1. Theatre at Brunel is both a scholarly degree programme as well as a vocational one. It combines training in practical skills with the essential scholarly skills of the humanities and liberal arts, such as research, analysis, historical thinking, contexts, and the use of complex theories.
2. According to data released by the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) in 2014, the Creative Economy and Creative Industries have grown at a higher rate than any other sector of the UK’s economy. The Creative Economy accounts for 1 out of every 12 jobs in the UK. Theatre at Brunel is a creative degree that has been written to address the needs and realities of this fast-growing industry.
3. Working in the theatre is a practice that gives you essential skills and knowledge for life as well as work. Throughout history, study in the humanities has not only been about studying the arts – humanistic thinking has been key to the way we understand our place in the world, and affects ethics, reason, and all aspects of society.
4. Because you love it: people come to the theatre out of love for a form that has been an essential part of human experience for thousands of years.
Theatre opens up perspectives and ‘ways of seeing.’
The word comes from the Ancient Greek word ‘theatron’ meaning ‘seeing place’, from the root word ‘thea’, which means ‘to see’. So theatre literally means ‘a point of view.’ For Ancient Greece, theatre was not just about entertainment, it was connected to democracy. In the first democratic society in Athens, theatre was not just about myths or entertainment, it was a way for the citizens to enact things that were important to their society. This is because theatre is about making conflict, or drama (‘dran’; action), visible. It shows actions and consequences.
Here are some images of events that we might tend to consider ‘theatrical.’ These are what one might typically expect to study on a Theatre course.
Here are some images of events that we might think of as ‘real.’
But we can understand these events as theatrical because they’re about ‘show.’ They create a particular perspective on the world, and the skills of a theatre graduate are all about understanding how to see, and how these ways of seeing work.
All of these events involve ‘performance’ – humans getting up to make something happen – and to make a ‘show’ of themselves; and it is our job in theatre studies to understand these events, as well as those events we typically think of as ‘theatre’
In the BA Theatre course at Brunel we will combine practice and theory in order to look at theatre and performance in all its aspects, from what happens on stages in the West End, to what happens in the stages of the houses of parliament.
In other words, a degree in theatre is about much more than simply learning to act or perform, or direct, or write – it’s about understanding how to see and what you are seeing. And this is also what separates a degree at a university from drama school – our combination of practical and theoretical work.
The design of the course The Theatre BA at Brunel has been designed from the ground up to respond to the needs of the industry The course focuses on experiential learning – the only way to study theatre is to do it. Allows you to focus on one or more skills based on your strengths and interests. The first year is an exploratory one – you will choose modules based on your strengths and interests. This gives you the opportunity to build on what you are experienced in while also trying new things. By the end of the third year, you will specialize in 1-2 of these strands, demonstrating this in a practical dissertation (Final Production) or a written dissertation.
While we generally say there is a 60/40 split of practice and theory, leaning towards practice, it is important for our course that theory and practice are not two different things.
Theory is taught in lecture-seminar based modules (Perspectives 1, 2, and 3, How to Read a Play: Introduction to Dramatic Text, New Writing) but throughout practical modules we integrate discussions of theory, and practice helps students get to grips with the content of lectures.
Artistic practice is a lived exploration of ideas. Students on our course are ‘critical practitioners’, who are well versed as theatre makers as well as understanding the form, and have a language and vocabulary to talk about it. Our students don’t just know how to act, they know Stanislavsky’s theories, the labour conditions of actors, the history of naturalistic acting in the 19th and 20th century.
Acting is not just about playing a character, it is a lived exploration of human relationships, society, and psychology. Physical theatre is not just an alternative way of making theatre that integrates dance and movement, it explores the way human beings exist through their bodies. Musical theatre is not just about singing and jazz hands, it explores identity, race, gender, and nationality through the study of music and how music creates and manipulates feelings. And Applied Drama is not just about making drama workshops, it is about learning how creativity can create change in the world.
Our personal tutoring system is integrated in our core module, Perspectives. On most courses, in most institutions, you are only meant to see your personal tutor when you have a problem. We emphasize a much closer working relationship. At the beginning of the course you are assigned a personal tutor as well as a seminar group. You will meet with this seminar group weekly throughout the first two years, discussing the content of the lectures in depth with other students and your tutor. This also means that you are able to have close contact with your tutor should any problems at university arise (no matter how big or small). Studying at a university is very different from studying at school or college. This is why we integrate academic practice into these seminar groups, teaching you essential study skills such as research, writing, and oral and visual presentation. As part of the Perspectives module, you will go to at least three theatre visits in the first year with your entire year group, funded by the university. There are also many other theatre visits throughout the course. This is a great way to come together as a course – staff and students.
