Skip to content | Accessibility Information

Drama and
Contemporary Performance

BA (Hons)
Drama and Contemporary Performance
UCAS W410
3 years (full-time)
6 years (part-time)

Drama and Contemporary Performance at Manchester School of Theatre is all about your development as a theatre artist, performer, thinker and professional, in a city with a vibrant theatre and performance scene.

With a focus on cutting edge practices across contemporary performance and dramatic theatre, the programme combines artistic practice and academic enquiry, and draws on established local, national and international networks.

Working with leading theatre academics, artists and professionals, you will be part of a close knit course community, working in one of the most vibrant sectors of a city internationally acclaimed for its creativity.

Special Features

  • The course is based in our brand new Grosvenor East building, featuring movement and performance studios, TV and radio studios and a 180-seat theatre.
  • Strong focus on cutting edge practices in contemporary performance and dramatic theatre.
  • Close relationships with Contact Theatre, HOME, The Royal Exchange and international partners gives our students first-hand experience and insight into industry. 
  • Combines artistic practice, academic enquiry and professional development.
  • Builds on many years of experience producing artists, performers, producers and teachers.

Course Content

After a first year exploring performing, theatre making and critical perspectives, you can opt to focus on text-based or broader compositional approaches to the making of new theatre. A series of performance projects both large and small also run throughout the degree, and it all culminates in the final year with major performance presentations, research projects and professional development training, aimed at setting you up for professional life.

Year 1

In Year 1, students will be introduced to key concepts and strategies relating to the production of theatre, including performance styles and techniques, contemporary debates in the context of drama and the creative process, before developing their own staff-led performance project.

Theatre Making

30 credits

Project 1

30 credits

Performing

30 credits

Theatre Making

‘Theatre Making’ is a studio-based unit that introduces and investigates a number of practices and strategies employed in the making of new theatre, using a combination of practical exercises and critical study.

Critical Perspectives 1

This unit will introduce you to key critical concepts and debates in drama, theatre and performance. You will learn about and debate these issues in the context of drama and contemporary performance. It will also introduce you to critical writing and thinking skills that are essential to both sustained academic research, university study, and to professional creative practice.

Performing

This practical unit will introduce you to a range of performance strategies, styles and techniques, with an emphasis on the performer’s integral relationship to the creative process.

Project 1

This unit provides you with the opportunity to develop and apply performance practice within a staff-led, ensemble-based performance project.

Year 2

Students have a choice of core units in Year 2, allowing for the development of specialisations in performance and composition, acting and directing, whilst gaining an understanding for the history of theatre throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries. The year culminates in a public-facing performance and critical reflection.

Critical Perspectives 2

This unit will contextualise contemporary theatre and performance within the historical, artistic and conceptual contexts of the 20th and 21st centuries. The unit will introduce you to the lineages of performance and theatre and its study through the twentieth century, and use that context to discuss and debate current issues in contemporary theatre and performance. Learning will take place through seminars, lectures, independent study, essays, and presentations. Assessed work will include student led presentations on historical cases and an essay on a relevant topic of each student’s choosing based on their own research. This will serve to develop your skills in independent research, organisation, writing, presentation and critical thinking.

Project 2

This unit facilitates a range of staff-led public-facing performance projects, in which you will engage directly in the creative process, performance, production and critical reflection.

Performing and Acting

This unit provides you with key practical skills in acting and performing in relation to dramatic texts.

Performance and Composition

This unit focuses on stimulating, informing and developing your own work in the composition of original, contemporary, performance pieces, mostly from the position of the performer/collaborator.

Directing and Dramaturgy

This unit provides the opportunity for you to explore and develop your skills in directing and dramaturgy through practical engagement, in a workshop environment, with a range of dramatic texts.

Artists and Companies

This unit provides you with the opportunity to study the contemporary performance making of leading artists and companies, exploring the work in both practice and theory.

Year 3

In Year 3 students will enhance their understanding of and discuss critical issues in drama whilst developing research skills and self-evaluation methods. The year also features two performance projects undertaken with the supervision of tutors and professional artists.

Project 3

30 credits

Project 4

30 credits

Critical Perspectives 3

This final year unit functions as a forum for you to discuss critical ideas, further develop your formal research skills and formulate your thinking about contemporary theatre as a cultural practice. You will develop an independent research project and critically engage and evaluate your creative practice over the course of the year.

Professional Practice

This unit enables you to adopt an informed and pro-active approach to the key professional pathways available to you when they graduate, with a focus on professional skills, profiling, contexts, processes and outputs.

Project 3

This unit provides you with the opportunity to engage in two performance projects, one with the input of a professional artist and the other tutor supervised, with the second responding to the experience of the first.

Project 4

This unit facilitates a range of student-led, supervised performance projects, in which you will engage directly in the creative process, performance, production and critical reflection.

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

Study
  • Year 1 40% lectures, seminars or similar; 60% independent study
  • Year 2 40% lectures, seminars or similar; 60% independent study
  • Year 3 40% lectures, seminars or similar; 60% independent study
Assessment
  • Year 1 100% coursework;
  • Year 1 100% coursework;
  • Year 1 100% coursework;

Staff


Student Profiles

Visit the Degree Show website to view profiles of some of our graduating students.

Falling Into Place 2022

Graduates

This course will enable you to gain the skills and understanding to work professionally as a theatre maker, performer, director, producer, facilitator or teacher, or to move into other creative industries, as well as to engage in further academic study and research. You will also develop key transferable skills including teamwork, creative thinking, leadership and communication.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

104-112.

A Levels ­– e.g. BCC-BBC

Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma – DMM

Pass Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 106 UCAS Tariff points

T Levels - We welcome applications from students undertaking T Level qualifications. Eligible applicants will be asked to achieve a minimum overall grade of Merit as a condition of offer.

Equivalent qualifications and combinations will be considered, including Extended Project (EPQ) at grade C or above.

AS levels (or qualifications equivalent to AS level) are not accepted.

Please contact the University directly if you are unsure whether you meet the minimum entry requirements for the course.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE grade C/4 in English Language or Level 2 Functional Skills English pass

International BaccalaureateIB Diploma with minimum 26 points overall or 104-112 UCAS Tariff points from Higher Level. If you plan to meet the Level 2 course requirements through your IB Diploma you will need to achieve Higher Level 4 or Standard Level 5 in English Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 overall with no individual element below 5.5 is required.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Audition Information

Once we have reviewed your initial application we will invite you to participate in an online audition with a small group of candidates where you will be asked to work together as an ensemble, watching, listening and responding to each other. We may also ask you about your experience and interests in drama and theatre, and there will be opportunity for you to ask us questions about the course. The audition will last about an hour.

We will provide you with further details about the online audition process after you apply.

Tuition Fees 2023 Entry

UK and Channel Island Students

Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

EU and Non-EU International Students

Full-time fee: £18,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

See Money Matters for further information and advice.

Additional Costs

Specialist Costs

Optional £600*

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing. Total optional cost: £600.

Other Costs

£200*  

Students will need to see a number of professional performances over the three years of the degree, mostly in the Manchester area. Some venues will offer special ticket deals for DCP students, so estimated cost: £60-£70 per year.

* All amounts shown are estimates.