Drama and English Literature BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

Cambridge

September

Overview

Explore different modes of performance that will develop your knowledge and practice of contemporary theatre. Discover how different societies have shaped English literature, and how English literature has shaped society. Prepare for a practical or academic career that could change the way others see the world.

Full description

Careers

Our BA (Hons) Drama and English Literature will help you develop many skills for your future career, including literacy, communication, creativity, self-reliance and teamwork.  You can gain practical experience as a performer or stage technician, as well as the academic understanding needed to become a teacher or director. 

Other roles in which our past students have found success include journalism, television, radio, the music industry, gallery work and arts administration.

You might also decide to carry on to a Masters course after you graduate, such as our:

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Studio Performance
    This module will introduce you to effective working methodologies in both performance and production. This will be tested through the production of a studio-based collaborative live performance, which will also explore selected key moments in theatre and performance history through practice. We will begin by considering the historical context of the text chosen for performance, its genre and performance conventions. Your tutors’ expectations of professional discipline in practical work will be set in this introductory module. While they will direct performance and production work, you will be expected to develop your own independence and initiative. You will contribute creatively to performance and production work, to appreciate the importance of collaborative practice on your degree. You may take a variety of roles as a performer or choose to concentrate on the production processes that are essential to effective live performance. You may help to design lighting, sound, projection or video for the performance, working with professional technical staff. You may alternatively work on creating effective set design, choreography, or costume and make-up. One or more student stage-managers will be needed for the whole performance, working in collaboration with all other performance and production roles. You will be expected to actively participate in all the aspects of the rehearsal and production processes that are relevant to your role. You must demonstrate reliability as collaborative performers and production staff by full attendance, punctual arrival at rehearsals and high levels of concentration within sessions. These factors and your creative contribution will inform your mark for the process of rehearsals week by week. This will be 30% of the module mark. The remaining 70% of your mark will be based on the quality of the live performance, whether you appear as a performer or make your contribution in a production role.
  • A History of English Literature, from the present to 1789
    This chronological approach to a history of English Literature reverses the usual format of starting with Beowulf and ending up at the present and instead starts with the familiar and ends with the earliest literature. Starting with texts from the period with which you are familiar, you will gradually work back through literary history to a time when no one alive today existed. Mainly using volume 2 of 'The Norton Anthology of English Literature', this module precedes the companion semester 2 module: 'A History of English Literature from Equiano to Chaucer', which works with volume one of 'The Norton Anthology of English Literature'. On this module you will study period, genre and form through a range of texts to include: the novel; the short story; the essay; poetry; drama; as well as other forms of texts including letters and graphic art. Authors will mainly be chosen from the Norton, however there will also be a few texts such as novels that you will need to buy. You will be given details of the texts well in advance of starting the course. You will be taught through a weekly one-hour lecture, followed by a two-hour seminar. Your assessment will consist of a presentation and a written essay.
  • Reading Literature and Theory
    This foundational module will introduce you to an exciting range of social, cultural and political theories that can be used to further your analysis of literary texts. Selected theories might include psychoanalysis, Marxism, structuralism, feminism, postcolonialism, postmodernism or queer theory. In seminars, you will apply these theories to a variety of fiction (including extracts from plays, novels, short stories and poems). This process will enable you to develop your own reading skills in more challenging directions, as well as helping you assess the benefits of differing kinds of ‘reading’. You will attend a one-hour lecture each week, and a two-hour seminar. Part-way through the semester, you will give a group presentation, allowing you to develop your presentation and IT skills. At the end of the semester, will be an essay, where you demonstrate your critical, literary and essay-writing skills.
  • Staging and Production
    This module will involve you in staging a directed public 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 the final ensemble performance piece in the moment of live delivery for 70% of your mark. The remaining 30% will reflect your conduct, attendance, contribution and participation in the creative process throughout rehearsals.
  • A History of English Literature from Chaucer to Equiano
    This module gives you an outline of the history of English Literature from the end of the eighteenth century to the Anglo-Saxon period. It uses a selection of texts taken from volume 1 of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, supplemented by handouts, to give you examples of different literary forms belonging to every period of English literary history prior to the Romantic movement. The juxtaposition of pieces by well-known authors such as Chaucer, Marlowe, and Milton with less familiar texts is intended to encourage reflection upon what constitutes the 'canon'. You are expected to acquire a basic knowledge of the terms used in English literary history ('Medieval', 'Tudor', 'Renaissance', 'Reformation', 'Early Modern', 'Restoration', 'Augustan', ‘NeoClassical', 'Enlightenment', 'Sensibility') and are encouraged to think critically about these terms. Your first assessment will be a close-reading exercise on a passage from Milton’s Paradise Lost, taken in class during week 7 of the semester. This will develop your close-reading skills and written communication. Your second assessment will be an open exam (90mins), demonstrating your ability to read texts from the course within their historical and cultural contexts. The assessment questions will be available to you 48 hours in advance of the exam.
  • Introduction to Imaginative Writing: Poetry and Plays
    This module will introduce Writing students to the techniques of writing poetry and writing for the stage. You will read a selection of poetry or scenes from a play each week, and work with the texts to understand, for example, poetic form or the practicalities of writing for the stage. The module will not only provide an environment for your creative writing, but teach you skills such as reading as a writer, and reflection on/evaluation of creative practice.

