Study a wide range of dramatic texts, from Ancient Greek times to the present day, and develop an understanding of the principal developments in European Theatre.
You can benefit from our Lakeside Theatre, which has been established as a major venue for excellent drama, known for a commitment to new writing for the stage. Not only do many professional touring companies bring their productions of new plays to our Lakeside Theatre but there has been a wealth of new work produced by our own staff and students. An essential element of our Lakeside Theatre’s programme has been the opportunity it gives you to write or direct new plays, as well as re-define classics and re-discover neglected masterpieces.
Topics covered in our modules include:
- Transforming dramatic texts into dramatic performance
- Comedy, tragedy and the development of genre, both in theory and practice
- Gender and sexual politics on stage
- Writing for theatre
- Translating novels for the screen
- Writing of the US South
Our commitment to the student experience is why we are ranked third for drama in the Guardian University Guide 2021 and top 20 for dance, drama and cinematics in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. Our students love us too; we’re Top 20 for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2021.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
When you arrive at Essex, you can decide whether you would like to combine your course with a placement year. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and the placements team.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
Our academic literature staff specialise in a range of areas including modernism, comparative and world literature, Shakespeare, the Renaissance, travel writing, nature writing, translated literature, cultural geography, Irish and Scottish writing, US and Caribbean literature, and the history of reading.
The Centre for Theatre Studies at Essex is part of the multi-disciplinary Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, offering talented students the support and confidence to engage both critically and artistically in the study of drama. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning playwrights, actors and directors, as well as leading literature specialists.
- Our on-Campus, 200-seat Lakeside Theatre is a major venue for drama, staging productions by professional touring companies and new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
- Participate in regular workshops at the Lakeside Theatre which help you to improve your performance skills
- Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work as it develops
- View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
- Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars
- Meet fellow readers at the student-run Literature Society or at the department’s Myth Reading Group
A degree in drama enables you to develop the graduate capabilities that employers value. You learn how to communicate with confidence, both orally and in writing. Our strong practical component equips you with the subject-related skills for degree-level employment.
Our graduates go on to become highly-regarded professionals in the cultural industries. Many now teach, while other progress to further research in drama and related subjects. Several graduates have become stage managers at venues across the UK, while others find work in varied areas including journalism, press relations, television production, magazine editing, copywriting, industry, commerce and law.
Recent graduates have been employed as:
- A freelance theatre practitioner
- A writer
- A digital journalist and sub-editor
- A business development officer
- A journalist
We also work with the university’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- We’re top 20 for overall student satisfaction for Drama in the National Student Survey 2021
- Many of our lecturers come from the theatre profession and continue to have active careers.
- We have a thriving Theatre Arts Society and student company – you can put theory into practice.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Teaching will mainly take the form of lectures and classes of about 20 students
- Practical drama workshops
- Emphasis on practical exercises and creative approaches
- A typical timetable involves a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your modules every week
- Your final mark for each module is determined half by coursework and half by examination
- A mark for class participation is included in your coursework mark