Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Otago’s first Performing Arts Degree available from next year

The Clocktowers clock

Wednesday 16 October 2013 2:26pm

The University of Otago is launching a new and exciting Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA) degree for students whose career aspirations involve music, theatre and dance.

BPA_Promo Credit: Graham Warman

The three-year degree will be available for the first time at Otago from next year (2014). It is a collaboration between the Theatre, Music and Dance programmes at Otago, and is designed to give students the opportunity to study and train in the different performing arts as part of the same qualification.

Programme Co-ordinator Dr Suzanne Little from Theatre Studies says the degree is being introduced in response to demand from students.
“Students have been telling us that this degree is what they want; to be able to continue to study the performing arts they began at school to a higher level,” she says.

“We often see students who are extremely talented in at least two areas of music, theatre or dance. This degree enables them to study and train at university level in all these areas. It is unusual in New Zealand to be able to offer this in a single specialist degree.”

Dr Little says the degree course will draw on the experience of Otago’s highly skilled staff in each of the three existing programme areas, and its administrative home will be the Department of Music.

Students will utilise performance areas in Allen Hall for theatre, Marama Hall for music performance, and dance studios on campus.
“We would love to see 15 or more students undertaking this degree next year, and we think it is going to be a very popular option for new students in the future.

It’s great to now be able to offer specialisations in all of these performance areas within one degree,” says Dr Little.

“As well as the emphasis on “doing” thorough performance, students will gain a theoretical knowledge and understanding of the various art forms, plus generic skills that will make graduates more versatile and increase their employment prospects in education-related and, arts and non-arts related vocations.”

She adds that students taking this degree course will be guided to develop their knowledge and skills in areas such as acting, dance, directing, music performance (singing or instrumental), composition, song-writing, bicultural theatre and the foundations of Theatre, Music and Dance theory and history.

University of Otago Executant Lecturer in Contemporary Music Dr Ian Chapman says he is “very excited” about this degree.

“Had it existed in the days of my own undergraduate study, the new BPA degree at Otago is exactly the degree I would have taken. Always passionate about interdisciplinary performance and never solely a music specialist, I would have relished the opportunity to study music, theatre and dance concurrently and to significant depth, such as Otago is now offering under the BPA,” he says.

“In my experience, students with this kind of interdisciplinary mind-set are some of the most open and innovative people you could meet. I look forward immensely to working with our first intake of students in this very exciting degree programme.”

Entry will be open to anyone with a University Entrance qualification. However, students wishing to take performance music papers as part of this degree will need to audition.

School careers advisors, performing arts teachers, members of the local performing arts community, and University staff have been invited to the launch at Allen Hall tomorrow (Thursday) to celebrate the event. This will include performances from current music, theatre and dance students.

For further information, contact:

Dr Suzanne Little
Theatre Studies
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 479 8896

Dr Ian Chapman
Department of Music
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 379 5012

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

Electronic addresses (including email accounts, instant messaging services, or telephone accounts) published on this page are for the sole purpose of contact with the individuals concerned, in their capacity as officers, employees or students of the University of Otago, or their respective organisation. Publication of any such electronic address is not to be taken as consent to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages by the address holder.