Year two, core modules

  • Making Performance
    This module offers you the opportunity to perform in, design and produce a large-scale public performance, created from a selected source text. While production work will be led by a tutor, students also 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. This module is designed to develop your skills in performance and production work to a high level; there will be a variety of roles on-stage and back-stage for your group to manage and deliver effectively. Collaborative production modules require professional conduct from all students; measurements of such conduct will include reliable attendance, punctual arrival at rehearsals, high levels of concentration within sessions and a willingness to take direction from others. You will liaise closely with professional staff at the theatre venue during intensive technical rehearsals and your own developing professionalism will be tested during this time. For assessment, 70% of the mark will be based on the quality of the live performance and 30% on a consideration of attendance, professional discipline and your creative contribution throughout the production process.
  • Postcolonial Writing
    Much of the most exciting and provocative writing of the last century has emerged from regions of the world that were formerly colonised. This module offers you a selective survey of postcolonial writing and theory, using an expansive conception of what might constitute the ‘postcolonial’. It considers the socio-historical contexts behind the emergence of postcolonial studies and asks you to think critically about the institutionalisation, and challenges, of the field. You will consider issues of colonialism, decolonisation, nationalism, neo-colonialism and globalisation, along with the accompanying themes of migration, gendered/sexual politics and the role of history. A 3000-word final essay will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the module’s central concerns and your knowledge of the primary fictional texts.
  • Practice as Research
    This module will introduce you to a research methodology that treats the live, spatial and embodied nature of performance as a means of generating knowledge and understanding. You'll explore how performance can be designed to test or demonstrate ideas that are not amenable to library research alone, but are practice-led. 'Practice as Research' is a methodology that expands the concept of ‘knowledge derived through doing’ into a research strategy; as such, this module is particularly valuable if you are planning any kind of practical work for your Major Project. Discussion of PAR and more traditional research strategies for the Major Project will be an important aspect of this module. Practice as research will also be useful for all additional performance-based explorations of ideas that you'll encounter at levels 5 and 6. The purpose of this module is to give you strategies that will underpin the research credentials of your future practical work. It will cover both practice-led research and research-led practice. You'll explore how an understanding of ideas can be derived from existing live performance work and how such work can also generate new knowledge. These examples may encompass live art, activist performance, installations and exhibitions, workshops and performance laboratories in acting training. You'll be assessed through your own design of a practical project informed by practice as research principles, which will be performed live, with an introductory (or concluding) rationale for its design, alongside an outline of the ideas with which the performance engages.
  • The European Novel: Desire and Transgression
    This module will introduce you to a representative selection of some of the most memorable and significant European novels, ranging from ancient Greek prose narratives and Renaissance romances to contemporary fiction. You will compare the ways in which different writers have handled elements of the novel such as characterisation, dialogue and narrative voice, as well as consider different sub-genres of the novel, for example magic realism and the epistolary novel. Texts will be selected to complement the novels you have studied on other modules, giving you a fuller understanding of the origins of the genre, and of its wider European context. Desire was a key focus of the very first European proto-novels, and continues to be a preoccupation today. You will engage with some of the changes and continuities in fictional depictions of romantic and sexual relationships, examining the ways in which topics such as same-sex desire, elopement and adultery have been depicted. The first assessment element, a 1000 word critical analysis, will test both your close reading skills and your understanding of the contexts and conventions of the early novel. The second assessment element, a 2,000-word essay, will require you to demonstrate an understanding both of your knowledge of set texts and your grasp of key ideas that have informed the course.

