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Undergraduate Courses 2017

Drama and Theatre - BA (Hons)



Drama and Theatre at Kent offers you the opportunity to explore creative ideas and practical theatre-making in a dynamic and supportive department. You select from a wide variety of modules in your second and third years, shaping your degree to fityour areas of interest.

Our modules incorporate a distinctive balance of practical and theoretical elements, which allows you to develop the skills and vision needed for employment in the creative industries and beyond. Consequently, our Drama and Theatre courses are among the most popular in the country with strong independent league table results every year. We also have a range of industry-standard facilities, including studios, performance spaces and workshops. 

Our interests range from traditional text-based theatre to innovative contemporary performance; from theatre management to community theatre. Close links with the professional industry are reflected in guest lectures and opportunities for work placements.

Our diverse range of teachers includes academics with years of university teaching experience, and theatre professionals who have worked in the industry doing anything from theatre design to directing, stand-up comedy, stage management, acting or arts funding. Our technical team (made up of a production manager and three technicians) is equally well qualified, with professional experience ranging from local festivals to international collaborations in opera, film, music and performance.

The course structure has an emphasis on employability, with modules covering a range of professional practices, and we offer a range of employability support. Past graduates have gone on to become actors, theatre producers, directors, and scriptwriters among other professions.

If you wish to combine drama with another subject, we offer a wide range of joint honours degrees, which lead to a combined BA (Hons) over three years.

A place to perform

Facilities include the Aphra Theatre courtyard venue, the Lumley Studio, two rehearsal and teaching studios, flexible seminar rooms, a fully equipped construction workshop and a sound studio.

Study resources on campus are excellent. Templeman Library offers over a million publications, films and images. It is particularly renowned for its Drama and Theatre Studies manuscripts, including collections of playbills, programmes, prints and other theatre ephemera, as well as theatrical biography and the history of the stage in the 19th and 20th centuries. It also has particular strengths as a research resource in English Renaissance drama and European theatre, especially Russian and French drama, as well as specialist collections on Jacques Copeau and Jerzy Grotowski. There are also over a thousand PCs on campus and a range of support services for help or advice.

Independent rankings

Drama at Kent was ranked 16th in The Complete University Guide 2017. In the National Student Survey 2016, 92% of students were satisfied with the quality of teaching.

For graduate prospects, Drama at Kent was ranked 9th in The Complete University Guide 2017. Drama and Theatre students who graduated from Kent in 2015 were the most successful in the UK at finding work or further study opportunities (DLHE).

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

DR339 - The Empty Space 2 (30 credits)

Like The Empty Space 1, this module is not about Peter Brook's work, but about the implications of his idea that anything can be seen as 'an act of theatre'. Students will be further encouraged to see beyond their own default assumptions about theatre, and introduced to an expanded range of methods of devising their own performances. In practical workshops, they will learn more about warming up, performance skills, and collaborative group work; and will explore the possibilities of creating performance from a further range of starting points, including (for example), improvisation, music, audience, personality, and aural and visual stimuli. Workshops will be longer than in The Empty Space 1, to allow for a more developed engagement. Not only will this allow more time for discussion of the assigned reading, but it will also allow students to start engaging with technical aspects of theatre-making. Students will be encouraged to develop their own ideas about theatre and performance through a series of lectures in which different Drama lecturers talk to the students about their ideas of what theatre is and could be, and how these ideas have been shaped by their encounters with theatre as audience members, theatre makers, and academics. Students will be assessed by a public performance, in which they explore their own aesthetic tastes and approaches to theatre (to take place in Summer Term); and a piece of writing in which they create their own theatrical manifesto, reflecting on their experiences of creating and performing theatre in this module, the ideas they have encountered in the lectures and the reading and, crucially, articulating their own ideas about what theatre and performance should be. This module (together with The Empty Space 1) will offer a solid foundation for all modules in years two and three which involve creative performance work.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR340 - Introduction to Mask (30 credits)

The aim of this 12 week course is to give students an understanding of a variety of practices, theory and historical context of mask in performance. By learning about different mask practices the students will develop a sense of the function and potential of mask in performance and performer training, as well as develop their own performance skills through the medium of mask

The module will be taught across twelve weeks and will be split evenly between history/theory and practice.

Practical classes will include instruction in diverse practical approaches to improvisation, mask work, rehearsal technique and supervised rehearsals. Students will be invited to explore beyond their assumptions and performance experience and will be introduced to the idea of play and risk as key components of the rehearsal process. Students will be introduced to a range of mask and associated techniques (e.g. neutral/noble mask, character mask, commedia). Sessions will start with appropriate physical and vocal warm-ups. Students are expected to take responsibility for their physical readiness to participate in all classes (and to ensure that they bring to their teacher's attention any circumstances that may prevent their full and active involvement in the work). Regular opportunities to present work and demonstrate understanding are built into the structure of the class. They will also reflect and feedback on the work of their peers.

