Drama, Theatre and Applied Performance BA (Hons)

3 years full-time 4.5 years part-time (for further information on part-time course combinations available click here)


Drama at Newman scored 91% for overall satisfaction in the 2012 National Student Survey.
Why Study Drama?

This course is for students who enjoy drama and want to understand more about how the art form has developed over time and is used in various ways to reflect and explore some of the most important questions in society today. Visit the SCUDD website to learn about Drama graduates' career prospects and the wide-ranging benefits of a Drama degree. Click here too to watch a video on the importance of a drama degree in the working world.

What does the course cover?

The course is structured in such a way that theory arises out of practice – you will work practically through a wide range of dramatic structures covering both improvisational and scripted work, and have the opportunity to take part in at least one major production each year. The first half of the course covers the history and development of Drama from the Ancient Greeks to the violence and shock of present day Postmodern theatre.

The second half of the course looks at the different ways in which you can use drama in your career, with modules on Drama and Theatre in Education, Drama as Therapy, Writing for Theatre and Community Drama. You will study aspects of Drama such as character development and setting through studying film, television and staging your own productions. Finally, you get to decide how you would wish to use Drama and begin to set out on your own path.

How will I be assessed?

The course offers variety of assessment to suit the experience of the module studied, and will range from presentations, productions and written work, essays, reviews and log books.

What is noteworthy about the course?

One of the main attractions for students on this course is the close personal attention you receive from tutors. As classes and workshops are held in small groups, the tutors can observe your development and help you to improve your skills an individual basis. The lecturers have experience of both the academic and theoretical sides of drama and its practice. In addition, Newman has excellent links with a wide variety of people currently working in the industry, who advise students and know what is required to be successful in the theatre.

This course is one of the few drama degrees in the UK which is vocation centred. Modules offered include the history of drama. Live theatre is seen as a vital aspect of the course and the whole department will usually make a visit to the theatre at least once a term. There is a large element of practical work such as workshops, field trips and work experience to help you define your career plans and gain vital work experience in the theatre. There is also the opportunity to be involved in applied drama projects in schools, hospitals and community venues as part of Newman's Community & Applied Drama Lab (CAD Lab). In recent years, Drama students have taken placements at the Birmingham Rep, Birmingham Hippodrome and The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, amongst others.

What careers can I consider after this degree?

This degree, because of its practical nature, offers you a wide variety of career possibilities. You could become an actor, director, or writer; working in theatre in education, community theatre or mainstream theatre. You could also become a teacher or youth worker, or undertake further study of drama at postgraduate level. In addition, you will acquire a range of skills including developing ideas and constructing arguments, and the capacity to present them in appropriate ways which will be useful in a number of careers.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 280 UCAS points including grades BC or above at A2 level, BTEC National Diploma with an overall grade of Distinction Merit Merit, or an Access Diploma with a minimum of 39 credits with Merit or Distinction. If you have a relevant HND or foundation degree qualification you may progress onto the final year of the degree. You will also need five GCSEs at grade C or above, including GCSE English Language, or a recognised equivalent. All applicants will be invited to prepare a short audition piece. For alternative qualifications please see our entry requirements page.



£8,700 2014/15

Finance and Scholarship information

Course structure


Courses at Newman are constantly evolving to reflect changes in the field of study. Therefore, modules listed here are indicative and may be subject to change for each academic year. Some modules are mandatory and some are optional. Not all modules will be available on all routes through the programme you choose, and modules studied will depend on whether you choose minor, joint, major or single honours routes.

Year 1

Greek drama
The aim of this module is to provide students with a working overview of the origins and development of Greek tragedy and comedy, and its legacy. The module will address key issues of staging, performance and audience relevant to the generation of meaning on the Greek stage, studied in the light of contemporary evidence and surviving texts. It will also explore the work of the three Athenian tragedians – Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides – and the transition from Old Comedy to New Comedy. Students will have the opportunity to read and workshop selected texts in translation, in order to compare the techniques and structure of the plays and the social background to their performance. The module will conclude with an examination of the legacy of classical drama and its transmission to the theatre of 16th-century England.

