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Study Theatre and Drama Studies abroad

About this subject

  • About this subject
  • Is this the course for me?
  • Careers prospects
  • Studying Theatre and Drama Studies
  • Where to study?
Theatre and Dramatic Arts

The performance of theatre and the dramatic arts is a medium of expression which allows performers to express themselves artistically. The first recorded use of the phrase ‘performance arts’ was in 1711, and was used to categorise a wide range of physical performance methods, from dance and mime to acting and performing music.

The initial period in which the performing arts became popular was in the 6th century BC, when ancient Greeks would incorporate dance and music into the performances of well-known poetry and prose. This tradition was then revived during the 15th century AD in Renaissance Italy, eventually leading to the rise of the Elizabethan Masque, and the popularity of theatrical companies and plays, such as those written by William Shakespeare.

Thanks to the development in new media, theatre and the dramatic arts is a medium of expression that is constantly evolving, allowing contemporary performers to push boundaries and establish new and innovative means of expression.

Is this the course for me?

Are you a creative individual, who loves to perform? Are you aware of movement and what it can be used to convey? Do you have something to say, and the means to express it? If so, then you might want to consider a course in theatre and the dramatic arts. However, while a passion for performance is essential when considering studying this particular course, it is also important for potential students to have an interest in different cultures and the role that performance has in conveying their attitudes and beliefs. Similarly, as part of the course students will be expected to work on individual and/or team projects, and perform in front of different audience. Those who thrive on a theatre and performing arts course tend to be those who are confident and hard-working.

Careers prospects

Many students who opt to take a degree in theatre or a related subject are looking to pursue a career that includes performing onstage. While jobs as actors and performers can be difficult to achieve, they can also be quite lucrative, particularly for those who end up with regular stage, film and TV work.

However, the majority of performing arts graduates end up working in teaching positions within the acting industry. Whether working at a drama academy or teaching within schools, there are a wide range of vacancies available for dancers with a strong degree. Similarly, large theatre troupes expect not only their performers to have an in-depth knowledge of the theatre industry, but also the staff working in the PR and marketing departments.

Studying Theatre and Drama Studies

Like dance, fashion and any subject that involves creativity, the application to study on a performing arts course is a little more difficult. At undergraduate level, students are expected to achieve a minimum of 3 A-levels or equivalent, and gaining a place on an undergraduate course is difficult without a 2:1 degree.

Potential theatre and performing arts students will also be expected to attend an audition in which they showcase their skills. Those who do not speak English as a native language will be required to score a minimum of 6.0 on an IELTS test to demonstrate their language fluency.

A basic undergraduate theatre course will last 3 years, and will allow for the study of a number of acting and performance techniques. At postgraduate level, your course may last anywhere from one to three years, and the content of your programme will focus more on a specialised area of performance. While some of your lectures may focus on theory, the majority of your modules will be assessed in a practical manner.

Where to study?

It is important to ensure that you choose a location that suits your personal tastes and circumstances; after all you’ll be spending at least a year living there as a student. It is vital that you investigate the local area and see if you can envisage yourself living there. How much is transport? Is there a thriving arts and dance culture nearby? What are the facilities like? Will you be able to find work to subsidise your studies, or even boost your showreel?

As an industry, the theatre and performing arts one is particularly tough. If you’re specifically hoping for a stage or film career, look for an educational establishment that holds a certain level of prestige amongst casting directors and potential agents. Similarly, many universities will have links with working theatre companies, so if this is applicable ensure that you can use these connections to your advantage.

Of course whether you’re studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level, being a student is bound to put a strain on your finances. Can you afford the fees? Can you afford the living costs? Before applying, try to make a list of the funding you are eligible for in your current financial situation, including bursaries and scholarships. Similarly, do you have the performance skills to study for this course? If you’re not entirely certain, then it may be worth spending a year practising before requesting an audition.

What Theatre and Drama Studies courses are there?


Theatre & Dramatic Arts


Performing Arts (General)

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