Undergraduate Course

BA Drama

(Including Foundation Year)

Now In Clearing
BA Drama

Overview

The details
Drama (Including Foundation Year)
W408
October 2018
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

Our four-year BA Drama (including foundation year), will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills in order to support your academic performance.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies.

With Drama at Essex, we offer a rich combination of practical workshops, critical seminars and lectures, and employability opportunities delivered by an experienced team of playwrights, directors, and actors, as well as leading academic theatre specialists.

Areas of exploration in our modules include, but are not limited to:

  • Dramatic literature from Ancient Greek tragedy and Shakespeare, to modern plays from around the world
  • Contemporary playwriting and devising techniques
  • Staging political ideas, human rights and social justice issues
  • Gender, identity, orientation and sexual politics on stage
  • Creating Applied Theatre in educational and community contexts
  • Emergent trends in interactive performance-making and audience participation

Through classroom teaching, practical experiment and professional experience, we help you craft the skillset that will be essential in your creative development. This approach reflects our core belief that engaging with both practice and theory produces a deeper understanding of how theatre works.

Our commitment to the student experience is why we are ranked 2nd in the UK for Drama (Guardian University Guide 2019) and 3rd for Dance, Drama and Cinematics in the Times Good University Guide 2018. Our students love us too - 96% of our Drama students expressed overall satisfaction with their course in the 2018 National Student Survey. Other courses within the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, including Literature, Creative Writing, Filmmaking and Journalism, are available as options to all our students.

Why we're great.
  • We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
  • We offer two start dates, so you can start your degree in October or January.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.

Our expert staff

We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.

Become part of the theatre industry by studying with people in the theatre industry. All staff in the Centre for Theatre Studies are professional theatre-makers as well as leading academics in our individual fields. We share a passion for creative and engaging teaching; bringing you ideas and practices informed by our global research interests.

Our high ranking in the Guardian University Guide is made possible because we are a community of award-winning playwrights, directors, performers and practitioners, as well as pre-eminent critics and theoreticians. Alongside specialist guest tutors in acting, directing and stage-management, our core teaching staff includes:

  • Professor Jonathan Lichtenstein is a playwright who has written for Radio 4 and the National Theatre. His awards include a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival and his plays have been performed internationally. He is a recognised expert in teaching playwriting and dramatic form.
  • Dr Elizabeth Kuti is also a playwright, and is currently Writer-in-Residence for Hampton Court. She has won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Stewart Parker Radio Award; and has been commissioned by the National Theatre; the Abbey Theatre, Dublin; and writes regularly for BBC radio. She also researches in the field of eighteenth-century theatre.
  • Dr Liam Jarvis is Co-Director of Analogue and a playwright and theatre practitioner. He also writes and publishes widely on contemporary theatre theory and practice, with a specialism in immersive, interactive and digital theatre.
  • Annecy Lax is a specialist in Applied Theatre and human rights in performance, with over a decade of experience in testimonial and verbatim theatre. She has worked in numerous community and educational settings as a facilitator and playwright, and has had work produced by the National Theatre, Soho Theatre and the Bush Theatre.
  • Dr Mary Mazzilli is a renowned specialist in World Theatre and is also a practicing playwright and Creative Director of Lumenis Theatre company. As well as touring her work internationally, Mary has published on Chinese Theatre, dramaturgy, translation and digital theatre.

We also regularly invite visiting professionals to take master classes with our students, allowing you to enter into dialogue with the leading figures in theatre. Past visitors include: Gecko Theatre, Frantic Assembly, Uninvited Guests, Clod Ensemble, Freedom Theatre, Tim Crouch, Anna Birch, David Eldridge, Jessica Swale, Melanie Wilson, Robert Holman, Clare Bayley, Lisa Goldman, David Thacker, Annie Castledine, Bobby Baker, Mike Attenborough.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials.
  • Our Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends.

Take advantage of our other extensive learning resources to assist you in your studies:

  • The Lakeside Theatre is a purpose-built 200-seat venue in the heart of the University campus. We stage productions by leading touring companies and new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students.
  • Additionally, the Lakeside Studio is an intimate fully equipped black box theatre. Each year, we invite proposals from current and former Essex students to make work for this space as part of our Homegrown Shows programme.
  • The Lakeside Theatre also makes a connection to the cultural hubs of our country as a host of the prestigious National Theatre Live and Royal Shakespeare Company Live screenings.
  • We programme practical workshops by world-leading invited artists to help you develop new performance skills.
  • Our weekly research seminars provide further opportunities for students to hear writers and practitioners discuss their craft.
  • The Research Laboratory creates unique opportunities for our students to contribute to the testing of new ideas over the course of a full rehearsal process. Students collaborate with professional writers, actors, directors, musicians, and choreographers. As part of a creative team, new research questions are explored in practice, with opportunities to share work-in-progress with audiences.
  • As well as our high-spec theatre spaces, our campus is home to a wealth of non-theatre venues, including The Hex and ArtExchange, that we use to innovate new site-based work.
  • Our students have access to the University’s Media Centre, equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite.
  • There are also opportunities to write for our student magazine Rebel or host a Red Radio show.
  • Students can view classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre.

