Drama and Performance BA (Hons)
BA Hons Drama and Performance
BA Hons Drama and Performance
Take the stage and go behind the scenes to discover the process of making theatre on our BA (Hons) Drama and Performance degree course.
You'll study the theory and history of theatre and drama, and explore drama in many forms: performance through plays, production through devising new shows, techniques in voice, movement, criticism and analysis. After your first year, you can tailor the course to your preferences, from choosing modules you’re most interested in, to designing your own path in your final year project.
At Portsmouth, we give you the power to choose how you’ll create a career in drama and performance – whether it be as an actor, designer, technician, teacher, or working in the community. The world is your stage.
- Expand your knowledge by learning from our internationally recognised teaching and research staff
- Hone your professional skills by working in industry-leading facilities and with guest practitioners regularly throughout your course
- Enhance your acting, performance and production talents by taking part in workshops, productions, and self-created shows in professional venues outside the University
- Develop future-proof skills for the industry by working with advanced technologies in digital theatre design and production, such as extended reality
- Broaden your abilities by learning about the spectrum of drama: technical theatre, design, production, marketing, teaching, and many other elements
- Nurture skills you can adapt to roles in theatre and other related fields
90% of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19)
BA (Hons) Drama and Performance
- A levels – BBB–BBC
- UCAS points – 112–120 points (calculate your UCAS points)
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
- International Baccalaureate – 25
Applicants will be invited to a workshop and interview. Read our BA (Hons) Drama and Performance workshop guide for preparation tips.
If you can't make the workshop, you'll need a video submission. For more information on how to put one together, read our BA (Hons) Drama and Performance video submission guide.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
White Swan Building
Our drama and theatre hub was developed in partnership with Portsmouth’s esteemed New Theatre Royal. It has all the spaces and equipment you need for stage and performance productions: from rehearsal to final act.
New Theatre Royal
Established in 1854, New Theatre Royal is one of Portsmouth’s historic gems. Its recent upgrades include a fly tower and 15-piece orchestral pit for its main stage, a technical workshop with dressing and green rooms, and improved backstage facilities.
Careers and opportunities
The skills and experience you gain on this course will set you up for a career in all areas of the drama and performing arts industry, whether you want to be on stage or backstage.
And because the art of performing is embedded in daily life – from business negotiations to people's behaviour in the workplace to marketing communications – you can also apply the skills you learn in roles in other industries.
Graduate roles and destinations
Previous graduates have secured roles at prestigious theatre companies including the Barbican, Chichester Festival Theatre and Marlowe Theatre and performed at events including the Edinburgh Fringe and Brighton Fringe.
Typical roles graduates go onto after the course include:
- stage/theatre manager
- arts administrator
- drama teacher (with further training)
- event coordinator
While studying at Portsmouth, graduates have received seed funding to make their own work, taken that work to local venues such as Guildhall Studio and New Theatre Royal, then performed their new productions at Edinburgh.
Ongoing careers support
Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience. You can also venture into freelancing, or set up and run your own business with help from the University Startup Team.
Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.
Placement year (optional)
After your second year, you can do a year-long placement in the industry. This lets you put your knowledge and skills to work, while developing professional links and building your network.
Previous students have taken placement years at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, as attractions cast members.
You can also do a summer internship, or shorter-term work experience placements. Previous students have done the following short-term placements:
- Stage and production crew at Rock Challenge
- Running and stage management at Hip Hop International
- Stage management at the Groundlings Theatre
- Dance teaching at Upbeat Music
- Journeys Festival
Interested in running your own business on your placement year instead? You can start up and run your own company for a year as an alternative to a work-based placement. You'll work alone or with fellow students to build and launch a successful venture.
Whichever option you choose, you'll get support from Creative Careers.
Our in-faculty Creative Careers team has extensive recruitment experience and knows the creative sector well, making it easier for students to find placements within the creative industries.
