Choosing to study Drama and Theatre Studies at Royal Holloway will put you at the centre of one of the largest and most influential Drama and Theatre departments in the world. Here, you'll grapple with the big questions: about ourselves and our cultures, about how we make meaning and tell stories, and about ourselves in relation to other cultures, other times, and other forms of storytelling.
You'll create performances, analyse texts, and bring a range of critical ideas to bear on both. On this course the text and the body, thinking and doing, work together. There's no barrier between theory and practice: theory helps you understand and make the most of practice, while practice sheds light on theory. By moving between the two, you'll find your place as an informed theatre-maker, and by studying a variety of practices, by yourself and with others, you'll get knowledge of the industry as a whole, and learn how your interests could fit into the bigger picture.
We are top-rated for teaching and research, with a campus community recognised for its creativity. Our staff cover a huge range of theatre and performance studies, but we're particularly strong in contemporary British theatre, international and intercultural performance, theatre history, dance and physical theatre, and contemporary performance practices.
You'll be taught in incredible performance spaces you won't find anywhere else, each perfectly enhancing our teaching and research strengths.
Our flexible degree programmes enable you to apply to take a Placement Year, which can be spent studying abroad, working or carrying out voluntary work. You can even do all three if you want to (minimum of three months each)! To recognise the importance of this additional skills development and university experience, your Placement Year will be formally recognised on your degree certificate and will contribute to your overall result. Please note conditions may apply if your degree already includes an integrated year out, please contact the Careers & Employability Service for more information. Find out more
- Gain insight into the theatre industry as well as theory.
- Consider contemporary British theatre, international and intercultural performance.
- Learn about theatre history and politics.
- Go beyond drama with dance, physical theatre, and contemporary performance practices.
- Links with organisations such as the National Theatre, Royal Court and Tate Modern.
Core ModulesYear 1
- Theatre and Performance Making 1
- Theatre and Text
- Theatre and Culture 1
- Theatre and Ideas 1
- All modules are optional
- Group Project
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.Year 1
- All modules are core
In this module you will develop an understanding of non-traditional approaches to performance making that constitute the broader term ‘devised’ practice. You will look at methods of engaging with contemporary life, focussing on a number of key areas of devised practice, including their contexts, forms, and modes of documentation. You will consider the generative roles played by autobiography, the body, political activism and everyday life and use theoretical and practical research to develop your own performance pieces.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the methods of theatre directing. You will look at the role of the director from preparing a play text to staging a successful production, considering the collaborations between actors, designers, playwrights and producers. You will exmaine a variety of approaches to classic texts and new writing, and hone your skills by directing your peers in short scenes from a play of your choice.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the difference between stage acting and acting for camera. You will learn techniques for 'translating' your stage acting skills to mediated performance. You will collaborate through the year with directing students in the Department of Media Arts on an internal monologue film, a silent film, and a short scene, and these can later be used as part of an audition reel.
In this module you will develop an understanding of a range of theatre forms that integrate dance and drama. You will look at the variety of ways that practitioners have chosen to bring text and movement into creative dialogue, using scores, play texts, choreography and movement processes. You will examine the values and principles that drive such experimentation and reflect on the historical, political and cultural contexts within which these practitioners worked. You will consider the work of practitioners such as Pina Bausch, DV8, Frantic Assembly, Complicite, Caryl Churchill and Martin Crimp, and develop a small group performance devised in response to selected texts and styles of movement/dance.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the role of spatial design in a performance context. You will look at how designers respond to and make space for theatre to happen, and through the study of visual composition and visual langauge, will explore the role of spatial design in a performance context. You will consider the the work of a variety of practitioners and will test out your design ideas in a series of practical and performance workshops focusing on textual analysis, space and place, object, performer and the spectator.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how theatre practitioners have frequently sought to represent social reality in order to critique it. You will look at the naturalist stage of the late nineteenth century through to contemporary verbatim performance, and explore the methods and implications of theatre’s 'reality-effects'. You will consider why so many theatre companies and practitioners in the twenty-first century have turned to documentary, tribunal, verbatim and other forms of reality-based performance, and examine a range of contemporary plays and performance texts from around the world, building an awareness of the politics, possibilities and limitations of 'staging the real'.
