BA Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

BA Drama 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 also can engage with professional practitioners working in the cultural industries through your coursework and through extracurricular events.

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.


Join The University of Manchester Filmmaking Society, which exists to provide a platform for aspiring filmmakers attending the university to meet, exchange ideas and create their own cinematic productions.

Join The University of Manchester Drama Society, which is for anyone with an interest in drama, be that acting, directing, writing, filmmaking, costume, set building, stage managing or just watching. One of the largest in the Student Union, the society has links with many of Manchester's award-winning theatrical venues, including the Contact Theatre and the Royal Exchange Theatre. Each summer the society showcases at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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.

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 Film Histories 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, such as Street Theatres and Varieties of Shakespeare.

Develop practical skills in creating theatre and film.

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 DRAM20051 20 Mandatory
Contemporary British Cinema DRAM20031 20 Optional
Screen, Culture and Society DRAM20041 20 Optional
Black on Screen DRAM20092 20 Optional
Post-Thatcher British Theatre: New Writing Since 1992 DRAM20102 20 Optional
Performing America DRAM20221 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
Solo Performance DRAM21232 20 Optional
Drama in Education DRAM21252 20 Optional
Horror Film: Genre, Periods, Styles DRAM21262 20 Optional
Television Drama DRAM21291 20 Optional
Theatres of Spontaneity DRAM21401 20 Optional
Performance and Climate Change DRAM21882 20 Optional
Discipline and Punish: The Modern Prison on Stage and Screen DRAM21902 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 your dissertation or extended dissertation.

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
Dissertation in Drama/Film (Semester One) DRAM30001 20 Optional
Dissertation in Drama/Film (Semester Two) DRAM30002 20 Optional
Docufiction Filmmaking DRAM30062 40 Optional
Applied Theatre: Theatre in Prisons DRAM30111 40 Optional
Writing For Performance DRAM30211 40 Optional
Directors Project DRAM30412 40 Optional
Contemporary European Theatres DRAM30831 20 Optional
Social Lives of Cinema DRAM30842 20 Optional
Extended Dissertation DRAM30990 40 Optional
From Documentary to Mockumentary DRAM31011 20 Optional
Falstaff and Gandalf go to the Movies: Adapting Fantastic Texts to Screen DRAM31041 20 Optional
Gender and Sexuality on the 20th Century Stage DRAM32022 20 Optional
Screen Acting & Stardom DRAM33302 20 Optional
Theatre, performance and care: studying artful care and careful art DRAM33461 20 Optional
Postcolonial African Theatres DRAM33541 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 about facilities

Disability support

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