Your future

Be an actor, a writer, a director, a stage-manager, a producer – or something even more exciting! A drama degree opens many doors. Creativity, communication and versatility are highly valued skills in our rapidly changing world.

Our students have gone on to become actors, directors and playwrights, as well as producers, live artists, dramaturgs, stage-managers, and arts managers. Essex students have built rewarding careers as youth workers, community practitioners, drama therapists, and as teachers and academics.

The skillsets developed at Essex have also seen our students find success in a range of related creative industries including journalism, television production, broadcasting, radio presenting, gaming, magazine editing, copywriting, press relations and marketing, as well as in business, commerce and law.

Our graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of creative roles including:

  • Writer in Residence for the National Theatre
  • Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre, London
  • Artistic Director of a successful touring company
  • Director for the Almedia Theatre, London
  • Manager at a renowned regional theatre
  • Live-Artist for Art Angel
  • BBC Journalist
  • Youth Theatre Leader & Workshop Facilitator
  • Outreach and Education Officer
  • Front of House Theatre Manager
  • Stage-manager
  • Secondary School Teacher

We work closely with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

“Starting at Essex was a wonderful experience. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly, and the Theatre Arts Society allowed me to socialise with a lot of like-minded students. I am now working for a number of different organisations as a theatre facilitator, including Almeida Projects, Mercury Theatre and Stagecoach. I am so proud that I am able to use different elements of my degree every day in my work.”

Jordana Golbourn, BA Drama, 2011

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

If you have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2018 entry through Clearing. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

The United Kingdom from 1900 to the Present Day

Britain has experienced unprecedented changes in the last 100 years. What has brought about these changes and how have they affected the Britain of today? This course will outline political, economic, social and cultural change in the UK during the Twentieth Century and beyond and offer an insight into Britain’s place in the modern world.

View The United Kingdom from 1900 to the Present Day on our Module Directory

Major Writers in English Literature

Want to study Hamlet? And contemporary works by Angela Carter or Kazuo Ishiguru? Interested in World War One poetry? Study a range of drama, poetry and prose fiction. Describe, analyse and reflect on key texts from Shakespeare to the present day. Become familiar with the crucial terms for assessing literature.

View Major Writers in English Literature on our Module Directory

Political and Social Theory From Plato to the Present Day (optional)

How did Plato and Aristotle influence Western political thought? How do you study class or gender today? What impact does globalisation have? Examine the history of social and political theory, critically analysing current issues. Understand key topics in politics and sociology for further study of the social sciences and humanities.

View Political and Social Theory From Plato to the Present Day (optional) on our Module Directory

Introduction to Theatre Studies

This is the foundational module for your BA Drama Degree. We enrich your existing knowledge of major theatre practitioners – Aristotle, Brecht, Artaud and Stanislavski – and complement these studies by introducing new theatre theorists, movements and styles. Examine plays from Ancient Greece to today, discussing issues like genre, representation, reception, modernism and postmodernism. This module blends together practical and theoretical classes to create the building blocks for an informed study of theatre practice.

View Introduction to Theatre Studies on our Module Directory

Theatre Making

This module looks at how theatrical ideas developed and made into reality. The module guides you carefully through the technical expertise required, and allows you to explore lighting, sound and stage management in professionally-led workshops. Through a series of workshops, seminars and field trips, including theatre and gallery visits, students will be introduced to the variety of stimuli and strategies that theatre makers use to create a production. The content of this half-module is closely linked to the programme of the Lakeside Theatre, students will see professional performances, be introduced to visiting professional theatre makers and will experiment with a range of practical processes that they use. Students will be introduced to a variety of rehearsal processes and techniques commonly used by contemporary theatre and performance makers.

View Theatre Making on our Module Directory

Devising

This module introduces you to the rehearsal processes involved in both bringing a dramatic text to life (Text into Action) and drawing on practitioner’s methodologies to devise different kinds of performance forms, from physical theatre to interactive performance (Action into Text). The module will form the foundations for understanding how plays work three-dimensionally (the journey from page to stage) and expand the boundaries of what resources theatre-makers might draw upon as a trigger to innovate inspiring live performance events.

View Devising on our Module Directory

Contemporary Texts and Contexts (optional)

What is contemporary writing? And how is it characterised? Don’t just study known “traditional” genres of literature, what about the emerging new genres of writing that are challenging readers? Analyse contemporary English writing, published within the last ten years, looking at themes, forms, issues and language.

