If your idea of a great night out is a trip to the theatre and you fancy your chances up there on the stage yourself, then studying for a degree in the arena of theatre and dramatic arts might be perfect for you.
The subject area theatre and dramatic arts covers a wide range of possible courses and career choices. Whether you want to tread the boards, unleash your creative side by building magnificent sets, or see your stories come to life, there is a course to help you achieve your dreams.
Here’s how to get started on your chosen career path…
What A-levels Do You Need?
It really depends on the nature of your course. If you pick a degree that’s more theoretical in its nature then the emphasis will be on your grades, whereas practical courses will want to see your abilities first-hand. This will often mean you will need to attend auditions or provide a portfolio of artwork for design courses.
It’s really important that you do your research, as the entry requirements for different drama-based courses will vary widely. Some universities have high entry standards and want ABB–AAA, whereas others would accept BBC or even BCC (DMM at BTEC).
Most universities will want these results to come in related subjects, e.g. Drama, English, Performing Arts, Theatre Studies, History.
Where Can You Study Theatre and Dramatic Arts at University?
The good news is, you can hone your skills pretty much all over the UK, with over 100 universities currently offering Drama and Theatre related courses (either straight or joint honours). Here's a taste of where you could be studying...
University of East Anglia
University of Chichester
University of Gloucestershire
Goldsmiths University of London
University of Kent
University of Winchester
To see the full list of Theatre and Dramatic Arts courses,
What Are Your Study Options?
There are plenty of different degree (and joint/combined honours options) in this subject area. The key here is to make sure you do plenty of research, so that you know exactly what the course you’re applying to entails.
If you want to spend all your time treading the boards, then a BA in
, or Drama are good ideas. If you want to specialise, then Theatre and Performance courses might be more suitable. If you prefer a more behind-the-scenes role, then a Musical Theatre course might be more fitting. Theatre Production
Why Study Theatre and Dramatic Arts?
If you enjoy subjects like drama and English literature, then a degree in the area of theatre and dramatic arts could be well-suited to your interests. Taking a degree in this area will allow you to focus on the specific part of the dramatic arts that appeals to you the most.
Whether you like the idea of working behind the scenes at the Globe, you want to become a writer for the stage, or (of course) you want to be starring alongside Dwayne Johsnon in the latest Hollywood blockbuster (because face it, he's in all of them right now!), a degree will enable you to hone your skills and – more importantly – get performance experience to add to you CV.
Many courses offer workshops with successful screen and stage professionals, giving you insight in to what life it like in this field (and hopefully some great contacts too).
It’s also worth thinking about the different skills a course in theatre and dramatic arts will give you. You won’t just be learning about different acting methods, famous playwrights, or the way in which a musical is produced; you’ll also be learning how to express yourself, how to communicate your ideas and how to analyse existing concepts – all of which are very transferable and will be
. valued by a variety of employers
Your degree – depending on where you study, of course – will also be nice and varied. If you’re on a dance and performing arts programme, for instance, you’ll be mixing practical performance with workshops and written theory (so your degree shouldn’t ever get boring).
What Can You Do After Getting Your Theatre Studies Degree?
We’re not going to lie, getting a job in the performing arts isn’t the easiest thing in the world. The arts sector as a whole is incredibly competitive (especially if you want to become an actor), so you’ll probably need a great deal of talent and luck in order to make it a full-time career.
Many graduates hoping to gain work as an actor or a playwright don’t do it full-time (or at least not to start out with) – most will do what they can and supplement their income with some part-time work, while others may go on and apply for acting schools such as the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (again, though, these schools are incredibly competitive and hard to get in to).
Of course, you don’t have to go into the performing arts. Many theatre and drama grads use their communication and writing skills to enter careers in marketing, PR, publicity, events, publishing, or journalism.
Q & A with a Theatre Studies Degree Graduate
Lance Cain studied a BA in Theatre Studies at in Wales... Bangor University
Why Did You Choose to Study Theatre Studies at University?
I chose theatre as I'd been treading the boards since I was 11 years old and studying it since I was 15. It was a natural progression of something I enjoyed and was good at.
What Was the Most Enjoyable Aspect?
The most enjoyable element was the performing. As any thespian will say, there's no rush quite like the first step on stage on performance night.
What Was The Least Enjoyable Aspect?
As any thespian will also tell you, the worst part is the months of early morning through to late night rehearsals and line learning. All this along with the study element can be draining. But on the other hand, you develop a kind of trench warfare camaraderie with your fellow cast and crew.
How Do You Think a Theatre Degree Might Help Graduates Seeking Employment?
Every single one of my fellow graduates is now employed in something they want to be doing. Some are teachers, some actors, and one is currently working as a runner with the BBC on everything from Casualty to Doctor Who.
How Did the Course Prepare You for Your Job?
I’m not currently working in the theatre, but I learned lots of transferrable skills such as team work, public speaking and the ability to memorise a lot of information.
What Would You Like to Go on To Do In Your Career In the Future?
I still act occasionally as a hobby, and I’d like to continue doing so. I recently took part in a performance back at Bangor, where the director called me ‘the next Tom Hiddleston’, so maybe there’s hope for me yet!
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