Acting and Directing
This module will focus on the practical methods used to generate meaning on stage which are at the disposal of cast and director in rehearsal. It aims to introduce students to basic acting and directing skills.

Shakespeare in Society
This module will examine how Shakespearean drama can be lived and experienced by young people today. It is a practical module that aims to engage students in an exploration of Shakespeare’s insights into human nature. It will explore Shakespeare’s work in seminars and workshops through practical work on key Shakespeare play texts, challenging the social and psychological truth of his characters and discovering fresh imagery and metaphor by creating snapshots and improvisations focusing on key themes and issues found in Shakespeare’s plays. By devising, improvising and presenting original scenes based on Shakespearean texts students will be introduced to a range of practical approaches to Shakespeare which examine how ‘classical’ drama can illuminate relevant contemporary social issues, and how Shakespeare can inspire theatre professionals, drama teachers and communities in collaborative projects.

Modern Drama
This module will examine the developments in western theatre during the first sixty years of the twentieth century. Students will look at the transformation of nineteenth century naturalism into twentieth century realism, and explore how realism in turn gives rise to formalist, expressionist, epic, symbolist and absurd drama. We will be viewing and reviewing current professional productions to trace these influences into the present. Teaching will be almost exclusively through practical workshops to enable students to gain practical skills for use in the assessed presentation and future production modules. We encourage you to go to the theatre as often as possible during the module to assess the impact of modernist theories on current theatre practice.

Production Project 1 (double module)
This module will develop students’ ability to use theories acquired regarding acting and directing, technical aspects of signing in theatre, and analysing text and developing character. It will involve the production of a play or part of a play in the realist tradition, and will involve the study and exploration of early twentieth century acting theories, particularly those of Stanislavski.

Arts, Media and British Culture
This single module is open to students in all Creative Arts subjects at level 4 and also to international students. Students will be introduced to a range of cultural products from Art and Design, Drama, Popular Music, Film and Television (as well as online forms that converge these) and to a range of academic approaches to text and culture. The focus of the module is the representation of contemporary Britain in popular culture and students will consider the possible role played by popular culture and the Arts in constructing ideas about social change in the UK.

Academic Development and Employability
All students on combined and single honours undergraduate programmes will go out on a work placement in their second year of study. This module will prepare you for this by providing opportunities to consider the range of graduate-level placement choices available to you, reflect on your previous work and study experiences, identify where to look for placements and create an up-to-date graduate level CV and covering letter.

Year 2

Post Modern Drama
This module will examine the way meaning in western theatre has been structured and then taken apart in the latter part of the twentieth century. We will study structuralism and deconstruction, observing the effects of this in the theatre by reading, performing, viewing and reviewing contemporary plays.

Community Theatre
This module looks at a practical and critical understanding of the role, purpose and effectiveness of various theatre projects in the community. The module will focus on the process of devising and creating an example of community theatre for a particular community audience based on a topic. In teaching sessions, students will be introduced to the history and current practice of community theatre in the UK, and will work on case studies from particular groups of people to produce representations of authentic life stories. For assessment, students will be asked to research a particular community group of their choice, collect information and devise a theatre piece. They will then dramatize, direct and perform an extract of the theatre that has been devised.

Production Project 2 (double module)
This module will normally involve students working together on the production of a single play or short play from the twentieth or twenty-first century of a wide range of styles, from naturalistic to romantic, modern to post modern. The group will choose the play in negotiation with the lecturer. Students may also devise an original play or individual scenes in smaller groups and direct their work collectively under the tutor’s supervision. Assessment will cover the performance, taking into account the students’ contribution to the rehearsal process. The written aspect of the assessment is designed to help students to be focused and critical rather than descriptive of process, encouraging an assessment of theory in practice which is appropriate at this level.

