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Everything you need to know about studying Performing Arts

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Published: 12 September 2017

For anyone who has a passion for performing, a degree in Performing Arts can be your path to a fulfilling and hugely engaging career. Here at the University of Sunderland, our Performing Arts department has a proud history of delivering quality degrees that are an immersive, enlightening and interactive experience for students.

Rachel Emms-Hobbins, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for Performing Arts

Rachel Emms-Hobbins, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for Performing Arts

Rachel Emms-Hobbins and Sarah Riach are both lecturers with vast experience in the industry. They are also members of the department's team who have produced ‘internationally excellent’ research in Performing Arts, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF). Both are ideally suited, then, to tell you everything that’s worth knowing about studying Performing Arts at Sunderland.

You’ll get the chance to showcase your skills before you get here

As part of your application, you will perform a minute-long audition in your chosen field. This is a great opportunity for you to show off your strengths to staff and other students and also acts as an informal open day where you can mingle and get to know the University better. “We do it very different to other universities,” says Sarah. “It’s a nice applicant day where we have current and past students on hand to give you a little tour of the facilities. We are always told how relaxed we make students feel and how much of a community environment we have here.”

You don’t have to study only one Performing Arts discipline

Here at Sunderland, you will be allowed to explore any of our disciplines depending on your interests, thanks to our flexible modules. This means you can choose to study any combination of Performing Arts disciplines. “You can study dance, drama and music or you can pick and choose from all three based on your interests,” Sarah adds. “You could choose drama with a bit of music, or dance with a bit of drama. We do a lot of popular performance, cabaret and musical theatre, which combines all three disciplines.”

Once you’re here, you’ll be a part of a warm community

The Performing Arts department is a tight-knit community, and students and staff share close working relationships. Students and staff often keep in touch even after graduation and will continue to provide support even after you’ve left the University. “We work very closely with our students, so we get to know them personally and about what they like and how they work,” says Rachel. “Often a lot of our graduates come back and tell us what they’re doing and see the work we’re doing. We feel like we are a community and we support each other.”

You will have the chance to gain experience in the industry

During your time here you will be able to go on work placements, gaining real-life experience and expanding your contacts. Thanks to our department’s excellent local and national connections, you will be able to complete a placement in an area that you’re passionate about. Sarah continues: “What’s great about the placement scheme that we offer is that they can choose something that is based on what their interests are. Currently, a lot of our students are out getting real-life experience in schools, with community groups, with charities and with professional arts companies.”