Lecture/screening sessions will feature presentations, interactive lectures, screenings and opportunities for discussion. These sessions will focus on developing an awareness of key practitioners, theories of mask, and historical, cultural and theatrical contexts of mask work.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR341 - Directors' Theatre: The History of Staging Plays (30 credits)

The role and function of theatre direction is a hotly contested field. What is its relation to the playtext? Is the director the playwright's best friend or worst enemy? And why did theatre directing only emerge at a specific point in theatre history, in the course of the nineteenth century? The module will introduce key theatre directors, their work, and their writings, and thereby develop an understanding of the idea of 'directors’ theatre’, and of the relation between a playtext and its production on stage. Students will apply and test the ideas and positions of various directors studying exemplary productions through recordings, archival sources, as well as watching live performance and developing their own approach towards staging a given playtext. We will therefore be able to explore, through the lens of these directors, some very fundamental questions: What is theatre, and what is it there for?

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR342 - History of Comedy on Stage and Screen (30 credits)

This module will introduce the students to the history of comic performance, from Ancient Greece to the turn of the 20th Century, before looking at the development of comedy on screen through the 20th and 21st Century. The module will introduce the students to a range of comic performances and films, and contextualise them within their historical setting. It will seek to address key questions, such as how the comedy reflects the social and political situation of its creation and the extent to which comedy can be 'timeless'. Additionally, historical research into kinds of comic performance that the students might be less familiar with, such as Commedia dell'arte, will provide a critical foundation for them to engage with more contemporary examples of comedy.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR343 - Behind the Performer (30 credits)

Theatre is often focussed on the end performance, the things that happen on the stage. This module will look at the many and varied roles that bring the performance into being. Lectures, seminars and workshops will be used to introduce and analyse roles through current productions and companies. In the final weeks will explore how these fit together through the use of virtual companies, productions and spaces. We will investigate and analyse the roles of the main creative teams (producer, writer, director, choreographer, dramaturge, music director, stage fight director, stage/lighting/sound/costume designers, puppeteers); the technical teams (stage management – SM, DSM, ASM, company and production manager, technical managers, lighting/sound technicians and engineers, carpenters, prop maker, dancing and movement coach, props manager); the backstage roles (costume and wardrobe assistants, hair wig and makeup assistants, dressers, stage hands); the Front of House roles (Box Office, bars, ushers, cleaners, merchandisers); the marketing, education and finance roles, the administrative, organisational, artistic and production roles (casting/actors/writers/directors agents, marketing and audience development, education and outreach, artistic schedule planning managers, finance, contract manager).

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

DR549 - Acting (30 credits)

The course will introduce basic skills related to the craft of acting, predominantly within naturalist and realist idioms. This acting course will provide a core practical introduction to mainstream acting techniques descended from the teachings of Stanislavski and his heirs, as well as providing an introduction to contrasting practice and theories from other significant practitioners.

The course will introduce students through practical means, to basic terms and concepts in mainstream rehearsal-room practice. The students will develop a practical and usable understanding of a contemporary approach to the Stanislavskian system. Students will explore approaches concerning the use of detailed textual analysis when preparing a naturalistic role for performance and concepts to be introduced will include text analysis and uniting, actions and activities, objectives, obstacles, stakes, and given circumstances. On some level, this course will allow the student to explore varied and contradicting ideas from the world of actor training.

All of these concepts will be explored in practice through a combination of physical and text exercises, improvisation and close textual analysis. Students will be encouraged to adopt a critical overview of the work and to evaluate for themselves, both via class discussion and through reflective analysis on paper, the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques to which they are introduced.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR575 - Victorian and Edwardian Theatre (30 credits)

This module offers an opportunity to explore an exciting and important period of British Theatre: a period which laid the foundations for the organisation, values and forms of British Theatre throughout much of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Encompassing the Victorian and Edwardian years, as well as WW1, this was a time of radical change in British society and the module examines the theatre's relationship with this changing historical, social and cultural context.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR594 - Popular Performance (30 credits)

Students' learning will be organised around research-based performance projects. These will be

based on detailed examinations of particular popular performance genres (for example, variety theatre, slapstick, cabaret, pantomime, radio comedy). Initially, students develop relevant performance skills, which might include, for example, addressing an audience, developing a stage persona, dance, singing, and/or simple acrobatics. In addition to this, they will be set weekly research tasks relevant to the particular genre they are studying. These tasks will lead towards a research essay, which will typically relate to the piece they go on to perform in the final assessed show. They will work independently on devising and rehearsing material related to both the research and the skills acquired in workshops, testing this material in front of an audience made up of other students on the module in their weekly all student practical session. Subsequently, they will develop their material to create a show in the style of the assigned popular performance genre, which will be performed to a public audience.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR612 - Shakespeare's Theatre (30 credits)

This module engages with the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as texts for performance; approached through a variety of critical, theoretical and practical methods. It considers the theatrical, cultural and historical conditions that produced and shaped them; examines the role played by the drama in a violent, volatile and rapidly-changing society; investigates and applies the principles of early modern playing spaces and performance practices, and considers the variety of ways in which these works have been encountered and reinvented in the modern period.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR667 - Site Specific Performance (30 credits)

This module focuses on the emergence and development of 'site specific' performance through the 20th Century and into the 21st Century, interrogating what has progressively become a generic label applied to a range of theatre/performance forms which embrace 'site' however tenuous this relationship might be.

