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Undergraduate Course

Drama and Theatre BA (Hons)

Create unique theatre experiences that represent the world around you and speak about the issues that matter to you.

Black and white image of student acting, on floor with arms over head

Explore traditional and contemporary forms of drama and theatre on this practice-led course. Reimagine and celebrate theatrical works as you experiment with a range of forms and techniques. Study the history of 20th and 21st century drama and performance to give context to your practical work.

88% of Performance students thought that staff made the subject interesting. (National Student Survey 2022)

64% of our Performance research has been rated as “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. (Research Excellence Framework, 2021)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – W400
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2023, September 2024
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition Fees

    UK 2023 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2023 entry £13,000 per year full time

Discover Acting, Dance and Theatre at York St John University

Course overview

On this course we will support you to create the kind of performances you want to see in the world. We will help you to find your own unique voice and style as you will write, direct and perform theatre. With a wide range of optional modules, you can select the specialisms that interest you most and become an expert in your chosen field.

With an emphasis on contemporary performance, we will encourage you to respond to social and political events that you feel passionate about. Your performances will help you, and your audience, understand our rapidly changing world.

You will be taught by experts who are practising artists themselves, and gain extensive experience of working both independently and as part of a team. We will encourage you to immerse yourself in exciting opportunities including:

  • Performing in our end of year outdoor performance
  • Field trips
  • Establishing your own theatre company
  • Working with established theatre companies
  • Working with visiting artists

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you study each semester will depend on whether you are a full time or part time student. 

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study: 

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will take part in practical exercises to develop your understanding of acting techniques and training. You will draw on the methods outlined by practitioners such as Stanislavski and Chekhov, as well as contemporary techniques used by companies including the Wooster Group and Forced Entertainment. You will consider the contested role of the actor and acting training in the 21st century.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will work with your classmates to create original ideas and bring them to life. You will work from a dramatic text to inspire your ideas as a collaborative group, sharing ideas and working together. This module will give you a whole new perspective on performance.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will contemplate what performance means to you. You will also consider how various interpretations of performance are rooted in our history and culture, and how they have influenced society. You will study key movements, ideas and practices in 20th and 21st century performance, theatre and dance. Topics will include:

  • Space and place in performance
  • The body, including movement, gesture and voice
  • Ritual and play

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will work together with your classmates on a devised performance, using a political 'text' as inspiration. This could be a photograph, painting, written document, or even a costume. You will develop a range of creative, compositional and performance strategies to help you understand the complex political times we live in.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Learn the valuable skill of planning, leading and evaluating workshops. On this module you will have the opportunity to participate, observe and lead dance and drama workshops on campus with other students on your course. Topics you cover will include:

  • Principles of effective facilitation
  • Structuring a workshop
  • Ethical and political issues related to facilitation

This work will not only prepare you for years 2 and 3, but for a career as a professional dance or theatre practitioner.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will investigate the relationship between writing and performance. You will study theatrical language for both the page and performance space, as you develop the skills you need to become a successful practitioner. You will explore the works of the anti-naturalist movement from the Dada and Surrealist periods, and experience a range of modernist and postmodernist movements. You will learn how language can be a great tool to imagine and embody your own ideas.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will address the social responsibilities of artists and theatre makers. You will engage in both academic research and practical workshops to explore the theory and practice of using theatre for social change. You will also study influential theatre practitioners who have explicitly focused their work on social change, including Joan Littlewood, Brecht and Augusto Boal. Through a series of Theatre Laboratory workshops, micro lectures and peer to peer performance lectures, you will investigate the societal responsibly of the theatre practitioner, and the powerful social impact these practices can have.

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 4 compulsory modules across semesters 1 and 2
  • 2 optional modules across semesters 1 and 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This is the first of 2 modules that will introduce you to different politically engaged performance practices from the 20th and 21st centuries. Lectures will chart key events in modernist and postmodern performance.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Take what you have learnt in Politically Engaged Practice 1 and deepen your understanding of performance as a political act. On this module you will explore the relationship between arts practice and political activism, considering your own art as a form of political activism and exploring the potential effects of art as politics.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Through a series of workshops you will examine key practitioners in the practice of witnessing. You will develop an understanding of the societal responsibility of the artist when representing lived and non-lived experiences. You will also continue to develop your understanding of collaboration and its relationship with cultural and social practices.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will learn about key autobiographical performers, and develop a practical understanding of autobiographical performance. You will learn to create autobiographical work that not only tells stories about yourself, but uses the details of your life to explore universal issue.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore how, as an actor, you can also direct your own short film production for the screen. You will have the opportunity to act in a film while also engaging with your own artistic vision for the production. Taught workshop practices will guide you through the practical and technical aspects of acting for camera and making short film sequences. You will also work on interpreting screenplays and learn to grasp the language of a writer’s material. On this module you will become both the performer and the visionary.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The re-emergence of the vignette, a short or one act play, has encouraged new formats for performance in independent theatres across the UK. This module provides you with the opportunity to specialise in a training method called The View Points. This is a contemporary method for actor training which encourages you to work spontaneously and intuitively. You will participate in weekly workshops in which you will explore contrasting forms and styles of performing vignettes.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will develop and facilitate workshop and performance activities for children and young people. You will then deliver these activities in both formal and informal youth settings, and gain valuable experience for your future. Through this you will explore drama in education techniques and develop the creative skills needed for workshop design and project planning.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore a range of practices and theories relating to social performance. You will work on a community project engaging with people in the criminal justice system, older people, those with dementia, or people who use mental health services. The topics we will cover include:

  • Dramatherapy
  • Arts and health
  • Community dance
  • Facilitation skills

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will introduce you to physical theatre; a genre used by many contemporary performance companies. You will start by examining the history of the genre and go on to explore a range of techniques used by physical theatre practitioners. Dance and drama students work together on this module, so you can share knowledge and broaden your skills.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module gives you the skills and understanding needed to create performances that use theatre to address political and social issues. As part of this you will explore existing play texts and performance practices that have stimulated political or social change. You will investigate key practitioners to develop your understanding of social responsibility and the impact you can have as a theatre maker.

Credits: 20

Optional module

There is currently a demand on dance professionals to use a range of styles and techniques to re-imagine and re-create dances in new contexts. On this module you will deconstruct and experiment with the style of a chosen influential choreographer such as Jerome Bell, William Forsythe or Pina Bausch. Through dance classes and workshops you will develop a range of technical and performance skills as well as the ability to critically evaluate dance repertoire.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will learn about the growing trend of taking dance and theatre out of traditional spaces and into unusual sites and public spaces. You will explore what happens when the moving body engages with site, place and environment through a combination of personal practice and critical investigation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore how the works of Samuel Beckett have influenced theatre writers and key practitioners of contemporary theatre. Your workshops will be experimental and will encourage you to interpret the material as a method of finding your own strategies of creative writing. After engaging the works of Beckett and other 20th and 21st Century playwrights, you will write your own creative material, as well as considering ways to stage and perform this material.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • A compulsory Independent Practice and Research module across semesters 1 and 2
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 1, including a Dissertation module
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This is your chance to conduct independent critical research on an area that interests you. You can choose an element of your performance practice to focus on and explore it through analysis, theory and reflection. A dissertation tutor will be assigned to you and they will support you through this module, meeting with you regularly to discuss your progress.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will have the opportunity to work as a theatre or dance company with your peers. You will work together to develop collaborative skills and expand your ability to create original performance work. The project you undertake within your company can be decided by yourselves, and can be negotiated with your module tutors.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Continuing from your previous Contemporary Performance Practice module, you will further develop the work you created with your ensemble. You will continue to work with the same group and the content of this module will support your creative collaboration. In addition to your performance, we will also assess you on producing promotional materials appropriate for a professional theatre company.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

As you enter your final year, you will develop your independence as a practitioner and create original work. On this module you will engage with key professional infrastructures in dance, theatre and performance industries as you draw on your experiences from previous modules and prepare for employment beyond university. You will take part in exploratory sessions in which you will work on ideas, possible collaborations and eventually, proposals for independent work. You will then conduct research related to your proposal and develop an independent and original piece of creative performance.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

The focus of our teaching is on you, as a theatre maker creating work that contributes to society. You will learn through:

  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Field trips
  • Technical demonstrations
  • Visiting guest artists

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.

Assessment

We are committed to authentic and relevant assessment methods, meaning your assessments reflects the kinds of work you may carry out in your future professional career. You will be assessed through:

  • Group and solo live performances
  • Workshops
  • Reflective documents
  • Reports, articles and essays
  • Performance lectures
  • Placements

Throughout this course there are plenty of opportunities to gain professional experience through work placements. There are optional modules in which you will be able to attend work placements with guest artists and our community partners.

Professional Skills

Building your CV and gaining valuable experience and technique is central to the course. There will be frequent opportunities for you to assist with your tutor's professional practice or research. You will also have the opportunity to publish your own written work in our publication, Theatre Pages, which is distributed across the UK. We encourage festival and competition entries, and have professional technicians who can support you with this. You will showcase all of your skills in your final projects, which will be presented in the professional standard theatre in our new Creative Centre.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Dance and Theatre

Through this course you will develop a unique portfolio of skills based on your individual aspirations. Your tutors will help to build your contacts and practice within your chosen area of drama and theatre.

This degree could be the first step toward your career as a:

  • Actor
  • Broadcast presenter
  • Dramatherapist
  • Film or TV runner
  • Theatre director
  • Theatre stage manager

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

 

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and Funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK, or internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry onto this course is:

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time

These prices apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page:

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK 2023 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2023 entry £13,000 per year full time

International 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry to this course is £13,000 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree:

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk.

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