Year two, optional modules

  • Romantic Conflicts
    Conflict can be found in all literature. However, in the Romantic period it seems to have been the essence of the spirit of the age. Percy Shelley called the French Revolution of 1789 ‘the master theme of the epoch in which we live’, and indeed many critics and historians date the beginning of the Romantic period from then. In fact Britain was at war with France for most of this period (from 1793 to 1815) trying to undo the revolution, restore a king, and with him, the old aristocratic ruling class. Class conflict was in the air well before 1789 as William Hazlitt notes: ‘the French revolution might be described as a remote but inevitable result of the invention of the art of printing.’ What he means here is that an overwhelming public consensus had to be achieved before a revolution could occur and the only way to achieve this is through the mass dissemination of ideas – through literature. Conflict can occur in any arena: class, race, debates over animal welfare, the lecture theatre (for example the debates between Hazlitt and Coleridge) and of course in personal relationships. Therefore, the scope of this module is a large one. You will be invited to read as widely as possible in this period and not merely stick to the set texts or the subjects of lectures and seminars.
  • Modernism and the City
    In this module you will examine literary Modernism as an artistic response to the social conditions and technological advances of modernity. You will explore the ways in which the distinctive features of Modernist writing - subjectivity, the psychological, innovations in form, style and genre - are produced by urban experience. You will study a range of canonical and non-canonical texts that 'write' the city in order to explore the centrality or urban culture to modernity and to consider the connections between cultural geography, historical context and narrative form. You will study poems, novels and manifestos dating from 1900-1940 in the contexts of some of the following: the influence of the First World War; suffrage; changes in visual art (primitivism, post-modernism); cinema and photography; the movements of Imagism, Futurism and Surrealism. Ideas of exile and expatriation underlie discussion of the cultural exchanges occurring in London, Paris and New York. The texts studied provide differing reactions to the early twentieth-century city, in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, gender, nationality and class. You will be assessed by a portfolio consisting of a 1,000-word critical review of an essay from either Modernism/Modernity or Modernist Cultures (to be approved by the Module Leader) and a 2,000-word critical essay.
  • Writing World War One: Trauma, Memory, Resistance
    As WWI is commemorated at its centenary, this module examines a range of texts to consider current understandings of WWI and its representations. You will begin the module by looking at the poems that have famously memorialised the experience of soldiers on the Western Front before widening your outlook to explore different forms of texts (including novels, autobiography, short stories and graphic novels) that present a more diverse range of wartime experiences on the ‘home front’ and ‘forbidden zone’. This will include experiences by ‘enemy’ authors, racial minority groups, the ‘insane’, women in war zones, and animals. Each two-hour seminar will have a (mini) lecture with a thematic focus. The (mini) lecture will be followed by close reading and discussion of related texts in the seminar group. These seminar discussions and close-reading exercises will help you to explore key ideas and concepts, such as the role of propaganda and the rise of anti-war writing (literatures of resistance); changing definition and realities of war through developing technologies; the politics of remembering and forgetting WWI; new understandings of WWI derived from global history, race and gender theories; the relationship of war to literary and visual modernism; the psychological realities of WWI on combatants and civilians. The module schedule will also include a half-day field trip (Imperial War Museum) which will allow you to engage with ‘real-world’ experiences of war. You will be assessed by a final 3000-word essay, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of what has been covered on the module including your knowledge of set texts and your grasp of key theories and ideas that have informed the course.
  • Principles of Dramatherapy
    This module is an introduction to the theory and practice of dramatherapy, as practised by registered professionals in the UK. It will not train you to be a therapist, but will equip you with knowledge of the field and some introductory skills that will be useful if you are considering dramatherapy as a vocation. You'll be introduced to the clinical field and will learn about the principles of dramatherapy and other related professions, such as work in applied theatre, teaching and nursing. You'll be taught through experiential workshops linked to theoretical seminars, and also a possible field trip. Audio-visual presentations will enable you to view clinical work in process. Through these activities you'll be able to evaluate, develop and analyse your potential in this discipline and explore the application of arts media to therapeutic situations. Your assessment will comprise small group practical work in which you will actively demonstrate an understanding of the use of drama as a therapeutic tool. You'll be individually marked during this task, according to the specified learning outcomes. The knowledge you gain on this module can be applied to other modules. It may involve improvisation, role-play or performance, and can contribute to a basic understanding of groups and how they function.
  • Dialogue and Debate: More to Milton
    On this module you will study a range of key poetic and prose texts produced by canonical and non-canonical early modern authors. One of the characteristics of the literature of this period is its dialogic nature. The writers on this course lived in an age in which the religion of their immediate forebears was seen as heresy and, in many cases, they went through a school system in which students were trained to speak for and against the same proposition. It is not surprising that they were adept at seeing issues from more than one angle. Many texts offer the reader two or more perspectives on an issue, asking questions which often remain unanswered. In addition to these internal debates, texts (translations, adaptations, parodies, flytings, prequels and sequels) were also often in dialogue with each other. You will explore these issues in lectures and seminars, investigating the relationship between the set texts and their literary, cultural and historical contexts. These contexts include politics, religion, mythography, rhetoric, gender and sexuality. Upon successful completion of the module, you will have a greater understanding of Renaissance poetry and prose, as well as appropriate cultural, historical and theoretical contexts. You will be assessed through one 3000-word essay.
