You will develop the ability to understand a range of plays within their historical context and engage with key historical and critical questions about the theatre and performance such as what can the Renaissance stage teach us today about the politics of performance? Why does Victorian melodrama, which originated in a very different historical and technological period, contain characters and plots which would not look out of place in Hollywood blockbusters? What are the political pressures driving contemporary theatre today?
You engage with different forms of drama through performance and research and the course is intended to provide graduates with a solid grounding in the textual and practical study of drama and performance.
The course will also include modules designed to give you insights into careers in the professional theatre. Typically you will be assessed 50% by written assignments and 50% through performance/creative practice.
Drama is available as combined honours only - see the 'Combine with...' tab for the full list of other subjects that you can study alongside it.
As we review our courses regularly, the list of modules you choose from may vary from the ones shown here. You can also read more detailed module descriptions here.
In your first year you will study two skills-based modules:
- Approaches to Performance: introduces you to key theatrical skills and forms, approached from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Texts studied might include: Victorian melodrama Black Ey’d Susan, Ibsen’s Ghosts, Brecht’s Mother Courage and Beckett’s Quad.
- Texts in Performance: provides an in-depth historical understanding of performance circumstances and developments. