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

Develop the acting and performance skills you need to realise your full potential as an actor on screen and on the stage.

Work on a wide variety of projects and learn from tutors who are experienced industry professionals.

From core elements of voice, movement and acting technique to advanced skills in dialect, audition and professional practice, studying acting at Unitec will give you all the tools you need to establish and maintain a career as a professional actor. 

360 (3.0 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
Full-time for three years

Programme overview

The Acting training at Unitec is a learning opportunity that is unique in Aotearoa. We are proud of the multidisciplinary environment and range of performing and screen arts training options on our campus. This learning community provides many rich opportunities to work closely with students from other fields of study and to grow skills in a range of forms, media and environments.  

We work in an environment that is framed in Mātauranga Maori and the values our Te Noho Kotahitanga partnership evoke. The whanaungatanga we embrace with other disciplines is woven throughout the school via shared noho marae and other whanau events. Maori performing arts training is integrated into our learning. Partnering with Māori practitioners (writers, directors, etc ) strengthens this foundation for  staff and students in our mahi. We are very fortunate to have the beautiful Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae and Maia centre onsite at Unitec to provide us valued support in our practice.

Within the acting training at Unitec you will work with our highly regarded permanent and guest tutors to refine your core skills in performance, voice, movement training, acting technique and professional practice.  You will have many opportunities to practice your developing craft on a wide range of live and screen performance projects. Our facilities provide theatre and film studio spaces and the accompanying equipment to provide authentic learning experiences.

You will learn practical skills for the industry you are preparing to enter and have a multitude of opportunities to connect with industry based specialists and engage with Auckland’s rich live performance and screen sectors.

Within a rapidly changing environment actors need the flexibility to work in many spaces, styles and forms. Collaboration and the capacity to ride the waves of change are key to building a sustainable career. The Unitec Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts programme is well placed to provide you with essential skills to be a versatile and inventive actor, performer, creator, artist and collaborator.


  • Numerous opportunities for live and screen performance.
  • A vibrant multidisciplinary environment that includes dance, screen arts, production design and management, design and arts.
  • A collaborative model: you will work closely with directing and writing, film and television, and performance technology students.
  • Close links with industry. Our tutors continue to work in the industry and therefore retain currency and have relevant knowledge and experience and contacts. No other acting training course in Aotearoa has the same access to and proximity to Auckland’s vibrant and rapidly expanding screen sector.
  • 30 years training experience with a rich history of successful graduates , many of who are now influencers and leaders in the industry.
  • Every year we have the privilege to work with many guest specialists and directors, who run masterclasses, workshops and lead projects as directors, coaches, mentors and creators.
  • Strong international connections.
  • Pathway to Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Practice or Master of Creative Practice.

Program Structure 

Year One is structured around building a foundation with a focus on core skills in voice, movement, singing and acting technique for screen and stage through work with core tutors and variety of guest specialists. You will develop your acting practice in scene work and collaborate with film students on a studio shoot. An introduction of Mātauranga Maori and introduction to Maori performing arts will support your practice. Year one is about discovering who you are as an actor and beginning to think about the world you are preparing yourself for a career in.

Year Two consolidates technique with your first opportunities for public facing performances. You will deepen your knowledge and skills in acting, voice and movement work and collaborate on several screen and live performance projects.  You will also be introduced to the workings of the industry and begin to develop your understanding of how to operate as a professional actor. Year two is the time you begin to develop focussed abilities including accent and audition. You will also have the opportunity to develop other creative practices such as writing, devising  and directing your own and others work.

Year Three puts all learning into practice with master classes for stage and screen, live performances, short films, devised works, web series and more. Year three is the time that students really hone their skills as makers and collaborators and engage with concentrated opportunities for industry training and professional practice. You will be armed with a range of skills, industry practices and relationships that will set you up to transition from your training to the world of possibilities beyond. 


Each year we have a large number of applicants for the 24 places offered in Year One. 

Find out more about upcoming auditions and interviews

If you're not sure that you're ready to audition for this highly competitive programme yet, please look at the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) - Screen Arts, Acting and Technical Production, which is a semester-long (full-time) programme designed to help upskill students who are interested in progressing to the degree.

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

1. 42 credits at NCEA Level 3 or higher including:

  • 14 credits in two different approved subjects; and
  • 14 credits from up to two subjects (approved or non-approved)

2. 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Maori (4 in reading, 4 in writing)
3. 14 credits in NCEA Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau
4. Interviews, submissions and/or auditions will be required - we'll notify you of what is required
5. Complete a medical declaration form
6. If English is your second language, you will need one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years

Don't have NCEA? We also accept:

  • A relevant qualification at Level 3 on the NZQF or above or an equivalent qualification; or
  • Provide sufficient evidence to be eligible for special or discretionary admission.

