Undergraduate Course

BA World Performance

BA World Performance


The details
World Performance
October 2024
3 years
Southend Campus

BA World Performance is a unique, creative and challenging course that offers an intense training in western and non-western acting techniques, performance and devising skills, and the advanced study of global theatre traditions. You will develop the tools required to become both a performer and theatre maker, able to work in many fields, anywhere in the world.

Throughout the course, you study a variety of acting styles, voice, movement, dance-drama, clowning, masks, storytelling, world music, singing and a range of global performance techniques. You devise, create and perform projects reflecting the range of influences and styles encountered during your studies, while simultaneously developing skills in media, writing and directing. There is also an opportunity to study overseas, allowing the chance to fully immerse yourself in the performance culture of another country.

This course is taught at our vibrant and modern Southend Campus. With its lively, state-of-the-art facilities and close-knit international community, Southend is the perfect environment for living and learning.

View more undergraduate courses from East 15 Acting School, including further Actor training programs as well as behind the scenes courses in Creative Producing and Stage & Production Management.

Why we're great.
  • Practical skills in global performance techniques.
  • Visiting international practitioners.
  • Opportunities for study overseas.

Our expert staff

Our training is by professionals and for professionals, allowing our graduates to work successfully across the globe.

Our international, outstanding teaching faculty is made up of professionals from all areas of live and recorded performance.

Learn more about our staff here.

Specialist facilities

Our Southend Campus is based in the heart of Southend-on-Sea. A vibrant and modern British seaside town with excellent transport links.

Famous for its beach resort and pier, Southend-on-Sea stretches along seven miles of award-winning coastline. There are also over 650 acres of parks and gardens, a fun park, leisure centres, pubs, clubs, cafés and restaurants.

Southend Central railway station is opposite our Campus and the journey to central London takes less than an hour. Southend Airport, with flights to many European and UK destinations is just three miles away. We are also just one hour away from London's Stansted Airport.

Our Gateway Building houses a purpose-built suite specifically for East 15 students. This includes fully equipped, state-of-the art rehearsal studios with panoramic views across Southend-on-Sea, plus seminar rooms, computer labs and media production resources including an Apple Mac edit suite for our BA Creative Producing (Theatre & Short Film) students.

A magnificent Victorian former church in the heart of Southend's conservation area was converted into East 15's Clifftown Theatre. It also houses a variety of unique spaces for rehearsals, technical and practical work and performances. The church nave, with its original organ and stained glass windows now provides an inspirational and atmospheric environment, re-designed to accommodate the needs of a twenty-first century performance space.

In ‘The Forum' building, students have round the clock, secure access to the Learning Hub, which provides innovative IT and study spaces. The Forum also houses an integrated public and academic library, carrying books and other support materials. Students in Southend also have access to the East 15 Loughton Campus library and the University's Colchester Campus library.

Outside of learning, the Students' Union at our Southend Campus provides a dedicated space for students to meet, have a coffee, relax and watch films or sport. It runs a wide variety of entertainment throughout the term, such as international nights and open mic nights.

Your future

Graduating students will be equipped not only as actors and performers, but will also possess the skills to develop careers as directors, facilitators, producers and researchers. They also hold a particular 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

    Applicants will need to be successful in an interview. Applicants should also have, or expect to have:

  • A-levels: DD/EEE, or 48 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels.
  • BTEC: MP, or 48 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels.
  • Combined qualifications on the UCAS tariff: 48 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core
  • IB: two Higher Level certificates with 33
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications.
  • 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.

    Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please contact our Undergraduate Admissions team at ugquery@essex.ac.uk to request the entry requirements for this country.

    English language requirements

    If you do not require a student visa to study in the UK then we will assess your English language proficiency/ability at your interview or audition.

    English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

    Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

    If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

    English language shelf-life

    Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

    If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

    Pre-sessional English courses

    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.

    Pending English language qualifications

    You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

    If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

    Additional Notes

    If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College


Course structure

We offer dynamic and unique courses for actors, directors, producers, 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.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained


Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.


Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms


Theatre History in a Global Context

This module provides students with a grounding in the development of theatre and performance throughout the world, and approaches to studying and analysing theatre movements and events in their specific social, political and cultural contexts. It includes a survey of the development of theatre and performance from pre-literate oral cultures to the present day, as well as an introduction to historiography and key theories and methodologies related to the study of performance. The module also develops research, reading, writing, time-management and organisation skills. It introduces the use of relevant IT and Library resources and provides specific learning on study skills including the form and use of citations (references), footnotes and bibliographies. The module will also provide guidance on avoiding plagiarism and other academic offences.

View Theatre History in a Global Context on our Module Directory


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


World Theatre Studies

This module introduces students to a wide range of theatre forms from around the world and equips the students with all the skills necessary to document, research, recreate and probe the cultural context of these diverse theatre traditions In addition to approaching topics in intercultural theatre and the study of world theatre in general, this module equips students at the outset of the degree with essential techniques and knowledge which they will be able to draw on and develop further in the final two years of study.

View World Theatre Studies 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


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


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 second year BA World Performance core module delivers an overview of the historical relationship of storytelling to contemporary performance, a study of two or three storytelling performance forms and study of the relationship of the storyteller to character and audience. The module also develops students' understanding of narrative and the transmission of stories through theatrical presentation. In addition, students will develop writing and devising skills, culminating in a collaborative devised presentation and a scriptwriting project

View Storytelling 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


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


Intercultural Performance Project

Students work with professional directors to create a production using specific intercultural techniques acquired over the previous two years. Students work with professional directors to create a production using specific intercultural techniques acquired over the previous two years.

View Intercultural Performance Project 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:

  • A physical training focused on the core skills required for engaging with world performance techniques as well as key academic tasks of assimilating and recording information and original research
  • Discovering the role of music in world performance, allowing you to engage from the outset with a range of cultural influences, experiment with your own performance interests and abilities, and broaden your knowledge of different cultural contexts of performance
  • Gaining an understating of Western performance practices and techniques alongside and in relation to performance traditions from elsewhere in the world, preparing you for the more intensive, multicultural performance training you will experience in Year 2
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 intensively with visiting practitioners in a non-Western or intercultural performance form to produce and perform a major theatre piece
  • Increase competence and confidence as an independent practice-based researcher, in western and non-western forms
Year 3

Your final 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.

You will continue to broaden your perception as a performance artist, able to connect the learned techniques and approaches to your own practical experience and future professional career.

Through research, and supported by teachings in organisational and entrepreneurial skills, you will develop a professional practice connected to a global perception of the theatre and performance industry in the UK and abroad. This project helps you to develop your own unique professional and artistic vision and prepares you for professional life after you graduate.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

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

International fee

£20,500 per year

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

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.

2024 Open Days (Southend Campus)

  • Wednesday 21 August 2024 - Southend Clearing Open Day
  • Saturday 12 October 2024 - Southend Open Day


Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

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 an 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. Please see our website for more information about preparing for auditions.

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.

Students giving each other a piggy back on the beach

Visit Southend Campus

Want to live in a central city location, with state-of-the-art facilities at your finger tips? Southend is the perfect environment for living and learning in a close-knit international community.

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

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

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.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Ask us a question
Ask us a question

Want to quiz us about your course? Got a question that just needs answering? Get in touch with us on live chat!