BA Drama and Theatre Arts

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Whether you want to be working on the stage, behind the scenes or analysing the political and performance context of theatre, our Drama and Theatre Arts programme gives you an excellent grounding. The degree covers all the key practical and theoretical dimensions of theatre work, and we will train you to be a confident researcher and performer, with fantastic career prospects in the theatre and related professions. You will learn every aspect of stage production, with the chance to take part each year in a season of plays closely tied to your academic and practical work. These plays are directed by members of the Department or guest directors from the professional theatre, staged in the newly refurbished George Cadbury Hall on our Selly Oak campus, and supported by our expert production staff. Students from all three years are involved in the productions by sharing responsibility for the lighting, sound, costume, stage management or as peformers in the third year.

We currently rank 1st overall in the Guardian University League Table for Drama. When you graduate from here you could go on to join our growing list of famous alumni, pursuing outstanding careers in many fields. Our Drama graduates enjoy a higher than average rate of employability for the subject, with 90% going into work or study within six months of graduation and 75% of those going into professional or managerial roles. The professions they enter include acting, stage management and technologies, theatre direction, production, playwriting and choreography, arts management and administration,TV production, events management and teaching at every level.

Course fact file

UCAS code: W440

Duration: 3 years

Places Available: 54

Applications in 2013: 461

Typical Offer: AAB–ABB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September


Admissions Tutor: Dr Vicky Angelaki

Admissions and Recruitment Co-ordinator: Sophia Robertshaw

Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 414 5511


First year

The Drama and Theatre Arts programme incorporates a variety of modules, many of which integrate theory and practice. 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. To help you through the transition from school to university, the course covers the fundamental aspects of the study and practice of drama. You will work on various aspects of the study of theatre and performance and be encouraged to develop your skills in performance and textual analysis and essay writing. You will also be introduced to the major library and electronic resources relevant to university-level study.

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.

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.

Why study this course

The Department of Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham is one of the most respected of its kind, consistently rated highly in the UK teaching and research rankings.  We currently rank 1st overall in the Guardian University League Table for Drama. You will find we offer exciting opportunities, first-class facilities and a commitment to excellence in teaching. Study here and you will have the privilege of learning from visiting professional practitioners and academics at the forefront of research internationally, from ancient Greek drama and Shakespeare to new writing and contemporary performance, always with a consideration of theatre in relation to its specific cultural context and audiences.

The research resources available to students include the substantial holdings of the university library which houses the Noël Coward Collection, as well as the collections in the Library of Birmingham, including its world ranking Shakespeare collection. In nearby Stratford, you will also find the University's Shakespeare Institute and the Shakespeare Centre - the latter holding the RSC's archives as well as exceptional holdings in other performance-related material.

At Birmingham, you will benefit from an intellectually challenging and stimulating environment for your undergraduate studies, focused on ensuring you are a fully supported and active learner. Our unique degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development; a balance that is highly sought after by employers in today's intellectual and creative industries. The courses are also very flexible, allowing you to specialise more and more as you progress.

We have a Drama-dedicated site on the Selly Oak campus. It is home to the Drama Building (SOVAC) which has high quality studio and rehearsal spaces. Drama students have easy access to the Orchard Learning and Resources Centre that includes Library and seminar/lecture rooms. There are also plenty of study spaces available. The George Cadbury Hall, our theatre on the Selly Oak campus, is where performances for the course are staged, with adaptable performance space and professional standard facilities. This campus is close to student accommodation in Selly Oak. 

The BBC Drama Village, where Doctors is filmed, is located on the same site as our Department and provides excellent opportunities for to work closely with the BBC. We are currently in discussions with the Royal Shakespeare Company about an exciting new collaboration that will bring a range of benefits to students starting in 2015.

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).  

The Guild (our Students' Union) has seven different drama and theatre student societies including Article 19 theatre (who stage innovative productions of 'classical' drama), Comedy Footnotes (for those interested in stand up comedy), Guild Musical Theatre Group, Infinity Stage Company (who are charity based and get involved in volunteer work), Three Bugs Fringe Group (dedicated to alternative theatre and take performances to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and Watch This (who produce original and experimental plays). 

Open day talk

Dr Adam Ledger delivers the June 2013 undergraduate open day talk.

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: 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

Additional information:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 34–36 points 

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.

Learning and teaching

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.

Practical classes and workshops form a large part of the programme and are essential for helping you to gain skills in performance and devising techniques. They involve input from tutors and project-based small-group work, culminating in performances or fulfilling production tasks.

Theatre crafts classes also give you valuable technical skills in theatre production.

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.



Admissions Tutor: Dr Vicky Angelaki

Admissions and Recruitment Co-ordinator: Sophia Robertshaw

Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 414 5511

Related staff


[Video above - Dr Adam Ledger discusses careers and employability during the Drama and Theatre Arts open day presentation]

As a student of Drama and Theatre Arts you will develop your confidence and fantastic skills for your future career, such as presentation, communication and teamwork skills. Many students who study this course are interested in careers in the arts sector and here at the University of Birmingham we have great links with local arts organisations, as well as producing a broad programme of our own performances each year.

Drama and Theatre Arts graduates from Birmingham have a higher than average rate for employability for the subject, and we’re 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 including the BBC, the RSC, The National Theatre, The Birmingham Hippodrome and The Royal Court Theatre, in roles such as theatre choreographer, drama teacher, performing arts tutor and TV production assistant director. But working directly in the arts isn’t your only option; recent graduates have also gone into marketing, events organisation, teaching and writing.

Famous University of Birmingham alumni include:

  • 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: comedienne, actress, 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: comedienne - arrived on the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008 and nominated for Best Newcomer

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. This is a unique careers guidance service tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. This includes individual careers advice and events to give you insight into the professions and employers of interest to arts graduates. The Department also has a long-established relationship with the BBC which has led to work experience placements being offered to our students, and we’re developing links with local arts organisations to provide more amazing opportunities.

We encourage all our students to apply their skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer; the work experience bursary scheme enables students to apply for funding for those career areas where placements are often unpaid. You can also apply for our ‘Global Challenge’ scheme to work overseas on an expenses paid placement during your summer vacation at organisations such as the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.


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.


Admissions Tutor: Dr Vicky Angelaki

Admissions and Recruitment Co-ordinator: Sophia Robertshaw

Telephone enquiries: +44 (0)121 414 5511