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Theatre and Performance Studies BA (W440)

Explore our Theatre and Performance Studies degree at Warwick


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Bachelor of Arts (BA)

3 years full-time
26 September 2022
Theatre and Performance Studies
University of Warwick

Our Theatre and Performance Studies degree nurtures generations of new talent. You'll be continually engaging with, watching and producing theatre, within the classroom and beyond. There are many student performance societies to get involved in, and you'll benefit from having Warwick Arts Centre located at the heart of our campus.

The Complete University Guide 2023 ranks Warwick's course as third in the UK (Drama, Dance and Cinematics category).


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 will explore how drama, theatre and performance are used to share stories, to laugh, to feel, to understand more deeply, and to change things.

You will 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.

You will 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.

Warwick Arts Centre

Beyond the course, you will 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.


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’re also able to select optional modules outside of our department, meaning that you don’t have to give up on other areas of interest. In addition, we 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.


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.

You will 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
  • Natalie Diddams: Experienced theatre director, workshop facilitator and dramaturg

Research expertise

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. We offer areas of expertise including:

  • Applied and community theatres
  • Theatre for social change
  • Theatre history
  • Popular, political and avant-garde theatres
  • Writing, acting and directing
  • Theatre and national identities
  • Contemporary British, 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
  • Theatre production in digital environments and film

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 40 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.


As you are encouraged to curate your own path through the degree, contact hours will vary depending on the modules you have 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 will also need to allocate time for independent study: rehearsing, doing group work, seeing performances, and preparing assessed work.

A typical week

In your first year, a typical week may look like this:


  • Your Toolkit module (2 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

During your degree you will be assessed through a variety of methods, including:

  • Practical projects
  • Creative logbooks
  • Portfolios
  • Essays
  • 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.


Study abroad

As part of your degree you have the option to apply to do an intercalated year studying with one of our partner institutions overseas.

In 2020/21 these partners included University of Toronto in Canada; Monash University in Australia; and a number of Universities in Europe, including in Helsinki, Lisbon, Ljubljana, and Dublin. The locations that you can travel to are confirmed in November of the preceding academic year to when you would be travelling and these locations can change each year.

There will also be opportunities for you to apply to have short periods of study, work, research and/or volunteering overseas during vacation periods in order to gain international experience without adding a year to your studies.

The Student Mobility Team offers support for these activities, and the Department’s dedicated Study Abroad Co-ordinator can provide more specific information and assistance.


Placements and work experience

Employability is embedded in Warwick’s Theatre and Performance Studies degree allowing you to think about your future from an early stage.

You will 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 Dash Arts, Rosie Kay Dance Company, Birmingham REP, Fierce Festival (for live art), Trestle (Mask Theatre, St Albans), Cannes Film Festival, 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.


Additional requirements

Please note, applicants are typically invited to attend Applicant Days. Applicants not living in the UK may be offered one-to-one online discussions in place of this.


A level typical offer


A level additional information

Please also see our additional requirements below.

A level contextual offer

We welcome applications from candidates who meet the contextual eligibility criteria and whose predicted grades are close to, or slightly below, the contextual offer level. The typical contextual offer is BBB. See if you’re eligible.

General GCSE requirements

Unless specified differently above, you will also need a minimum of GCSE grade 4 or C (or an equivalent qualification) in English Language and either Mathematics or a Science subject. Find out more about our entry requirements and the qualifications we accept. We advise that you also check the English Language requirements for your course which may specify a higher GCSE English requirement. Please find the information about this below.


IB typical offer


IB additional information

Please also see our additional requirements below.

IB contextual offer

We welcome applications from candidates who meet the contextual eligibility criteria and whose predicted grades are close to, or slightly below, the contextual offer level. The typical contextual offer is 32. See if you’re eligible.

General GCSE requirements

Unless specified differently above, you will also need a minimum of GCSE grade 4 or C (or an equivalent qualification) in English Language and either Mathematics or a Science subject. Find out more about our entry requirements and the qualifications we accept. We advise that you also check the English Language requirements for your course which may specify a higher GCSE English requirement. Please find the information about this below.


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 National Extended Certificate plus 2 A levels: D plus AB, or D* plus BB
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma plus 1 A level: DD plus A, or D*D plus B
  • BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: D*DD

Please also see our additional requirements below.


Year One

Theatre and Performance in Context

This module considers what theatre and performance can tell us about our histories, cultures, societies and identities. You’ll watch, read and study a range of theatre and performance from across historical, cultural and geographical borders, in order to see how it not only reflects society, but also seeks to change and shape it. The module is split into four blocks, considering theatre and gender, race, sexuality and class. This module will help you to hone 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.

Performance Analysis

As part of this module you’ll be exposed to theatre and performance in a wide variety of forms. You’ll learn about theories and approaches to performance analysis and will develop your own methods to produce critical responses to artistic work. You’ll complete the module with an understanding of all of the tools that you might 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.

Year Two


Part practical and part theoretical, this module works to explore the intersections between Theatre and Performance Studies and other disciplines. You’ll ask how we do interdisciplinary research and how findings can be shared with audiences through practice. Lecturers draw on their own current research projects as material to teach the module, so its content changes each year. We begin by considering these intersections through lecture-seminars, via discussion and some practice. We then shift into innovative practice-based work that culminates in a practical realisation of a specific issue or enquiry in which performance intersects with another discipline.

Year Three

In your final-year you must choose from one of two optional core modules:

Research Project

On this module you’ll carry out independent research into an area of theatre and performance studies that you love 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 at a departmental undergraduate conference during the course of the year.


Practice-based Research Project

On this module you’ll develop a practical project that is shaped by your questions about the world. This project 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 costume design, and you can choose to work solo or in small groups. 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.

  • Acting in Character
  • 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
  • Video-Making
  • Writing for Theatre and Performance

Take a look at our full list of modules.


Find out more about fees and funding


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.