Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL Design for Dance Project by BA Theatre Design student Verity Johnson. Pic: Lucy Algar

Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL Design for Dance by BA Theatre Design student Verity Johnson. Pic: Lucy Algar

University of the Arts London has unveiled ambitious plans to become the leading international performance institution – by announcing a major expansion of performance at Wimbledon College of Arts.

UAL already has a well-established reputation in performance. And by 2019, UAL will institute a total performance school at its Wimbledon College of Arts to meet increasing demand. This will bring together all the main performance disciplines, enabling students to work in teams to design, perform and manage theatre, performance and other live events to a professional level.

The total performance school will enable the University to be at the cutting edge in:

  • interactive and immersive technologies, including gaming, virtual, augmented and mixed reality
  • the live experience economy, including festivals, live events and major attractions
  • the technical arts, including special effects, sound art and animation

Wimbledon’s total performance school will be built around a core BA and MA offer in acting, technical arts (including lighting, sound, special effects, modelling, animatronics and robotics), events and stage management, production and design for costume, for screen, and for theatre.

Three new courses will be launched to support the college’s expansion almost tripling the number of performance places to 1,100. And the total performance school will be structured into two programme areas – with digital an integral part of all courses:

  • Acting for Theatre and Performance will focus on actor training as an end in itself, and as a route to theatre-making, applied theatre within a social context, directing and writing
  • Design and Technology for Theatre and Performance will develop students who want to be designers of technical immersive environments, theatre technicians and stage managers

The college will equip students to start-up emerging performance companies on graduation contributing to employment and the vision of a world-class cultural district in the area.

UAL is working with key partners in performance, academia, the wider community and industry on the concept of Total Performance.

David Crow, UAL Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon, said

“The total performance school builds on Wimbledon’s rich history of theatre and design since 1932, the college’s global industry partnerships and South London’s wider investment in performance. The intersection between new technologies and performance is an incredibly exciting space and our ambition is to create the right environment to nurture bold, talented, innovative future performers.”

“Acting at Wimbledon will integrate performer training with interactive and immersive technologies, differentiating UAL’s offer from competitor institutions. Wimbledon’s course structures will equip students to start up small theatre and performance companies on graduation.”

This plan is the next stage of UAL’s long-term performance strategy. Alongside plans for Wimbledon, UAL will strengthen the established acting provision at Central Saint Martins, together with the other courses in its Performance Programme including the innovative Performance: Design and Practice courses. At London College of Communication, the newly established Screen School will include specialist provision for screen-based performance. And at London College of Fashion, the pioneering Costume for Performance course will gain added impetus from the planned move of the college to Stratford in 2022, with close collaborations planned in particular with the dance community.

Further Information

Key appointments to deliver our total performance strategy at Wimbledon include Professor Adrian Kear as Programme Development Director, Performance Arts. Professor Kear’s work focuses on contemporary theatre, performance, politics and philosophy. Publications include Theatre and Event: Staging the European Century, International Politics and Performance (with Jenny Edkins), Psychoanalysis and Performance (with Patrick Campbell), and Mourning Diana: Nation, Culture and the Performance of Grief (with Deborah Lyn Steinberg).