In this module you will look at the work of debbie tucker green, one of the most exciting black playwrights of the early twenty first century, who's critical acclaim has recognised her original experimental linguistic virtuosity. You will explore the the performance possibilities of her playtexts, considering writing form alongside the topical social and political human rights issues she portrays, such as genocide, urban teenage violence, sex tourism and mental health. You will consider tucker green’s impact as a black British woman playwright by situating her plays in relation to trends in plays by other contemporary black British women playwrights, and examine her work within the context of 21st Century black British new writing.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the wide-ranging discussions of ecology and environmentalism in Shakespeare's plays. You will look at the relations between humans and the natural world, and consider contemporary environmental debates and theatre practices. Guest speakers, such as David Haygarth, Head of Energy and Sustainability at Royal Holloway, will address scientific and commercial topics such as the UN 15 sustainable development goals, and the Caryl Churchill Theatre’s green credentials. You will explore a range of plays by Shakespeare which stage the natural world, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, King Lear, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. You will also examine how environmentalism can impact both theatre and Shakespeare in performance.
In this module you will develop an understanding of children's theatre and the current success of theatre for young audiences. You will look at the innovative performance styles of theatre companies such as Oily Cart and Theatre-rites, and consider how their work has been pushing the boundaries of contemporary theatre. You will examine the Unicorn theatre, the first purpose-built theatre for children in London; playwrights such as Charles Way, Philip Ridley, Neil Duffield, Mark Ravenhill and David Greig; and the work of theatremakers such as Mark Storor and Sue Buckmaster, who bring a blend of visual art, puppetry and live art to performances for children. You will critically analyse how performance installations can excite children’s imaginations, focusing on the visual, tactile and aural elements of theatre and performance.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the diverse art forms that investigate memory in dynamic conversation and the nature of art, history, and humanity. You will look at the disruption to the purpose, value, and nature of art in the aftermath of the cataclysmic events of the Holocaust, and move through the twentieth century to consider different cultures of memory, memorialisation, trauma, and witnessing. You will examine a wide range of cultural textual and performative genres, including first-hand testimony, plays, films, graphic novels, museums, and public monuments.
In this module you will develop an embodied understanding of culture. You will look at different cultural contexts for dance production, considering the context of where, when and how you dance. You will examine the cultural production and consumption of dance, exploring theories grounded in cultural studies and their implications on dance and dancing bodies, such as Marxism, post-modernism, feminism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, gender and sexuality, and psychoanalysis. You will focus on popular dance, global popular culture, and dance on screen, and investigate the relationship between dance practices and the social, political and economic context in which they emerge. You will be encouraged to devise performances which creatively engage with cultural studies.
- Theatre and Ideas: Ideas of Gender and Sexuality
- Theatre and Ideas: The Idea of Tragedy
- Theatre and Ideas: The Idea of Adaptation
- Theatre and Ideas: The Idea of the Musical
- Theatre and Ideas: The Idea of Acting
- Theatre and Ideas: The Idea of Money
- Theatre and Ideas: The Idea of Casting
- Creative Learning and Theatre
- Physical Theatre
- Stage to Screen: Adaptation and Performance of Plays on Film
- The Actor's Voice
- Actor Training in a Globalised World
- Love, Gender and Sexuality
- Race Relations in Theatre, Film and Television
- Naturalist Theatre in Context
- Final Year Project - Special Study
- Final Year Project - Dissertation
- Taught Dissertation
Teaching & assessment
You will be an active partner in your learning process. Our most important teaching tool is the seminar/workshop, a two to three hour class with a maximum of 20 students consisting of discussion, presentation of your research and practical experimentation, with or without written texts.
IT applications are used to explore many aspects of the subject, and we support your capability in this area through an Information Technology Skills course. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle.
You will also take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.
Assessment methods match the course content. For most course units, you will be assessed on two pieces of work, one of which is usually an essay, while the other might be an assignment such as a seminar presentation or a performance. Practical assignments include model box set designs, lighting designs, acting, directing and stage management tasks, physical theatre and movement presentations, or work with schools and other community groups. You will sometimes be assessed as part of a group. We do not operate formal timed examinations.
A Levels: AAB-ABB
- At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics.
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A - levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. Socio - economic factors which may have impacted an applicant's education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Other UK and Ireland Qualifications
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, you may progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
Graduates from the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance go into a wide variety of careers, as well as further academic study. Many go into performance, stage management, broadcasting (including at the BBC), arts administration, journalism, teaching, health, marketing, and PR. Lots of our graduates also start their own performing arts companies.You'll be familiar and confident in performance situations – skills which are vital for meeting and networking, and make you viable for visible leadership roles.
You'll also walk away with considerable experience of technical, intellectual, imaginative, and practical skills, valued by most employers. Aside from these performance skills, you'll also get whole host of other skills in research and project management.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
International students tuition fee per year**: £17,300
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs with studying this course greater than £50 per item. It is a requirement to purchase a pair of safety boots in the first year, for which a range of cost options are available. Ticket costs for mandatory theatre trips are capped at £10.
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2020/21, the fee will be £9,250 for that year. The Government has also confirmed that EU nationals starting a degree in 2020/21 will pay the same fee as UK students for the duration of their course.
**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.