Performing Arts

BA single honours Performing Arts with Foundation Year 2019/20

Year of entry

A number of our degrees are also offered with an additional foundation year (Year 0). Whether you are a school-leaver or someone considering returning to study but don’t have the entry requirements for your chosen subject, a foundation year course may be just what you’re looking for.

A foundation year is the first year of a four year programme which:

  • provides an introduction not only to study at University but also to your chosen subject
  • offers you a highly supportive environment where you can develop the self-confidence, knowledge, skills and understanding for further study.

Following the Foundation Year you will explore areas including:

  • performance analysis
  • directing and devising work
  • production presentation through stage craft, theatre design, lighting and sound techniques
  • the arts community

Our three-year Performing Arts degree gives you a breadth of study related to the training and direction to start a successful career in the creative and performing arts industries. We have, specialist tutors who have been professional practitioners in music, dance, drama and theatre production, and excellent working relationships with the creative industries in and around our lively arts community. 

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

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You can choose a major study in drama, vocal studies creative theatre production or dance and a minor study in drama, vocal studies, creative theatre production or dance. You will also study Perspectives and Stagecraft. There are also options so you can build the programme to suit your interests and developing specialism.

  • Drama 
    You will explore a dramatic text and engage with practical methodologies and rehearsal techniques appropriate to the text studied, gaining awareness of techniques that will help you to analyse character and transfer a textual character into a stage persona. You will develop greater vocal and physical awareness and flexibility, analytical skills, versatility in your acting methods and styles, and enhance your communication between fellow actors and with an audience.
  • Dance
    You will study techniques in contemporary, jazz and African. The investigation and development of ideas through improvisation and movement exploration helps you to develop choreographic skills. It includes a study of mainstream/traditional choreographic devices and compositional structures and offers an introduction to aspects of dance production and design.
  • Vocal Studies 
    You will develop your own singing technique, based on appropriate posture, proper voice placement and production, and strong breath control; this will in turn inform performances showing communication skills and confidence. You will also extend your repertoire to include a variety of solo and ensemble music in a wide range of styles and genres of music.
  • Devising 
    This module focuses on interdisciplinary working and the devising process. The investigation and development of ideas through exploration tasks is central to the work. It includes a study of mainstream/traditional devising devices and compositional structures and offers an introduction to aspects of production and design.
  • Stage Management
    You will explore the very specific roles relating to managing performance for large-scale events together with examples of how those roles conflate to a more all-encompassing single management role for small performance companies. You will have the opportunity to explore these various functions of performance organisation, develop practical skills through the facilitation of various performances throughout the academic year and perform roles within stage management teams for student-devised projects.
  • Multi Media Environments
    This is designed to explore the rapidly emerging and diversifying field of multimedia performance and interactive performance installation. Contemporary performance practice seeks to embrace new performative literacies and makes efforts to engage with current technologies in order to redefine the performance setting and the means by which performance is delivered. The module aims to guide you through this exciting and developing field of practice and expose you to the new theoretical concepts that underpin final performance/ installation works. Where possible, the content of the module will be guided through research informed teaching and practice based research methods.
  • Perspectives 
    The module aim to explore key developments in performance analysis. It will take as the basis of its work a number of key texts from the field, with a particular emphasis on performance studies. The module seeks to develop your understanding of the notion of performance through the exploration of performance practice within a broad context; to include such areas as ritual theory, play, and performance processes. It is intended that you will thus gain an understanding of the theoretical context in which the performing arts are practised and be able to put this understanding into effect in your practical work elsewhere on the course .
  • Stagecraft & Theatre Design 
    The module aims  to introduce you to the design concepts relating to the various discrete production areas that ultimately come together to create a theatrical mise en scène. You will gain a broad understanding of the ways in which the practical elements relating to costume, prop, lighting, sound and staging, communicate with one another on a functional level and how practitioners working in these areas collaborate with respect to a final performance product. The module is designed to prefigure more specific design work and support those students that may wish to explore modules specialising in individual design areas considered in related modules.
  • Creative Theatre Production
    This is designed to introduce you to the basic equipment and processes concerned with providing lighting and audio support for small form theatrical performance. You will also develop planning skills relating to the development and presentation of standard lighting plans.

There is a combination of theoretical lecture/seminar sessions and practical application. All students have a Personal Academic Tutor who works to support and challenge through enabling greater understanding of assignment information, assessment marking and feedback, target setting.

