by Belinda Breeze

The only academy of its kind in the MENA region, Sharjah Performing Arts Academy (SPAA) is dedicated to world-leading education and training, where the spirit of artistic exploration flourishes, making it a haven for those who dare to dream beyond the conventional boundaries of more traditional career paths.

Located within Sharjah’s University City, SPAA aims to provide a nurturing environment for aspiring talents across a spectrum of disciplines including dance, drama, music, and production. Performers and technicians alike hone their craft while receiving globally recognised qualifications, paving the way for a successful future on and off the world stage.


Exploring the Magic of Musical Theatre There are several undergraduate programmes available at SPAA, all of which provide a dynamic blend of theoretical knowledge, practical training, and real-world experiences, preparing students for the challenges and opportunities within the performing arts industry.

The BA Musical Theatre Programme, for instance, is a full-time, four-year Musical Theatre degree that offers students intensive and thorough training in the key disciplines of acting, singing, and dance, incorporating practical learning with an individual focus and multiple performance opportunities.

Combining world-class facilities and curriculums, SPAA offers a wealth of knowledge and experience, delivered by a faculty comprising of industry professionals. Their experience merges the Western lens of Broadway and the West End with the exciting developmental elements of theatre in the Middle East and internationally.

Script to Stage: The Art of Acting and Storytelling

The BA Acting Programme is dedicated to producing credible, professional actors who are at the forefront of the region’s theatre revolution, while also having the opportunity to establish themselves as international contenders in film, television, voice acting, or even emerging platforms in digital media.

Bringing together an intense, imaginative and collaborative learning environment, students are exposed to a wide variety of industry-leading training techniques, genres and styles, with the four-year, full-time Acting Degree also including training in directing, writing, dramaturgy and producing.

Students engage in intensive acting workshops, scene study classes, and rehearsals, honing their craft under the guidance of experienced faculty and industry professionals. These programmes provide numerous performance opportunities, allowing students to apply their skills in front of live audiences, fostering confidence and stage presence.

Behind the Curtain:

Craft and Creativity in Backstage Roles Training in the art of production equips individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to orchestrate and manage all aspects of creating a performance, film, or multimedia production.

This specialised training is vital for those aspiring to become producers, production managers, or professionals involved in the behind-the-scenes aspects of the entertainment industry. The BA Production Arts programme at SPAA is training tomorrow’s theatre and event professionals, with students delving into areas such as project management, budgeting, logistics, technical aspects of production, and industry regulations. Courses may also include studies in script analysis, design principles, and collaboration techniques to provide a well-rounded understanding of the production process.

With a combination of theoretical knowledge, practical experience, technological proficiency, and collaborative skills, those trained in production arts are well-prepared to contribute to the success of diverse and impactful creative projects.Harmony in Motion

Professional dance training is a rigorous and specialised education designed to prepare individuals for careers in a professional dance company, choreography or dance education. At SPAA, the Level 6 Diploma in Professional Dance is a comprehensive, diverse, and industry reactive programme that involves a holistic approach encompassing technical proficiency, artistic expression, and physical endurance.

Technical training focuses on Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, and Commercial dance as the core disciplines to create strong, versatile, diverse dance artists, with supporting skills in Pilates and aerial to underpin the core disciplines whilst broadening performance and employment opportunities within the wider dance industry. The UAE is a rapidly evolving market for the arts and dance is at the forefront of this development, with SPAA students strategically placed to capitalise on this, helping to shape the dance industry in the UAE, the wider MENA region and beyond.


The Culmination of Artistic Exploration and Expression

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Theatre and Live Performance Creation at SPAA is typically pursued by individuals seeking to deepen their artistic expertise, refine their creative skills, and engage in a more focused exploration of their chosen artistic discipline. Students can tailor their experience to concentrate on Set and Costume Design, Directing, and Producing, while at the same time encouraging experimentation, risk-taking, and the development of a personal artistic voice.

The MFA is meticulously designed to meet national accreditation and international benchmarks, offering a unique blend of academic rigour and hands-on studio-based practice. Over six intensive terms spanning two academic years, students immerse themselves in a dynamic curriculum that fosters the development of a substantial portfolio and invaluable industry experience.

Overall, earning an MFA is not only about acquiring technical proficiency but also about developing a deeper understanding of the cultural, historical, and theoretical aspects of one’s chosen art form. Graduates of MFA programmes are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to pursue careers as professional artists, educators, or contributors to the broader cultural landscape.


Crafting Creativity Earning a BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) qualification in Performing Arts is a practical and vocational pathway for individuals seeking a hands-on approach to developing skills in various aspects of the performing arts industry. BTEC is a widely recognised qualification that offers a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the performing arts.

BTEC International Level 2 in Performing Arts at SPAA offers students aged 14 – 19 the knowledge, understanding and skills that they need to prepare for a career or continue in further education.

The programme is designed to prepare students for a career in the performing arts by focusing on both the artistic and business aspects of the industry. Students may explore topics such as performance techniques, choreography, script analysis, and stagecraft, along with gaining insights into the management and marketing side of the performing arts world.

Arabic Acting Diplomas and Traditional Storytelling Earning a Diploma in Acting (Arabic) offers a unique and culturally rich journey for individuals aspiring to pursue a career in the performing arts within the Arab world. This specialized diploma programme combines the fundamental principles of acting with an emphasis on Arabic language, culture, and traditions, providing students with a distinctive and immersive learning experience.

Overall, earning an Acting Diploma in Arabic serves as a bridge between artistic expression and cultural heritage, preparing individuals to contribute meaningfully to the vibrant world of Arabic-language theatre, film, and television. It offers a pathway for aspiring actors to embark on a fulfilling career that celebrates both their artistic talent and the richness of Arab performing arts.

Spotlight on Success:

Navigating Careers in the Performing Arts Industry Working in the performing arts is inherently enjoyable due to the unique blend of creativity, expression, and collaboration that characterises the industry. It provides a platform for individuals to showcase their talents, whether in acting, dancing, singing, or other artistic disciplines, allowing for a deeply fulfilling outlet for self-expression. The thrill of live performances, the immediacy of audience reactions, and the transformative power of storytelling contribute to the joy that comes with a career in the performing arts. And there’s no better place in the Middle East to begin this journey than at Sharjah Performing Arts Academy!