View Contemporary Texts and Contexts (optional) on our Module Directory

Introduction to United States Literature (optional)

What is US literature? What makes it different from other writing in the English language, particularly work from the UK? Study classic texts that have established US literature as a distinct tradition in itself and gain an understanding of the issues surrounding this.

View Introduction to United States Literature (optional) on our Module Directory

Models of Practice

What are the links and connections between texts? Do these exist even if the plays seem diverse? Explore a range of texts from the medieval period to the 1980s, analysing genre, dramatic form, language, narrative and dramatic debate. Through practical sessions, consider approaches like staging, verse-speaking, montage and character development.

View Models of Practice on our Module Directory

Gender in Performance: Sexual Politics and the Stage (optional)

One of our highest rated modules examines how the theatre explores and exploits gender in performance. Can theatre make a significant contribution to our understanding of the shifting picture of sexual identity and ideology? This module takes a dynamic historical sweep to examine how the theatre has debated sexual politics. Here we apply gender theory and feminist criticism to examine a range of plays, theatre practitioners and performance artists. This is a module for anyone curious to understand the many ways perceptions of gender influence identity, image, expression and power.

View Gender in Performance: Sexual Politics and the Stage (optional) on our Module Directory

Narrative and Film (optional)

How do films tell their story? What narrative conventions do genre films utilise? How do filmmakers adapt original literature to create new stories? Explore meanings in different film narrative using classic, modernist and postmodern examples. Understand narrative conventions in genre films. Study screen adaptation, the cinematic remake and transmedia storytelling.

View Narrative and Film (optional) on our Module Directory

World Cinema (optional)

What are the major developments in film outside of Hollywood? Examine different regions, nations, movements and trends in international cinema. Understand styles and themes shared by certain schools of filmmakers. Analyse how films represent national/regional histories, and how these factors shape their reception as national, transnational or “world” cinema.

View World Cinema (optional) on our Module Directory

Alternative Americas: Independent Film (optional)

Does Hollywood have the last word on America? What do we mean by independent motion pictures? Understand the diverse and changing modes of film production in the USA. Formulate your own ideas of the social, cultural and political dimensions of American films and filmmaking in the last 40 years.

View Alternative Americas: Independent Film (optional) on our Module Directory

The Victorians: Writers and Society (optional)

How did literature respond to scientific and technological developments during the Victorian period? What about urbanisation and the growth of industrial cities? What impact did the British Empire expansion have? Explore a range of poetry and prose to understand how writing evolved during sixty-four years of unprecedented vitality and change.

View The Victorians: Writers and Society (optional) on our Module Directory

Post-War(s) United States Fiction (optional)

How has the American identity and purpose changed since World War Two? And how is this reflected in literature? Gain answers to these questions via a range of American texts. Analyse these works using a variety of critical approaches, considering social, political and cultural contexts since the Second World War.

View Post-War(s) United States Fiction (optional) on our Module Directory

Cultural Ideology and Film (optional)

How do films tackle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Or issues about surveillance and asylum? What about gender and violence? Explore the complex relationship between cinema and ideology through a diverse selection of international films. Analyse how cinema can be an ideological medium, both sustaining and interrogating our social and cultural values.

View Cultural Ideology and Film (optional) on our Module Directory

Film and Propaganda (optional)

Can films really tell us what to think? Why was cinema championed as a way to transmit state ideologies in the interwar period? Explore a range of films, studying their production and reception. Learn to assess historical arguments in your critical analysis of films, broadening your perspectives on film studies.

View Film and Propaganda (optional) on our Module Directory

Shakespeare: The Tragedies (optional)

To what degree are Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth and Othello tragedies? How useful is this term in understanding them? Undertake a close reading of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies. Critically discuss recent issues about each, in groups and in your own work. Gain an understanding of their enduring and/or present significance.

View Shakespeare: The Tragedies (optional) on our Module Directory

The Story and Myth of the West (optional)

Investigate the myths surrounding the founding of the United States. Crossing disciplines of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and cinematic and theatrical texts, you compare the classic Western against a range of counter-narratives from black, Hispanic, latino, and aboriginal storytellers. This module interrogates the concept of a 'national literature', explores the relationship between folklore and contemporary society, and investigates the relationship between the Western as a narrative form, and the history of colonialism in the U.S.A.

View The Story and Myth of the West (optional) on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
  • A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week
  • Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
  • Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention

Assessment

  • Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, book reviews, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

TBC

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2018 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018
  • Saturday, October 27, 2018

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


Apply now
Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

We want you to throw yourself in at the deep end, soak up life and make the most of those special Essex moments.

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Related courses

Two women looking at a PC screen
Ask us a question

Want to quiz us about your course? Got a question that just needs answering? Get in touch and we’ll do our best to email you back shortly.