The module explores the context in which ‘site’ becomes the determining feature in the creation of artistic and theatrical works in the mid-20th Century, specifically considering the development of site/land art, installation art, celebratory community theatre and the subsequent influence of this work on the emergence of ‘site specific’ performance and current practice. The module will introduce students to a range of practitioners who explore the ‘site’ of performance from a number of perspectives. Models of ‘site specific’ approaches may include: the ‘Anthropological/Archaeological’ illustrated in the work of Brith Gof, the ‘Reclamation and Animation’ of disused space illustrated in the work of Deborah Warner, ‘Performative Journeys’ through site illustrated in the work of Lone Twin. The module will be delivered through seminar/workshops and culminate in a practical project enabling students to explore the possibilities and limitations of the form, theoretical contexts, gain an understanding of a variety of creative approaches to the site and interrogate the efficacy of the term in the 21st Century.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR669 - European Theatre from 1945 (30 credits)

This module will investigate key texts and practitioners of post-World War II European theatre. The course will provide an introduction to some key European playwrights (e.g. Genet, Beckett) and practitioners (e.g. P. Brook, A. Mnouchkine, D. Fo) through looking at significant play texts, landmark productions and theatre practices in their social context and conditions of performance.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR671 - Puppet and Object Theatre (30 credits)

This module offers a creative exploration of puppetry and object theatre. It includes scenic elements and staging. Elements used typically include puppets, objects, visible/invisible puppeteers and set, light, projection, motion and sound. Lectures provide theoretical perspectives while practical workshops explore making performance. Students will explore and discover the uses and dynamics of the different elements, developing the skills as makers, performers, puppeteers, manipulators, musicians and/or technicians.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR673 - Theatres of the Past 1: the Classics (30 credits)

The primary aim of the module is to introduce students to the principles and practices of theatre history, and therefore in order to make best use of the staff team’s research specialisms, the historical focus of the curriculum will vary. The module offers not only a study of the major canonical texts of the period but also a detailed exploration of the societal conditions and theatrical realities of its time, allowing for an understanding of theatre as an artistic product of a particular culture. Modern revivals of classical texts will also be considered, taking account of issues regarding historical and cultural transposition.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR674 - Media and Performance Art (30 credits)

This module addresses the influence of the early avant-garde on later experimental performance forms such as performance art and multimedia performance. It examines the impact of new technologies on performance and representation throughout the last century, and explores the relationship between media culture and theatre practice. Key modernist and postmodernist practitioners are discussed as the module traces the evolution of intermedial theatre and performance art. Students analyse how time and space manifest within works driven by a visual aesthetic, and focus is placed on the nature of audience engagement and the specific means of communication effective in forms of intermedial theatre. The module also considers questions concerning the live and mediated aspects of performance, and explores concepts such as 'liveness', ‘the body’, ‘remediation’ and ‘intermediality’.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR663 - Physical Theatre 1 (30 credits)

This module studies different approaches to physical training for performance. It covers examples from around the world, though developments in Europe during the twentieth century provide a focus for the module. The module is oriented towards training for 'physical theatre' – a term which emerged at the end of the twentieth century and refers to a shift away from script, playwright and linear narrative. As such naturalism and the work of Stanislavski do not fall within the remit of this module, and are covered by ‘Acting’ in Stage II.

Students will gain valuable practical experience of physical training in weekly workshops where they will explore the fundamental principles of training the body. These include:

Posture, centre, balance, energy, space, tension, relaxation, sound within the body.

Precision and clarity in movement

Presence, spontaneity and improvisation

The module makes elementary investigations into the relationship between training and performance composition, an aspect which will be further explored in Physical Theatre 2(DR664).

Practice will be contextualised by historical and theoretical reading that explores the landscape from which the term ‘Physical Theatre’ emerged in the twentieth century. Key historical figures include: Jacques Copeau, Antonin Artaud, Edward Gordon Craig, Jerzy Grotowski, Eugenio Barba, Rudolph von Laban and Jacques Lecoq, among others. Grotowski’s term ‘Poor Theatre’ is a crucial starting point for the module, and we explore how a performer might be prepared for a performance style that focuses so fully on the performer’s body in space, and the demands that come with that style. Eugenio Barba’s ideas about ‘pre-expressivity’ and the study of performer training across different cultures and disciplines are also important.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR684 - Introduction to Musical Theatre Dance (30 credits)

