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Drama and Film Cultures BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time WP34 2018

This course is subject to validation.*

Why choose this course?

Drama and film cultures is a new BA programme which builds on Kingston University's strong reputation in drama and film education. It offers an integrated course of study covering the histories, practices and contexts of theatre, performance and film, and explores theoretical approaches to both in an interdisciplinary context.

The degree explores theatre, performance and film as part of a dynamic matrix of cultural influences in relation to politics, the visual arts, popular and avant-garde cultural practices. It considers the ways in which all three can both shape and be shaped by their surrounding artistic and political contexts, and it engages with a range of theoretical ideas about representation and spectatorship, identity and difference, art and ideology, and the body in representation.

The degree fosters creativity and problem-solving skills, and integrates professional practice into its modules through a variety of forms of assessment. It trains you in practical, writing and critical skills that are highly desirable to employers, and supports you throughout to gain confidence as independent learners.

You will be encouraged to develop a range of skills to articulate your ideas through performance and in written, oral and visual form across a variety of formats, allowing you to develop yourself for a career in the creative industries.

What you will study

In year one you will begin to develop your practical skills through engagement with a range of performance methodologies and vocabularies. You will also be introduced to key issues and approaches for the study of theatre and film within the wider context of visual culture. You will begin thinking critically about the relationships between both art forms and their audiences and you will acquire habits of study, self-reflection and revision necessary to the successful creative industries professional. 

In year two, you will develop a more sophisticated and focused understanding of your subject areas and the synergies between them. You will study four modules across the year, experiencing a variety of learning and assessment methods. You will have the opportunity to explore the relationship between theory and practice across a range of modes and genre, and you will deepen your understanding of dramatic narrative from practical and theoretical perspectives, including the perspective of the actor. You will have the opportunity to learn from industry specialists in a range of fields such as theatre and film journalism, playwriting, festival management and archiving, and to develop your own portfolio of written work.

Year three is a 'capstone year' during which you will complete a major self-designed research project and be involved in the creation of a full-scale theatre production. You will use the practical, critical and analytical skills developed across years one and two, to design a research a project that reflects your own interests, and you will use group working and performance skills in your final production. Other modules will help you to manage your research and introduce you to further ideas and ways of working that may influence your career choices. Research is key throughout the third year, both in the modules delivered and in the increasing focus on your extensive, independent study.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • This module is a core requirement for all Drama students at Level 4 and runs throughout the academic year. It operates and is assessed in conjunction with DA4002 Making Theatre Happen and is supported by a small group tutorial system. The module introduces students to significant approaches and research methods associated with the study of theatre history. The course will draw on students' previous and current studies of performance texts and styles to investigate how we make theatre history, what evidence we draw upon, and what implications these histories have for our current performance making  In the first part of the module students will increase their knowledge and understanding by investigating key periods in Western theatre history including the English renaissance, the popular Victorian stage, modernism and the post-war theatre of the absurd.  In a series of tutor led seminar/workshops, the students will consider the historical contexts that gave rise to changing conceptions of dramatic character, dialogue and action. Particular attention will be given to the material conditions in which theatre artists worked and the relationship between the theatre and the culture at large in any given period. In the latter part of the module students will apply their knowledge and research skills in a student-led, staff-supervised project utilising skills acquired in DA4002 Making Theatre Happen.

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  • This module is a core requirement for all drama students at Level 4 and runs throughout the academic year. It operates and is assessed in conjunction with DA4001 Staging Histories. The module introduces students to significant skills, vocabularies and methods associated with creating performance and explores ways in which these may be applied within a range of dramatic and theatrical contexts. The main features of this module are the study and practice of key elements of performance such as the use of space, time, force (or energy); body and voice; play; interpersonal interaction onstage and off; performance structure and dynamics; and the creation of dramatic meaning and theatrical effect. In the first part of the module students participate in a variety of tutor-led exercises designed to increase their understanding and skills in these areas. These are drawn from methodologies and techniques developed by 20th and 21st century practitioner-theorists such as Anne Bogart; Rudolph Laban, Jacques Lecoq and Augusto Boal. They are also introduced to the basic principles of theatre lighting and sound. In the second part of the module they apply what they have learned in a student-led, staff-supervised project based around material studied in DA4001 Staging Histories.

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  • This module asks where the real meaning of popular stories lies - with the original author, or with the audience's interpretation. It begins by exploring theories of authorship in literature, and traces the development of these ideas through the film studies of the 1950s and 1960s to concepts of the ‘showrunner' in contemporary television. It then surveys the ways in which screen audiences have been studied, from World War Two propaganda to present-day work on fan videos and fan edits, mash-ups and tributes.

  • This module will explore the many and complex ways that the human body has been fundamental to the history of the moving image. Drawing on a range of examples from early photography through 1920s fashion, slapstick, Hollywood stardom, the musical, costume design and the CGI actor, the module takes students through the history of the body on screen, and encourages them to think critically about its representation in terms of gender, race and ability.


Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This module is a core requirement for full field Drama students. It focuses on new writing and its pre-eminent place in contemporary British theatre culture. Building on skills and knowledge gained in The Actor and the Text and Staging Histories, the module is designed to allow students both to study key plays in depth and also to develop an understanding of the historical conditions that led to the primacy of the 'new play' in British theatre of the post war period. Taking the establishment of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court in the mid-fifties as a starting point, students will study key plays and playwrights in the process acquiring an accurate overview of the styles of writing that have been most acclaimed, influential and/or controversial in recent decades. Particular attention will be paid to British playwriting in the 1990s and the origins, impact and aesthetics of the In-Yer-Face school. Students will also consider the impact of cultural and institutional policies, such as the establishment of the Arts Council and the young writer's programmes at various subsidised theatres - the Royal Court, Soho Theatre - in shaping contemporary drama, its forms and principal preoccupations.

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  • This is a core module for all drama students. It builds on the knowledge, understanding and performance skills students have gained in Level 4 modules, particularly DA4003, The Actor and the Text and DA4001 Staging Histories. This module provides an opportunity to explore in detail the key facets of Modernism, as it was manifested in theatre.  The first part of the module explores the themes and principles of Naturalism in theory and practice. Students study its historical context and conventions alongside the work of key dramatists and directors who helped to shape Naturalistic theatre. The exploration of this key movement in modern theatre is underpinned by practice.  Key scenes are explored in detail and appropriate processes used to realise them in performance. The second part of the module explores the gravitation towards the 'Anti-Realism' movement of the early twentieth century Avant-Garde, touching on Symbolism, Dada, Surrealism and Absurdism. The conventions, themes and principles of these movements are explored in terms of their social, cultural and political concerns. Selected texts from key dramatists will be fully interrogated within the workshop/classroom and their influence on performance today will be examined.

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  • This module will strengthen and enhance students' understanding of visual representation and its aesthetic, social and cultural power through close, detailed analysis of key examples drawn from cinema and other art forms. We explore film as a signifying system which uses images and sound to create complex and richly suggestive meanings that shape our understanding of the world.

  • Students will have the opportunity to work with a series of guest professionals from the film cultures industry, including festival programmers, reviewers, scriptwriters and journalists, to develop their own portfolio and shape their future career aspirations.


Year 3 (Level 6)

  • This is a core requirement for full field Drama students and an option for students taking Drama as a major field. It enables students to develop ideas and research and carry them through to realisation. It is a capstone project which allows students to draw together their learning from across the Drama programme and apply it in a 'real-world' context through the creation, rehearsal and performance of a theatre production.

    This module is largely undertaken through independent group-based rehearsal, although there is also a series of presentations and workshops addressing specific areas such as groupwork strategies, problem-solving, rehearsal planning and scheduling, managing budgets and publicity and marketing. Students form groups, select roles and choose scripts, themes and modes of performance based on a  'pitch' they make  and the feedback received at the end of Teaching Block One. The size of groups may vary but groups should not be made up of fewer than 5 students or more than 12. Each group will have a designated supervisor and a budget allocated on the basis of group size. The rehearsal process will be constructed around a series of formatively and summatively assessed stages such as work in progress performances, group and individual reflective exercises, submission of design and technical plans and presentation of publicity materials. Performances will be scheduled across a number of weeks in consultation with the Drama Technical Production Manager.

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  • Building on knowledge and skills acquired in Level 5, this module is designed to provide students with in depth knowledge and understanding of key trends in playmaking in the twenty first century. In particular the module allows students to develop critical awareness of the complex relationship between geopolitical events and pressures including the War on Terror, the excesses of late capitalism, postfeminist debates and the digital revolution and theatre in contemporary Britain. The module considers how policy makers, theatre companies, dramatists and theatres have responded, and continue to respond, to the social, political and economic pressures that problematise the very idea of Britain and Britishness in the twenty first century. The course will focus on the performance of contemporary British identities in relation to class, ethnicity, gender and nation.

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  • The module explores the relationship between politics and the image, from a range of critical approaches including post-colonialism, post-modernism, and post-humanism. We look at a range of films that run counter to dominant discourses in relation to race, gender, sexuality and the body, including mainstream and European cinema, science fiction and neo-noir.

  • This module is research-led and changes year on year in response to changes in the industry and the research environment. Students will be able to create a range of responses to the module in their assignments, including the production of media artefacts accompanied by critical commentary.


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

*Subject to validation

We have robust internal approval procedures to ensure that our programmes of study are of the highest quality and will offer our students the best academic experience.  Our approval process is called validation.  Where a course is described as 'subject to validation' this means that the course is in development and the details are in the process of being finalised by the University. Whilst courses on our website with the status of 'subject  to validation' are approved by Kingston University, validation is not guaranteed. Should the course not go ahead you will be informed by the University and assistance will be provided to those who have been offered a place to find a suitable alternative course either at Kingston University or another provider.

Please note that students who require a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK will not be issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for courses that have a Subject to Validation status.

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