This programme is a unique course which combines practical training with the critical study of historical and contemporary theatre and performance. Over the three years, there is an even balance between practical and theoretical work and the Department emphasises the interrelation of the two within individual modules.
The programme is very flexible. After a foundational first year, you will be able to choose from a wide range of modules reflecting the diverse interests and strengths of the Department. You will also have the opportunity, in your first and second years, to take a module from outside your main discipline, with a wide range of modules on offer from across the University.
Theoretical modules cover topics ranging from the consideration of the political context of theatre to the role of the director, whilst practical modules cover areas such as acting, directing, devising and playwriting. You will also learn every aspect of stage production, with the chance to work on one of the Department’s large-scale productions every year. In the third year, you can perform in one of these productions, enjoying an intensive, full-time rehearsal period under a professional director culminating in a series of public performances.
Why study this course
- Well-respected department - The Department of Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham is one of the most respected and established of its kind, having celebrated our fiftieth anniversary in 2015. We currently rank 1st overall in the Guardian University League Table for Drama. Study here and you will have the privilege of learning from professional practitioners and academics at the forefront of research internationally, from ancient Greek drama and Shakespeare to new writing and contemporary performance.
- RSC collaboration - Students will benefit from our exciting five-year collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) which will see the reinstatement of the iconic studio theatre, The Other Place. Our students will be able to access creative and teaching spaces at The Other Place, as well as the expertise of RSC artists and practitioners; they will also have the opportunity to attend RSC productions and events.
- Excellent facilities - Drama is located on the picturesque Selly Oak campus which offers extensive facilities, including: a large number of studio spaces; the Orchard Learning Resources Centre with its own well-stocked library and computer suites; and our own purpose-built theatre and high-definition cinema facility in the George Cadbury Hall. We also share a site with the BBC Drama village which offers exciting placement opportunities.
- Local theatre - Birmingham is an ideal place to study Drama as it has one of the highest concentrations of live theatre in the country. It is home to many theatres ranging from the Birmingham Hippodrome and the Birmingham Rep to the mac (Midlands Arts Centre) and the Old Joint Stock (which is a pub and a theatre), as well as being within a convenient distance of Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick.
- Guild Drama Societies -The Guild of Students has seven different drama and theatre student societies including: Article 19 (innovative productions of ‘classical’ theatre); Footnotes (comedy); Three Bugs Fringe Theatre; Watch This (original and experimental plays); and Guild Musical Theatre Group. You will have many opportunities to be involved in performing, writing, directing and technical support in productions performed in the Guild, in the local area and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Hear from our students
Open day talk
Please be aware that the following information is intended to provide prospective students with an indicative guide of the modules offered by the School. However, our research is constantly exploring new areas and directions of study, therefore some modules may be dropped and new ones offered in their place.
In your first year, you will be given a foundation in the core study and practical aspects of the programme, which will form the basis of your studies throughout the rest of your degree. Your study will cover the fundamental aspects of analysing theatre in an academic context and you will be given a strong grounding in rehearsal and performance techniques, as well as being introduced to all areas of theatre design and technology. You will also take a Module Outside Main Discipline.
- The Dramatic Medium
- Theatre Crafts
- Theatre Practice
- Performance: Theory, Practice and Critique
- Module outside the main discipline (MOMD)
Detailed first year BA Drama and Theatre Arts undergraduate modules
Here you will build on the foundation work of the first year and also have opportunities to develop a wide range of practical specialisms and undertake study options. Practical modules are taught by core staff and visiting professional practitioners. Study modules are taught by academic staff who are researching and publishing in that particular field of inquiry. You will take three core modules which cover devising (Theatre Lab), texts in rehearsal (Theatre Praxis) and the study of theatre in its social and political context (The Politics of Performance). For your other three modules you will choose one Study Option and one Practical Intensive, and then take either Theatre Crafts 2 or a Module Outside Main Discipline.
Study Options will include modules such as:
- The Dark Comedy
- Popular Performance
- Modern Drama: Ibsen to Pinter
- Tragic Acts
- Shakespeare on Screen
Practical Options will include modules such as:
- Collaborative Strategies: Immersive
- Collaborative Strategies: Documentary
- Mask into Text
- Writing for Performance
Detailed second year BA Drama and Theatre Arts undergraduate modules
In your third year the one compulsory module is either an extended essay in drama or a practical project in drama, both involving independent research. Your research and practice are supported by workshops, as well as one-to-one supervision meetings with your appointed supervisor.
For your other modules you select from a menu of practical and study options. As one of your major practical options, you can choose to take part in one of a series of public performances. These productions are directed by experienced members of staff or visiting professional directors and are supported by our full-time production staff and theatre crafts students. They can range from contemporary or historical texts, to devised, site-specific pieces, and theatre in education productions.
Final year Study Options will include modules such as:
- The Creative Industries
- The Director and Directing
- Live Art
- Art of the Actor
- Russian Theatre
- Performing Hamlet
- Playwright’s Theatre
- Theatres in Film
- Political Performances
- Alexander Technique
- Victorian Drama
- Performing Classic Comedy
- Theatre and Social Crisis
Final year Practical Options will include modules such as:
- Performance Project
- Contemporary Practice
- Applied Theatre
- Site Specific
- Production Module
- Theatre Crafts 3
Detailed final year BA Drama and Theatre Arts undergraduate modules
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAB–ABB
Required subjects and grades: A level Drama or Theatre Studies is desirable but not essential. If taken, it will be requested at grade B.
General Studies: not accepted
International baccalaureate update
Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements
Audition: If you are successful in your application, you will be asked to attend an audition, on a day when you can also meet academic staff and students in the department and familiarise yourselves with our teaching and practice spaces. Those domiciled outside of the UK will be required to demonstrate a satisfactory standard of performance evidenced by a visual recording, for example a DVD, that you will need to send to the Admissions Tutor. A choice of monologues for this performance will be provided to overseas applicants once your application has been received.
We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
How to apply
Joint Honours combinations
You can study Drama as part of a Joint Honours degree with English - within this programme you can specialise either in English Literature or English Language.
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