Students will explore the historical and cultural contexts through which the genre of musical theatre dance developed. Learning will be organised around detailed examinations of particular periods of musical theatre dance including its interface with popular dance forms in the 1920s and the emergence of variety and Vaudeville theatre; the integration of Latin, Indian and African influences through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s; the standardization of jazz in the 1970s; and the influences of ballet, cabaret, and burlesque theatre across the century’s period styles. Weekly workshop sessions will include a comprehensive isolation-based musical theatre/jazz warm-up, followed by movement studies focused in specific periods and the learning of a section of musical theatre dance repertory. In addition, students will view filmed musicals and other performances from specific periods and present critical analyses of these in small groups during seminar classes. Attendance at live musical performances will also be required. These tasks will lead towards a research essay focused on a period, artist, or musical of the students’ choice.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR685 - Theatre and Adaptation (30 credits)

Recent theatrical productions as diverse in form as experimental performance, new writing, West End drama, musicals and live art have shown a recurring fascination with adapting existing works by other artists, writers, filmmakers and stage practitioners. The transition of an existing source or stimulus to the stage – be it film, book, play, artwork, or other performance – is not a smooth one. It implies negotiations of numerous kinds, such as interlingual and intercultural, but also ideological, ethical, aesthetic and political. Drawing on the work of contemporary theatre-makers, this module will explore specific approaches to stage adaptation, study adaptation methodologies and develop an understanding of the implications of adaptation. Through seminar discussions, practical and creative work, the module will prompt a reflection on performance's near-obsessive desire to return, repeat, rewrite and revisit, establishing a dialogue across languages and cultural identities.

During seminars, students will study several adaptation projects and strategies, which will form the basis for an essay. During practice-based workshops, students will experiment with a source of their choice and produce a research and development portfolio for a performance project based on this source. The portfolio may include an essay on the chosen source and its afterlife, a treatment on their proposed adaptation approach, and a brief director’s statement for marketing purposes, aimed at communicating their ideas to the general public. If the student wishes so, the portfolio may be supported by a brief practical demonstration, promotional video or other creative material, but the students are expected to keep their performance time and tech to a minimum, and will not be provided with technical support or extra rehearsal space for this module.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FI590 - Filmmaking: Improvisation for Screen (30 credits)

This interdisciplinary module brings Film and Drama Single Honours students together to explore improvisational techniques that increasingly animate both independent filmmaking and contemporary drama practice. Practical workshops provide technical instruction and creative focus on actors' improvisation as a rehearsal technique, a screenplay development technique, and a performance technique during filming. Exploration of improvisation as screen craft will be complemented by the theorisation of improvisation in lectures that also provide a historical context and introduce case studies of filmmakers’ use of improvisation techniques in devising and producing films. Connections between theatrical and cinematic trends that utilise forms of improvisation will be emphasised while student’s practical projects will respond to and expand upon these growing synergies between cinema and theatre in the digital age.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year in industry

Your placement year takes place between your second and final year. It is a great opportunity to gain workplace experience, increase your professional contacts and acquire new skills, and is a valuable addition to your CV.

You can take your placement year in the UK or abroad with a wide range of employers in areas including the arts, education and cultural heritage. While you are responsible for finding your placement, we offer support and guidance through the application process. 

Tuition fees for the placement year are greatly reduced and employers may offer expenses or a salary. 

The placement year is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not count towards your final degree classification.

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability. 

All students within the Faculty of Humanities can apply to spend a Term or Year Abroad as part of their degree at one of our partner universities in North America, Asia or Europe. You are expected to adhere to any progression requirements including achieving a merit at Stage 1 and Stage 2 to proceed to the Term or Year Abroad. 

The Term or Year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. To find out more, please see Go Abroad.

Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

DR678 - Creative Project (30 credits)

The module will offer students the chance to work on an independent creative project of their own devising, which will be a culmination of practical elements of their degree programme. Performance, workshop, design, stagecraft, producing or other creative skills encountered in earlier modules will be developed, extended and explored in autonomous work, which will be supported by regular group supervision sessions. Projects will also involve research which will contextualise the practical elements.

Three is the minimum number of students that may be involved in a project, and no project involving fewer than three will be accepted.

Supervision will take place in timetabled teaching slots, in which students involved in several projects will be supervised together. Typically, the number of students involved in a timetabled supervision session will be 15-18 (like a seminar group). Practical outcomes might take the form of performances, workshops or public interventions; some projects might culminate in one big practical outcome, whereas others will involve a series of smaller events.

The practical elements will be supplemented by a portfolio which will document the creative process. Typically, this will collect contextual research, include analytical reflection and may include audio and/or video material, photographs, drawings, etc.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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ART500 - Independent Project (30 credits)

Students who wish to take the module must approach a permanent academic member of staff with a proposal, typically in advance of module registration, during the Spring term of the previous year. Students pick a research topic of their choice; however, students are only allowed to register for the module with the permission of a staff member who has agreed to supervise the project, and who has the expertise to do so. Potential supervisors must also ensure before they agree to supervise a project that the resources required to complete the project will be available to the student, and that adequate supervisory support will be available to the student throughout their study on the module.