  • News and Feature Writing
    This intensive reading and writing module will introduce you to the techniques of print journalism, focusing on news reports and feature articles. The skills required for effective news and feature writing are a key component of writing craft in any genre of fiction or non-fiction. It's a discipline that improves the imaginative work and communicative power of those who practice it. You'll explore the significance of journalistic writing in contemporary life using examples from a range of British tabloid, broadsheet and local publications. You'll practise sourcing news reports, developing feature articles and sub-editing for style and content. In seminar workshops, you'll combine analysis of journalistic techniques with practical writing exercises, covering topics that include: researching and pitching a story; interviewing; puns and rhythm; and economical use of language. Early on, you'll produce a set of briefs that must be approved by the seminar leader, then produce copy for these briefs and, in editorial teams, giving and receiving constructive criticism.
  • Black British Writing
    This module will introduce you to a diverse range of post-war black British writing. Covering poetry, drama, performance, novels and film, it will offer a sense of the key authors and debates within this growing field. You will consider what constitutes a black British canon, and the critical and creative tensions between the deceptively straightforward terms ‘black’ and ‘British’. You will discuss issues such as the colonial legacy, migration, the burden of representation, mixed-race identities and diversity, along with the intersecting concerns of gender, sexuality and class. The module will draw on writing by activists, postcolonial theorists and thinkers from the field of cultural studies, including figures such as Claudia Jones, Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy. A 600-word discussion board contribution will give you the opportunity to test out ideas and develop skills in writing for digital formats. A 2,400 word final essay will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the module’s central concerns and your knowledge of the primary fictional texts.
  • Scenes and Shorts
    This module will give you an opportunity to perform in short plays and scene studies that will combine into a substantial themed production. The short play demands intensive work in understanding its variety of forms and often experimental nature, and the technical aspects of such works can also be exacting. Therefore, there are many roles you can take up on this module, including performer, technician, or stage manager, with each team working to facilitate efficient turn-arounds between separate works. You will focus on works that are typically for small casts and of short duration, such as the short plays of Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, Caryl Churchill, Harold Pinter or Martin Crimp. Alternatively, you might focus on scene extracts from companies such as Forced Entertainment, Complicité, DV8 or Vincent Dance Theatre. You might also use a a performance style such as naturalism, Dadaism, physical theatre, postmodernism, the post-dramatic or performance art to pull together sequences on the module. The nature of scenes and shorts will allow you to work intensively and independently in small groups in rehearsals before coming together to produce a single show featuring all of your work. Your small-group rehearsals will be self-managed, requiring professional discipline and full participation to drive work forward. If you choose a production role, management of the whole show will be a substantial responsibility. You may choose to be assessed in the capacity of performer, producer, technical staff or a combination of these roles. In each weekly rehearsal session you will receive feedback on your developing work, culminating in assessment based on your process work week-by-week as reflected in the final performance.
  • 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 and forms of information exchange available to theatre-makers at the start of the 21st century. You'll examine the technological interventions that give rise to mediatised performance as well as the new methods of its dissemination, and explore these 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, and experimental film-making. 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.Your final assessment will be the production of a short mediatised performance piece designed for dissemination through digital technologies.
  • Community Theatre
    This project-based module will give you direct experience of working as a performer and facilitator within the local community, developing your awareness of employability contexts, your ability to work with and for vulnerable groups, and a wide range of transferable skills. Working as an applied theatre company, you'll be set a brief to design and deliver a performance project for an outside organisation, such as a local charity, museum, Sheltered Housing Unit, school or health care provider. Practical workshops and seminar style teaching will introduce you to the given context, the ethical and practical challenges related to it, and a range of performance styles and methodologies appropriate to successfully meeting the project brief. You'll then engage in a collaborative process to devise and deliver a performance off-site. Your project will be assessed through a formative proposal outlining your performance ideas, then summatively through group performance. The module will offer you direct engagement with the local arts community, such as children’s theatre companies at Cambridge Junction theatre, primary or secondary schools, or local charities. The preparation of your project will develop your awareness of the ethical, practical and creative issues that must be considered when making performance for specific target audiences and in off-site locations. It will also enable you to form meaningful links with local arts venues, service providers and community groups, allowing you to explore the diverse career opportunities within this field while gaining real-world experience of community theatre.