Drama and Theatre In Education (double module)
In this module students will learn the history, theoretical development, and methodologies of Theatre in Education (TIE). They will investigate how TIE relates to both theatrical and educational contexts, its aims and objectives, and apply its techniques and methods for themselves. This module will also explore Drama in Education theory and practice, in the context of your developing understanding of twentieth century theatre theory. The initial focus will be experiential drama. Students will explore the nature and structure of role, noticing how Drama in Education practitioners drew on and developed realist theatre theory to facilitate learning in the classroom. The module will then focus on the later development of a more alienated, reflective style of working in role and finally will explore Drama in Education strategies to shift the nature of contact between role and immediate time, reflecting post-modern preoccupations.

Film Studies
This module allows students in Creative Arts studying Media, Art and Drama to develop a theoretical perspective on the film medium. It covers a range of film styles and movements, institutional knowledge and critical socio-cultural debates concerning film audiences. The assessment allows for an extended applied study of a single film of the students’ choosing.

Work Placement
All single and combined students at Newman University College complete a work placement module in their second year. The work placement aims to give students the opportunity to develop employability skills and apply and explore subject knowledge whilst in the workplace.

Year 3

Writing for Theatre

The module will focus on developing your understanding of dramatic structure, your use of basic devising techniques, and your experience of the creative process in devising or writing a piece of original theatre. The teaching sessions will be a combination of the study of dramatic structure, and the development of your own dramatizations.

Final Production Project (double module)
This double module allows students to select a historical period, theatrical style or practitioner studied on the course, and research, realise and reflect on that area. The module has the practical implementation of theory as its focus, and you are encouraged to in turn reflect on the adequacy of theory as a result of the practical work. The module will give you scope to use and extend your expertise in any area covered by the course.

American Drama
Students studying this module look at three main areas of 21st century American drama: the years between the two World Wars; the war and post-war years up to the election of President J. F. Kennedy in 1960; and the years between 1960 and 1990. Attention will be paid to representative playwrights and plays. Key texts are selected to introduce students to some of the main themes of American plays such as the American dream, materialism, the fragmentation of society, race, and the role of women in society.

Introduction to Drama as Therapy
This module will introduce students to how drama can be used as a therapeutic intervention with groups and individuals within a variety of contexts. It is intended that this course will offer an overview of a range of therapeutic approaches within Drama therapy and other creative arts interventions. Self-directed study and the assessed assignments will offer students the opportunity to explore areas of particular interest in more depth. Beginning with an exploration of how drama and theatre can be therapeutic, this module will then outline the history of drama as a healing process before focusing on the contemporary application of Drama therapy and creative arts processes in current practices.

Dissertation (double module)
The dissertation provides an opportunity for a sustained and focused study on a particular area of Drama, Performance, or Theatre. By the end of the module, students should be able to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of concepts, theories and methodologies. The dissertation must reflect critical reading and independent research. Wherever possible and appropriate, the writing should relate theoretical studies to practice.

Postmodern Culture
Students studying this Creative Arts module will learn how to define postmodern elements within chosen texts and show understanding of how postmodern culture relates to other subject areas. Students will gain a richer understanding of our postmodern society in the UK today and contribute this knowledge in lectures. Students will also be expected to create a piece of postmodern work and have the ability to be able to critically evaluate and analyse its context, as well as contextualise the views and ideas of a postmodern artist.

Moving Image Arts
In this module students will be trained in the use of advanced digital video editing techniques using industry standard software and develop technical and creative confidence in the non-linear editing process. The aim is to prepare students for moving image production work.

Course code

Single Honours: 100% Drama

UCAS code:


Applications for full-time courses are made through UCAS.

Applications for flexible learning courses are made via Newman.

Minor Honours: 25% Drama, 75% other subject

Click here to view UCAS codes and subject combinations



For all enquiries relating to admissions or entry requirements, email us at admissions@newman.ac.uk

Ask us a question about this course

Contact details comments


Contact for admissions enquiries

Tel: 0121 476 1181 (Ext. 2386)
Email: admissions@newman.ac.uk

Contact for course content enquiries:

Graham Stephenson (Senior Lecturer in Drama)
Tel: 0121 476 1181 (Ext. 2468)
Email: info.creativearts@newman.ac.uk

Want to apply? apply

If you’re thinking of applying for this course, then this application info should give you a guide through the process.


Share this page share