Drama BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)


January 2019, September 2018


Explore many different modes of performance to develop your practical skills and knowledge of contemporary theatre - whether you want to direct, perform, work backstage or teach others.

Full description


Studying drama will give you the ideal training for any position that requires creativity, self-reliance, imagination, teamwork and the ability to organise both yourself and others.

Our BA (Hons) Drama degree will give you practical experience as a performer or stage technician, and the academic understanding needed to be a director or a teacher.

If you have an interest in arts therapy, you could go on to take our MA Dramatherapy after you graduate.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Performance Analysis
    This module will expand your understanding of the current scope of the field of Drama. By moving beyond conventional notions of 'drama' and 'theatre', it will introduce you to the field of Performance Studies. You'll investigate a range of cultural and social practices "as" performance (sport, gender, race). You’ll look at performance in the everyday and think about your own social and cultural context in relation to undertaking performance analysis. You'll question and challenge key terms in the discipline, such as notions of acting and liveness, and explore ideas through case studies that draw on a number of discourses of performance from disciplines like gender studies, cultural studies and sociology. In seminars, you'll explore the theoretical and critical study of performance through a programme of case studies, critical reading and fieldwork exercises. These exercises will allow you to undertake observational research and reflection on the performance of the everyday through embodied experience.
  • Performance Contexts 1A
    This module will introduce you to an understanding of the historical and cultural development of performance through exploration of a range of practical and critical material, particularly focusing on the early to mid-twentieth century. You will consider key movements and important practitioners across the field of performing arts, examining performance works within their particular historical, social, cultural and political contexts. Through engaging with selected works in weekly group seminars, you will discover a variety of theoretical approaches to the study of the performing arts, examining changes in form and conventions in performance. You will also receive study skills guidance to help you to make the transition to HE level study. You will work towards writing a 1,500-word essay and producing a 1,500-word portfolio, which will include detailed contextual research of a selected performance work.
  • Performance Contexts 1B
    This module will introduce you to an understanding of the historical and cultural development of performance through exploration of a range of practical and critical material, particularly focusing on the early to mid-twentieth century. You will consider key movements and important practitioners across the field of performing arts, examining performance works within their particular historical, social, cultural and political contexts. Through engaging with selected works in weekly group seminars, you will discover a variety of theoretical approaches to the study of the performing arts, examining changes in form and conventions in performance. The materials you will study in semester two will bring you to the contemporary moment of performance work. You will work towards writing a creative piece based on the conventions and practices of the works studied alongside a critical contextualisation of your own proposed performance piece. You will submit these pieces of writing, alongside other creative materials (images, sounds, film) as an end-of-semester portfolio.
  • Performance Skills 1A
    In this module you develop your knowledge and understanding of the foundational principles underlying acting, through an introduction to skills relating, predominantly, to naturalist and realist forms. The focus is on a practical introduction to mainstream acting techniques in a contemporary context. These techniques are explored and interrogated through a combination of various exercises, including improvisation and text-based work. You are also encouraged to think about the practices explored from a critical perspective. A key feature of the module is the workshop-based approach, which emphasises 'learning through doing', integrating ideas with creative exploration. You need to be disciplined and committed in your approach to participation in the workshops and discussions. For assessment, you develop a solo and a small-group performance. This is underpinned by the development of a creative process portfolio, where you will record and reflect on your continuous research and practice process towards your assessments. The portfolio will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate engagement with relevant theories, methodologies and influences as well as tracking your own development.
  • Digital Performance
    On this module you'll be introduced to the creative use of technology in performance. You'll engage with multidisciplinary performance and explore the distinctions between making live and recorded performance. You'll also develop skills in the traditional technical aspects of theatre (lighting, sound and stage management) as well as newer technologies (video making, use of live feeds, internet performance, using software packages). Working collaboratively on small creative projects, you'll develop a short performance using a mixture of live and recorded effects, drawing on your own experience as a spectator to inform the creative decisions that you make.
  • Staging and Reception
    On this module you will focus on the staging and reception of live performance, by analysing contemporary performance events and practical explorations of a range of performance styles, staging conventions and thematic concerns. Through theory and practice you will engage with questions about how we create meaning on stage, and how these meanings are read and multiplied by an audience in the moment of reception. You will be introduced to the discipline of performance analysis, and learn to apply a semiotic reading to your interpretation of live performance. You will be assessed through a written analysis of one of a selection of theatre shows, visits to which will be scheduled early in the semester. You will then engage in a series of practical workshops exploring a range of performance elements, such as space, the body and interactivity, through experimental in-class staging of a range of source texts, which will complement those being studied in the module Performance Contexts 1A. These staging experiments will at times require you to deconstruct and reinvent these source texts with the guidance of your tutor, but you will also be expected to work independently on this material and to find your own creative solutions. The module culminates in a performance assessment, for which your group will devise an original piece inspired by our exploration of performance elements and staging conventions.
  • Staging and Production
    This module will involve you in staging a directed performance. You will form a company and take on a performance and/or significant backstage role to work alongside your director in the realisation of a contemporary performance text. You will engage in a full rehearsal process, in which you will analyse and explore your chosen text within the context of your wider studies of C20th to contemporary performance and associated theories. Your rehearsal process will involve active participation in the interpreting and staging of your text, requiring you to engage with post dramatic practices such as the adaptation and deconstruction of course materials. This module requires professional discipline, including a willingness to take direction from others and to contribute ideas and work positively towards creative solutions. You will be assessed on your final performance piece in the moment of live delivery, which also reflects your contribution and participation in the creative process.

Year one, optional modules

  • Directing Skills
    This module will encourage you to develop key skills involved in leading and directing theatrical projects and performance. You will engage with different directorial and creative leadership approaches through workshops, seminar discussion and practical experiments, developing skills in directing and leading with reference to different forms of text. These will be used as the basis to explore a range of directorial approaches and to demonstrate the ways in which appropriate strategies may be tailored to the demands of different rehearsal methodologies. In addition, you will explore practically the planning and leading of workshops, rehearsals and consider the management of production processes. For the practical part of the assessment, you will be asked to direct a short text extract from a provided list. The performance may include acting, music, voice and movement as appropriate to your directorial approach. This will be accompanied by a critical reflection, in which you will give an account of the directorial methodologies you have employed and evaluate your personal development on the module.

Year two, core modules

  • Twentieth-Century Drama
    On this module you'll track the development of drama in the 20th century through the study of selected European, American and/or non-western plays and/or performances. You'll also explore the influence this work has had on contemporary performance practices in the 21st century. You'll focus on a range of movements and issues, including the fin de siècle avant-garde ; drama and Modernism; the 'theatre of the Absurd'; social realism in British drama and the distinctions between practices and philosophies in the late 20th century. You'll be assessed by two 1,500 word essays.
  • Making Performance
    You’ll design, direct and perform in a large-scale public performance, created from a selected source text. As a group, you must agree effective methods of decision-making, show full commitment to rehearsals and production meetings, and demonstrate a willingness to participate in all aspects of work on the production. If you're a Performing Arts student at Cambridge, you can also be assessed as a musician or singer within the rehearsal process and performance. If you take Performing Arts at University Centre Peterborough, you may be assessed on your physical theatre work. Collaborative production modules require professional conduct from all students. Your conduct will be measured on reliable attendance, punctual arrival at rehearsals, maintaining high levels of concentration within sessions and your willingness to take direction from others. You will be assessed on both the live performance and your research, as well as your attendance and contribution to the production process. This module includes content and assessment relating to the Employability component of Personal Development Planning.
  • Performance Practitioners
    This module will introduce you to the work of key theatre practitioners. You'll examine a range of major practitioners and explore different modes and approaches to their work through both critical and practical engagement with their ideas, methodologies and creative strategies. You'll explore methodologies through a mixture of theoretical seminars and practical sessions, with the classes providing space for student-led explorations of rehearsal techniques. The practitioners covered might include, indicatively: Artaud, Brook, Meyerhold, LeCompte and Kantor. You'll be assessed through a workshop demonstration and an oral presentation at the end of the module.
  • The Body in Performance
    On this module, you'll explore the use of the body in contemporary performance and theatre practice, and the ways in which it can challenge dominant political, cultural and artistic ideologies. You'll consider how the body is subject to ideological and social forces that restrain it, and interrogate performance's potential to resist these forces. By critiquing structures of power and knowledge, you'll examine the place of the body in contemporary culture, while posing questions about the political efficacy of performance and the ethical implications of the work. This work could include live art practice, dance theatre, digital performance, activism and bio-art. Each week, you'll concentrate on a particular set of themes, developing theoretical and critical approaches to examining performance in relation to the body. In seminars, you'll look at performance texts, web material, videos, reviews, interviews and critical essays from major theorists in the field. Where possible, you'll be encouraged to attend appropriate performances, exhibitions and installations as part of the course. Your assessment will focus on your ability to articulate research findings through oral presentations, along with a final research essay at the end of the module.

