BA Drama and Theatre Arts

Studying the practical, theoretical and technical aspects of theatre in combination offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore and understand its relevance, considerations and practicalities.

Our Department of Drama and Theatre Arts is a leader in the integrated academic and practical study of drama, performance and theatre arts. This BA programme will give you an excellent grounding in all areas of performance theory and theatre making.

The programme is designed to enable you to specialise in those aspects that you are most interested in, from critical research in seminars and dissertations, to the creation of new performance in a professional context. Through this, we will help you develop into a confident researcher and performer and to build a diverse and attractive professional profile. Your development will be supported by our close links with theatres and professional practitioners in Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, London and beyond.

Charlotte Wallis

Charlotte Wallis

“I knew I wanted a career in drama/theatre, but I wasn’t sure which avenue to go down. I chose Birmingham because the course is so flexible – such a wide variety of modules and lecturers with different specialisms. You can adapt the course to suit your interests, with incredible opportunities for work experience and jobs along the way. The relatively small year groups mean your friends become your family! The campus also has great exclusive facilities and the city has a vibrant arts and music scene!”

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.

Open day talk


The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

First year

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

Second year

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
  • Monologue
  • Acting
  • Collaborative Strategies: Documentary
  • Mask into Text
  • Writing for Performance

Detailed second year BA Drama and Theatre Arts undergraduate modules

Third year

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
  • Adaptation
  • 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:

  • Playwriting
  • Performance Project
  • Contemporary Practice
  • Directing
  • Applied Theatre
  • Site Specific
  • Production Module
  • Theatre Crafts 3

Detailed final year BA Drama and Theatre Arts undergraduate modules

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply
Learn more about fees and funding 

Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
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.

Additional information:

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. 

International students:

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

Apply through UCAS at

Learn more about applying.

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.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates


You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • Academic Skills Centre - the centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.


You will develop fantastic skills for your future career, such as presentation delivery, confidence, communication and teamwork.

Drama and Theatre Arts graduates from Birmingham have a higher than average rate of employability for the subject and we are ranked in the Top Ten universities nationally for graduate employability. 90% of our Drama graduates go into work or study within six months of graduation, with 75% in a professional or managerial job. Our graduates start careers with employers, include:

  • The BBC
  • The RSC
  • The National Theatre
  • Birmingham Hippodrome
  • The Royal Court Theatre

Roles include theatre choreographer, drama teacher, performing arts tutor and TV production assistant director.

The Department also has a long-established relationship with the BBC and Heartbreak Productions which has led to work experience placements for our students.

Famous University of Birmingham alumni include:

  • Tamsin Greigg, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1998: Olivier-winning actor
  • Matthew Goode, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1999: actor in British and American film and TV including The Imitation Game, WatchmenDownton Abbey and The Good Wife
  • Phyllida Lloyd, BA English and Drama, 1979: Director of plays, opera and film including Mamma Mia! on stage and screen and the recent film The Iron Lady.
  • Victoria Wood, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1974: comedien, actor, singer-songwriter, screenwriter and director.
  • Ben Shephard, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1997: television presenter currently working for Sky Sports and ITV.
  • Stuart Blackburn, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1987: Current Series Producer of Emmerdale at ITV.
  • Pippa Evans, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 2004: comedien - arrived on the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008 and nominated for Best Newcomer.
  • Patsy Ferran, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 2011: stage actor, including playing Jim in the 2014 National Theatre production of Treasure Island and Portia in the 2015 Royal Shakespeare production of The Merchant of Venice

However, working directly in the arts is not your only option. Recent graduates have also gone into marketing, events organisation, teaching and writing.

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Student Experience Officers

Our Student Experience Officers will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.