Students will be supported in the preparation and submission of their work by their supervisor, although a central expectation of the module is that students will take increasing responsibility for their learning, consistent with expectations of H-level study.

On application, students may take this 30 Credit Year Long module. Admission is subject to approval of a project proposal. Proposals must be submitted to the Module Convenor, Prof. Nicola Shaughnessy (N.Shaughnessy@kent.ac.uk) by 10/04/2016. Within your proposal you must state a preferred supervisor. The proposal form can be downloaded from the School of Arts website, see http://www.kent.ac.uk/arts/current-students/undergraduates.html and click on module availability. Alternatively you can request a copy at Jarman Reception. The Module Convenor will contact you in the summer term to confirm whether your proposal has been accepted. Students wanting to change into ART500 at a later stage may do so but should contact the Module Convenor and submit a proposal at the earliest opportunity. Proposals will not be accepted after 19 June 2016. For more information please speak to the Module Convenor at the School Fair.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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ART501 - Arts Internship (30 credits)

The student(s) engage in a work-based situation of their choice [the student will be responsible finding the work-based situation though support from the School and CES will be available] which bears relevance to their subject of study or a career they expect to pursue upon graduation. The total of 300 hours will be divided as required for purposes of preparation, attendance of work placement and reflection/completion of required assessment.

Issues covered by the course include:

• Work based systems: Nature of organisation; organisational structure; type of work, work practices and procedures, induction, health & safety, training, quality assurance; communication channels and systems

• Performance of professional activity: identification of professional activities, selecting formulating schedule and action plan, perform activities, health & safety, training requirements, support and supervision.

• Potential Improvements: new technology and new/changed work practices or system. Suggestions and evaluation of effects

• Portfolio: methods of gathering, analysing and recording evidence, types of evidence, witness statements, diaries, internal and external correspondence, observed performance; referencing systems; presentation written and verbal

• Self-Presentation: methods of ensuring an effective presentation of personal research, relevant professional skills, communication skills, confidence etc.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR619 - Playwriting I: For Beginners (30 credits)

Through weekly lectures, seminars and practical workshop sessions, the course will allow students to write scenes and experience the results and effects of their playwriting as performed by others, in the context of on-going discussions about the practice and characteristics of playwriting and with a strong emphasis on the importance of revision and development of evolving work as mediated by the constructive criticism of group and convenor response.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR629 - Cultural Policies in the British Theatre (30 credits)

The period from 1985 has seen theatre move from a neglected area of government policy, surviving with reducing and standstill investment, through to being recognised as not only a popular art form, but as an element of the glue that creates and binds communities. This ushered in a period of greater intervention by politicians and policy makers from the local to the central government level.

This module will look at the policy and public funding structures for Theatre and Drama, including the formation of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Arts Council and its various models of operation since 1947. It will debate the current changes being introduced and the funding environment.

The module draws on external speakers, including artistic directors and managers from theatres and funding experts, to help develop an understanding of the arts funding environment and explore what makes a successful arts funding application. Those taking the module will develop their own creative idea and gain an understanding of how this idea can achieve Arts Council support. The module assesses the ability to deliver a creative idea, including how audiences will be developed and how the project will be financed and managed, to help achieve the Arts Council’s mission of Great art and culture for everyone.

Overall, this module serves to place Theatre and Drama production within the context of who makes policy and how it is formed, while acting as an introduction to arts funding and the application and measurement process.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR636 - The Shakespeare Effect (30 credits)

This module engages with Shakespeare by considering its unique resilience as a body of plays, focus of cultural mythology, and source of inspiration within modern theatrical culture. As well as surveying the Shakespeare work of major practitioners (The RSC, National Theatre, Shakespeare's Globe), the module will involve at least two theatre visits, as well as hands-on engagement with performance-making, performance reconstruction, and historical research.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR648 - Applied Theatre (30 credits)

This module offers students the opportunity to understand and apply workshop techniques, planning and management in an Applied Theatre context. Practical work will be based on a theoretical understanding and grounding in the historical and social contexts of Applied Theatre. The module will be structured in 2 distinctive parts:

Part 1:

The first six weeks of the module will introduce and consider the historical development of applied theatre, current debate, methodologies and case studies within the field. This stage of the module will include a range of lectures, seminar discussions, and exploratory/task based workshops

Part 2:

The second stage of the module will focus on developing the practical skills to include project planning, management, workshop and facilitation skills. During this stage students will work in groups within a community context and culminating in a workshop that they will lead with a designated client group in the final weeks of term. Each group will present plans and be expected to evidence these in the form of a company profile. Students will be required to reflect and evaluate the process through a written piece of work focussing on a particular area of research related to the workshop (3,500-4,000 words).

