New courses at WCA  

Long famous as an art college, Wimbledon College of Arts – part of University Arts London – is diversifying. From next year if will offer two new courses: BA (Hons) Acting & Performance and BA (Hons) Contemporary Theatre and Performance and the current college site is being upgraded and developed site to accommodate this work. Susan Elkin paid a visit.

The new courses are part of our plan to become an ‘integrated performance’ environment” says spokesperson John Wallace. “At WCA we’ve been involved in theatre, set and costume design and making for so long that this seems like a logical step forward.”

WCA is currently enrolling for its new courses for a 2019/2020 intake. There are no audition fees or conventional auditions although, of course there is a selection procedure.

The acting and performance degree is designed for students whose primary interest is in acting, and who want to develop their practice in “a critically and creatively challenging performance environment.” The declared aim is to equip students to become successful performers able to meet the rapidly changing demands of contemporary practice. Teaching is to include performance labs and workshops, training in physical, vocal and movement skills along with practical production projects.

The BA in Contemporary Theatre and Performance is broadly similar, but with an emphasis on developing multi-skilled, effective theatre-makers and creative entrepreneurs who work together to form creative companies and establish innovative forms of performance.

So how is the college going to achieve all this if it doesn’t select people with appropriate potential by auditioning them?

“We shall invite applicants to take part in ‘experiential interviewing’ events and activities” says Wallace. “The idea is to help them to feel at ease and therefore better placed to showcase their skills. It also means that course selectors can observe candidates doing real ‘work’, rather than talking about it and that prospective students will get first-hand knowledge of what theses courses will entail and a taste of the College’s approach to learning.”

The courses claim to break new ground and to be different from other vocational courses on offer for aspirant actors and other creatives. Simon Betts, Dean of Performance Arts and Foundations Studies at WCA said, “These courses offer a radical new approach to performer training, integrating physical and vocal practices with digital technologies in an exciting and stimulating integrated performance environment, in which performers explore and experiment alongside directors, designers and technicians.”

And David Crow, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College, promises: “We will provide our students with opportunities to work alongside some of the most talented professionals at work in the UK’s performing arts industry. At Wimbledon, we believe that performance is more than a craft: it’s a way of connecting with others, of approaching challenges, and engaging our communities in the big issues of the day.”

WCA is one of six colleges which form the world renowned collegiate University of Arts London. The others are Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communications and London College of Fashion. UAL is ranked sixth in the world for Art and Design in the 2018 QS World University Rankings.

WCA is running an Acting and Performance Design Open Day at the college on 29 November and recommends that anyone who is interested in applying for either of its new courses should attend. You can book a place here: