Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full-time
27 September 2021
Location of Study
University of Warwick
Warwick is ranked 3rd in the Complete University Guide 2021 for Drama, Dance and Cinematics. Our Theatre and Performance Studies course has a reputation for nurturing generations of new talent. That’s because you’ll be engaging with, watching and producing theatre from the moment that you arrive here, both on the course and beyond it. Please note this page has been updated (16.06.2020)
Theatre and Performance Studies at Warwick takes pride in its national and international reputation for research and teaching excellence. As a student, you will be taught by world-leading scholars, industry professionals and artists who are as passionate about the power of theatre and performance as you are. You’ll explore how drama, theatre and performance are used to share stories, to laugh, to feel, to understand more deeply, and to change things.
You’ll have the ability to curate your own distinctive degree, on a course that’s designed to empower you. The foundational first-year consists of four core modules which balance theory and practice. The second and third years are defined by optionality with the opportunity to select from a wide range of modules designed by our diverse team of specialist staff.
Our teaching grows out of the cutting-edge research of our staff, with areas of expertise including:
• Applied and community theatres
• Theatre for social change
• Theatre history
• Shakespeare in performance
• Renaissance festivals
• Street arts and performance in public spaces
• Popular, political and avant-garde theatres
• Forms of writing, directing and dramaturgy
• Theatre and national identities
• Contemporary British, Irish, European, and North American theatres
• Theatre in the African context
• Post-colonial and intercultural theatre and performance
• Theatre and representations of mental health
• Performing gender and sexuality
• Performance and cities
• Theatre production in digital environments and film.
You’ll join a Department that fosters a strong sense of community and will work with your peers to continually design, make, discuss and debate theatre and performance. Staff will see, understand and develop you as an individual, helping you to create a pathway through the course to achieve your ambitions.
Beyond the course, you’ll be encouraged to see work and get involved at Warwick Arts Centre, one of the largest multi-artform venues in the UK, and join one of the many award-winning performance-based student societies. We believe that it is the unique combination of our course, with the practical experience in the creation and production of work within student societies, and the professional environment that Warwick Arts Centre has to offer, which makes our graduates so successful. With a diverse range of careers in the creative and cultural sectors and beyond, our extended family of alumni are testimony to the fact that the sky is your limit with a Theatre and Performance Studies degree from Warwick.
The first year of your Theatre and Performance Studies degree consists of four core modules: two that are practice-based and two that are theory-centred. These modules will develop your understanding of the important relationship between theory and practice and will introduce key concepts for a diverse range of performance-making possibilities.
In your second year there’s one core module, and in your final-year you must choose from one of two optional core modules. You can select to do a traditional research project, which ends with the submission of a ten-thousand word written dissertation. Or, you can do a practice-based research project, which will culminate in the public presentation of a piece of practical work.
Beyond these core modules, you’re empowered to tailor your degree to suit you, by selecting whichever optional modules you’d like to take. This means that everyone’s experience of the course is unique. If you thrive in the studio, then you can select more practice-based modules, or if you have a future career path in mind, you can specialise by selecting the modules which best-fit your plans.
You are also able to select optional modules outside of our department, meaning that you don’t have to give up on other areas of interest. We also offer several joint-honours courses with Theatre Studies taught alongside English Literature or a modern language, and you can study Theatre and Performance alongside Global Sustainable Development.
How will I learn?
Our teaching is delivered via studio-based explorations, small-group seminars and interactive lectures, supplemented by theatre visits, field trips, guest lectures and workshops with visiting academics, artists and companies.
Our teaching is research-inspired, striking a balance between providing a broad understanding of the discipline and giving you access to the distinct specialisms of our academic staff.
You’ll be taught by a range of practitioners including:
•Anna Harpin: Co-Artistic Director of Idiot Child theatre company
•Saul Hewish: one of the UK’s leading artists working to create theatre for and with those in the judicial system
•Caroline Griffin: a freelance specialist in audience development and arts marketing Susan Haedicke: a dramaturg who has worked in the UK, Poland and the USA
As you’re encouraged to curate your own path through the degree, contact hours will vary depending on the modules you’ve selected. As a guide, our seminar-based modules normally involve two contact hours per week while modules with a strong practical component are normally four contact hours per week. You’ll also need to allocate time for independent study: rehearsing, doing group work, seeing performances, and preparing assessed work.
In your first year, a typical week may look like this:
Your Toolkit module (3 hours)
- Theatre and Performance in Context Lecture (1.5 hours)
- Theatre and Performance in Context Seminar (1.5 hours)
- Contemporary Performance Practices Studio-Based Workshop (6 hours)
- Performance Analysis Lecture (1.5 Hours)
- Performance Analysis Seminar (1.5 Hours)
- From Text to Performance Studio-Based Workshop (6 hours)
- Independent Study
What makes Theatre and Performance Studies at Warwick particularly special is the ethos and culture of the Department. Each year we aim for a cohort size of around 35 students. This allows each year-group to work as a cohesive ensemble throughout their three years, enabling them to confidently share ideas, debate and experiment. Our boutique nature also means that we have an excellent staff to student ratio, allowing staff to have a close investment in you, your work and your aspirations.
Throughout the degree class sizes will vary depending on the nature of the module and whether students are split into groups. Typically, you’ll be in groups of 10-24 in a class.
How will I be assessed?
During your degree you’ll be assessed through a variety of methods, including practical projects, creative logbooks, portfolios, essays and individual or group presentations. All of our assessments place an emphasis on real-life outputs. For example, you’ll produce a marketing campaign for a piece of theatre for the Audience Development and Marketing module, or you’ll create a piece of theatre and an accompanying workshop for offenders to take into a prison environment for the Community Theatre module. Throughout your degree you’ll receive regular feedback on your work which will be integral to your development.
As part of your degree you have the option to do an intercalated year studying with one of our partner institutions overseas. These partners include the University of Toronto and University of British Columbia in Canada; Monash University in Australia; and a number of Universities in Europe, including in Amsterdam, Helsinki, Lisbon, Ljubljana, and Dublin.
The Study Abroad Team, based in the Office for Global Engagement, offers support for these activities, and the Department’s dedicated Study Abroad Co-ordinator can provide more specific information and assistance.
Employability is embedded in Warwick’s Theatre and Performance Studies degree allowing you to think about your future from an early stage. You’ll encounter performers, directors, playwrights and arts administrators from the industry throughout your degree in seminars and practical workshops. The optional Theatre and the Creative Industries module brings professionals and experts into the classroom on a weekly basis to discuss the principles and practices for areas such as:
- Running an arts venue
- Programming and commissioning work
- Setting up and running your own theatre company
- Making touring arrangements
- Identifying funding opportunities.
A placement or internship is also offered as part of the course. In recent years these have been hosted by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, The Space (Isle of Dogs, London), Rosie Kay Dance Company, Fierce Festival (for live art), Talking Birds (Coventry), Trestle (Mask Theatre, St Albans), Collide Theatre Company (London), Birmingham REP and elsewhere.
Alongside their degree, many of our students gain valuable industry experience at Warwick Arts Centre, working in a wide range of roles including Youth Theatre Leaders, Performance Stewards, or as interns for the Marketing and Programming Teams. Students also regularly produce shows at Warwick Arts Centre as part of their activity in student societies, meaning that they are working in a professional arts venue from the get-go.
General entry requirements
We welcome applications from students taking BTEC qualifications, either alone or in combination with A levels. Our typical BTEC offers are as follows:
- BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate plus 2 A levels: D plus AB
- BTEC Level 3 National Diploma plus 1 A level: DD plus A
- BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: D*DD
Additional requirements: You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
Applicants are typically invited to attend Applicant Days. Applicants not living in the UK will be offered one-to-one Skype discussions in place of this.
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only). For full details of standard offers and conditions visit the IFP website.
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
Applicants are typically invited to attend Applicant Days. Applicants not living in the UK will be offered one-to-one Skype discussions in place of this.
Theatre and Performance in Context
This module introduces key concepts in theatre and performance studies, uncovering what theatre and performance can tell us about our cultures, societies and identities. These understandings are applied to case studies from around the world, which include ‘canonical’ events and alternative practices, both from within theatres and beyond them. The module hones your academic writing, research and presentation skills, which will serve you throughout your degree.
From Text to Performance
Through practical exploration of a number of selected plays and texts, in this module you will investigate the process of taking material from page to stage or performance, and the relationship between theory and practice. You will have the opportunity to experiment practically with realising multiple texts in performance, considering aspects such as staging, genre, narrative structure, performance strategies, dramaturgical thinking and directorial conceptualization, as well as the changing role and function of the audience.
As part of this module you will experience a variety of productions at some of the most significant performance venues in our region, including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Belgrade Theatre, the Birmingham REP and Warwick Arts Centre. You will develop the basic strategies, methodologies and tools of analysis that you need to ‘read’, respond and write about theatre and performance.
Contemporary Performance Practices
In a series of tutor-led workshops, you will be introduced to an array of contemporary performance practices, such as site-specific performance, devising, clowning, performance art, physical theatre, improvisation, and various forms of multimedia performance. You will explore these through the study of a range of leading practitioners and theatre companies, which may include Spymonkey, Jacques Lecoq, Pina Bausch, Frantic Assembly, Mark Ravenhill, Akram Khan and Gob Squad. The module will conclude with presentations of your own devised work influenced by the various approaches investigated during the module.
Part practical and part theoretical, this module works with colleagues from a number of departments across the institution to identify the intersections between Theatre and Performance Studies and other disciplines, including Law, Philosophy, Politics, Global Sustainable Development, Life Sciences and Computer Science. In the first term, these intersections are explored through lectures, seminars and discussion. This is followed by a term of innovative practice-based work which culminates in a practical realisation of a specific issue or enquiry in which performance intersects with a non-arts discipline.
In your final-year you must choose from one of two optional core modules:
On this pathway you’ll carry out independent research into an area of theatre and performance studies that you’re passionate about and will write an extended dissertation on your findings. Throughout the research and writing process you’ll be supported by structured class activities and regular one-to-one supervision meetings with a member of the academic team. To aid the development of your work, you’ll present your research as an academic poster and at a departmental undergraduate conference during the year.
Practice-based Research Project
On this pathway you’ll develop practical work that is grounded in research. This may take a range of forms, including (but not limited to) live theatre, participatory workshops, an installation, a video, a written play, a space or a production’s costume design. You’ll be supported through in-class workshops, supervision meetings, and work-in-progress showings. Your final work will be showcased as part of the Department’s Verge Festival at Warwick Arts Centre, after which you’ll write a critical reflection on your creation process and performance.
Examples of optional modules/options for current students:
- Acting in Character
- Approaches to Theatre History and Historiography
- Contemporary European Theatre
- Mad, Bad Sad: Madness and Cultural Representation
- Performing Gender and Sexuality
- Theatre and National Identities
- Theatre and the Creative Industries
- Theatre in the African Context
- Theatre in the Community
- You, the Performer
- Writing for Theatre and Performance
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement or study abroad will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
We believe there should be no barrier to talent. That's why we are committed to offering a scholarship that makes it easier for gifted, ambitious international learners to pursue their academic interests at one of the UK's most prestigious universities. This new scheme will offer international fee-paying students 250 tuition fee discounts ranging from full fees to awards of £13,000 to £2,000 for the full duration of your Undergraduate degree course.
We’re exceptionally proud of our extended family of alumni and the diverse career paths that they have taken after their degree. Of course, many of our alumni go on to work in the arts, media and creative industries in a wide variety of roles, from actors, producers and playwrights, to directors, theatre managers and casting agents.
Warwick also has a reputation for nurturing some of the most cutting-edge new theatre companies in the UK. In 2015 The Guardian’s Andrew Haydon asked ‘What is it about Warwick?’, as our graduate companies caused a storm at the Edinburgh Festival. Successful graduate theatre companies include Breach, Kill the Beast, Dumbshow, Barrel Organ, Walrus, Fat Git and Fell Swoop. A number of these are reunited annually at Warwick Arts Centre’s Emerge festival, which celebrates the work of our recent alumni.
A degree in Theatre and Performance Studies will equip you with a range of transferable skills, including: advanced literary and communication skills; the ability to present persuasive, coherent written and oral arguments; excellent team working and people skills; problem-solving and project management skills; and confidence in public settings. These are all qualities that are highly valued in the creative industries and in the public and private sectors alike. Our alumni have gone on to work in other sectors such as marketing, journalism, Law, the Civil Service, education, the charity sector and beyond. A degree in Theatre and Performance Studies does not close any doors for your future career.
Recent graduates work within the sector for:
- The National Theatre
- Sadler’s Wells
- Royal Shakespeare Company
- Free Radio
- Royal Court Theatre
- The Globe
- Ambassador Theatre Group
- Sheffield Theatres
Recent graduates work beyond the sector for:
- Michael Page International
- Reed Recruitment
- Marks and Spencer
- Bank of America
- The Metropolitan Police
- English Heritage
- Emma Bridgewater
Alumni from Theatre and Performance Studies are employed in the following roles:
- Senior Producer
- Head of Programme
- Press Manager
- Stage Manager
- Head of Drama
- Applied Theatre Practitioner
- Public Relations Manager
- Publishing Assistant
- Head of Development
- Theatre Publicist
- Theatre Reviewer
Helping you find the right career
Theatre and Performance Studies has a dedicated professionally-qualified Senior Careers Consultant to support you in shaping your career during your time at university. They will be able to offer impartial advice and guidance, as well as running a series of specialised workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples include:
- Discovering Careers in the Creative Industries
- Careers in Radio, Film and Television
- A DIY Guide to Setting Up and Running a Theatre Company
"“The department has such a friendly and supportive network of staff and students who all contribute to a warm and homely working environment. I’ve always enjoyed the modules that I’ve chosen and the flexibility of topics available to study. Every seminar has been fascinating, and our work was guided and encouraged by the enthusiasm of our lecturers”.
BA Theatre and Performance Studies
"The teaching’s fantastic, the lecturers are exceptional in terms of how much they know about the subject, which means you can always go to someone if you feel you have a specific area that you’re interested in and want to develop further."
Theatre and Performance Studies BA
Hi I'm Miles, I'm a second year Theatre and Performance student here at the University of Warwick.
What fascinates you about Theatre Studies?
"I've always really been interested in theatre, but much more the performance side of things? It was only when I reached A level that I saw how important the academic and theoretical side of it was, and having studied here for a while now, it really has opened my eyes just how important theatre is."
Why did you choose to study at Warwick?
"I think what first attracted me to study here at Warwick was not necessarily just the range of stuff that’s taught in the department, but also the range of extracurricular activities going on, in terms of the societies and all the clubs you can get involved with, and it really helped me see how you can get a perfect balance between the academic and recreational side of life."
What modules have you enjoyed?
"The module that has most interested me has been the Theatre in the Community module, which I’ve studied this year. This is a module that culminates in a trip to a prison, where we do a workshop with some inmates, and it really helps us understand how practical methods that we use every day as Theatre students can benefit those who don’t come into contact with Theatre as much. Next year I’ll be able to take part in my own dissertation which can either be practical or theoretical. This is one of the really good things about the department, that you can choose to do a theoretical dissertation or a practical one, which really helps you harness the skills that you’ve honed over the past two years."
How do you find the teaching?
"The teaching’s fantastic, the lecturers are exceptional in terms of how much they know about the subject, which means you can always go to someone if you feel you have a specific area that you’re interested in and want to develop further. There’s a really nice mix between more practical workshops and seminars and lectures, which is really shown in the variety of modules themselves, which I think is a really great way of having to understand Theatre further. They are also more than willing to discuss with you and develop your own idea which I think is a really great way to develop independent learning."
How supported do you feel?
"I feel really supported by the department. There’s both a mentor and tutor system which is initiated in year one, which means you not only have a member of staff as somebody who you can go to if you have any personal issues, but also a student in the year above. Which I think is a really, really useful to have."
What are the facilities like in your department?
"Facilities are absolutely fantastic. We’ve got a number of studios which we can use and access regularly, which have their own fully functioning lighting and sound systems. There’s the opportunity for two studio shows each term, which means that students get to put on their own shows in the Arts Centre which is a fantastic opportunity to have."
What is the value of societies?
"Particularly as a theatre student, the role of societies is incredibly important because it allows you to do your own sort of, recreational exploration of Theatre, as well as the academic side, and it’s also a great way to meet and socialise with people from across all years. The ones I’m particularly involved in are WUDS, which is the Warwick University Drama Society, and ShakeSoc which is a specific society that’s dedicated just to looking at the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, which is a fantastic opportunity to have, especially because we’re so close with the RSC, and we get to go out and watch some of their shows, which is absolutely brilliant. The Warwick University Drama Society is also fantastic, they deal with much more – a much wider variety of published plays, and that’s sort of our main drama society."
What has been your favourite memory?
"My favourite memory so far from my course has to have been when I got the opportunity to perform in the Arts Centre. The opportunity to perform in such a fantastic venue is just something that I think I’ll remember forever."
How has your course excited you for life after your studies?
"There’s such a vast array of things that I’ve learned here as part of the Theatre and Performance Studies course, it’s shown that there’s just such a vast array of opportunities to get involved with Theatre aside from just the performance side, so, marketing, or even the theoretical or historical side to Theatre and Performance."
"A haven to express myself in"
"Not many universities have facilities like we have at Warwick Arts Centre, which forms a vital part of a drama student’s experience at Warwick. I’ve already become part of the Creative Learning Team, leading one of the youth theatre groups.
The Arts Centre has widened my knowledge about what opportunities may be available to me in the future and has become a haven to express myself in."
BA Theatre and Performance Studies
“Having a variety of theoretical and practical modules has hugely expanded my understanding of theatre and performance. The optionality is helpful as you get to hone in on different areas of the course that really interest you. You’re able to tailor your degree to suit you, your interests and how you like to study and be assessed.”
BA Theatre and Performance Studies Student
“As someone who didn’t have a clear career path in mind when I started University, Theatre & Performance Studies has been a blessing. Not only have I come to realise where I’d like to end up professionally, but I’ve gained invaluable transferable skills and have become confident in my abilities as a researcher, writer, public speaker and so much more.”
BA Theatre and Performance Studies Student
For more information on Theatre Studies alumni please click here
About the information on this page
This information is applicable for 2021 entry. Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.