BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance (top-up)

Designed and delivered in association with the Octagon Theatre Bolton, our BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance Top-up is your chance to build on your existing qualification to achieve a full Honours degree. This creative and educational partnership combines academic study with deep insight into, and experience of, professional theatre and performance practice.

Theatre and Performance (top-up)

Key information


BA (Hons)

Mode of Study:



1 year


The University of Bolton

UCAS code:


Start date:


Course Details

We’ll support you to enhance your existing Foundation Degree or HND-level knowledge and skills, ready to achieve the status of BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance (Top-up) graduate. You can study key aspects of theatre and performance and boost your employability.

Offered in partnership with the Octagon Theatre Bolton, which has an outstanding national reputation for its work, this Honours-level course focuses on developing your research, critical thinking, and professional practice skills. With support from our knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, you’ll have the chance to complete a major project or dissertation and gain industry experience through a work placement. We’ll also guide you to explore and create street theatre and lead you to investigate, debate and critically examine recent developments in theatre practice and theory.

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 enhance your employment opportunities in the world of theatre and the wider creative industries, and prepare you for study at Master’s level.

  • 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 a work placement opportunity. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Professional recognition

  • You’ll have successfully completed a recognised Theatre-related qualification comprising at least 120 credits at HE4 and 120 credits at HE5; for example a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Higher National Diploma (HND) or Foundation Degree.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Want some reassurance or advice? Speak to one of our advisors. Email us at or call us on +44 (0)1204 903 394.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

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.

Completing your Honours-level studies should prove valuable in helping you achieve your career goals.

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

Graduates can also use the qualification as a stepping stone to enter a range of other careers, and for some of these roles, both relevant experience and/or postgraduate study may be required. Some of these roles include:

  • 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

Course fees
Home EU Fees Year of study Total
Entry year2020/212021/22
International Year of study Total
Entry year2020/212021/22

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 2021/2022.

For 2021/2022 entry, the maximum government approved undergraduate tuition fee for UK students is £9,250 per year. The University is able to charge this fee subject to an approved Access and Participation Plan for 2021/2022 and its current rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.


Click here for more information about the scholarships and bursaries available to University of Bolton undergraduate students.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

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.

How you apply is determined by your current location and what you are choosing to study:

  1. Apply direct to the University. Links for the next available intakes of this course are shown below. Please click the link which will direct you to the online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this.
  2. Apply via one of our approved in-country referral partners. A list of our partners may be found on the International pages of this website.
  3. Apply via UCAS for courses starting in September only – visit

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email

University of Bolton Group Partners

Bolton College
University Technical College
University of Bolton

The University welcomes applications from our group partners and progressing students so we try to make our application process as simple and as fast as possible. By selecting the link for your chosen course from the list shown below you will be taken directly to our online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this and ensure you upload all supporting documents such as certificates and your personal statement when you apply.

Please ensure when you are asked to add a contact email address you add your college/university email account address as well as your personal address. If you do not add your college address as your contact address we will be unable to identify you as a partner and you will be referred to apply via UCAS, which incurs a cost.

We look forward to receiving your application and you continuing your academic journey with us!

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

  • Major Project and Research Skills
  • Industry Experience and Professional Practice
  • Street Arts
  • New Directions in Theatre
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 77%, Practical exams 23%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 75%, Placement/study abroad 7%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 18%


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. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. 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.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Nicola Shaw
Programme Leader

+44 (0)1204 903317

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

+44 (0)1204 903903


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