Drama & Dance BA (Hons)
Love to create and perform? Spend each day in the studio developing as an artist.
This course recognises that powerful performances happen when drama and dance come together. It has been designed for people who are passionate about both dance and drama and enjoy exploring opportunities to combine them to create new and exciting work. If you enjoy expressing yourself physically and want to keep doors open for a career across both disciplines then this course is for you!
93% of Graduates from our Dance & Drama courses were in employment or further study within six months - DLHE 2017.
- UCAS Code – W4W5
- Duration – 3 years full-time | Part-time options available on request
- Start date – September 2020, September 2021
- School – Performance & Media Production
Minimum Entry Requirements
88 UCAS points
3 GCSEs Graded at C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language
UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 per year
International 2020-21 £12,750 per year
The York St John Experience
This course offers you the chance to work between the disciplines of drama and dance and draw on the best of both worlds. You’ll have the chance to build a programme of study from across a variety of options in both drama and dance, giving you the firm foundations of understanding alongside the chance to specialise. You’ll be in the studio on a daily basis, developing your dance and drama skills creating choreography, devising theatre images, working with others and researching performance history and practice.
As the course progresses, you’ll develop more work that meets your unique interests. That may involve working independently, forming an ensemble or creating a piece of dance theatre that engages with a socially important issue and perhaps involve organisations outside the University. Your final year includes producing your own theatre company to perform and tour locally.
Throughout the programme you’ll be supported by theatre-makers and choreographers with a strong reputation in their field and a variety of practical experience. Drama and dance tutors work closely together to make sure the course prepares you for a career in the current world of performance be that as a teacher, choreographer, physical theatre maker or freelance performing artist.
There are opportunities for theatre trips, in-house performances and the chance to take part in work made by other students, as well as workshops by visiting artists. Overall, you’ll develop the confidence, credibility, creativity and teamwork skills to support you in a range of careers.
Compulsory modules include:
- Performance Histories 1: This module is a lecture based module that looks at recent histories of drama, theatre and dance and charts key events in modernist and postmodern performance. (20 Credits)
- Performance Histories 2: Performance Histories 2 picks up the legacies and lineages from modernism and considers the postmodern and post-dramatic turn in contemporary performance. (20 Credits)
- Ensemble: Dramatic Texts: You will make an ensemble performance in small groups (between 15 -20 students) of a 20th Century European playwright. You will learn how to respond to the text and work collaboratively to generate a version of the play. (20 Credits)
- Ensemble: Visual Texts: Building on the learning in ‘Ensemble: Dramatic Texts’ here we ask you to devise a group production that responds to a visual stimulus. This module culminates with a large scale production where the ensemble generates the content and builds the set, getting involved in every aspect of theatre production. (20 Credits)
- Acting: In this module, students will engage in rigorous workshop practice that actively engages in the understanding of acting techniques and training. This module will offer a practical introduction to mainstream Western European acting. (20 Credits)
- Workshop Practice: You will learn what constitutes a successful workshop and develop tools for facilitating and reflecting on the ethics, politics and practical experiences of workshop practice. (10 Credits)
Optional modules include:
- Writing and Theatre: Here we experiment with new modes of writing for performance and consider the relationship between writing and performing. Workshops explore spoken word, dramatic monologues, sound poetry, and theatre readings for audiences. (10 Credits)
- Dance in Popular Culture: This module aims to create a new dance performance that identifies with dance in current popular culture, example may include Music Videos, Musical Theatre, and Reality TV and Dance. (10 Credits)
Compulsory modules include:
- Politically Engaged Practice 1: This lecture based module raises questions surrounding the politics of performance and the performance of politics and includes considerations of politics and power, feminism and identity politics, and politics and disability in theatre, dance and performance. (20 credits)
- Politically Engaged Practice 2: This is a lecture based module and involves the exploration of politics in performance, students devise interventions and make short videos as well as submitting an essay. (20 credits)
- Physical Theatres: Students will explore a range of techniques utilised by physical theatre practitioners that draw upon the combined skills used in dance and drama practice. Students will be encouraged to share skills across their specialised subjects allowing for a broadening of skills (e.g. voice for dancers or choreography for actors etc.) whilst placing physical expressiveness and the body at the centre of their investigations. (20 credits)
- Choreography Site Environment: This module invites students to consider how choreography and composition can be effected by and negotiated with ideas of space and environments, both found and designed. (20 credits)
These modules are optional and students can choose two per semester.
