Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies

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Specialists across literature, screen and stage

We are an interdisciplinary department with expertise in English literature, drama, creative writing, journalism, film and screen media. Our courses are taught by leading academics, writers, film makers and journalists, and allow you to follow specialised pathways or to combine your interests across our subject areas.


Literature was one of the founding subjects at the University of Essex and since our department's inception in the 1960s under the poet Donald Davie, we have nurtured a tradition of distinguished writers, who have shaped literature as we know it.

Although our department built its reputation on scholarly and critical achievements across English, comparative and world literature, the addition of centres for creative writing, theatre studies, and film and screen media further expanded our range and combined with journalism, a new subject area, give our department its uniquely diverse and interdisciplinary character.

Our teaching draws on our internationally recognised expertise across a range of research specialisms. In literature, our specialisms span from Arthurian legends through Shakespeare and early modern literature to feminist and queer theory, postcolonial writing, and dystopian fiction. Our creative writers are experts in experimental and contemporary poetry, science fiction and fantasy, nature and landscape writing. Our drama academics are professional theatre practitioners, working in the theatre world as writers, directors, actors and theatre-makers, as well as being researchers of theatre history. Our film specialists explore interactive screen media, adaptation, world cinema and documentary and are professional filmmakers with extensive industry experience, and our journalists have held senior editorial and correspondent roles with national and international media organisations.

Did you know we're also home to the UK's most innovative teacher?


Explore our courses

choose us?

We’re 4th in the UK for Drama and Dance in the Guardian University Guide 2024
We’re 7th in the UK for Creative Writing in the Guardian University Guide 2024
14th for drama, dance and cinematics (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023)
88% of our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies UG graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2023)
90.4% of our research impact is world-leading or internationally excellent (Grade Point Average, REF2021)
PhD Drama and Performance
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Essex graduation ceremony
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Matthe w De Abaitua
"In our department, students mix critical understanding with creative practice, developing intellectual and artistic skills vital for engaging with the world."
Matthew De Abaitua Head OF Department
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Our research

The Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies has internationally recognised expertise in the literatures of the British Isles, the Americas, and Europe, combined with strengths in world cinema, film theory and practice, contemporary theatre and poetry, as well as adaptation and translation studies. 

Find out more
Latest news
Search for your theatrical ancestors with new family history guide
07 Aug 2023
Acclaimed author Dr Sarah Perry appointed as new Chancellor
17 Jul 2023
Shining a light on neurodivergent talent
07 Jul 2023
4 students standing outside on the grass with 2 reading notes from books while a third writes
Contact the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: +44 (0)1206 872626