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, currently ranked 2nd in the Complete University Guide 2018 and 5th in the Guardian University Guide 2018 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. 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.

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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.

Drama at Birmingham received an overall student satisfaction rating of 97% in the National Student Survey 2017. 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 50th anniversary in 2015. We currently rank 2nd in the Complete University Guide 2018 and 5th in the Guardian University Guide 2018 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. 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. To learn more about the city of Birmingham visit our Discover Birmingham page. 
  • 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 the 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

Explore the Selly Oak Campus

Unfortunately, due to teaching and productions, we are unable to show visitors around the Drama Department outside of Open Days. If you cannot make it to an Open Day please view our interactive virtual tour of some of the facilities we have at the Selly Oak Campus.


Please note: 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 2018. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

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 Widening Horizons Module.

  • The Dramatic Medium
  • Theatre Crafts 1
  • Theatre Practice
  • Performance: Theory, Practice and Critique
  • Widening Horizons Module

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 two core modules which cover devising (Theatre Lab) and texts in rehearsal (Theatre Praxis). For your other three modules you will choose two Study Options and one Practical Intensive and then take either Theatre Crafts 2 or a Widening Horizons Module.

Detailed second year BA Drama and Theatre Arts undergraduate 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.

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.

Detailed final year BA Drama and Theatre Arts undergraduate modules

Fees and funding

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2018, 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 2018/19 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £16,320

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas 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 home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as overseas 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.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
If taken, A level Drama and Theatre Arts grade B or above.
General Studies:
Not accepted.

Additional information:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts will normally be considered only when combined with an A Level qualification. A level subjects within the arts/humanities area are preferred.

  • BTEC Diploma in Performing Arts will normally be considered only when combined with an A Level qualification. A level subjects within the arts/humanities area are preferred.

  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Performing Arts will normally be considered only when combined with 2 A Level qualifications. A level subjects within the arts/humanities area are preferred

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 Applicant 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. Please note that your offer will be conditional on your satisfactory participation in one of our Drama Admission Workshops, as well as achieving the grade requirements set out in your official offer confirmation. If you are domiciled outside of the UK, you will be required to demonstrate a satisfactory standard of practice and understanding of performance by providing a video recording of a monologue and short piece of writing. A choice of monologues and further details about the written piece will be provided to overseas applicants once your application has been received. 

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 - 6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

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.

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.

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 advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Welfare tutors - We have dedicated welfare tutors 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 talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • 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.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

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.


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

95% of Drama and Theatre Arts students enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2016). Our graduates start careers with employers including:

  • 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 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.

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.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.