Mary – Talk about Placement Examples of Placements that students have recently completed: (These are also on the brochure which will be given out by Claire at the front)
We enhance and develop your skills at Subject, College and University level. Your personal and professional development is central to the BA programme. Across all modules, and by utilising the resources of the College and the University, we carefully select appropriate experiences to challenge you and increase your awareness of what is required for your career planning and achieving your aspirations. We encourage you to aspire and to plan practically for the opportunities and obstacles you will encounter after Graduation.
Course Presentation: Theatre
Theatre [at] Brunel
BA Theatre Single and Joint Honours
Admissions Tutor: Dr Broderick Chow
Head of Subject: Meretta Elliott
To study Theatre at Brunel is to be engaged with
the physical, theoretical, artistic, and digital
boundaries of interaction and to explore
performance in potentially radical and
• Both a scholarly
and a vocational one
• A creative course
focused on the needs
and realities of the
• The humanities are
for life as well as
• Because you love it.
Why Study Theatre?
What is unique about Theatre?
Theatre: from Greek ‘Theatron’
place of seeing, Thea: to see
Theatre: a point of view
King Lear at Shakespeare’s Globe
What do you study?
Jasmin Vardimon Company (Dance)
Matilda: The Musical in the West End
Stand-up comedian Stewart Lee
Sprinter Usain Bolt
But what about…?
British House of Commons
Brunel’s Theatre Degree has been
designed from the ground up to
respond to the needs of the industry.
At the heart of the course are our
seven ‘skills’ strands.
• Applied Drama
• Digital Performance
• Musical Theatre
• Physical Theatre
Modules are taught and led by
specialists in the disciplines with
How is the course designed…?
For us, practice and theory are
not separate things.
Theory is taught in lecture-seminar
including: Perspectives 1, 2, and
3, and How to Read a Play:
Introduction to Dramatic Text.
Theories and perspectives of
theatre are integrated in a holistic
way within the practical modules.
What about theory?
Our unique and innovated
personal tutoring system has
become a celebrated model
• Perspectives seminar groups
(8-10 students who you will
work with throughout
• Personal Tutors
• 15+ hours minimum contact
time per week in the first
year (usually much more)
• Funded theatre visits with
the entire year group
How are students supported?
A typical first year for single honours
students looks like:
How to Read a Play
6 choices from
Acting, Applied Drama, Digital
Performance, Directing, Musical
Theatre, Physical Theatre, Playwriting
What does a first-year set of
modules look like?
What do you do with a BA in Theatre?
Theatre[at]Brunel graduates are
confident, resourceful individuals who
have skills for life and work that come
directly from studying theatre:
• Managing and delivering a project
• Written and verbal expression
• Critical thinking
• Creative thinking and creative
solutions for the creative economy
Employability is central to the
design of the BA programme:
• 2nd Year professional
development ‘boot camp’
• Career-focused professional
experience short placement
• Career advice & alumni guest
• My Brunel HEAR – your own
Higher Education Achievement
Report (enhanced transcript).
•Ready for Work programme
Graduate Destinations Include:
• Acting and performance: on television
(What Remains), at international festivals,
and in the West End (The Book of Mormon)
• Creative, management, development and
administrative positions within the theatre
and creative industries: e.g. Youth
Development Officer at the Roundhouse,
• Education: as teachers, and educational
officers within theatre companies and
• Community based careers in Applied Drama
• Directing theatre companies or working as
solo artists (e.g. Brunel Drama graduate
• Numerous other career paths including
marketing, design, journalism, radio
production, presenting, No really, what EXACTLY can I dpoolit?ical lobbying…
• State of the Art Facilities – one
main house and three black-box
• Internationally renowned staff
including practicing theatre
• West London location – great
combination of campus university
with a ‘village’ feel, and access to
London’s cultural centres.
• Extracurricular activities: sport,
Drama Soc and Musical Theatre
Soc, numerous other societies,
our popular arts@artaud nights.
What are we looking for in a Brunel
Theatre BA student?
• a passion for studying theatre and
performance both practically and
• a commitment to collaboration and
• a desire to work in the theatre or
creative industries, or to use their
creative skills in their career after
• a keen watcher of theatre and
performance, who is curious about
all forms of art.
Our Typical Offer:
ABB – BBB at A-Level or
DDM at BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma or
32 Points at International Baccalaureate
including Higher Level 5 in Theatre related
subject or other equivalent
Demonstration of experience and passion for
theatre in personal statement
Participation in a workshop based
Contact Dr Broderick Chow
BA Theatre Admissions Tutor
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