Foundation Year Zero

Students on all of the  Faculty of Arts and Humanities Foundation Year courses will undertake 80 credits of generic core modules introducing them to study in the arts and humanities and university level skills, namely:

  • Academic Writing and Study Skills
  • Personal and Career Development
  • Understanding Arts and Humanities
  • Being Human: an Introduction to the Humanities

In addition you will be offered two 20 credit optional modules, one to be studied in each semester. The full list of optional modules is as follows and you will be placed onto the modules which most effectively complement your degree pathway choice and, where applicable, your study interests:

  • Dangerous Ideas
  • Foundation English Language and Communication
  • Foundation English Literature
  • Foundation Media and Communications
  • Analysing British Cinema
  • Historical Foundations
  • America and the World (subject to validation)
  • Music and Performing Arts in Context
  • The Languages and Theory of Music

Year 1

Core modules

Introduction to Stagecraft

This module will serve as an engaging and primarily practical way of introducing fundamental design concepts for theatre, which traditionally fall under the banner of stagecraft.

Perspectives on Performance 1

The first part of the module will be dedicated to the theory of performance studies taking Richard Schechner’s seminal text as the core work; you will apply its central concepts to examples ranging from canonical dramatic text to everyday life. The second part will focus on exploring ways of reading text and performance with reference to theories relating to space (Pavis, Balme) and the framing of performance (Goffman), and to semiotics and reception theory (Esslin and Bennett).

Interdisciplinary Devising

This module focuses on interdisciplinary working and the devising processes. 

Major Performance in Dance, Drama or Vocal Studies

Including areas such as choreography, jazz, contemporary Limon and African technique for Dance; introduction to text in performance and studying the actor and character for Drama; and contemporary music theatre and legit comic song for Vocal studies.

Optional modules

Minor Performance in Dance, Acting or Vocal Studies

As with Major Performance, but you choose a different discipline for your minor performance module.

Theatre Design 1

You will begin to understand the use of scale and how to communicate ideas in two and three dimensions; and learn how to choose the appropriate materials for model-making and construction. You will also develop your appreciation of the importance of historical research; and explore the conceptual basis of the work of contemporary artists and designers.

Year 2

Core modules

Perspectives on Performance 2

You will explore the politics of identity through feminist theory and psychoanalysis and then reception theory and postmodern performances, placing the emphasis on issues of space and the body.

Major Performance in Dance, Drama or Vocal Studies

Including areas such as choreography and other techniques for Dance; the actor and verse and the actor and object for Drama; and sacred song and early art-song for Vocal studies.

Optional modules

This is an illustrative sample of some of the options we offer. Please note that not all optional modules will run each year. 

Stage Combat

You will consider the nature of historical combat scenarios, including appropriate physical movement and props and weaponry that would be suitable for the time period. You will also be introduced to the notion of site specific combat choreography and the limitations and/ or opportunities that can be afforded by the nature of the physical space.

Theatre Design 2

There will be a focus on the design and creation of costumes and props, with particular emphasis on structures, body extensions, and fantasy (for example animal costumes, armour and pantomime). You will look at the development and fusion of costume- and prop-making techniques applied to and around the human form, including mask- and headdress-making.

Approaches to Applied Performance

The module will primarily focus on the application of drama techniques for intervention in educational settings and/or with young audiences. The first weeks will be dedicated to the study and practical exploration of relevant theories and methodologies from applied theatre practice and arts management, covering a range of contexts including Theatre in Education (TIE) and Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA).

Contemporary Sound and Lighting Design

The module aims to develop and consolidate the work completed in the Lighting and Sound modules at Level 4. This module will focus on extending the awareness of design methodologies and the practical implications of providing lighting provision for a variety of performance genres beyond those of basic theatrical drama.

Stage Management 1a and 1b

This module is designed to introduce you to the concepts and processes relating to stage-managing live performance events. You will explore the very specific roles relating to managing performance for large-scale events together with examples of how those roles conflate to a more all-encompassing single management role for small performance companies.

Interdisciplinary module - Arts and Politics

You examine the incorporation of political agendas into theatre, music, and dance.

Interdisciplinary module - Arts and the Individual

This module considers key influences from individual artists and practitioners across the arts.

Year 3

Core modules

Practice as Research or Dissertation

You can choose to engage more practically or in the written form as you explore an area of interest in greater depth.

Major Performance in Dance, Drama or Vocal Studies

Including areas such as choreography and repertoire for Dance; actor and production and professional practice for Drama; and character song and opera and music theatre for Vocal studies.

Optional modules

This is an illustrative sample of some of the options we offer. Please note that not all optional modules will run each year. You take two optional modules chosen from:

Post-Dramatic Devising

The module will primarily focus on post-dramatic techniques of characterisation and storytelling including the use of persona, autobiographical performance, collage and adaptation. It will be drawing on existing practice by theatre collectives and practitioners such as The Wooster Group, Stan’s Cafe, Reckless Sleepers, Bobby Baker and Forced Entertainment.

