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Drama and Theatre Arts BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time W400 2019
2020
4 years full time including foundation year W401 2019
2020
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2019
2020

Why choose this course?

If you want to engage with theatre and performance practically, but also want to gain an understanding of its histories and cultural contexts, Kingston's Drama and Theatre Arts BA(Hons) is the course for you. Across three years, you will explore how theatre is made and develop a range of practical skills, from performing and devising to playwriting and directing. You will study a variety of topics - from ancient Greek theatre to experimental contemporary practices, from Shakespeare to cabaret performance, from clowning to contemporary black British theatre -  and as you progress, you will be able to shape your own course of study according to your own interests.

We ensure our students are properly supported so you can reach your full potential. You will have your own personal tutor throughout your degree and be taught in small groups. You will be part our drama community, studying in our fully equipped drama space, the Reg Bailey building, in the University's new state-of-the-art Town House building and at Kingston's Rose Theatre where you will have the opportunity to perform. 

Drama and Theatre Arts students study in a dynamic department staffed by scholars and theatre professionals, and augmented by visiting theatre practitioners. We have welcomed guest speakers like voice coach Barbara Houseman, (who's worked with Daniel Radcliffe, Kenneth Branagh and Jude Law), theatre director and founder of Two Gents Productions, Arne Pohlmeier, and actor, Tonderai Munyebvu.

Practice and theory are constantly used to inform each other and the course has a strong emphasis on production. Diversity and inclusion are core values at Kingston, and you will study theatre in relation to gender, race and migration as part of a diverse student body.

Foundation year - Humanities & Arts

You can also study this course with a Foundation year. Find out more >

What you will study

As a Drama and Theatre Arts BA(Hons) student you will explore the ways in which theatre and performance can both shape and be shaped by surrounding artistic, political and historical contexts. As you progress through the course, you will undertake project-based assignments that draw together different strands of your learning. Across the three years of the course, you will have increasing independence in the design and delivery of these projects and you will be able to specialise in one or more of the following areas: playwriting, directing, devising, performing (in a variety of modes).

Year 1 introduces approaches and ideas that are central to the study of drama and theatre and culminates in a performance project. You will develop your skills as a performer and enhance your knowledge of a variety of methods of theatre-making. You will study key approaches to interpreting performance by examining play texts and productions, and yowill acquire understanding of basic principles in theatre design and explore significant phases in theatre history.

Year 2 develops your understanding and practical knowledge of theatre arts. Core modules offer practical experience of devised performance and the impact of naturalism on the work of the actor. You will study modernist directors and playwrights such as Stanislavski, Ibsen and Brecht, and you will consider the impact of these practitioners on contemporary performance practices. Optional modules allow you to focus on clowning, scriptwriting, directing, Shakespeare, and contemporary British drama.

Year 3 allows for both greater independence and specialisation and culminates in a major production project in which you will be able to showcase the skills acquired on the course. Alongside the production module you will undertake a focused study of avant-garde and experimental performance practices. You will also be able to choose modules that cater to your own interests. Optional modules include cabaret and stand-up comedy, applied theatre, tragedy, advanced playwriting, and performance and identity politics.

Module listing

You will explore the ways in which theatre and performance can both shape and be shaped by surrounding artistic, political and historical contexts.

As you progress, you will work on projects that draw together different strands of your learning. Across the three years of the course, you will have increasing independence in the design and delivery of these projects and you'll specialise in one or more of the following areas: playwriting, directing, devising, performing (in a variety of modes).

Each level is made up of four modules each worth 30 credit points.  Typically a student must complete 120 credits at each level.

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.

Foundation year

  • This module aims to prepare you for undergraduate study and to give you the skills and knowledge related to the study of humanities, arts and social science subjects. The main areas covered will include research skills (like using a library and electronic resources), planning, note taking, building a bibliography, and avoiding plagiarism. You will also develop your communication skills, especially focusing on essay and report writing, delivering presentations and being an active participant in debates and discussions. The module will encourage you to develop the independent learning, critical analysis, and reflective skills crucial to succeeding in a degree.

     
  • Introducing ways in which written texts are reimagined, adapted and transformed by creative artists, including writers, theatre makers, choreographers and film directors, this module explores in both theory and practice the relationship between page and stage, word and image, and in doing so enables you to explore creative imagination at its most radical and relevant.

    How and why do television dramas such as Sherlock and Elementary create dramatic interventions into established narratives? How has innovative, controversial and experimental work made by contemporary playwrights such as Caryl Churchill, debbie tucker green and Sarah Kane drawn on classic texts to challenge and alter our perceptions of the world? What does The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter's creative appropriation of various fairy tales, reveal about this genre and by extension what does Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves tell us both about Carter's stories and the tales that informed them?

    Questions such as these, addressed in a series of interrelated case studies, will enable you to examine the practices and negotiations involved in work of transition and appropriation. You will develop skills in textual analysis required for writing effective argumentative essays that engage with diverse literary and cultural materials. In addition the module will harness and develop your creative skills: through a series of workshops you work on short creative writing and group performance projects that respond to the texts and contexts introduced on the module.

    Read full module description

     
  • Throughout time, people have drawn on history and on ideas to explore, question and record the experience of being human.

