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Theatre BA

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Study mode

3 year full-time; 4 year thick-sandwich; 4-7 year part-time

UCAS code

W440, W441 with placement year

Start date


Study location

Brunel University London campus

Entry criteria

BBB (A-level)

Placement Offered This course has a placement year option


Top 5 in London (Guardian League Table 2018)

Brunel University London’s impact on the future wages of its graduates is among the best in the country compared to other universities, according to a new analysis of government data by The Economist (2017).

About the course

The Theatre at Brunel will offer you subject specialist skill-sets that you will gain from a holistic approach to studying and training in performance while also acquiring fundamental transferable life skills of collaboration, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, communication, problem-solving and project-management, that are applicable in professional environments. 

At Brunel we offer you the opportunity to study and specialise in a wide variety of skills-based strands ranging from Acting, Applied Drama, Digital Performance, Directing, Musical Theatre, Physical Theatre and Playwriting. You then get the chance to apply what you’ve learnt not only in your final year project but through our work experience module ‘Professional Experience and Development’. You’ll study both theatre theory and practice in historical and contemporary contexts while being supported by a friendly and wide-ranging personal tutoring system. 

You will be taught by staff who are cutting edge academics and industry specialists and who will enable you to nurture your own links with the world of employers once you finish your degree at Brunel. We offer practical routes to careers in the creative industries, in education or in further postgraduate research. 

Our strategic location in London enables us easy access to the city’s rich and diverse culture and theatre events. We seek every opportunity to take you on theatre visits and look for ways to offer you workshops with cutting edge theatre companies as part of your course. Past theatre trips have included productions at in the West End, The Barbican, The National Theatre, Royal Court, Sadler’s Wells and many others.


The BA in Theatre at Brunel prepares you for a future in the theatre and creative industries, education, further study and research, as well as many other career paths by developing you in the following ways:

  • Enhancement of subject specific creative skills through the strands of Acting, Directing, Applied Drama, Physical Theatre, Digital Performance, Musical Theatre and Playwriting.
  • Nurturing of critical thinking skills alongside historical and contextual knowledge that supports the practice and analysis of theatre and theoretical debates arising from theatre as a live event.
  • Provision of opportunities for career-focused work experience.
  • Honing in on essential life and career skills including leadership, independent thinking, working within a team, research and presentation skills


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course content

You will encounter cutting-edge performances and critical cultural theories with an emphasis on historical and contemporary contexts and practices. 

In your final year you will – through independent and collaborative work – be ready and able to produce a theatre or musical theatre performance, an applied drama project, a full-length play, or a written dissertation. 

The BA consists of both compulsory and optional modules allowing you to tailor your degree in several ways. A typical selection can be found below. Modules do sometimes vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach over three years of study.

Level 1


  • How to Read a Play: Fundamentals of Dramatic Text 
  • Perspectives 1: Introduction to Theatre and Performance Studies
  • Ensemble Production


  • Acting: Essential Skills
  • Applied Drama Practice: an Introduction
  • Digital Performance 1
  • Directing 1: Contexts, Theories and Practices
  • Playwriting 1
  • Musical Theatre 1
  • Physical Theatre 1: Between Dance and Theatre

Level 2


  • Perspectives 2


  • Acting: Beyond Naturalism
  • Directing 2: Contexts, Theories and Practices
  • Writing 2: Experiments in Language for Performance
  • Applied Drama: Project
  • Physical Theatre 2: Performance and Embodiment
  • Digital Performance 2
  • Musical Theatre: Histories, Practices and Theories
  • Performance as Research: Second Year Production Module

Level 3


  • Final Production


  • Written Dissertation


  • Advanced Musical Theatre
  • Advanced Acting
  • Advanced Physical Theatre
  • Perspectives 3: Battling with Ideas
  • The Canon Re-loaded: Adapting Classics
  • New Writing: Page to Stage
  • Writing Poetry for Performance
  • Psychogeography
  • Chaucer to Shakespeare Literature
  • Violence Literature
  • Modern and Contemporary Lesbian Literature
  • The Horror Film
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Victorian Literature and Culture
  • Digital Performance and Technology
  • Professional Experience and Development

Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.