For more information download the programme regulations (PDF, 727KB)

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses, please click on the course names below. Please note that our systems are updating with new course timetable information for 2024; please check back again soon.

Courses Credits Aim
Acting Studio 1A (PASA5211) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to work collaboratively with those involved in the creative process of screen and theatre. The course focuses on collaboration and establishing the disciplines and methodologies for actor training in a hands on environment.
Acting Studio 1B (PASA5214) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to employ fundamental acting theories, concepts and techniques in practicebased settings The course focuses on developing professional self-management approaches for through experiential exploration of the creative process practice as well as developing the student?s ability to identify personal areas of their own creative development.
Acting Techniques 1A (PASA5215) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to gain an understanding of fundamental theories, concepts and techniques of acting for theatre and screen. The course focuses on building capability for the actors instrument in voice and movement.
Acting Techniques 1B (PASA5218) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to acquire a wide range of basic skills, knowledge and practices for acting and to identify personal areas of creative development. The focus of this course is to enable students to continue to develop their capability in voice and movement.
Professional Development 1 (PASA5902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to the basic professional practices associated with the performing and screen arts industries and their own professional development. This course focuses on building capability for students in self-management, communication and presentation, as well as academic literacies such as text analysis and academic writing.
Contextual Studies 1 (PASA5903) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will develop a broad understanding of the history, contexts, language and relevant theoretical frameworks of performing arts and screen arts. Students will acquire skills in critical and analytical literacy through engaging in research and project work focused on performing and screen arts practices in Aotearoa and beyond.
History of Theatre (PASA5911) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to examine and reflect upon the historical development of theatre languages and theories in an interactive multi-disciplinary learning environment. This course focuses on placing selected movements and developments of production and performance in the context of the student?s specialist discipline. There is a focus on experiencing professional art making in the community through field trips and site visits.
Courses Credits Aim
Acting Studio 2A (PASA6211) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to apply a variety of theoretical, individual and collaborative techniques, in a range of production contexts. The course focuses on the creative relationships that develop in the making of work and the collaborative role of the actor within the process of making performance.
Acting Studio 2B (PASA6212) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to locate contemporary theatre theory and practice in an historical, social and political context and creatively employ appropriate technique. The course focuses on exploring acting theories as both a process and an outcome, as well as professional and creative techniques and approaches for performance.
Acting Techniques 2A (PASA6215) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to increase understanding of specialised acting theories, concepts and techniques. The course focuses on the further development of specialist skills and the evolution of a personal methodology that will give expression to individual creative development and practice.
Acting Techniques 2B (PASA6216) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to extend specific acting skills, knowledge and practices needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions. The course focuses on the further development of specialist skills and the application of individual creative development and practice.
Professional Development 2 (PASA6902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to utilise a range of concepts and skills, including business and professional practices, that will enhance their ability to operate independently in the creative industries.
Contextual Studies 2 (PASA6903) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students examine the relationship between authors and audiences in Aotearoa and beyond within the context of performing and screen arts history and culture. Students will investigate different modes of practice and conventions of representation and interpretation commonly associated with performing and screen arts.
Courses Credits Aim
Acting Studio 3A (PASA7213) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to examine local and global perspectives and issues influencing the continuing evolution of contemporary theatre and performance and develop the ability to apply critical judgement to creative decisions. This course employs a noho marae to allow students to evaluate and develop responses to cultural/political perspectives as an emergent creative arts practitioner.
Acting Studio 3B (PASA7214) 45 credits (0.375 EFTS) To enable students to employ acting theory and technique in specialised creative situations while consolidating the ability to participate in complex work. This course focuses on enabling students to consolidate range of advanced specialist theories, concepts and techniques in a variety of practical settings to demonstrate how these concepts contribute to their personal voice as a creative artist/practitioner.
Acting Techniques 3 (PASA7215) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to establish a critical understanding of advanced acting skills, knowledge and practices while developing the ability to critically evaluate their own work and that of others. This course focusses on the intergration of techniques into all acting work.
Professional Development 3 (PASA7902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to transition into the industry by acquiring advanced professional development skills. This course focuses on setting personal and professional goals for academic and professional achievement as well as the business and management practices associated with the performing and screen arts profession.
Courses Credits Aim
Skills in Screen Directing 2A (PASA6253) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to specialised theories, concepts and techniques for directing. This course focuses on enabling students to practically engage with skills in directing for screen media.
Skills in Screen Directing 2B (PASA6254) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for screen directing needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions.
Negotiated Creative Project 1 (PASA6605) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to engage practically in a theatre and/or screen production project in a negotiated role using a variety of individual and collaborative approaches. This course provides a practical environment for students to engage in collaborative creative projects from their own specialist perspective.

Unitec is part of Te Pūkenga

On 1 October 2022 Unitec became part of Te Pūkenga. Find out more about Te Pūkenga and what this means for you.