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The BA in Theatre & Performance

(Programme Code: HB014)

This four year degree programme equips students with the necessary skills to enable them to pursue professional careers (in theatre, dance and related fields such as film, television, advertising and teaching) and/or preparation for pursuing research degrees (for students wishing to enter academia).

The programme offers five different professional orientations.

  • Acting (Stage and Camera)

  • Dance Performance (Contemporary, African, Ballet)

  • Performance Making (Theatre Making and Choreography)

  • Applied and Pedagogy (Education/Teaching)

  • Scenography (Theatre Design and Technical Disciplines)

And a research orientation for students who wish to pursue a wider academic education with some practical input included alongside.

(Please note: Not all orientations are offered every year.)

The programme includes the full academic major in Theatre & Dance Studies and requires students to take courses in other departments in the Humanities faculty. Those who follow the research orientation will be able to major in another Humanities discipline (together with Theatre & Dance Studies) but will have fewer practical hours in the studio. Those who follow one of the professional orientations will only be able to complete a limited number of course in other Humanities disciplines but will have more practical hours in the studio.

Students who complete the research orientation will graduate at the end of third year with a BA degree and can then go on to do Honours as a capping qualification with various professional orientations.

Students who complete the professional orientations will graduate at the end of fourth year with a BA degree that is Honours equivalent.

After four years of study in either case (research/professional) students are qualified to go on to Masters study and, possibly, the PhD.

Admission to this programme is by audition and the programme is capped at 100 students across all orientations in each year. The audition process can be completed online. For more information on the audition procedure please click here.

Please note that all students who are accepted for this degree do a common foundation semester at the beginning of first year in which they all study together regardless of whether their study trajectory is Dance or Theatre. At the end of this first semester, students are streamed into the various professional or research orientations. All students accepted to the programme at the beginning of the year will find a place in one of the professional or research orientations. While every attempt will be made to match the student with the orientation of their choice this cannot be guaranteed because resources are limited. Staff will work closely with students to determine what the best orientation is for each student. Students who wish to leave the BA Theatre & Performance programme in the middle or at the end of first year will be able to move across to the general BA with no loss of time.

More information about respective streams:

  • ACTING

This stream is focused on producing professional actors primarily for stage performance. Camera acting is introduced in a limited way for degree students in the fourth year. If you choose this stream you must be willing to engage in extensive production work outside of formal class time. You should choose this stream if you wish to act primarily in productions created by other people.

Careers: Actor for stage, film and television, radio; voice artist; events MC or TV presenting

  • DANCE PERFORMANCE

This stream focuses on producing dancers for the professional stage. The curriculum offers engagement with multiple dance forms and styles such as Contemporary Dance, African Dance, Classical Ballet and movement approaches such as improvisation and somatic dance. If you choose this stream you must be willing to engage in extensive production work outside of formal class time You should choose this stream if you want to perform in productions/works primarily created/choreographed by other people.

Careers: Dancer for stage, screen and other public events

  • PERFORMANCE MAKING

This stream has two tracks – theatre making and choreography. At times students will follow their primary track separately and at other times students from both tracks will work together. The primary focus of this stream is to produce performance makers with the conceptual, technical and creative skills required to make their own work professionally. In this stream you will continue performance training but not to the same degree as in the acting or dance performance streams. All students in this stream graduate with a production/work that can potentially be staged in a professional context after graduation. If you choose this stream you must be willing to engage in extensive production/project work outside of formal class time. You should choose this stream if you want to make your own work alone or in companies with other creatives.

Careers: Choreographer for stage and/or screen; Theatre Maker producing own work in formal theatres, festivals or other contexts; Theatre director; Dramaturg; Playwright.

  • PEDAGOGY/APPLIED PERFORMANCE

This stream focuses on educating professionals who will work in arts education (theatre and dance) in schools and other pedagogical contexts. The stream will also focus on training facilitators who will work with theatre and dance to foster community arts development, and the applied arts in responding to social justice, health, disability, and fostering wellbeing through participation in the arts. This work is aligned with performance-making and performance, but with the purpose of facilitating others’ access to theatre and dance. Students who choose this stream should be willing to work outside of class times in various sites such as senior homes, community centres, studios, schools or prisons. The curriculum offers opportunities for guided and independent projects in chosen sites of engagement and working with organisations in the same field. You should choose this stream if you are interested in facilitating other people’s access to and experience of theatre and dance, as well as developing agency in individuals and communities.

Careers: Educator/teaching artist, facilitator, arts activist, community arts worker, social development, drama/dance therapy.

  • SCENOGRAPHY

This stream is especially well suited to those interested in the visual and compositional aspects of theatre making, directing and choreography. The focus is on developing both conceptual and technical skills. Visual literacy, compositional aspects, key theories of stage design, contemporary and site-specific performance are covered in the courses. Skills such as drafting (technical drawing), perspective and costume rendering, model building, mask making and scenic painting are developed alongside the conceptual work. Students can expect to specialise as either set, costume, props or lighting designers.

Careers: Set, costume, props and/or lighting designer for live performances of various kinds. Many graduates, while trained in design for live performance, transition well into film and television production as well as event design.

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