Drama graduates develop a very wide range of skills and qualities during their degree that are highly regarded by employers from many sectors. The performance element of the course particularly develops communication, team working and confidence, whilst other course modules develop time management, critical and analytical skills.
Many drama graduates use their communication skills in:
Teaching, primary or secondary
Marketing and Sales
A few go into an acting career straight away but as this is so competitive the majority wishing to get into this area need to extend their experience part-time, possibly voluntarily, while earning money in a clerical or sales role.
Opportunities exist in:
Community arts facilitation
Drama can be used in work with disadvantaged groups, mental health and personal development, so employers may include youth services, probation service and management training consultancies.
Chloe Gunning, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 2007
Chloe graduated in 2007 with a BA in Drama and Theatre Arts and currently works for Heart FM as a Radio Producer.
“My drama degree helped my levels of confidence, and taught me how to work well with others. It also involved audio - which I focused on in the second year. The degree was the sort of all-encompassing course - you had to be really dedicated to do well - the same goes for working in a competitive industry like radio! While at university I gained work experience at BRMB and had my own show on Burn FM. Since leaving I continued to do work experience, landing a great placement at Heart. I was then offered freelance work, and worked there as well as at BBC Radio 1 and Kiss 100.
I now work as a producer on Heart Breakfast and Emma Bunton's shows. I love the variety and creativity of what I do. I have worked with some amazing people and had the opportunity to do some very exciting things - from broadcasting live from Disneyland, watching intimate sessions with Michael Buble and Robbie Williams, to producing fun, creative shows with the best presenters and biggest celebrities!”
Katie Day, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 2001
Katie graduated with a BA in Drama and Theatre Arts in 2001. She is now the Artistic Director of The Other Way Works, a theatre company that she co-founded in 2001.
“I co-founded my theatre company The Other Way Works with a handful of University of Birmingham graduates in the summer after graduation. I undertook further study in 2002/3 - an MA in Directing for devised theatre at Central School of Speech & Drama, London. Following this I moved back to Birmingham and have lived here ever since, building the theatre company from nothing into a successful small-scale touring operation, presenting experimental theatre performances. Running my own company means that I can make the work that I want to make, in the way that I want to make it. It makes me happy to be able put artistic integrity before profit when coming up with ideas for new performances.”
Rosie Walsh, BA English Literature and Drama and Theatre Arts, 2001
Rosie graduated with a BA (Joint honours) English Literature and Drama and Theatre Arts and she is now a self-employed novelist and TV documentary producer.
“One of the most positive aspects of my drama degree was the atmosphere in the department. It really was like being in a family - a slightly mad, noisy family, admittedly, but a family all the same. Being thrown together to do the kind of work we did in that department created a wonderful sense of camaraderie and I am still very good friends with a lot of my chums both in my academic year and those above and below me. The tutors were very much part of it too; they were the antithesis of the remote academic hiding behind his lectern. They were right in the thick of it with us and I think we all benefitted from that.
After my degree I started working for a major west end theatre producer but after a couple of years felt that I needed to do something a little more creative. That's when I decided to try television. I had to start again from the beginning - which was, briefly, rather galling - but once I'd done my stint running around after people I soon began to progress and got my break as a director after six years of hard work. The writing was added to the equation only recently but I'd always felt that writing was my strongest skill while studying at Birmingham and it's an area where my tutors were particularly encouraging.”