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BA Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course description

Our BA Drama course embraces all forms of drama across stage, screen and beyond.

You will explore everything from literary adaptation to street theatre, from activist performance to audio design, from playwriting to directing and experimental film cultures.

You will benefit from teaching informed by recent innovations in theatre, performance and film studies, as well as by historical practices.

Our comprehensive facilities include the purpose-built Martin Harris Centre, home to the John Thaw Studio, a fully staffed, adaptable performance, rehearsal and workshop space.

You will also be able to draw inspiration from the creative beating heart of the city itself, home to countless ground-breaking arts organisations and events - from Manchester International Festival, the world's first festival of original work, to HOME, the largest multidisciplinary arts centre outside of the capital.

You can also take advantage of strong links to partner organisations throughout the city, including TiPP (Theatre in Prisons and Probation Research and Development Centre), based here at the University, and Community Arts North West.

You'll also have the opportunity to engage with professional practitioners working in the cultural industries through your coursework and through extracurricular events.


We aim to:

  • produce students capable of independently evaluating and engaging creatively and critically with performance and, as appropriate, being capable of developing technical and artistic skills, critical analysis and argument for themselves;
  • provide you with a knowledge and understanding and some experience of drama and performance as cultural process and artistic discourse, through the study of theatre and media history, text, dramatic theory and performance practice;
  • facilitate and support the development of your learning skills, critical perception and dramatic imagination;
  • provide you with coherent programmes that reflect the diversity of expertise within, and available to, the Drama Department;
  • foster independent learning, evaluation and research;
  • foster a knowledge, understanding and, where appropriate, experience through outreach activities, of the contribution drama can make to the local community;
  • equip you with the necessary critical tools and relevant practice to begin to make a worthwhile contributions to contemporary theatre, film, television or related fields.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks. 

Study abroad

You may apply to spend one semester studying abroad during Year 2. Exchange partners are offered through the Erasmus Exchange scheme (in Sweden) and the Worldwide Exchange scheme (eg USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore).

Study an additional subject

Flexible Honours may allow you to study an additional arts, languages or cultures subject.

Teaching and learning

Manchester is distinct from an acting conservatoire; rather than offering purely vocational training, we bring together theory and practice in the study of Drama as cultural process and artistic discourse.

Your studies will encompass stage and screen, the ancient and the contemporary, the mainstream and the avant-garde.

You'll develop skills in critical thinking, creative problem solving, and the clear articulation of ideas, learning through lectures, seminars, practical workshops, masterclasses and group work.

You will engage with the theories and techniques of practitioners past and present in our dedicated studio spaces.

Practical work is generally workshop-based and not all projects culminate in public performance.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment includes:

  • coursework essays;
  • written examinations;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • learning logs;
  • web contributions;
  • oral presentations;
  • small-scale practical assignments;
  • a final-year dissertation or research essay.

The final degree result is based on 25% from Year 2 and 75% from Year 3.

Course content for year 1

Study core units in the theory and practice of drama, focusing on historical, contextual and theoretical analysis. Learn from visiting artists and collaborate with fellow students in intensive practical workshops.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Theatre & Performance 1 - Texts DRAM10001 20 Mandatory
Theatre & Performance 2 - Concepts DRAM10002 20 Mandatory
The Art of Film DRAM10031 20 Mandatory
Performance Practices 1 DRAM10101 20 Mandatory
Performance Practices 2 DRAM10102 20 Mandatory
The Art of Film DRAM10031 20 Optional
Introduction to Early and Classical Cinema DRAM13331 20 Optional
Introduction to World Cinema SALC11002 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

Explore drama practitioners in their historical, cultural, and political context from the birth of modernism to the present day. Select from a broad range of options, including Street Theatres and Varieties of Shakespeare. Develop practical skills in creating theatre and film. Choose an area of research for your final year dissertation project.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Theatres of Modernity: the Popular and the Avant-Garde DRAM20051 20 Mandatory
Contemporary British Cinema DRAM20032 20 Optional
Screen, Culture and Society DRAM20041 20 Optional
Black on Screen DRAM20091 20 Optional
Post-Thatcher British Theatre: New Writing Since 1992 DRAM20102 20 Optional
Dramaturgy: Professional Practices DRAM20291 20 Optional
A Score is Born: History and Ideology in Hollywood Film Music DRAM20711 20 Optional
Introduction to Documentary Film Practice DRAM21091 20 Optional
Varieties of Shakespeare DRAM21131 20 Optional
Playmaking DRAM21141 20 Optional
Street Theatres DRAM21211 20 Optional
Audio Project 1: The Audio Feature DRAM21222 20 Optional
Solo Performance DRAM21231 20 Optional
Drama in Education DRAM21252 20 Optional
Horror Film: Genre, Periods, Styles DRAM21262 20 Optional
Social Acts: Applied Theatre and Engaged Arts Practice DRAM21272 20 Optional
Virtual Realities DRAM21281 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting DRAM21552 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 18 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Specialise in an area of practice, such as playwriting, directing, documentary filmmaking, applied theatre, or contemporary theatre-making. Continue to hone your critical and analytical skills in upper-level study options. Research and write you dissertation or research essay.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Long Essay in Drama DRAM30000 20 Optional
Docufiction Filmmaking DRAM30062 40 Optional
Applied Theatre: Theatre in Prisons DRAM30112 40 Optional
Writing For Performance DRAM30211 40 Optional
Performing America DRAM30222 20 Optional
Directors Project DRAM30412 40 Optional
Films about Film DRAM30802 20 Optional
Activist performance DRAM30821 20 Optional
Contemporary European Theatres DRAM30831 20 Optional
Dissertation DRAM30990 40 Optional
From Documentary to Mockumentary DRAM31011 20 Optional
Falstaff and Gandalf go to the Movies: Adapting Fantastic Texts to Screen DRAM31042 20 Optional
Contemporary Theatre-Making DRAM32001 40 Optional
Gender and Sexuality on the 20th Century Stage DRAM32021 20 Optional
Screen Acting & Stardom DRAM33301 20 Optional
Theatre, performance and care: studying artful care and careful art DRAM33461 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30482 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units for year 3


Home to Music and Drama at Manchester, the purpose-built Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama includes:

  • the John Thaw Studio Theatre, a flexible, fully equipped performance space with seating for 150 people;
  • workshops, rehearsal rooms and screening rooms, including sound and video-editing suites;
  • the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, an acoustically designed auditorium seating up to 350 people;
  • the Lenagan Library, our dedicated performing arts library.

The University is also home to internationally renowned cultural assets such as:

  • the multi award-winning Whitworth Art Gallery;
  • the John Rylands Library, home to one of the world's finest collections of medieval illuminated manuscripts and rare books;
  • Manchester Museum, home to important prehistoric, classical and ethnographic collections.

Globally renowned for its arts and cultural offer, Manchester is home to the second highest concentration of theatres in the UK, as well as Manchester International Festival and the £110 million development, The Factory.

Learn more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: