Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Acting for Screen and Theatre)

Programme summary  Career opportunities  Courses & timetables  Admission requirements

7, 360 3.0
Full-time for three years
Starts February
24 places
Applications by 20 September, with auditions in early October
Mt Albert campus
Semester dates for 2014:
Semester 1: 24 February - 27 June; Semester 2: 21 July - 21 November

Applications for this programme are now closed for 2014

NZ$8586 (Approximate fee only, find out more about the costs of study)

International fees

Programme summary

Want to become an actor? Develop your acting, voice and movement skills, and become familiar with acting techniques for theatre and film, and the history of drama. Perform in front of a real audience at Unitec's Theatre and other venues.

Are you passionate about acting? Develop the acting and performance skills you need to realise your full potential as an actor on screen and on the stage. Increase your awareness of voice, posture, fitness, co-ordination, spatial awareness and use of breath in relation to acting. Work on a variety of film and stage projects, and learn to express the emotional and intellectual states of a character through classical and contemporary acting techniques.

You'll benefit from staff who are experienced industry professionals, committed to developing actor training techniques. They have extensive research portfolios and maintain strong relationships with the industry.


  • Numerous performance opportunities both on film and in front of an audience at Unitec's theatre and in the community.
  • Visits from international guest tutors, such as screen acting coach Jerimiah Comey, who has decades of experience teaching in Los Angeles.
  • A model of the real entertainment industry: you work closely with directing and writing, film and television, and performance technology students.
  • Close links with industry: we're active members of SPADA (Screen Production and Development Association), WIFT (Women in Film and Television), Playmarket, New Zealand Writers Guild, Entertainment Technology NZ and New Zealand Film and Video Technicians' Guild.
  • Strong ties with South Pacific Pictures, the Auckland Theatre Company, Silo Theatre and Downstage Theatre, where students have gained practical experience before graduating. In 2011, our actors worked with the Auckland Theatre Company in Mary Stuart.
  • Strong international connections.

The unique nature of each student is celebrated through an intensive training programme built on bravery, risk, humour, respect, teamwork and innovation. You'll be nurtured and challenged to reach your potential through four interdependent core units:

Acting technique

In Year One, explore both traditional and contemporary acting techniques, from Stanislavski to Mike Alfreds, Mask Training to Improvisation. These techniques will be actively investigated, extended and tested through public and workshop performances in your second year. In Year Three, you'll prepare for the realities of this competitive industry through research and professionally modelled performance work, both on and off campus.


Develop a free, clear, rich and fully embodied voice that fully informs the text. You'll work regularly with classical and contemporary texts to connect thought, word and voice. In Year Two, you'll focus on accent and dialect, vocal character and the art of oratory. Year Three will explore the actor's voice at work, extending your vocal range and flexibility, and building a strong, intelligent professional practice.


You'll focus on the fundamentals of effective body and mind integration by addressing posture, body alignment, fitness, co-ordination, spatial awareness, use of breath and body knowledge in relation to acting. You will develop techniques on how physicality can express and reveal character, intention, emotion and psychology.

Theatre and screen studies and critical practices

Explore the historical development of drama, from its origins in ritual and religion to the age of digital communication. Examine the anatomy of drama, with emphasis on the historical evolution of dramaturgy, actor's training, the use of space, set and costume design, technology, relationship with the audience, directing and theories of drama, and the dialogue between western and eastern theatre traditions. Alongside your future industry peers, you'll explore in-depth theoretical and critical thought, integrating theory and professional practice in an exciting cross-discipline environment.


Around 150 people apply each year for the 24 places offered in Year One. First round auditions are held throughout New Zealand in early October. You'll be given clear information at the time of your application about what to learn and how to prepare. From these first-round auditions a group of applicants is selected for second round auditions. These are held in Auckland over a weekend in late October. From this two-day workshop the final selection of trainee actors is made for the following year.

Please note: If you're not sure that you're ready to audition for this highly competitive programme yet, please look at the Certificate in Communication and Media Arts, which is a semester-long programme designed to help upskill students who are interested in progressing to the degree.


Last edited: 10 September 2013