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR659 - Performing Classical Texts (30 credits)

The aim of this 12 week course is to introduce students to the specific acting challenges presented by the classical texts and his contemporaries and to facilitate, through practice, an in depth examination of proven analytical and practical approaches to these challenges. Instruction in the analysis of language structure and verse forms, verse structure, style, metre, imagery and language texture forms a key component to this course.

Through a classical repertoire, the student will be taught a systematic analysis of verse structure which, they will learn, is an integral part of an actor’s development. This work on unambiguous structural matters will enable the student actor to articulate experience in time, avoiding the risk of leaving performance at the level of the pursuit of feeling and expression. Focus will also be placed on how this analysis can direct the performer, facilitating discovery in both action and character.

The course will also create an awareness of the vocal, physical and emotional demands placed on the performer when working with these plays and through practice, promote knowledge of how the actor’s instrument can meet these demands.

The module will run in two parts with weeks one to four focusing on the demands of the verse monologue and its performing challenges, culminating in a solo performance assessment. The remaining weeks (6 – 11), will explore performance text analysis when working with group scenes and how this analysis can direct the performer. The course will close in week 12 with assessed practical scene performances taken from classical texts accompanied by a written scene analysis for later submission.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR610 - Performing Lives: Theory & Practice of Autobiographical Theatre (30 credits)

This module explores critical and creative approaches to working with real lives in performance. You will examine how auto/biographical material is used and manipulated to construct identity in and through performance. You will question the concept of the 'true story' and explore the ethics and practicalities of using the personal in performance. You will also work creatively to produce a practical project on auto/biographical theatre. In this module you will work with a range of dramatic material and forms, studying, for example, play texts, performance art, verbatim and documentary theatre. You will also engage with a range of theoretical approaches and perspectives.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR592 - New Directions (30 credits)

This module engages with a diversity of approaches to theatre directing through a series of workshops, lectures, seminars, videos, and practical experiments. The module opens with a programme of lectures and exercises that explore the relations between directing and performance, design, writing and composition. This culminates in an assessed group project to be performed in which students will engage with and interrogate directing as practice. The module continues with a series of theme based workshops on such topics as 'interrogating the classics', 'directing vs devising' and 'directing with new technologies'. Practitioners studied will vary each year but an indicative list might include Augusto Boal, Tim Etchells, Robert Lepage, Katie Mitchell, Ariane Mnouchkine, Frank Castorf, Romeo Castelluci and Robert Wilson. The module will consider directing in relations to live art and new performance and will explore issues of gender, race, culture and sexuality within the practice of directing. In terms of its content, delivery and assessment, this module is designed to be innovative, collaborative and student-centered.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR683 - Theatre and Ideas (30 credits)

This module will ask students to critically engage with fundamental questions about theatre, such as 'what is performance?', 'who decides what a performance means?', 'why do we care about the fates of fictional characters?', 'why do we enjoy watching tragic events on stage?', 'what ethical questions does performance raise?', 'can performance be a kind of philosophy?'.

After writing an essay focussing on one of these questions, the class will then turn its attention to a specific performance text and the various conceptual and philosophical questions that arise from it. Once they have engaged with a range of theoretical perspectives on the text the course will culminate in an assessed presentation where the students propose a production which engages with these issues.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR664 - Physical Theatre II (30 credits)

The module explores ‘physical theatre’ as a complex and rich term which describes works focusing on the primacy of the body in performance rather than text or character. It will focus on how Physical Theatre practitioners have deployed compositional techniques, and the principals that underlie such work. It differs from Physical Theatre 1 in focussing less on training for performance and much more on composition and different possibilities of structuring Physical Performance, using space, sound, movement, rhythm and the body.

Students will conduct in-depth investigations into the relationship between training and performance and devising techniques and compositional approaches through weekly practical workshops.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR675 - Theatre and War (30 credits)

The primary aim of the module is to introduce students to the principles and practices of theatre history, and therefore in order to make best use of the staff team’s research specialisms, the historical focus of the curriculum will vary. The module offers not only a study of dramatic texts and other forms of documentation from the period in question but also a detailed exploration of the societal conditions and theatrical realities of its time, and its engagement with the conditions of modernity, allowing for an understanding of theatre as an artistic product of a particular culture.