Year three, core modules

  • 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.
  • Performance Showcase
    This module will offer you a creative, project-based opportunity to synthesise and develop skills and understandings acquired elsewhere on the programme. Beginning with pre-existing musical theatre productions, performances or play-texts, , you will start by adapting, reinterpreting, creatively reworking and retelling this material. Supported by a staff director in first part of the module, you'll work towards the creation of increasingly new and devised work for public performance. The first part of the course will involve workshops and exercises in which you will explore practically various methodologies of devising. You'll also be introduced to the work of various performance and theatre practitioners and companies who use devising in their creative process, to examine strategies for inventing your own original devised performance. You'll then begin the production process, developing, rehearsing, designing, marketing and realising a piece of devised performance drawn from the initial stimuli. This work will be created as a whole group to be presented to an external audience, the ensemble taking increasing control of their own creative decisions throughout the rehearsal process. At this stage, you will need to demonstrate self-discipline, professionalism and full commitment to additional rehearsal sessions as your show moves towards production. Your learning outcomes for the module will be assessed at the end of the semester through a set of public live performances in a commercial venue.

Year three, optional modules

  • Contemporary Texts
    On this module, you'll focus on contemporary drama, theatre and/or performance produced in the 21st century. You'll explore, in practice, potential new stagings of the pieces selected, while considering their original reception and production. In the absence of substantial critical evaluation of such recent performances, you'll be expected to develop and defend your own independent and evidence-based judgements concerning this work. You'll also conduct internet searches to access available review notices in newspapers or periodicals and to research any relevant recent scholarly articles or chapters. You'll encounter a range of performance pieces, such as authored play-texts, and techniques used by contemporary devising, dance theatre, music theatre and physical theatre companies, as appropriate. For your assessment, you'll produce a live performance adapting a sequence from any work studied on the module. As formative assessment prior to your performance, you’ll be asked to present a rationale of your creative ideas for this adaptation, an edited script or some work in progress for review. This work should be considered in relation to the original staging of the piece, with your rationale explaining your decisions as directors in creating a new staging and an adapted script. A good explanation of your ideas at this point will clarify your purposes in the live performance assessment, which carries 100% of your mark for this module.
  • Provocations
    On this module you'll explore a range of contemporary performance and live art practices that are challenging, often controversial and sometimes disturbing. You'll examine how the body can be explicitly staged in performance art and the ways in which it can be a vehicle for expressing identity positions that are marginalised within dominant western culture. As such, you'll encounter contemporary performance practices that articulate racial, gender, transgender, queer, disabled and refugee identity positions. You'll consider the ethical implications of this practice, its relationship to its audience and its effectiveness as a strategy of resistance to mainstream stereotypes. Content may include the extremism of live art by Franko B, Ron Athey, Kira O’Reilly and Marina Abramovic; activist interventions by Richard Dedemonici and Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping; representations of race in Brett Bailey’s Exhibit B; queer identities in Split Britches’ Belle Reprieve; transgender performance by Heather Cassils and the representation of disability in dance works by Bill Shannon. In seminars, you'll explore the relationships between performance, the body and identity through a combination of videos, web material, reviews, interviews and critical essays from major theorists in the field. Your assessment will comprise a 3,000-word essay, with advance formative assessment by tutorial appointments to discuss your plans, arguments and case-studies. The practitioners that you'll study may deploy shock-tactics in the delivery of their work - you'll be expected to be intellectually curious, ask questions about this work and be open to new ideas, practices and processes.
  • 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 therapist, 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.
  • Working in English and Media