Year two, optional modules

  • Performance Laboratory
    On this module you'll explore and study the working methodologies and strategies of a chosen practitioner, company or performance style in detail. This may include contemporary theatre companies or performance practitioners (for example, Forced Entertainment, Reckless Sleepers, DV8, Complicité, Laurie Anderson), or 20th and 21st century performance styles and/or genres (for example: epic theatre, physical theatre, surrealism, or choric theatre). You'll undertake a rigorous practical and intellectual exploration of the chosen company, practitioner or performance style through workshops, seminars, group discussions and independent research, looking at theory and practice as inseparable (i.e. an understanding of practice-as-research). You'll develop your own working strategies based on your exploration of the methodologies encountered in the module. Your assessment will take the form of a practical essay and a critical contextualisation.
  • New Media Performance
    This module will introduce you to recent innovations in contemporary theatre and performance through a practical and theoretical consideration of new technologies available to theatre-makers at the start of the 21st century. You'll examine the technological interventions that gave rise to mediatised performance as well as the new methods of its dissemination, and explore this in practice by using technologies of sound, music and video to produce a piece of mediatised performance. You'll be expected to engage with the interfaces between live performance, digital technologies, social networking sites, mass participatory sites of video performance, online arts marketing and experimental film-making. You'll be assessed through the production of a short performance piece designed for dissemination through digital technologies. You'll also learn about the production of mediatised performances that can be used as a multi-media element within live theatre practice, studying selected multi-media practitioners as you produce, react to and question the value of such technologies in performance.
  • Performing Shakespeare
    This module will introduce you to the field of contemporary performance theory and practice in relation to Shakespeare. You'll study a range of 20th and 21st century critical and directorial interpretations of plays by Shakespeare, exploring issues like power, sexuality, gender, justice, morality, religion and war. You’ll look at how critics, directors and actors generate meanings from Shakespeare's plays, drawing on details from primary texts, secondary criticism and examples of contemporary creative responses to the plays. For your assessment, you'll select a sequence from one of Shakespeare's plays to stage as an ensemble performance, supported by practical workshops. This performance may include interdisciplinary work involving music, song and a variety of performing styles. You'll also attend seminars that will guide the development of your project proposal, and group tutorials to help you set up your group project. In preparation for the ensemble performance, you'll submit a 1,500-word analysis of how your chosen play has been interpreted in contemporary criticism, and examine a range of creative responses to it in the theatre and on film.
  • Design for Performance
    On this module, you'll examine the processes by which the designer and director/deviser work from a 'text' towards the physical manifestations of a performance: venue, sets, costumes, and props. You'll be introduced to a variety of research methods that can be used to investigate a text, as well as the history and theory of stage design in addition to basic techniques of design and production. Working with a set text, you'll undertake a series of group exercises to explore aspects of the design process. You'll be assessed by a portfolio that demonstrates your research into primary sources (text and visual), and annotations showing analysis, development and appraisal of design ideas, as well as a 1,000 word essay that will reflect critically on this work.
  • Applied Theatre
    In this module you will be introduced to the theories and practices of applied theatre, focusing in detail on one specialist area, such as prison theatre, T.I.E. or children’s theatre. The module will introduce you to a range of pedagogical approaches to facilitating and creating drama and will increase your understanding of the needs and abilities of specific sectors of the community that might be deemed ‘vulnerable’, taking into account appropriate ethical considerations. The module will allow you to explore applied theatre through independent research, practical workshops and the critique of case studies and live performance work within the field. Engagement with the local arts community, such as children’s theatre companies and local primary schools, will develop your awareness of the ethical, practical and creative issues that must be considered when making performance for specific target audiences; it will also allow you to form meaningful links with local arts venues, service providers and community groups, and begin to explore the diverse career opportunities within this field. You will be taught through workshops that combine seminar discussion with practical drama activities and through offsite visits and engagement with professionals and members of the community. You will be assessed through an essay and a group devised performance, giving you the opportunity to critically analyse applied practices and gain experience of performing in a community setting.

Year three, core modules

  • Devising Performance
    On this module, you'll explore the processes and practice of devising work for the theatre. In the first part, you'll undertake a practical exploration of the various approaches to, and the methodologies of, devising performance through workshops and exercises. You'll also be introduced to the work of various performance and theatre practitioners/companies who utilise devising in their creative process, in order to examine strategies and potentials for performance. As a group, you'll then engage in a production process, led by a member of staff, to develop, rehearse, design, market and realise a piece of devised performance to be presented to an external audience. Prior to the final performance, you'll submit an essay that critically investigates the processes of devising, with specific reference to your artistic, historical and theoretical contexts.
  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year three, optional modules