Brunel graduates enjoy an excellent employment record and there will be a strong focus throughout your study on the development of your employability skills. 

By graduation, in addition to the specific set of theatre based creative techniques and skills you have developed, you will also have direct experience and knowledge of: 

  • planning and managing creative projects from scratch to deliver in front of an audience
  • managing a production budget
  • liaising with external organisations
  • techniques that increase confidence and perseverance
  • designing for specific audiences and working in the community

You will also have considerable experience of:

  • working and negotiating as part of a team
  • working independently to deadlines
  • researching, analysing and synthesising materials
  • presenting ideas both in oral and written form 

The university’s award-winning Professional Development Centre is available for drop-ins, where you can obtain advice and information on a range of career opportunities. 

We supplement this service by offering creative industries focused events and through our Level 3 Placement and Professional Development module.

Careers and your future

Potential graduate destinations include:

  • creative positions within the theatre industry
  • management and administrative positions within the creative industries as a whole
  • community based careers in applied drama practice
  • educational work either in schools or in the growing number of education departments attached to theatres
  • postgraduate study.

Past students have gone on to work as: theatre producers, actors, directors, performers, playwrights, stand-up comedians, casting agents, event managers, animateurs, arts administrators, community theatre officers for local councils, drama teachers, researchers, public relations professionals, drama therapists and academics.

Apart from the wide number of theatre related work opportunities which you will be able to explore, our subject team also has well established links with theatre venues and companies in London and the UK. You will be encouraged to draw on these relationships in order to undertake the right work experience placement at Level 3.

Work placements

The theatre programme provides a well-regarded Professional Experience and Development module where you have the opportunity to gain professional experience working in an area related to your studies. As well as gaining valuable experience in a professional environment, the ‘boot camp’ at the end of your second year allows you to think about your future direction more concretely, and provides you with opportunities to work on and develop the approach and techniques necessary to feel confident when applying for jobs and internships. We work closely with Brunel’s award-winning Professional Development Centre to provide guidance and feedback on your aspirations, as well as providing support with:

  • CVs
  • applications
  • covering letters
  • interview technique
  • presentation skills 

Here are some recent examples of professional experiences our students have undertaken:

  • marketing and box office at Park Theatre
  • working with disadvantaged people with the Mousetrap Theatre Company
  • administrator and script reader at the Finborough Theatre
  • casting assistant at Rose Wicksteed Casting
  • Festival assistant at the Vaults, London
  • assistant stage management at the Unicorn Theatre
  • arts manager for Icarus Theatre Company
  • assisting with drama classes at Grieg City Academy

The Theatre programme includes the option of doing a one year ‘sandwich’ placement year. Preparation for the sandwich placement begins in level 2 and commences at the end of level 2, coming to a close before commencing your final year of study. This option extends a full time programme from three to four years.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Entry criteria 2019/20

  • GCE A-level BBB (all subjects considered).

  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDM in Art and Design, Creative Media Production, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Music and Music Technology, Performing Arts, Production Arts or Travel and Tourism.

  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in Art and Design, Creative Media Production, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Music and Music Technology, Performing Arts, Production Arts or Travel and Tourism, with an A-Level at grade B.

  • BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in any subject, with A-Levels grades BB.

  • International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points.

  • Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass a related subject Access course with 45 credits at Level 3, with Merits in all units.

Applicants with relevant theatre experience may also be considered.

All applicants are required to attend a group audition workshop as part of the selection process before a formal offer is made.

A minimum of five GCSEs are required, including English Language grade C or grade 4. GCSE Mathematics grade C or grade 4 is also normally required.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSEs.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU entry requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 5.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 55% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

How will I be taught?

A unique feature of the Theatre BA course design is learning through personal tutor supported seminar discussions and small group teaching in order to facilitate communication and collaboration. This system helps students gain increased competence and confidence in interpersonal and oral communication, analytical skills, and university level study skills.