    This module, with a focus on work experience, will help prepare you for targeted entry into the world of multimedia, film, television, cinema, radio, video, teaching, publishing, arts administration and related creative and cultural industries. You'll identify, negotiate and carry out a work placement, or produce a commissioned product, in a chosen area, with guidance from the relevant Course Leader and Module Leader, who will provide ongoing consultation, supervision and support in association with the University's Careers Service. You'll develop a portfolio and write a critical essay, both of which you'll submit at the end of the semester. Your portfolio should include: your CV; copies of a range of academic work (including a DVD showreel, where appropriate); evidence of extra-curricular activities; evidence of work experience. Presentation is crucial to your portfolio, and you should make use of all available multi-media when refining your work. This module will form part of your ongoing programme of Personal Development Planning.
  • Spectacle and Representation in Renaissance Drama
    You will consider a range of plays from the period 1580 to 1642 in the light of issues of stage spectacle and representation in a variety of forms, including identity, sexuality, violence, and death. You will experience one of the greatest periods of dramatic writing that English literature has known, which has subsequently continued on the English stage under the UK’s great acting companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. Primary texts will be taken from Shakespeare and his chief contemporaries, including a changing range of authors chosen from Thomas Kyd, George Chapman, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, John Marston, Thomas Middleton, Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher, John Webster, John Ford, Richard Brome, and James Shirley. You should check the reading list each year to determine specific plays. You will become familiar with relevant theory and criticism of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. In seminars you will be attentive to issues of performance, which can include active learning through play-reading and walking through a scene, or in independent learning through attending relevant performances or viewing film adaptations.
  • Modern Science Fiction
    In this module you will study the development of modern science fiction, concentrating on major texts from the postwar period. You are expected to acquire a detailed knowledge of the history of science fiction and a critical understanding of the problems of defining it in relation to other forms of literature. You are also expected to gain an understanding of the distinctive pleasures which science fiction offers its readers. The emphasis is on science fiction as a literature of ideas. In this module you will be concerned primarily with science fiction as a literary form rather than with its manifestations in other media, but the demands of adapting science fiction to other media will be considered. You will read short stories, novels, and critical essays enabling you to develop a detailed knowledge of science fiction from the 1930s to the present day, and gain an understanding of some key science fiction tropes and sub-genres.
  • Acting for Camera
    On this module you will your skills in acting for the camera by producing short dramatic works adapted for video. The videos produced may form part of a showreel for use after completing your degree. You'll explore the preparation of video material for a variety of new media and develop basic video production skills accordingly. Regular video playback will allow you to critically reflect on the work produced and highlight where improvements may be made in performances, choice of shots or editing. You'll be expected to participate fully and professionally in all the practical work for this module. For your assessment, you'll work independently to develop a shooting-script that adapts a short stage scene to film, and be assessed by the quality of your acting performance as captured on video.
  • Site Specific and Immersive Theatre
    On this module you'll focus on significant developments in contemporary theatre through detailed analysis and exploration of site-specific and immersive practices. You'll be asked to consider place and space as theoretical concepts and explore the influence of performance space on audience reception and on your own creative practices. You'll engage with a range of theoretical perspectives from theatre historians, performance scholars, philosophers and cultural geographers, and with a range of performance practices such as site-specific, promenade, immersive, digital and applied theatre. You'll take part in seminar discussions and reading group sessions, and a number of practice based workshops, off-site visits and theatre trips. These activities will allow you to develop a sophisticated understanding of the contemporary theatre context that you'll be entering after graduation, and working towards the assessment will allow you to imagine your own creative input to that context. You'll be asked to develop and thoroughly research your own idea for a new site-specific or immersive theatre performance. This will be assessed through an oral presentation in which you'll ‘pitch’ your creative idea, demonstrating its originality, thoughtful relationship to place, creative use of space and practical viability. This will allow you to be ambitious and work on a larger budget/scale production than you would usually be able to at this stage in your career. It will also develop a range of highly important transferable skills, such as presenting, budgeting, researching, exploring creative partnerships and fitting your work into the contemporary scene.
