Alternatively, you can apply to East 15 directly. If you’re resident in the UK you’ll visit our campus to take part in the audition, where you’ll meet some of our staff and sample our teaching. You’ll need to prepare two pieces of around two minutes each; one classic and one contemporary. You will also be asked to participate in a workshop and discussion group.

Our staff travel the world auditioning applicants so if you’re not resident in the UK, it’s likely that we’ll be in a location near you at some point. This will be a one-to-one audition. If you still can’t make a physical audition, we are sometimes able to accept video auditions.

Offers for these courses will only be made after a successful audition.

For full details, please see the East 15 website.

Southend Campus

Visit Southend Campus

With its lively, state-of-the-art facilities and a close-knit international community, Southend is the perfect environment for living and learning.

If you're joining our School of Health and Social Care, East 15 Acting School, Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, or Essex Business School, you may well be studying at our Southend Campus.

Famous for its beach resort and pier, Southend-on-Sea stretches along seven miles of award-winning coastline, providing plenty of opportunities for a wide range of water sports and leisure activities.

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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