Drama & Theatre BA (Hons)
This immersive and varied degree is centred on creativity, giving you the opportunity to grow as an artist.
Do you thrive on performing live and creating unique theatre experiences? Do you want to make work that speaks about important social issues? Are you ready for the talent of others to inspire your own growth as a performer? If the answer is ‘yes’ then our Drama & Theatre course is a great match for you!
- UCAS Code – W400
- 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 is practice-led, so you’ll be writing, directing, performing and exploring - using your mind and body creatively together. You’ll select modules that match your interests to become a theatre practitioner, an expert in your field.
This course is designed so you can make the kind of performances you want to see in the world. We help you to find your own unique voice and style, building the confidence to bring your whole creative self to the stage. The course emphasises contemporary performance practice, so you are encouraged to respond to social and political events you feel passionate about or want to develop a deeper understanding of.
You will gain excellent experience of working both independently and alongside other students not just in your own year group, but across the course. You’ll be taught by experts with experience of writing and performing a variety of work and who write and theorise about the role and importance of drama and theatre in the 21st century.
You will also get immersed in a whole variety of opportunities: from making performing your own work to being in the work of other students, including an end of year large outdoor performance to a public audience, a field trip to Europe, establishing your own theatre company for our annual creative showcase and working with recognised theatre companies outside the University. You will work with a variety of visiting artists and develop skills that enhance your career prospects.
Compulsory modules include:
- Performance Histories: 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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:
- Politically Engaged Practices 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 Practices 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)
Optional modules include:
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- Intertext: This modules considers the role of intertextuality in performance and looks at written texts and literary sources asking students to respond and write their own work for performance. (20 credits)
- 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)
- Writing After Beckett: 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)
- Drama & 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)
- Funny Words: Funny Words considers the language of comedy. You will study contemporary practitioners from a wide range of comedy forms including stand-up, dramatic plays, fiction and monologues. This is an exciting module that challenges us to consider the power of language and its place in comedy performance. (20 credits)
Compulsory modules include:
- Independent Practice and Research: 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 & Theatre 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 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.
Performing House - Our own touring venue for theatre companies to bring new performance direct to York St John University Campus. This means you are able to see professional live work on campus and meet the performers, and its Free! Core Field Trips – Each year group has at least one field trip.
Recently these include a three-day site-specific devised course in a castle in Northumberland, a four-day trip to Krakow in Poland and a three-day visit to London. Drifting East – An opportunity to present your work at the East Riding Theatre in Beverley. This happens twice yearly for Second and Third Year students and is a unique platform to showcase your work to a public audience in Yorkshire’s newest theatre.
Theatre Pages – Out in-house magazine has been running for over 10 issues and is facilitated by Staff and Students who work together to edit, compile and craft each issue. You can read all past issues online. Student Internships – As well as teaching you the drama and dance staff are all engaged with their own projects that include touring work nationally and internationally, writing for publications, organising conferences and developing long-term projects with a range of partner institutions. Within these projects there are often opportunities for students to support and learn as an intern.
In the past this has included students being tour manager, performers, lighting designers, stage managers, event organisers and collaborators on professional external projects.
Graduate Prize – Each year a graduating student or student company has the chance to receive the York St John Graduate prize which gives you the space, time and support to develop a final year piece of work to show in a professional theatre venue. This means that in less than six months after graduating you will perform your work live for public audience.