Practicing Applied Performance

The module will primarily focus on broadening your understanding of applied performance by introducing you to the broad area of practice, such as the application of performance in the context of heritage, healthcare, social inclusion, environment, and management. In the first weeks, you will explore theories and practices related to applied performance within these contexts and their social, political, ethical and environmental implications.

British Theatre

The module will be focusing on the study of post-war and contemporary theatre examples by an array of British playwrights such as John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Sarah Kane, debbie tucker green, Martin Crimp and theatre companies such as Stan’s Cafe and Joint Stock. It will be covering a range of theoretical approaches and themes including identity politics and stylistic innovation.

Stage Management 2

You will focus on company stage management and the logistics of stage management in a professional context. Emphasis will be placed on professional development and employability, and you will build a portfolio of practical experience to evidence engagement with the professional process.

Theatre Design 3

The module acts as a natural extension to the design input at levels 4 and 5. It aims to broaden your awareness of design methods that move beyond the physically representative to explore the relationship between performance space, audience and the place of the object as a devising catalyst.

Interdisciplinary module: Community Arts Project

You will work as interdisciplinary teams and create a community based arts project, sharing and applying skills, knowledge and understanding of arts to the context and the practicalities of project development, management and delivering a project.

Interdisciplinary module: Multimedia Performance

This module is designed to explore the rapidly emerging and diversifying field of multimedia performance and interactive performance installation. Multimedia performance embraces a new technology as means of extending both the self and place.

We think we have created a course that sends our graduates out well-prepared for the real world of the performing arts in Britain and beyond. You will be able to tackle anything from leading a Commedia workshop to running a lighting desk − and will know how to market yourself in print, online, and in person. What course you take, in a multi-faceted industry, will be up to you – but we will have got you ready for it.


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,575 £8,500
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,900

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2019/20 only. Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Field Trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) Additional travel cost only (as tickets paid for) for trips using local theatres if part of a module or an enrichment activity. Travel is paid for by the School of Music and Performing Arts if using a theatre/going to an exhibition/event beyond the local area and the trip is part of a compulsory activity.
DBS / Health Checks If students choose a commissioned project where a DBS check is needed then they would have to pay for this themselves. There is a charge for this of £52.
Clothing / Kit A basic dance kit for those students taking the dance strand at cost to student.
Learning Materials If students want costumes and props for performance work then these are paid for by students.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

Composition of the course

Each taught module has a standard 50 hours of student contact. This will typically be composed of lecture/seminar work or practical work You will also be expected to engage in 150 hours of self-directed study per taught module.

You will be taught in classes, workshops, lectures, seminars and tutorials, which include a percentage of weekly directed learning. In addition to this, you will be expected to undertake your own learning, class preparation, reading, practice, and assignment work.

Academic input

There are six full-time contracted members of staff involved in this course, who spread their time across Performing Arts and Drama teaching. Dr. Angela Pickard, Subject Lead, is a Principal Lecturer and has extensive experience as a performer (dancer), choreographer, manager and academic. She has published work on creativity, storytelling, role play and educational drama techniques.

All staff on this course have industry experience as performers, community practitioners and in academia in Higher Education.

Given the aim to produce graduates who are competent and confident in the performing arts industry it will come as no surprise to find direct engagement with the Performing Arts and related disciplines: a great deal of practical performance is built into the programme. Students will engage in the various processes of production, rehearsal, performance, presentation of seminars and workshop leadership. The participation of those students who perform within performance workshops and masterclasses will provide the opportunity for their performances to be analysed and performance practice developed.

Whilst the practical component of many modules is important, most modules require an element of written work as part of the assessment strategy. 

You will enjoy the use of a performance studio theatre with full lighting rigs and tech. room and a ‘concert’ hall. We work with a number of professionals for masterclasses and workshops. We have partnerships with two local theatres – The Marlowe and Gulbenkian so giving you access to free tickets to a number of performances.

Find out more about the facilities we have in the School of Music and Performing Arts.

We work with industry stakeholders aligned to the continued development of our teaching programme and research and consultancy work, including artists from Bread and Goose Theatre Company, Reckless Sleepers and Propeller Theatre Company. We also have links with The Marlowe Theatre. We have an Artistic Research Helen Paris working with us.


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Need some help?

For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • W491 Performing Arts with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 4 years full-time


  • September 2019

Entry requirements

  • Candidates should have studied at level 3 and have attained 48 UCAS Tariff points, although those without formal qualifications will be considered.

    You do not need to have significant prior knowledge of Arts and Humanities related subjects but should be motivated to study the subject.

    More entry requirement details.



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Last edited: 22/10/2018 16:13:00