This module introduces you to a fascinating area of theatre largely ignored by historians and theatre practitioners: the theatre of the First World War (1914-1918). Over the course of the module as well as studying and practically exploring plays of and about WW1, you will examine the social, theatrical, and political context of the war. Throughout you will be exploring the different answers to the question 'How does the theatre respond to the First World War?'. As part of this we might explore the different ways in which plays represented the trenches for people at home and soldiers who had experienced the real thing; the ways that theatre cultivated a spy hysteria at the start of the war; and the different techniques that playwrights used to criticise the war without being banned. In exploring these topics, throughout the module you will undertake a variety of research and performance tasks and will have a chance to work with a diversity of archival sources in exploring these long-forgotten theatrical works. This work will all lead towards a final group performance workshop in which you will present your findings from your research.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR676 - Introduction to Stand Up (30 credits)

This module will introduce students to practical and theoretical aspects of stand-up comedy. Initially, they will analyse the work of individual comedians, exploring such issues as comic theory, traditions of stand-up, and historical context. Later, they will work on creating their own short stand-up acts, generating original material and developing key performance skills such as developing persona, working an audience, improvisation, and characterisation.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR686 - Musical Theatre Dance 2 (30 credits)

Students will explore the historical and cultural contexts of mainstream 20th century musical theatre/jazz dance by engaging with the aesthetic, technical and stylistic specifics of seminal choreographers such as Jack Cole and Bob Fosse. Learning will be organised around and oriented toward demonstrated understanding of the influences on influential figures and on jazz and musical theatre dance at large of different dance cultures and styles (Indian, African and Latin dance) and the genres of ballet, modern dance, social dance, cabaret, and burlesque theatre. This understanding will be demonstrated through students' creation of dance choreographies in the style of choreographers covered within the module, contingent on skill level.

The module differs from Introduction to Musical Theatre Dance (DR684) in its focus on the development of enhanced dance technique and style and in its creative element of composition.

Weekly workshop sessions will include a comprehensive isolation-based musical theatre/jazz warm-up, followed by movement studies focused in depth on the technique and style of the choreographer(s) covered. In addition, students will view filmed musical theatre dance numbers and present critical analyses of these, as well as of assigned readings, in small groups during seminar classes. Viewing or attendance of two full-length musical performances (at least one live) will also be required; provision for zero-cost options will be offered. These tasks will lead towards the composition and performance of student choreographies in small groups and a reflective research essay detailing the process through which the choreography was developed.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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DR548 - Theatre & Journalism (30 credits)

The aims of this module are to allow students the opportunity to extend their knowledge of theatre by encounters with contemporary performance as a live, time-based experience rather than as the experience of reading/text, and to enable them to develop the skills of analysis and journalistic writing about live performance. The module introduces students to contextual knowledge on contemporary theatre and performance journalism in the UK, including aspects of editing and copyediting. It develops analytical and writing skills while considering the role of the critic, the demands of theatre reviewing as a craft and the basics of journalism in general. Where possible, sessions will be conducted by professional theatre critics. The module trains students on how to make formal presentations, write reviews and features, copyedit/subedit their own or other people’s work, pitch to an editor, and tailor one’s writing style according to different readerships and publications. Each seminar group will work towards the publication of a blog, in which coursework will be published.

The central part of the module is focused around 5 or 6 visits to live performances. At least two of these will be visits to theatres in London, and the visits will cover a range of different types of international as well as national contemporary performance. Students must expect to pay up to £60 for the cost of theatre tickets, plus around £15 for each return journey to London. In total, including tickets and transport, this module will cost students around £90. Before or after each visit students will undertake relevant research, and write a review of the performance. This process of research and writing will focus the thoughts for the group discussion of the performance in the seminars. Students will then develop a feature idea and pursue it through research and several writing drafts.

There will be a strong emphasis in this module on developing writing and verbal skills in order to articulate the experience of live performance through effective theatre criticism. In particular it is aimed to develop students’ skills in public speaking about performance [in seminar debates and in the professional-standard presentation students will give in class], and their ability to write lucidly and stylishly about performance in theatre reviews and in an independently research article suitable for publication in a good quality broadsheet or theatre journal.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching & Assessment

We use a variety of teaching methods including seminars, lectures, practical workshops, screenings and one-to-one tuition. Many modules include theatre visits, and theatre practitioners regularly visit us for guest lectures and workshops. We want our students to develop the creative competence to succeed in a future career in the theatre profession, or the wider creative industries.

Modules assessment is based on coursework, projects and presentations, performances, essays and dissertations.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide a stimulating environment which encourages and assists you to achieve your creative and intellectual potential
  • produce independent, motivated graduates who are equipped to meet the needs of, and to contribute creatively to, the theatre and associated media and professions
  • develop critical judgement and personal organisation skills to enable you to respond positively to the challenges of further study, training or employment in relevant career destinations
  • enhance the learning experience through a range of teaching and assessment methods that reflect and respond to the values and diversity inherent in drama and theatre studies
  • provide teaching that is informed by research and current developments in the pedagogy of drama and theatre as well as theatre practice and the arts
  • provide a broad grounding in the subject in the early stages of study, becoming increasingly specialist in the later stages
  • provide you with creative competence and understanding that is grounded in (and prepares for) professional practice
  • offer you the opportunity to apply to undertake a term or year abroad or a year’s placement in industry.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You develop knowledge and understanding of:

  • key practitioners, practices and theorists of performance, including writers, critics, directors, actors, artists, designers and producers
  • historical and contemporary contexts of the production and reception of performance
  • the relationship of performance to its material, cultural and historical context.
  • histories, forms and traditions of performance and theoretical explanations of their impact
  • traditional and contemporary critical perspectives that inform the academic study of performance
  • the interplay between theory and practice
  • the processes by which performance is created, realised and managed including: the reading of written text and other source material; processes of rehearsal; writing and dramaturgy; devising, directing, design, stage and technical management and producing
  • the impact of theatre and performance within a range of social, educational and community contexts
  • the reading, analysis, documenting and interpreting of performance
  • the role of the audience; the performance and production skills necessary to communicate with audiences.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in how to:

  • read, understand and engage analytically with a range of texts, performances and other source material
  • research, evaluate and productively apply information from a number of sources (written, visual, aural) in order to develop and present a coherent understanding of the theory and practice of performance
  • critique performance events and processes
  • undertake and manage extended independent and creative research
  • understand processes of creativity and deploy and critique these in your own work
  • record, document and analyse processes of making performance
  • understand and apply appropriate interdisciplinary practices, concepts and skills
  • present coherent arguments verbally and in writing
  • understand the relationship of performance to a range of critical, historical and cultural frameworks for its production and reception.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • reading and evaluating scripts, performance texts and other theatre documents from a range of critical and practical perspectives
  • envisioning the performance possibilities of a play text, script and other textual or documentary sources
  • realising performances derived from a range of starting points (for example, a script; a theoretical position; documentary material; a specific location) and using a range of techniques, structures and working methods to develop those performances
  • engaging and collaborating in production and performance
  • engaging with current debates on theatre arts, productions, cultural policy and funding
  • practising creative, physical and vocal skills for practice-based work, including appropriate warm-up exercises and techniques
  • using technical apparatus and associated resources necessary to realise the demands of production in live and recorded performance safely, efficiently and effectively
  • documenting performance processes and events
  • engaging in research, whether independent, group or practice-based
  • considering theories of spectatorship, developing an awareness of the audience or client group for performance, and an ability to respond and adapt to it through flexible means.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • working collaboratively with others utilising a variety of team structures and working methods, understanding group dynamics and handling interpersonal issues
  • developing and pursuing creative projects within specified resource constraints (for example, time, space and/or budget), therefore, developing problem-solving skills
  • managing workloads to meet deadlines and sustaining focus for extended periods working on independent creative projects, developing autonomy and self-management
  • using information retrieval skills to gather and critically evaluate material
  • applying critical and creative skills in diverse forms of discourse and media
  • identifying health and safety issues and undertake risk assessments.  
  • negotiating effectively with a variety of agencies (inside and outside the programme), developing interpersonal skills
  • effectively and professionally communicating coherent arguments and propositions in a variety of media, verbally and in writing
  • undertaking basic design, engineering, construction, and technical work
  • demonstrating numeracy using scale, simple equations, simple geometry, basic arithmetic, data collection, presentation and analysis
  • reflecting on your own learning and progress, identifying strategies for development, exploring strengths and weaknesses and developing autonomy in learning and continuous professional development.


The Department has developed partnerships with some of the major players in theatre in the UK including: Battersea Arts Centre, the RSC and The Gate. Selected programmes offer you the opportunity to go on work placements which can lead to future full-time employment, while the range of modules we offer ensures you develop key skills such as planning and organisation, teamworking, adaptability and leadership.

Past graduates have become theatre producers, actors, literary managers, journalists, authors, directors, performers, scriptwriters for television, stand-up comedians, casting agents, event managers, arts administrators, community theatre officers for local councils, drama teachers, and many have gone on to postgraduate study. We also support past students to set up companies and remain in Kent with the Graduate Theatre Scheme.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications, typical requirements are listed below, students offering alternative qualifications should contact the Admissions Office for further advice. It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level


Access to HE Diploma

The University of Kent will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made candidates will be required to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 5 HND

Distinction, Distinction, Merit

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) on a case by case basis please contact us via the enquiries tab for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL

International students

The University receives applications from over 140 different nationalities and consequently will consider applications from prospective students offering a wide range of international qualifications. Our International Development Office will be happy to advise prospective students on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about our country-specific requirements.

Please note that if you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes through Kent International Pathways.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support for the duration of their course.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications as specified on our scholarships pages.

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Enquire or order a prospectus


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T: +44 (0)1227 827272


The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £16480

Fees for Year Abroad/Industry

As a guide only, UK/EU/International students on an approved year abroad for the full 2017/18 academic year pay an annual fee of £1,350 to Kent for that year. Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Please note that for 2017/18 entrants the University will increase the standard year in industry fee for home/EU/international students to £1,350.

UK/EU fee paying students

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

In accordance with changes announced by the UK Government, we are increasing our 2017/18 regulated full-time tuition fees for new and returning UK/EU fee paying undergraduates from £9,000 to £9,250. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise from £4,500 to £4,625. This was subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. This fee will ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

Key Information Sets

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

Publishing Office - © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000

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