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UCP BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen

BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen

The Open University

course overview

This acting degree is a practice-based course, equipping you with the interdisciplinary skillset required by a contemporary performer.

Through core ‘Performance Skills’ and ‘Academic, Professional, Research and Employability Skills’ pathways, you will develop the foundations necessary to the autonomous, public-facing, and industry-engaged assessments later in the course.

You will also be introduced to a range of performance-making disciplines, including:

• Naturalistic Scripted Performance
• Directing and Devising
• Performing Shakespeare
• Writing for Performance
• Performance Practice-as-Research
• Physical Theatre and Ensemble Practice

Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to stage at least three full-length productions – some of which will be to a fee-paying audience in a professional theatre setting.

The course is delivered across three sites, each optimised to provide state-of-the-art resources relevant to your modules. This includes a home-from-home at Peterborough’s prestigious The Key Theatre, where you will be welcomed as a resident of the venue.

You will engage with local, national and international industry through our team of research/industry-active expert staff, guest practitioners and a number of industry-focused modules. These will support you as you develop into a versatile, multi-disciplined performer capable of creating your own performance pieces or working with others.

By the end of your final year, you will have completed an industry placement and an independent and in-depth study on a topic of your own choice. You will progress with a robust performance CV and will be ideally placed to forge a career in the performing arts sector – be that on stage, screen or through digital media or through postgraduate study.

The courses at University Centre Peterborough are studied in smaller class sizes compared with other universities; a typical class size is under 30 students.

Download Course Specification

5 GCSE grades C/4 or above, including English, Maths and 88 UCAS points, which should be from a related subject in one of the following:

  • A Levels
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma
  • IB Diploma
  • Access to HE
  • Related work experience
  • Overseas qualifications are judged to be equivalent to the above

Students will also be required to undertake an audition, however our audition process is designed to be a relaxed, two-way experience; a chance for you to get to know the course, as much as it is a chance for us to get to know you.

Students who do not qualify by any of these qualifications may be offered an interview to discuss equivelant qualifications and previous experience.
We accept A Level General Studies and AS levels when combined with other full qualifications.
If English is not your first language, you will require an IELTS score of 6.0 or above or an equivalent English Language qualification.

This is an opportunity for you to showcase your skills, and is particularly beneficial for applicants whose academic qualifications do not fully demonstrate their aptitude or interest. Mature students or students who do not have the above qualifications can contact our admissions team on 01733 214466 or to discuss equivalent qualifications or relevant work experience.


We can accept a wide range of overseas qualifications and use UK NARIC to compare qualifications. For advice about overseas qualification conversion call the Admissions Office on 01733 214466 or email


To find out more about UCAS tariff points and how they work, visit We accept a wide range of qualifications such as A-levels (you must have grades for at least two A-levels), BTEC, Cambridge Technicals, International Baccalaureate (IB), NVQ Level 3, Access to Higher Education and Scottish Advanced Highers. The tariff points for qualifications can be added and combined together (e.g. A-levels plus BTECs). The UCAS points for A-level General Studies, AS-levels and the EQP (Extended Project Qualification) are accepted when combined with other full qualifications.


APCL relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study. If you have previously completed a course which is relevant to your proposed course you should make this clear when you apply. For this to be eligible for consideration you must be able to provide certification, which shows your success in a final assessment for that course. Learning must be completed in the last five years or further evidence of updating will be required. Simple participation in a course or an attendance certificate is not sufficient.


We offer students flexibility in their studies, by recognising learning they may have completed elsewhere before they apply. The Accreditation of Prior Learning process ensures that we can take this into account when determining the modules you must study. It is important that you identify any relevant prior learning when you apply. If your previous study specifically relates to modules on the course you wish to undertake we may approve a reduced programme of study, thus shortening the time it takes to obtain your award. Where this relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study, this is called Prior Certificated Learning, and where learning has been achieved through relevant work or experience, this is referred to as Prior Experiential Learning. Claims must be approved before you commence a course.


It is important to understand that the APEL process does not award academic credit for experience alone, but for learning which can be shown to have been achieved through that experience. Students are required to prepare an individual case for the credit arising from their learning experiences. This normally means that a student receives support in the preparation of a portfolio, which evidences their claimed exemptions for entry. This portfolio of evidence is then submitted for assessment and the possible award of academic credit. Alternative methods of assessment of evidence may be available but needs to be discussed with the Admissions team or Course Leader.

You must take modules worth 120 credits at each level of the course. Each module is worth a specified number of credits.

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)

  • Performance Skills: Acting Technique
  • Performance Skills: Actors Voice
  • Interpreting Live & Recorded Performance
  • Performance Skills: Music, Masks & Play
  • 20th Century Practitioners
  • Performance Skills: Introduction to Screen Acting
  • Directing and Devising
  • Naturalistic Scripted Performance

Year two for full-time students (Level 5)

  • Performance Skills: Developing Screen Acting
  • Performance Skills: Performing Shakespeare
  • Performance Skills: Physical Theatre and Ensemble Practice
  • Writing for Performance
  • Applied Performance and Employability
  • Performance Practice as Research
  • Ensemble Performance

Year three for full-time students (Level 6)

  • Undergraduate Major Project
  • Professional Theatre Performance
  • Contemporary Practice
  • Professional Preparation
  • Contemporary Performance

When studying this course at University Centre Peterborough, we will timetable your lectures as two full days a week over two semesters per year (part-time will be one to two full days a week over two semesters per year).