  • Contemporary Fiction
    In this module you will look at a range of fiction written in the last 10 years, examining formal and thematic issues and the relationships between them. You will consider narrative experimentation (the recycling of old stories and forms), the representation of history, posthumanism, globalization, technology. Since there is inevitably an absence of established critical texts on the contemporary works studied, you will consider alternative sources of critical opinion (academic journals, the internet, broadsheet and broadcast journalism); and the ways in which new novels demand and shape new criticism. Your assessment will consist of a 3000-word essay at the end of the semester.
  • Theorising Children's Literature
    You will take as a starting point the need to be critical about literature written for young audiences, including early years and YA fiction. You will read children’s literature primarily as literature, instead of as a contributing factor towards childhood development. This process will demand that you engage with the primary texts through literary theory, including wider theory that is not typically applied to children’s texts, such as the work of Lacan, Bakhtin, Said, Foucault, Derrida, and others. You will consider eco-criticism, animal studies, disability, race, sexuality, and gender. You will also engage with changing historical constructs of childhood and the generic fluidity of children’s and fantasy literature. Reading will be set each for you to discuss in two-hour seminars.
  • Romantic Idealism
    The Romantic period heralded not only the beginnings of the Modern world, but it also looked towards futures and ideals that humans have not yet obtained: slavery still exists, and yet it was banned in this period; Britain passed the first animal rights legislation in Law, but species are still disappearing and the human relationship with other animals remains uneasy. This was a period in which old ways were sometimes driven out and everything seemed up for grabs. Even time was altered. In revolutionary France the old 24-hour clock disappeared, making way for a new decimal clock with 100 minutes in the hour, 10 hours in the day, 10 days in the week and three weeks in the month. This module will help you to engage in fresh critical thinking about ideas that you might never have imagined.
  • Literature and Exile: Displacement, Identity, Self
    This module will introduce you to a range of C20th and C21st literary representations of exile. To be in exile is to be banished from one’s home, to be displaced and/or estranged from one’s country, family, community, and even one’s self. Exile takes many forms: it can be literal or metaphorical; it can be enforced or self-imposed. Through close readings of novels, graphic novels, poetry, autobiography and short stories, many of which were written by authors in exile, you will explore various forms of exile writing and consider various conditions and contexts of exile, including politics, race, sexuality, gender and disability. At the start of the module, you will be introduced to a range of theories of exile; you will explore these theories each week in relation to the selected literary texts and related themes of memory, home, identity, community, nostalgia, self, and language. You will be assessed by means of a final 3,000-word essay, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of what has been covered on the module including your knowledge of the set texts and grasp of the key theories and ideas that have informed the course.

Optional modules available in years two and three

  • 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.

Assessment

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

You’ll show your progress on the course through a combination of essays, reports, oral presentations, and studio/public performance, as well as a major project involving practice-based research techniques.

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?

Cambridge
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

Facilities

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.

Activities and events

You can take part in our many extra-curricular activities, our poetry and writing evenings, research symposia and conferences, as well as many student societies including the Creative Writing Society, the Stand-up Comedy Society, the Poetry Society and the Harry Potter Society.

Study abroad

You can apply to spend one semester in years 2 or 3 studying abroad at the Universidad de Huelva, Spain, and Valparaiso University, Indiana, USA.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2018/19 or 2019/20 (per year)

£9,250

International students starting 2018/19 (per year)

£12,500

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.

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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Interview and audition

You will be required to attend an interview of around 30 minutes, during which you will also need to perform an audition piece.

For more guidance on how to prepare for this, please visit our auditions and interviews page, or go straight to the detailed auditions information for School of Performance courses.


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

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