Our BA Theatre & Performance course is designed to inspire your theatrical creativity and provide you with outlets to express it.
You will begin by studying theatre from a range of cultures and historical periods, then focus more intensively on theatre of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including the work of international and British playwrights and performance makers such as Samuel Beckett, Sarah Kane, Complicité, Caryl Churchill and Katie Mitchell.
The course investigates a range of contemporary global practices from verbatim to immersive, from site-specific work to examples of digital technologies in live performance. You will see performances ranging from west end theatre to the latest practitioners of 'intermedial' theatre and performance art. Throughout your degree, you will explore how directors, designers, writers and other theatre artists respond to and shape our rapidly changing world. You will learn practical skills from the first year, with opportunities to create performances in the final two years. You will also have the option of following a critical-only route.
You will explore histories and techniques of devising, producing, designing and directing, and learn how theatre works as an expression of real-world issues. Students studying BA Theatre & Performance at the University of Reading enjoy the best of both worlds, developing critical and creative skills in a dynamic environment.
Your first-year studies will introduce you to the histories and critical frameworks that inform each medium, and help you develop a range of academic and practical skills that will prove invaluable throughout the degree and beyond. For example, you will explore a variety of “channels of communication”, and be introduced to work across Chinese, Greek, Shakespearean and Noh theatre. We provide you with a thorough understanding of theatre conventions in order that your own experiments can have an even stronger impact. Throughout your first-year practical work you will explore how theatre has been effected by different social and historical contexts, and develop your own responses to this in group-based projects.
The second year is your chance to specialise in areas based on your personal or career interests. Through research and practice, you will explore work within and beyond classical and conventional narrative traditions, and learn about practitioners and movements that have challenged those traditions in various global and historical contexts. Your idea of theatre will be expanded by studying avant-garde, postdramatic, political and radical performance works. Optional modules allow you to investigate a variety of areas in detail, such as nationhood on stage and identity in performance, as well as a selection of film and television modules.
Throughout the degree, all taught lectures are followed by discussion and/or workshop-based seminars, enabling you to immediately respond to what you are learning. From start to finish, you will study both theory and practice – and learn how to effectively blend them together.
The final year presents you with the choice of diversifying your focus or further developing your knowledge in your chosen specialism. These modules are based around our academics’ current world-leading research and are all discussion-based, allowing you to rigorously engage with cutting-edge thought. Your work across the degree now culminates in either a collaborative 40-minute theatre piece or a written dissertation.
This degree is designed with the interaction between theory and practical work at its core, giving you plenty of opportunities to develop both your critical and technical skills. You will be based in Minghella Studios, a purpose-built study environment that reflects the way in which we think about and teach film, theatre and television. The Department of Film, Theatre and Television has a long and proud history of supporting collaborative work, and at every stage you will be encouraged to build your own knowledge and skills through working alongside fellow students in the, including those on our BA Film & Theatre and BA Film & Television degrees.
A key benefit of studying at Reading is our close proximity to London – undoubtedly the UK’s premier hub for all things film and theatre. You will have numerous opportunities to visit theatres and see performances as part of your degree; London is only 30 minutes away by train, meaning it’s easy to see a show or visit one of its many independent cinemas in your own time. Please be aware theatre tickets and travel are additional costs for any theatre module, and you should plan accordingly.