Skip to main content

Performing and Digital Arts

Performing and Digital Arts

BA
Apply now

If we make you an offer for this course for 2022 entry, we guarantee to confirm your place even if one of your final A-level results is one grade below those you have received in that offer. Equivalencies and exclusions apply. Full details here.

This programme is currently under development and may be subject to change

Key information

Duration: 3 years full time or 6 years part time

UCAS code:

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees: £9,250

International/EU fees: £21,900

The course

Performing and Digital Arts (BA)

The BA Performing and Digital Arts at Royal Holloway offers you a truly interdisciplinary experience to explore your passions and interests across our departments of Drama, Theatre and Dance, Media Arts and Music.

Taking full advantage of the breadth of both the practical and theoretical expertise of our academic staff, you’ll be able to tailor a journey through the course that is unique to you and fits with your special interests and ambitions. From learning about sound design in video games, to exploring the world of theatre and acting for camera, from coding for the arts and digital storytelling to discovering world music – there are a wealth of opportunities open to you to explore the Arts with us.

As part of your studies you’ll also have the opportunity to make use of the outstanding facilities we have on offer across the different departments, including our Media Arts computer labs, our professional-grade composition studios and our Caryl Churchill Theatre which is a fully flexible learning and performance space which seats over 150.

  1. Embark on an interdisciplinary exploration of Drama, Music, and Media Arts.
  2. Industry-focused 2nd year module to prepare you to take your skills to the workplace.
  3. Enjoy a flexible curriculum where you make your own path.
  4. Ability to specialise within one Department if you wish to.
  5. Your choice of an interdisciplinary written or creative dissertation in your final year.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience, and this is particularly the case as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • Theatre and Performance Making 1
  • This course introduces students to the socio-cultural contexts, functions, philosophies, techniques, and organising principles of a variety of musics of the world; musics from at least three continents will be studied. These musical traditions will be approached from both theoretical and practical perspectives, also giving a variety of opportunities for hands-on experience. Course content will vary from year to year according to staff interests, availability of musicians to provide workshops, and to ensure freshness of approach. A typical curriculum might cover the following regions and theoretical themes:

    • World Music - Introduction (culture, contact & concepts)
    • South America: Andes to Amazon (exchange)
    • Africa: Jaliya and Mbira (the musician)
    • Indonesia: Sundanese Gamelan (temporal organisation)
    • North India: The Classical Tradition (improvisation)
    • Papua New Guinea: The Kaluli (music and ecology)
    • Iran: The Persian Classical Tradition (music & religion).

You will choose one of the following modules:

  • This module provides a history of the innovations in digital storytelling that have developed over the last several decades, and teaches you the technical skills to produce your own innovative digital stories. From hypertext novels to contemporary video games, we look at how storytelling has changed since the invention of the internet. Then, we learn the skills needed to produce several forms of digital narratives including text-based games, interactive video, location-based experiences and social media storytelling. Students develop a portfolio of both creative and written work.

  • This module introduces you to the creation of artistic and experimental digital projects based on computer code. The first part of the module critically interrogates ‘code’ as a medium in digital arts practices, with reference to the history and politics of computing. The second half of the module explores how we can creatively and critically rethink human-computer interaction beyond familiar controllers such as the mouse, keyboard, and touchscreen. Under the umbrella of creative code and software art, you will view, interact with, and discuss a range of projects, and draw on their form and content to develop a portfolio of digital artworks.

     

You will choose one of the following modules:

  • This course introduces students to a range of key debates and issues in contemporary musicology and to a range of key issues concerning music in the contemporary world. It encourages students to think about music’s relation to social and cultural contexts and introduces them to unfamiliar musical styles and repertoires as well as broaden understanding of those closer to home. It hones students’ skills in reading a wide variety of critical and theoretical writing about music. This course will survey some of the key contemporary issues in music that have arisen from the changes of the modern world, as well as contemporary debates in musicology. The twentieth century in particular has seen a transformation of musical cultures across the world, and this course looks at a range of the issues and controversies that have emerged as a result. The study of music has broadened to include many more social, cultural and political. This course will introduce students to truly contemporary ways of studying music, combining approaches and issues traditionally associated with musicology, ethnomusicology and popular music studies, divisions which are becoming increasingly blurred. Lecture topics may include:

    • Ideas of ‘authenticity’ in music

    • Value judgements about music

    • Protection and preservation of music

    • Heritage and revivals

    • Music and tourism

    • New forms of fusion and hybridity

    • The idea of ‘world music’.

    • Music and identity

    • Music and gender

    • Music and race

    • Music and nationalism

  • The aim of this course is to develop students' awareness of music theory through practical exercises and musical analysis. Through practical exercises that focus on musical literacy as well as aural awareness, students develop the ability to identify and analyse the musical parameters of metre, rhythm, pitch, harmony, counterpoint and form. In-class exercises may focus on listening, whereas exercises for self-study or small-group work may include written exercises. Tasks set for private study between classes provide a basis for students to continue their own practical training throughout their musical careers.

Year 2
  • Arts and Cultural Industries
Year 3

You will choose one of the following modules:

  • Special Study: Written Dissertation
  • Special Study: Creative Dissertation

Optional Modules

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

You will take 30 credits worth of modules from each of the following subject areas. Such modules may include:

  • Theatre and Text 1
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of a variety of narrative strategies and structures in audio-visual media, in particular, film and television. You will look at narrative form, structure and cultural context, and examine the principles of narrative screenwriting. You will analyse a range of primary and secondary audio-visual and written sources, and create your own short original screenplay, applying relevant formal and presentation conventions.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of film, television and digital media history. You will look at how and where digital media intersect and converge with these moving image forms, examining media from the late 19th century through to the present. You will consider how even 'old' technologies were 'new' at some point, and analyse the relationship between technological, social and aesthetic developments in new media forms.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key debates in critical theory. You will look at a range of different methods in studying film, television and digital media, including artistic achievement and critical interpretation, close textual analysis, ideological analysis, national cinema, and psychoanalysis. You will examine the relationship between the intentions of individual film and programme-makers and wider processes. You will consider films and television programmes in close detail, analysing the relationship between how something is achieved and what it means.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of digital narratives and cultures with an emphasis on audiovisual storytelling. You will learn skills in the creative practice of audiovisual media for digital platforms, producing a three to five minute short film. You will work iteratively and gain weekly feedback on your ideas and work-in-progress. You will learn how to shoot stories on mobile phones and lightweight cameras, how to edit these on Final Cut Pro, and key sound design skills.

  • This module dovetails with 3D Digital Art. You will learn the fundamentals of the Unity Game Engine and how to create a pipeline between the integration of your assets and game engine functionality. You will also learn the coding language C# from the ground up to create engine functionality and understand how code is integral to working in a pipeline in the games industry. This module will allow you to create fun and interesting games and game levels to help you build the skills you need to work in teams as well as the discipline required to be an Indie Developer.

     

  • This module provides a history of the innovations in digital storytelling that have developed over the last several decades, and teaches you the technical skills to produce your own innovative digital stories. From hypertext novels to contemporary video games, we look at how storytelling has changed since the invention of the internet. Then, we learn the skills needed to produce several forms of digital narratives including text-based games, interactive video, location-based experiences and social media storytelling. Students develop a portfolio of both creative and written work.

  • This module introduces you to the creation of artistic and experimental digital projects based on computer code. The first part of the module critically interrogates ‘code’ as a medium in digital arts practices, with reference to the history and politics of computing. The second half of the module explores how we can creatively and critically rethink human-computer interaction beyond familiar controllers such as the mouse, keyboard, and touchscreen. Under the umbrella of creative code and software art, you will view, interact with, and discuss a range of projects, and draw on their form and content to develop a portfolio of digital artworks.

     

  • This course introduces concepts underlying the historical and critical study of music. It enables students to begin thinking critically about the priorities that underlie historical texts from different intellectual traditions and stimulates them to relate features of musical compositions and performances to wider historical contexts. It provides students with opportunities to develop skills in research and information retrieval and in critical reading of primary and secondary literature, to receive formative feedback on those skills, and to build a foundation for higher-level study. This course introduces students to the different kinds of historical question that we can ask about music, and interrogates some of the terminology and categories frequently used in the secondary literature (e.g. canonisation, reception, tradition, nationalism, exoticism, the work concept). Case-studies are used to illuminate specific topics and problems in the historiography of a wide variety of musics.

