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Bachelor of Performing Arts (Acting)

The Bachelor of Performing Arts (Acting) is Aotearoa’s most prestigious actor training course. Running over three years, this intensive degree programme is designed to train a Responsive Actor – an actor who has the courage, skill and flexibility to meet any opportunity as they build a career in our ever-changing arts landscape. As an actor in training at Toi Whakaari, you will work across screen and live performance in class, studio and full productions. You will work solo, in an ensemble and in collaboration with other training artists across other disciplines in the kura.


"I am grateful to have trained in the craft of performance in Acting for stage and screen at Toi Whakaari. What I value most from my training, was building authentic and robust relationships with my Kaiako, my teachers, based on their encouragement, support of and trust in my creative potential. Training at Toi helped me to be more responsive, and better at adapting to change."

Ana Scotney, Graduate 2016

Course Information

Toi Whakaari’s actor training is built around the concept of Tūrangawaewae – developing your unique place to stand as an actor and artist.

Tūranga, the first year,  focusses on you. During the year you will build a strong set of foundation skills. You will work with leading professionals and teachers in concentrated blocks to develop your voice, body and imagination in both screen and live performance. In the second half of the year you will work on a classic text for theatrical performance and you will create your own solo piece which you will perform to live audiences.

Raranga, the second year, challenges you to weave your individual skills within the ensemble and take part in collaborative projects. You will also develop screen audition skills and be part of three major live and screen productions. You will also participate in masterclasses that will challenge you and extend your acting craft in exciting ways.

Waewae, the third year,  is about growing your independence and connecting you to the industry. You will be part of Toi Film, a live performance production, industry workshops, audition workshops, and self-tape practice. You will also develop and showcase your own work inside and outside the school.

School year

Feb - Nov


3 years

NZQA Accreditation

Level 7

Domestic fees

For 2024 NZ$7,821 per year

International fees

For 2024 NZ$26,315 per year

Application Process

***Applications for entry in 2025 will open on Friday 24 MAY 2024*** Entry into the course is by application and audition. You'll need to submit the online application form and answer the Personal Statement questions below, you'll also need to send us some documents (see the application form for details). All applicants will attend an initial three-hour audition workshop led by Toi Whakaari acting tutors and graduates. This is an active workshop where you will be on the floor working and learning. There is a cost for the initial audition workshop ($45), if cost is an issue please contact us for options. Workshops will take place in Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch. The link to book the Audition workshops will be available in June. Audition scripts will also be available in June (you can see the 2023 scripts via the button below as an example). If you are successful and move to the next phase of the audition process, you will be invited to attend the Applicants’ Weekend (1 & 2 November). Held at Toi Whakaari in Wellington, this two-day intensive series of workshops will enable you to work with all the acting tutors at Toi Whakaari in a wide range of environments including screen and live performance.

Personal Statement Info:

Your Personal Statement should answer the following questions:

  • Why are you applying for this course?
  • Describe two or three of your most significant achievements, explain why you believe they are significant, and what did you discover about yourself from these achievements?
  • List up to five other interesting skills/experiences that you have (e.g. play guitar, sing in a band, black-belt in Taekwondo, speak another language, run your own business etc.). Please just list these – no extra information is required.

You should aim for around 150-200 words for each of questions 1 & 2, be succinct! You can type your answers in the form or send us the link to a video (please note: ALL overseas applicants doing online auditions MUST submit video personal statements).

2023 Audition Workshop Scripts

Career Pathways

Graduates of Toi Whakaari’s acting programme can be found in prominent positions throughout the entertainment industry in New Zealand and around the world. Today, our acting graduates can be found working as professional actors, producers, writers, teachers, directors, creative content producers and in many other roles across many different sectors. Gaining transferable skills is a key outcome of the actor training programme at Toi Whakaari. This focus pays huge dividends for our students.

“I reference my training at Toi constantly. The Acting course gave me confidence, technique, and stamina that have served me on every set and in every rehearsal or audition room I have walked into.”

Brooke Williams, Graduate 2006

- Spartacus,
- 12 Monkeys,
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,
- Graduate 2006

“The most significant taonga I received from my time at Toi Whakaari were the relationships forged with my peers, my tutors, the alumni and the wider performing arts community. The people I met here are a big reason why I’m still in the game and loving it. Mauri ora!”

Matariki Whatarau, Graduate 2009

- Modern Māori Quartet

“Toi Whakaari is a whare-tāpere. It’s a place that nurtures you through challenges, helps you grow through the work and asks you to go to those places that we all hide away from. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it is for the courageous.”

Te Kohe Tuhaka, Graduate 2004

– Deadlands, Mahana