They can guide you through every step of the application process, including:
- Searching for the ideal job through their database of vacancies
- Giving tips on how to write an interesting CV that will catch employers' attention, no matter the role
- Organising mock interviews, so you can hone your technique and familiarise yourself with the recruitment environment
- Writing your startup business proposal – if you're going down the self-employment route
The team will continue to give you support throughout your placement year.
Should I go on a placement year?
It is not only about making tea and coffee in an office: a placement can transform your career, personal, and study development. Our students who've been on placements say they were the best experiences of their lives.
Find out more about the benefits of doing a placement on our Creative Careers blog.
What you'll study
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.
Placement year (optional)
Core modules in this year include:
- Devised Project – 20 credits
- Making Theatre – 20 credits
- Movement for Performance – 20 credits
- Performance - Criticism and Analysis – 20 credits
- Performance and Society – 20 credits
- Voice and the Actor – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Advanced Scene Study – 20 credits
- Critical Contexts – 20 credits
- Performance Histories – 20 credits
- Political Performance – 20 credits
- Theatre Skills – 20 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- Engaged Citizenship Through Interdisciplinary Practice – 20 credits
- Modern Foreign Language (Institution-wide Language Programme) – 20 credits
- Musical Theatre and All That Jazz – 20 credits
- Playwriting and Text for Performance – 20 credits
- Professional Experience – 20 credits
- Puppetry and Object Theatre – 20 credits
- Space, Time and Performance – 20 credits
- Student Enterprise – 20 credits
After your second year, you can do a year-long paid placement year in the industry. This lets you put your knowledge and skills to work, while developing links in the industry.
Core modules in this year include:
- Alternative Theatres – 20 credits
- Applied Theatre for Young Audiences – 20 credits
- Applied Theatre: Workshop Skills – 20 credits
- Forming a Company – 40 credits
- Major Academic Project – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
Teaching methods on this drama degree include:
- one-to-one tutorials
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a web connection.
Teaching staff profiles
Dr Erika Hughes
Course Leader; Academic Lead in Performance
Erika has worked extensively around the world as a director, on stages in Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Pakistan.
Her research focuses on the intersection of memory, history, and performance, and she has published on topics including Holocaust Theatre, Applied Theatre, and performance with people who have experienced military conflict.
Dr Matt Smith
Matt is an experienced director and theatre creator, with a particular interest in applied theatre and puppetry – both of which have been a core element of his teaching since he joined the University in September 2009.
For many years, Matt has used puppetry in unusual settings – both as applied theatre and as a means to explore social change.
Dr Phoebe Rumsey
Phoebe has a background as a professional dancer in touring shows and has worked in Las Vegas as a dancer.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- Practical productions
- Dramatic writing
- Video productions
- Group presentations
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
- Year 1 students: 8% by written exams, 48% by practical exams and 44% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 47% by practical exams and 53% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 37% by practical exams and 63% by coursework
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.
A typical week
We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your drama degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as acting lessons for 4 hours per week and lectures and seminars for 4-6 hours per week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.
Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.
The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
Supporting your learning
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:
Types of support
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
You'll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.
In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.
You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
- understanding and using assignment feedback
- managing your time and workload
- revision and exam techniques
If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.
Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5pm to midnight at busy times of the year.
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.
You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1-2-1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.
If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.
They'll help you to:
- discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
- liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
- access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
- liaise with external services
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2022 start)
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £16,200 a year (subject to annual increase)
You won't pay any extra tuition fees to another university for taking part in a study/work abroad activity if you choose to do it for the whole academic year. During a year abroad you'll only have to pay a reduced fee to the University of Portsmouth.
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
You may need to buy items such as DVDs and MiniDV tapes to use on practical units, which cost approximately £20–£30.
You’ll also need to cover:
- the material costs for individual project work, which usually costs £50–£100
- the costs for performance work and other practice based units, which are normally in the region of £50–£100
How to apply
To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – W491
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
How to apply from outside the UK
See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.