    This module provides an introduction to the study of that experience, in all its variety. It considers how people, events and ideas, past and present, shape our thinking about society, politics, race, gender, art, culture - and life. It enables students to learn how knowledge and awareness of the past is formed and shaped; how it changes and yet in some ways also remains the same. Students debate and reflect critically on the nature of historical knowledge and how 'history' may differ from 'the past', and they consider the ways in which contemporary cultures and societies are shaped by histories of ideas.

    The module draws on a rich store of experience, knowledge and expertise relating to history, philosophy and the history of ideas. It asks students to consider how history relates to memory and how history is used, and mis-used. History is personal and also communal. It is national, international and global. How are all those histories linked? How did people in the past experience things in terms of equality and inequality, in terms of gender, sexuality and race? Why and how was that experience documented, if at all? What can we learn from it?

    Artists, writers, historians, philosophers, musicians, filmmakers and journalists: all have responded to those and other questions. For this module we introduce students to a range of texts and other representations, using history and the history of ideas to explore and debate what it means to be human. 

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  • This module introduces you to spoken and written communication and will explore a range of texts on a variety of subjects, for varying audiences and purposes including: media discourses and planned and spontaneous texts using written, spoken and electronic formats. You will learn ways of classifying these modes and how to describe significant features of texts using linguistic frameworks. You will demonstrate your new knowledge in an assessed presentation.

    You will also explore the importance of the audience, aka the reader or listener, for effective communication in different contexts Through considering and critically analysing the structure, style and content of articles published on websites, in newspapers and magazines you will begin to develop an understanding of how journalism is directed at specific readerships.

    You will also learn the practical conventions, contexts and functions of written journalism. You will study how to: originate ideas, undertake journalistic research, interview, organise your material, write well and adhere to house style.

    By examining and practising skills needed to develop and write pieces you will aim to produce a journalistic feature that is suitable for publication. Development of practical skills such as asking the right questions, note-taking, identifying quotes, finding information and assessing the reliability of sources will be measured in an accompanying research log.

    This module also includes a personal tutorial hour, which provides an additional forum for you to discuss work undertaken across all of your modules, and to undertake additional personal development and study skills activities.

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Year 1

  • 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 compliments and extends knowledge and understanding of key concepts of performance developed in Making Theatre Happen by focusing on the relationship between the actor and the written playtext.

    There are two interweaving strands and each is designed to serve as a foundation for your ongoing studies.  You will explore fundamental components of drama such as plot, action, character and dialogue and examine ways in which each is presented in a series of written playtexts.  These plays are studied in detail and each is identified as a pretext for performance.  You are introduced to ways of interrogating the texts and develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the relationship between what is written on the page and what is presented on the stage. The same playtexts are also used to explore a range of differing performance methodologies that can be utilised to identify the performance potentials of a text in a workshop environment.  You are led through cycles of Preparation, Exploration and Realisation - understanding what these terms mean and the actions they consist of will be an important aspect of the module - and not only learn appropriate ways in which to create intelligent and imaginative performance informed by a written text but also develop a range of acting skills necessary to perform them effectively. 

    Throughout the module you are also introduced to the basic principles of theatre lighting and sound and will be encouraged to explore the impact of these technical elements when used in a performance context.  

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  • The module introduces you to a range of contemporary cultural and critical perspectives on drama, and investigates the relationship between culture and performance. The major emphasis of the module is upon developing a refined understanding of how drama, theatre and performance operate in different contexts. The main features of the module are the investigation of ways in which drama expresses cultural and critical perspectives in practice, and the exploration of theories such as post-colonialism, feminism, and materialism as creative and analytical tools. The module is taught through seminar discussions and related practical workshops, supported by extra-curricular events such as theatre visits. The module is assessed formatively through the presentation of a performance essay and a supporting rationale.

    Culture and Performance provides an essential platform for your understanding of drama as a discipline, and helps to deepen your understanding of what theatre is, how and why it is made, and how it makes meaning. The module provides an essential introduction to later drama modules that explore cultural and critical perspectives in more detail.

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Year 2

  • 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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Optional Year

Year 3

  • 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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  • This module is an option for all level 6 Drama students. It builds on students' learning in the core Level 5 module DA5004, Modernism and the Stage and, in reflecting on the breakdown of boundaries between different theatre and performance forms in the late 20th century, draws together learning from a wide range of other modules. Its focus is on avant garde conceptions of performance and how these have altered and developed from the mid twentieth century to the present day. A key concept is that of the movement from 'acting' to 'performance'. The module begins with key influences from late Modernism, such as Brecht's Alienation Effect and the Theatre of the Absurd, then moves on to explore the variety of ways in which late 20th and early 21st century avant garde practice has  responded to and challenged thinking about theatre and performance. Postmodern cultural theory and Hans Thies Lehman's notion of the 'postdramatic', provide the context for studies of a range of performance practices which might include the experimental approaches to textual interpretation of companies such as the Wooster Group, site-specific and autobiographical performance, and live art. The module mixes practice with theory, allowing students to apply the principles underpinning work by significant innovators to their own creative practice.

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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.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

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020 3308 9930*

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Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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