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Study Performing Arts at Otago

Studying Performing Arts at Otago gives you a rare opportunity to study more than one performing art form – music, theatre and dance – blended into a single degree.

Throughout the Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), you'll be guided to develop your knowledge and skills in areas such as acting, dance, directing, devising, music performance (singing or instrument), composition, songwriting, technical production, and the theoretical and historical foundations of theatre, music and dance.

Bachelor of Performing Arts students train and perform in a fully equipped theatre, as well as music and dance studios and performance spaces.

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Why study Performing Arts?

The Bachelor of Performing Arts degree (BPA) is tailored for students who have interests and abilities in more than one performing art form.

The degree offers students university-level academic tuition alongside some academy-style vocational training and includes options for a variety of possible study pathways including dance, directing, acting, devising, music performance (singing or instrumental) and composition.

The BPA is a three-year full-time course of study. It is made up of a minimum of 20 papers. Most of these papers are music (MUSI), theatre (THEA), dance (DANC) and performing arts (PERF), but there is sufficient room in the degree to choose five papers in other subjects.

The flexible nature of the degree allows different study pathways and multiple specialisations.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the BPA pursue careers in a wide range of performance forms and styles, as well as in performing arts-related education, media and other related fields. Our programme enables the development of a range of skills.

While the skills and knowledge gained will prove invaluable for those desiring a career in musical/theatrical forms and performing arts education, they are equally useful for many career paths.

Cultural knowledge and skills gained through creative practice and historical and theoretical study are valued, for example, in journalism, advertising, marketing, law, medicine, and many other occupations. You will develop many generic skills employers seek including:

  • teamwork and leadership
  • effective oral and written communication
  • gathering and processing of information
  • analysis, critical evaluation and problem solving
  • organisational skills and time-management
  • lateral and critical thinking
  • creativity
  • self-confidence and self-motivation
  • independent judgement

Performing Arts at Otago

Requirements for other music papers

The first-year composition paper, MUSI 131, requires that beginning students are comfortable in both the reading and writing of music. The songwriting paper, MUSI 135, does not require an audition or other requirements and is open to all students regardless of whether they can read or write music notation.

Requirements for entry into the theatre and dance papers

There are no auditions required for entry into the theatre and dance papers.

Background required

The Bachelor of Performing Arts is a blended specialist degree that contains practice-based training in some key areas for which students must pass an audition to be accepted.

If you choose papers in singing or playing an instrument, you must audition for entry. These papers are MUSI 141 (Performance), MUSI 146 (Contemporary Music Performance), PERF 102 (Musical Theatre Voice) and MUSI 140 (Music Studies – available in any instrument).

Auditions for these performance papers normally take place in Dunedin during the last weekend of September for entry the following year. It is also possible to audition by video, with these due by 1 September for entry the following year. Late applications may be considered.

Further information on the deadlines for auditions, the audition process and audition application forms


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School of Performing Arts

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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