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FdA Performing Arts students from Bournemouth and Poole College on stage as part of the production of Be More Chill, they look like they're dressed as teens in a teen bedroom with one holding an Xbox controller

FdA Performing Arts

This Foundation Degree-level course aims to expose students to the diverse nature of challenges faced by those who take on the role of performer.

This course is based at Bournemouth and Poole College.

Course overview

If you’re thinking of studying performing arts, you might be dreaming of taking to the stage to perform for a living. You may be thinking of gritty drama or comedy roles in an ongoing series. Or you might not know which career paths are open to you as a passionate, creative individual and that's where studying on the FdA Performing Arts is a step in the right direction.

The skills you'll learn will support you in a range of careers, especially if you're able to effectively combine creative talent with the practical aspects of self-promotion and arts management. Graduates from Bournemouth and Poole College have gone on to experience an array of roles within the creative industries as well as in careers that value and demand the skillsets fostered and supported within their HE courses.

In addition to teaching self-expression, critical thinking and creative application, Performing Arts supports self-knowledge and understanding. Theatre and Performing Arts plays a role in influencing society – pointing out attitudes and mindsets of current cultural climates. It can be used as a tool to educate people about the world in which they live and the role they play within it. The artistic voice asks those who listen to think, to question and to reflect on what it is to be human. In other words, it's power.

At The College, you'll discover that power and find ways specific to you that'll enable you to use that power to build a career in whatever field you ultimately choose.

For anyone who has a passion for performing, a degree in Performing Arts can be your path to a fulfilling and hugely engaging career. At Bournemouth and Poole College, the Performing Arts department has a proud history of delivering quality degrees that are an immersive, enlightening and interactive experience for students.

Course duration

2 years (full-time)

Qualification level

Level 5

Fees (Home and International)


UCAS course code


UCAS institution code



Bournemouth and Poole College

The course aims to expose students to the diverse nature of challenges faced by those who take on the role of performer – of which there are many. The working actor now faces even challenges in terms of gaining employment and making a living. A performer now needs to be completely adaptable, and this is a key focus on the degree – adaptability – providing the individual with enough varied experience of the industry, not just focusing on aspects of performance but on other roles within the creative industries.

As a student on this degree, you should be prepared to develop skills around entrepreneurship, freelancing and independence; flexible to the different forms of performance. You should be creative with an awareness of culture and firmly based in theory, practice, and later, experience. Students will be studying a specialist programme focused on performance that offers a broad but interconnected selection of units, offering students opportunities to explore old and new performance-based methodologies, musical theatre performance, dramaturgy, analysis of contemporary play texts, voice-over, acting for online gaming and professional development with a clear focus on employability and next steps.

In a mirror image of the ’real world’ you'll find themselves collaborating and learning with their peers from other disciplines (Radio, Film and Events departments) to complete project work, allowing you to experience many aspects of the creative industries. The self-confidence required to contribute to collaborative, time-bound creative projects are developed through a secure understanding of the current demands of the industry. You'll be supported in the development of your strengths, the improvement of your weaknesses and the creation of new opportunities through exposure to a wide range of teaching methods, theatrical and new media experiences, staff expertise and visiting professionals.

Our work is constantly evolving and runs in parallel with the ever-changing industry landscape. We employ various freelance practitioners, who are working in the industry with a view to them providing you with an up-to-date insight into how the industry is working in the now. The current trends, the obstacles that need to somehow be overcome and the various leaders in their field of creative output.

On FdA Performing Arts, you'll work on singing, acting, dance and voice for industry focused careers. While there's some focus on skills for theatre performance there'll also be a consideration of how these skills can be used in wider employments contexts. Examples: gigs, voiceovers, cruise ships, teaching, workshop leading and more. In addition, you'll undertake units considering performance contexts and criticism to assure your understanding of the importance of theoretical underpinnings of performance. There'll be work-based learning experiences throughout the course and you'll have the opportunity to work with industry practitioners.

You're expected to continuously engage in critical analysis using the theoretical skills you'll have gained throughout their studies. This could be a consideration of a local theatre company, an essay, or an analysis of a particular theatre genre/historical perspective.

You'll also get the opportunity to form a company and undertake rehearsal and performance in an alternative context, hosted at The Lighthouse, Poole or a similar regional venue. This will equip you with the practical skills required to have a rewarding career in the arts. The emphasis will be on community engagement and realising projects through appropriate means.

You'll build on your critical theoretical understanding as covered in the first unit and use this to complete a funding bid for your own project with a local festival/arts council body.

Nearing the end of your studies, you'll be expected to research and engage with the local arts sector and undertake a short work placement, we encourage working with companies such as; Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW), BEAF, Activate Performing Arts, Schools, Black Cherry Theatre Co, Arts by the Sea (and more).

By the end of the course, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the intellectual, imaginative and practical skills needed to embark on a career in the creative industries.
  • Demonstrate and articulate your understanding of the relationships between different aspects of performance, trends and histories and a clear sense of where your own professional strengths lie and how you intend to launch your career in the industry.
  • Communicate your ideas both in both a verbal and practical way.
  • Articulate your understanding of the complex nature of the industry, the forms that this may take and the target audience a specific project is aiming at.
  • Collaborate with others effectively in the realisation of a performative and/or participative event within or across disciplines.
  • Extend academic learning as an independent, self-reflective, and creative practitioner, fully prepared for professional environments or postgraduate study.

  • Collaborative Practice
  • Popular Performance
  • Small Scale Theatre
  • Interdisciplinary Performance
  • Portfolio Artist Creative
  • Industry Project

All students are registered for the award of the Foundation Degree (FdA); however, exit awards are available if you leave the course early, having successfully completed a stage. If you successfully complete a level of the course, you will automatically be entitled to progress to the next level.

For the award of a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 120 credits at Level 4. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the first year of your course.

For the award of the Foundation Degree (FdA), you must have achieved a minimum of 240 credits of which a minimum of 120 must be at Level 5. This qualification will be awarded upon successful completion of your course.

Entry requirements

All applicants should have four GCSE passes at grade 4 (formerly C) minimum, including Maths* and English or equivalent.

Applicants should also have one of the following qualifications as well:

  • Two A Levels or an equivalent Level 3 qualification e.g. BTEC Extended Diploma
  • NVQ3
  • Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Creative and Media may be considered in combination with other qualifications
  • An Access to Higher Education Diploma

We're looking for 48 UCAS points from two full A Levels (or equivalent), including one full A Level at 32 tariff points (i.e. grade C) in a relevant subject.

Relevant subjects: Dance, Performing Arts, Drama

Unfortunately we're unable to offer places to students that require a visa to study.

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