  • Art, Music and Performance
    This module will give you an interdisciplinary perspective on performance, music and the visual arts. This might include interrogating diverse practices (performance art, opera, music(al) theatre, dance, site-specific performance and a wide range of hybrid forms) through both critical study and practical exercises. You'll explore various theories, devices and links between differing artistic genres, as well as experimenting with your own artistic pieces. You'll question the purpose and function of a creative work and enquire into the significance and meaning which arises out of making artistic projects for and within specific contexts. You'll receive both scholarly and practice-based research training, and undertake a creative research project in which you'll collaborate with other students to create a live piece that explores the relationship between at least two different art forms.
  • Contemporary Texts
    On this module, you'll focus on contemporary drama, theatre and performance produced since the 1990s. You'll explore, in practice, the potential stagings of the pieces selected, debate their original reception and assess their impact on subsequent works. You'll compare the production of authored texts and some of the techniques used by contemporary devising, dance theatre, music theatre and 'physical' theatre companies. For your assessment, you'll produce a live performance using a sequence from any work studied on the module. You'll also complete an oral presentation and an open question session based on your creative work in your performance, explaining your decisions as director and how this relates to the original staging and/or critical context of the piece chosen.
  • Enterprise in the Creative Arts
    This module will provide you with an element of work experience in preparation for your future employment. You'll identify an individual area of work placement before the semester begins and make sure your proposal is doable. You'll need to be critical in your approach, to establish clear parameters for evaluation. You’ll also develop entrepreneurial skills. Early on, you'll give an oral presentation focusing on your proposed content, and the opportunities and constraints of your chosen placement. As well as receiving tutor input at this stage, you'll benefit from the views of both your peers and employers, as well as gaining an insight into how others plan to work within comparable contexts. You'll undertake the work placement element itself either in a 'sandwich' mode during the semester or in a 'block' during the Christmas vacation or January inter-semester period.
  • Performance and Identity
    You'll interrogate the relationship between identity and performance and the ways in which performance might be deployed strategically in the service of specific political, ethical and cultural agendas. In the course of this, you'll consider the ways in which dramatists, companies and performers have used performance as a vehicle for expressing identity positions that are often marginalised or alienated by dominant cultural practices, such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, disabled, and marginalised class/ethnic identities. Each week you'll concentrate on a particular set of themes, examining them through selected texts, artists and companies. In seminars, you'll explore relationships between performance and identity through a mixture of performance texts, web material, videos, reviews, interviews and critical essays from major theorists in the field. You'll be assessed through a presentation of your initial findings and a final essay.
  • Principles of Music Therapy and Dramatherapy
    This module will provide you with an intensive introduction to the theory and practice of music therapy or dramatherapy, as practised by registered professionals in the UK. It will not train you to be a therapists, but equip you with knowledge of the clinical field and some introductory skills that are useful in considering music therapy or dramatherapy as a vocation. You'll attend experiential workshops that are linked to theoretical lectures, and possibly a field trip, as well as giving audio-visual presentations. Through these activities you'll be able to evaluate, develop and analyse your musical/dramatic potential and explore the application of different media to therapeutic situations. Your assessment will consist of a written essay, and musical/dramatic improvisations (as appropriate) in small groups, in which you'll actively demonstrate an understanding of the use of music/drama as a therapeutic tool.
  • Special Subject
    This module will allow you to interrogate a specialist area of contemporary research in the subject area, particularly those with ongoing research being produced by staff members in the Department. Some topics may allow you to explore in greater depth matters covered in other modules; others will introduce material not otherwise covered in the existing provision. The choice will vary from year to year. An indicative list of topics might include a selection of the following: stage adaptation; performance & science; operatic and musical theatre production, multimedia performance, Samuel Beckett's plays, applied theatre practices and reviewing new drama. The method of your assessment will vary according to the option, but may be an essay, a practical essay and/or a performance, both supported by appropriate documentation. You will only undertake one method of assessment.

Optional modules available all years

  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme allows you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You'll take one language module in the second semester of your first year in order to experience the learning of a new language. You must select a language you've never learnt before from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.


For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure.

You’ll show your progress through a variety of methods, mirroring the combination of practice and theory on the course. These include studio and public performances, essays, presentations, critical reflections, and a Major Project, which can include practical work.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

The School of Performance is a community of over 400 students and staff, working together in a supportive environment to create new and challenging compositions and performances. Our lecturers are research-active practitioners and recognised experts in their field, so our students always have access to the latest theories and practice, as well as invaluable career guidance.

We organise many activities to help our students prepare for the future, like concerts, theatre performances, work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Additional study information

You’ll work in our two dedicated drama studios, a highly flexible black-box performance space as well as an additional rehearsal space. In Years 1 and 2, you will also have the chance to put on a production in our Mumford Theatre, which presents a range of touring professional touring companies, local community and student theatre, as well as music concerts.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

From September 2018, EU students starting an undergraduate degree with us can access an £800 bursary.

Meanwhile, our £400 Books Plus scheme helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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You will be interviewed for 15-20 minutes by one of our lecturers and will have the opportunity to ask your own questions about the course and university.


The audition will last for 10-15 minutes and you will be asked to prepare a monologue from a selection in our audition performance pack.

This will be a practical session, so it would be a good idea to wear clothes in which you are able to move freely.

You are invited to bring any other examples of creative or written work to the audition, or to provide links to online media.

For more guidance visit our auditions page or download our drama audition information guide.

Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online