  • This course gives students the opportunity to practise the art of musical composition and develop skills in independents creative work. The precise topics taught may change depending on the research interests of the staff responsible for teaching the course, but typically include:

    • Writing for solo instrument or voice with accompaniment

    • Writing for small chamber ensemble

    • Introduction to media and film music

    • Studio techniques

  • The module aims to develop a broad range of innovative, practical, creative and collaborative musical skills. It promotes student initiative and creativity, while developing focused, critical, technical and context sensitive perspectives on selected musical repertoires/traditions/genres. It seeks to explore, reflect upon, extend and/or challenge specific musical performance conventions. The module will commence with at least two plenary lectures/seminars at the start of term one, when the module aims will be clarified, followed by fortnightly workshops and plenary meetings through terms 1 and 2. A list of student performance interests/skills will be circulated immediately after the first meeting. Students will then be requested to form their own groups. Flexibility in membership will be permitted until the end of term one when students must commit to a group with whom to be examined. Any student not integrated in a group will be allotted to one by the module tutor. All students will be required to regularly document their experience of group participation and creative practice in a performance diary.

Year 2

You will take 105 credits of optional modules from across Drama, Media Arts and Music, with a minimum of 15 credits from each. Such modules may include:

  • All modules are core

Drama

  • 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 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'.

  • Theatre and Ideas: The Idea of the Musical
  • Theatre and Ideas: Ideas of Gender and Sexuality

Media Arts

  • Post-Classical Hollywood
  • Animation and Visual Effects
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how creativity is constrained and enabled by the industrial logics of the creative industries. You will focus on film, television and digital media, exploring issues such as economics and financing, pitching and commissioning, policy and regulation, copyright, formats and global trade, ratings and audience measurement, branding and marketing, digital production logics, and production cultures. You will also consider a number of important industry-oriented research skills, such as interviewing, market/demographic analysis, locating and interpreting legal documents, and archival research.

  • Creative Digital Arts

Music

  • Ensemble Performance
  • Mozart's Operas
  • Korean Percussion Performance
  • Music and Video Games
Year 3

You will take 90 credits of optional modules from across Drama, Media Arts and Music. Such modules may include:

  • All modules are core

Drama

  • Physical Theatre
  • Race Relations in Theatre, Film and Television
  • Shakespeare
  • The Actor's Voice

Media Arts

  • Cinematography
  • Media Technologies
  • The Poetics of Contemporary Television
  • Screen Documentary

Music

  • Bach: Context and Reception
  • Digital Tools for Music Studies
  • Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze
  • Claude Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics

Students will take a range of different modules from across the departments of Drama, Music, and Media Arts. You will be taught in a range of different styles, including seminars, workshops, tutorials, lectures, and individual supervision. The assessments across the degree modules vary and include essays, presentations, performances, practical projects, and open-book exams. In the final year, you will complete either a written or creative dissertation. You’ll also be allocated a personal tutor from one of the departments to guide you through your course.

A Levels: AAB-ABB

Required subjects:

  • At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Maths.

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. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.

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.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.

Undergraduate Pathways

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, the International Study Centre offers the following pathway programmes:

International Foundation Year - for progression to the first year of an undergraduate degree.

International Year One - for progression to the second year of an undergraduate degree.

The skills needed to excel in the creative and cultural industries are becoming more interdisciplinary in nature. Performers, musicians, technicians, and directors are all collaborating in a much more fluid way, which necessitates understandings of each other’s practices as well as digital, collaborative, and critical thinking skills.

The Second Year compulsory module “Arts and Cultural Industry” cultivates these skills in an interdisciplinary framework and investigates career pathways.  As a student on BA Performing and Digital Arts, you will also be encouraged to take a Year in Industry to grow your real-world skills of the workplace and put your learnings from your course into practice.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

EU and International students tuition fee per year**: £21,900

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 loansscholarships 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 2021/22, the fee will be £9,250 for that year. The fee for UK undergraduates starting in 2022/23 has not yet been confirmed.

**The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2022, we will award a fee reduction scholarship equivalent to 60% of the difference between the UK and international fee for your course. This will apply for the duration of your course. Find out more

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 at Royal Holloway during the 2021/22 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

Drama, Theatre and Dance Undergraduate Admissions

 

 

Admissions office: +44 (0)1784 414944

7th in the UK for performing arts

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2020 (Drama, Theatre and Dance)

1st for research intensity

Source: Complete University Guide, 2021 (Drama, Theatre and Dance)

18th in the world for performing arts

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2021

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

They say the two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today