- Drama and Digital Media: This module considers the transformational impact of digital culture on aspects of performance making, acting, moving, composition, (interactive) spectatorship and community life. You are given the opportunity to make performances that engage and experiment with interactive technology and digital performance practices. (20 credits)
- Performance in Social Context: The module considers the transformational impact of digital culture on aspects of performance making, acting, moving, composition, (interactive) spectatorship, community life, and individual expression of selfhood. (20 credits)
- Auto/Biography Performance: The aim of this module is to facilitate students with a historical and practical understanding of autobiographical performance, to understand lived experience as a site of narrative authority and to create autobiographical work which not only tells stories about oneself but also uses the details of one’s own life to illuminate or explore something more universal. (20 credits)
- Artist as Witness: Through workshops students will examine key contemporary practitioners in the practice of witnessing and develop an understanding of the societal responsibility of the artist by investigating notions of lived and non-lived experiences (self & other) to generate an ensemble performance. (20 credits)
- Children & Young People: In this module students will engage in performance and workshop activity for children and young people, in formal and informal youth settings. This is a thriving area: Drama in Education (DIE), Theatre in Education (TIE), Youth Arts and Children’s Theatre and Community Dance practices will be explored. (20 credits)
- Funny Bones: This practical module considers the use of the body in comedy performance within a range of practices from clowning to slapstick, silent films to large scale choreographed routines. (20 credits)
- Politics and the Play: On this module, you’ll engage with theatre as a means of political or social intervention. Examine play texts and performance practices which have encouraged political or social change. (20 credits)
Compulsory modules include:
- Independent Project: This module invites you to develop your own independent project where you will construct and present a performance in your chosen specialism. Previous projects have included full scale productions, directing plays, solo performances, a cabaret, installations, site-specific performance situations. (40 credits)
- Contemporary Performance Practice 1: Form a company: In CPP you will form your own theatre company and produce and tour your work locally. (20 credits)
- Contemporary Performance Practice 2: Commission: In this module your performance company is commissioned to make a work responding to particular themes or environments and produces live work that is fiercely about what performance means today. (20 credits)
- Dissertation Project: Your dissertation project is usually theoretically linked to your Independent Project and is the opportunity to critically engage with the history and philosophy of theatre, drama and dance on a topic of your own choice. (20 credits)
- Professional Portfolio: This module brings together your portfolio of work from your three years of study and prepare this material to form a portfolio that facilitates your transition from student to professional theatre maker, performer, facilitator. (20 credits)
Teaching & Assessment
- Drama & Dance is mainly taught in studio spaces with a tutor leading workshops and rehearsing material. Each year of the programme contains set modules and in Year Two you have the ability to choose a specific module (one per semester) that align to your interests. In Year Three you are assigned mentors and supervisors who guide your own independent work and so offers you the opportunity for you to lead your own projects supported by members of staff.
- Each module runs on the same day each week throughout the semester, so that you study one subject on each day. This mode of delivery is very popular in student feedback.
- Your contact hours may vary depending on the specific modules you are taking but practical classes are between three and five hours long and theory modules (one per semester in Year One and Year Two) are two hours and are usually broken into a lecture followed by a seminar.
- Due to the content of some modules your contact time varies because you are on work placements, for example delivering workshops in schools, and so the taught session time differs accordingly.
- In Year Three you are much more independent but throughout the degree you have the ability to book and reserve studio space so you can rehearse and create performance. We have designed the course and timetable to enable you to work in a concentrated and supported way with plenty of studio space available for your own practical development.
- Outside of taught sessions, you will be expected to undertake further reading around the subjects you are studying and complete written assignments that include essays and written reflections from workshop sessions. Our ILS facilities are excellent and include an extensive collection of books, video material and journals for your research and development.
- Our staff team have incredible amounts of experience and knowledge on the subject. Many are active practitioners who make and present performance internationally. Our staff also contribute to the publication of books and journals on the subject of drama, theatre, dance and performance. All our staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.
- We also have two dedicated theatre technicians who facilitate our studio and theatre spaces and deliver workshops on stage design, theatrical lighting, scenography and sound.
- Assessments in Drama & Theatre are weighted 70% practical and 30% written.
- Practical assessments take the form of live performances for audiences, private performances for student-peers, workshop presentations, on-location workshop delivery and written presentations.
- Written assessments take the form of Essays of between 1000 – 2500 words in length. Catalogue documents which are reflective books that explain your process of making work, student blogs, collections of writings for performance, and a dissertation project in Year Three (5000 words in length).
The minimum entry requirements for this course are:
88-104 UCAS Tariff points
3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language
Terms and conditions
Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.
Studying Drama & Dance at York St John University has enabled me to be a part of some fantastic work, allowing me to work with upcoming artists in their early steps of becoming professional. It has opened my eyes to see all the possibilities of what dance can be and has helped me to find my own style.
Courtney Ramsden, Drama & Dance BA (Hons)