We are able to offer this convenient timetabling to our students as we are a smaller institution so we can timetable our staff and resources more efficiently.

Over the duration of your course, teaching will be delivered by the following methods:

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)

100% seminar/workshops

Year two for full-time students (Level 5)

100% seminar/workshops

Final year for full-time students (Level 6)

100% seminar/workshops

There are two semesters per year and each semester is up to 15 weeks which includes up to 12 teaching weeks and 3 assessment weeks.

If studying full-time you will be in classes, seminars and tutorials for approximately 15 hours per week and will spend the rest of your time in independent study and extra-curricular activities including work placement if not embedded in your course. We recommend that full-time students allow an additional 30 hours per week for additional study.

The campus is open Monday to Friday throughout the year and you will also have 24/7 access to a virtual learning environment (VLE) with e-books, journals and abstracts plus teaching resources and interactive tools.

Timetables are available at least 6 weeks before registration and you can refer to the academic calendar for examination weeks and resit periods.

The days of the week you study may change each year and in some circumstances one of the full days might have to be split into two half days, but we aim to keep these as full days where possible.

Throughout the duration of your course you will be assessed by the following methods:

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)

Performance 35%
Coursework 40%
Essay 25%

Year two for full-time students (Level 5)

Performance 40%
Coursework 50%
Essay 10%

Final year for full-time students (Level 6)

Performance 15%
Coursework (including placement) 60%
Undergraduate Major Project 25%

We will provide, by the beginning of the first week of each semester, a current module guide with all the information you need for each module, including details of assessment tasks, the deadlines for these tasks, the required format and any relevant guidance.

Formative assessment opportunities are written into all module plans to provide students with on-going feedback. End of semester assessments will have formative opportunities in weeks 9 or 10 of the semester. In addition revision sessions will be held in week 12.

Your final degree classification is calculated as an average of your highest 60 credits at Level 5 and all credits at Level 6.

70%+ First
60-69% 2:1
50-59% 2:2
40-49% Third

Visit our published documents and policies page for The Open University regulations.

In the final year of this course, all students will undertake a one week (35 hour) work placement with an arts organisation to gain industry experience. This placement will be assessed and be used as part of your final degree classification.

As the course is timetabled as full days during the week when studied full-time, this also gives you the flexibility to find a work placement, internship or volunteering opportunity which will improve your employability after you graduate. All students are encouraged to identify work experience in addition to their work placement to aid their career development.

Ben Haslam is the Course Leader for BA(Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen degree at University Centre Peterborough. He has taught Higher Education Vocational Actor training since 2017 and has been in post at University Centre Peterborough since July 2021 where as well as being Course Leader he specialises in Naturalistic Acting Technique, Acting for Camera, Theatre Directing, and Performance Practice as Research.

Prior to teaching Ben gained experience as a professional actor and director working in plays, musical theatre, screen work, and corporate voice over. He still maintains a hand in the industry whenever possible through both performance and academic research.

Ben’s research portfolio includes an exploration of how do Higher Education Institutions inform the perception of what it means to be a ‘professional actor’, which was completed for his MA, and how Active Analysis can be used in the rehearsal studio to encourage individual decision making and creativity, whilst challenging student’s preconceived notions as to the purposes of education and training, which he presented at the S Word Academic Conference (Stanislavski: Director, Trainer, Pedagogue), in Athens. 

His next research project intends to focus upon Stanislavski’s System through the lens of Disability as he seeks to explore how century old acting practices and techniques can be approached in an accessible and inclusive way and how representation within both the professional industry and training institutions can be reassessed and improved.

Education MA – with proficiency in SEN (University of Exeter)
Postgraduate Certificate in Education – PGCE (Lancaster University)
Acting BA(Hons) (Lancaster University / Blackpool School of Arts)

Just some of the future careers for graduates after completing the course include:

Performer for theatre, TV and/or film
Writer or Director for theatre, TV and/or film
Musician, Poet or Comedian
Theatre Technician (including design and management)
Arts Administrator
Community Arts Practitioner
Entertainment or Artists’ Agent


Full-time: 3 years (2 full days a week over two semesters per year)

Part-time: 4 years (1-2 full days a week over two semesters per year)

The tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 will be £8,250 per year, which is lower compared with many other universities. Fees for part-time study are pro-rata depending on the number of credits you are studying(i.e. 90 credits per year will be 75% of the tuition fee). There may be additional costs for this course which are not covered by the tuition fee.

In this prospectus we will give you clear and accurate information so you can make the best choice for a successful future

Download Prospectus
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