Personal tutor - Each student works closely with their academic advisor/personal tutor at Level 1 and 2. The tutor is responsible for 8-10 students who s/he will meet on a weekly basis. In these seminars you will discuss the material covered in Perspectives – the compulsory module of the programme. Each week focuses on a particular theme, concept or issue pertinent to the study of theatre. A wide variety of contemporary and historical topics are encountered.

Small groups - Small group teaching in practical work is key to achieving our seven creative skills strands: Acting, Directing, Applied Drama, Physical Theatre, Digital Performance, Musical Theatre and Playwriting. In these modules you will learn through workshops, rehearsals, practical classes, and discussions of the theories applicable to these techniques and skills.

You will also benefit from all of the following teaching practices:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • individual tutorials
  • workshops
  • practical classes
  • rehearsals
  • screenings and theatre visits

Practice classes - Practice based classes and projects require you to actively engage with the creative processes while at the same time keeping a critical and analytical perspective on the work that you do. Lectures, seminars and tutorials require you to explore and critique a range of theories and relate these to examples of practice.

Other - The BA Theatre helps you develop essential life and career skills. Time management and decision making are learnt through the experience of delivering coursework, practical performance and meeting deadlines.

Group work - Group creative work allows you to develop problem solving and team skills (listening, collaboration, negotiation and decision making).

Presentations - Presentations provide you with opportunities to develop communication skills.

Lectures - Lectures and seminars develop your knowledge base while requiring you to analyse and synthesise the material you are exposed to both verbally and in written form.

At Level 2, you will expand your skill set to embrace a number of the disciplinary strands in greater depth. Teaching will include the following environments depending on which modules you choose:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • workshops
  • masterclasses
  • practical classes
  • theatre and project visits.

Depending on your area of specialism, at Level 3 you will experience the aforementioned learning environments plus industry experience, touring, public debate and public performance.

Assessment and feedback

The Theatre BA is assessed through various methods appropriate to a number of learning styles, such as practical performance (in-class and public), coursework, presentation, creative portfolios, and essays.

A range of practical assessment methods will be used to test levels of skill in each of the seven strands: Physical Theatre, Directing, Acting, Applied Theatre, Writing, Musical Theatre and Digital Performance.

In addition to practical and performance assessment, our creative skills modules all share emphasis on approaching a task or problem via individual/group research, analysis and interpretation and may also include written coursework that will enable you to learn to support your arguments with evidence and develop critical vocabularies for the study of theatre.

Individual tutorials and detailed written feedback on both practical work and written coursework provide important guidance. All assessment tasks aim to develop your research skills, creative and analytical thinking, imagination and independence of mind.

As you advance through the levels the assessment tasks increase in length, focus and intensity, so that by Level 3 you are extensively tested through longer and more complex assignments, the mounting of larger scale practical work and/or through the presentation of work in public settings.

Special features

  • The expertise and commitment of the teaching team.
  • Small class sizes for all practical work.
  • 15+ contact hours per week at Level 1.
  • Trips to see professional theatre plays in London with your entire year group and course tutors.
  • A unique learning experience through the tutorial system where you develop a close working relationship with your Personal Tutor and fellow students in a weekly seminar group of maximum ten students. This regular contact builds a strong bond between student and tutor and enhances the BA Theatre community within the Department of Arts and Humanities.
  • The opportunity to study six skills areas at entry level and then select one or two areas for specialist study in your final year.
  • A two-day Professional Experience and Development ‘boot camp’ to prepare you before you go on an industry experience relevant to your career aspirations with support throughout the process.
  • Established links with the theatre industry.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019/20 entry

UK/EU students: £9,250 full-time; £6,935 part-time; £1,000 placement year

International students: £15,400 full-time

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per year and may be subject to an annual increase. Home/EU undergraduate student fees are regulated and are currently capped at £9,250 per year; any changes will be subject to changes in government policy. International fees will increase annually, by no more than 5% or RPI (Retail Price Index), whichever is the greater.

There is a range of financial support available to help you fund your studies. Find out about undergraduate student funding options.