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infosheetBPA-226pxAll the world's a stage

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Why study the Bachelor of Performing Arts?

Otago’s Bachelor of Performing Arts is a unique degree that is the result of a distinctive, exciting collaboration between the university’s programmes in Theatre, Music and Dance. It gives students a rare opportunity to study more than one performing art form – music, theatre and dance – within a single university degree.

Students will be guided to develop their knowledge and skills in areas such as acting, dance, directing, devising, music performance (singing or instrument), composition, song-writing, technical production and the theoretical and historical foundations of Theatre, Music and Dance.

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

The Bachelor of Performing Arts at Otago

The Bachelor of Performing Arts degree 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 academystyle 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 Bachelor of Performing Arts degree 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, theatre and dance papers, but there is sufficient room in the degree to choose five papers in other subjects and disciplines. In the future it will be possible to use these five papers to create an entire minor in another subject within the degree. The BPA is a flexible degree allowing different study pathways and multiple specialisations.

See detailed information about the Bachelor of Performing Arts papers.

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Auditions are required for singing and/or playing an instrument

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.

In music, you must choose one or more areas of specialisation, including singing, playing a musical instrument and/or composing/ song-writing. If you choose the singing and/or playing an instrument option/s, then you must audition for entry. These papers are MUSI 140 and MUSI 141 (classical), MUSI 146 (contemporary) and PERF 102 1A and PERF 102 1B (musical theatre).

Auditions for these 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 being due on September 1st for entry the following year.

For further information on the deadlines for auditions and the audition process and the audition application forms please visit the Music, Theatre and Performing Arts website at

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 song-writing 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.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the degree will be able to 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