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BA Drama and Theatre Arts

Start date
September
Duration
3 years
UCAS code
W440
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee.
Fees for 2021/22:
£9,250 (UK)
£19,740 (International)
More detail.

With our own theatre and links to professional practitioners in Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, London and beyond, our Drama and Theatre Arts programme at Birmingham combines theory and practice.

Whether your interest lies in Elizabethan drama, live art, British playwrights or theatre for young audiences, you will have the opportunity to experience a variety of drama and theatre before specialising in your favourite areas. During your time at the University of Birmingham, we will help you develop into a confident researcher and performer, and to build a diverse and attractive professional profile. You will work alongside our staff, many of whom continue to practise in the creative industries, collaborating with professional artists from large-scale operas to site-specific performances in caravans and igloos! There are also opportunities for student placements with the BBC Drama Village, which is based at our Selly Oak campus.

COVID-19

Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

My favourite module for Drama would be Theatre Practice because it's more practical and we do a lot of exercises. Some of the exercises can be as random as getting a piece of paper, crumpling it up, and then trying to replicate that with our bodies, trying to really focus on how our muscles work and feeling it in our limbs.

Kathryn

Why Study this Course?

  • Discover local theatre – Birmingham is the perfect place to study Drama. It has one of the highest concentrations of live theatre in the country, and 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).
  • Opportunities to get involved – The Guild of Students (Birmingham’s students’ union) has many different drama and theatre-related societies. These include a musical theatre group; Footnotes Comedy for those interested in stand-up; Article 19 (who stage innovative productions of classical drama); Three Bugs Fringe Theatre (dedicated to alternative theatre, and who take performances to Edinburgh each year); a Live Art Society and more.
  • Outstanding employability opportunities – Recent graduates have gone on to work for the BBC, Royal Shakespeare Company and Birmingham Hippodrome, while others have forged successful careers as freelance theatre makers and producers. 94% of our graduates enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).
  • At a world-renowned department – You’ll be studying at a Drama department ranked fourth in the Complete University Guide 2019 and in the Top 100 for Performing Arts (QS World University Subject Rankings 2019). 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

Visit our FAQs

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Landmarks in Theatre and Performance
  • Performance: Theory, Practice and Critique
  • Studio Practice
  • Theatre and Performance Practice
  • Preparing Performance 
  • Engaging Performance
  • Theatre Crafts

Detailed descriptions of year 1 compulsory modules

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Theatre Lab: Devising Lab and Approaches to Text 
  • Theatre Praxis: Texts in Rehearsal 
  • Drama Study Options
  • Drama Practical Option
  • Theatre Crafts

Detailed descriptions of year 2 compulsory modules

Year abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year then you will be invited to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year. Find out more.

Final year

Compulsory modules

  • Drama Extended Essay
  • Drama Practical Project
  • Drama Study Options
  • Drama Practical Options or Production Module 

Detailed descriptions of final year compulsory modules

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2021, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £19,740

Eligibility for fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.


Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB–ABB
Required subjects and grades:
Satisfactory performance at an audition or, if not resident in the UK, on a visual recording - see below for more details.
General Studies:
Not accepted.

IB Diploma:
6,6,5 to 6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus A at A-level.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level.

Please note: we will only accept BTEC qualifications in Performing Arts, Performing Arts (Acting), Performing Arts (Dance) and Performing Arts (Musical Theatre).

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

Drama Admission Workshop: 

If you are successful in your application, you will be asked to attend a Drama Admission Workshop. These workshops take place on our Offer-holder Visit Days, when you will also be able to meet academic staff and students in the Department and familiarise yourself with our teaching and practice spaces.

Your offer will be conditional on your satisfactory participation in the Drama Admission Workshop, as well as achieving the grade requirements set out in your official offer confirmation. If your performance is particularly strong during your Drama Admission Workshop then you could receive a one-grade reduction, meaning that your offer becomes ABB, instead of AAB, or equivalent.

We appreciate visitng campus for the Drama Admission Workshop might not be feasible for those domiciled outside of the UK, therefore it is possible to submit a video recording of a monologue and a short performance analysis instead.

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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

The text itself evades meaning. One of the things that is fascinating about Godot is that it is a text that seems to fall apart as the play is produced, as the play is performed.

Dr David Pattie

Studying Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham, we challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner (qualities highly sought after by employers), and will enable you to develop into a creative and flexible researcher and performer. 

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. In third year, you will have the opportunity to perform in one of these productions, including a full-time rehearsal period, working under a professional director and a week-long public performance.

Professional directors for the productions over the years have included Tom Mansfield, Jane Moriarty and Peter Lesley Wild, as well as local theatre company Little Earthquake.

You will enjoy a diverse learning experience, including lectures, small group tutorials, independent study and peer group learning (such as delivering presentations with your classmates).

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

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 advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Wellbeing Officers –You will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to 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.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Contact hours

Although contact hours vary significantly from week to week depending on the modules that you are studying, you can expect an average of 12 hours of taught contact time per week in each year of your degree. This may include lectures, seminars, performance workshops, supervisions of practical and written work, and intensive periods of technical production support or rehearsal. Outside of these times staff are also available for individual meetings and informal supervisions.

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.

 

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Year three

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

94% of our BA Drama and Theatre Arts students enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).

You will develop fantastic skills for your future career, such as presentation delivery, confidence, communication and teamwork. These are timeless skills which are useful for a wide variety of careers, not solely restricted to theatrical vocations. 

As well as working as theatre practitioners, our graduates can be found in roles as diverse as:

  • Journalist
  • Corporate fundraiser
  • Copywriter
  • Healthcare professional
  • Marketing manager
  • Teacher
  • Publisher
  • Account manager
  • Technician
  • Drama therapist
  • Videographer
  • Lawyer

Our graduates have gone on to work for well-known employers such as the NHS, RSC, The Ministry of Justice, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham Royal Ballet, McCann PR, Bloomsbury Publishing Group and Birmingham REP Theatre.

Of course, we also have professional actors and theatre practitioners amongst our alumni community, including:

  • Tamsin Greig, 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: comedian, 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: comedian - 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.

Developing your career

There is a range of opportunities through our Careers Network and beyond. For example, 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.

Current partners include Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, and the Library of Birmingham. There are also internships available at the University’s own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

There are regular events each year covering careers in teaching, events management, working with charities and more, to help you meet potential employers and learn more about a range of sectors.

There are also summer internship opportunities and work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts.

Our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project run by one of our researchers in drama and theatre. You gain work experience over the summer after your first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.

Our employer-endorsed Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

There are also a huge number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, our students’ union, which cover a wide variety of interests across drama and the arts.

With more than 300 societies and groups at The Guild, there is something for everyone.If your interest does not yet have a group, then The Guild will support you to set it up and find likeminded individuals to join you.

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Services and facilities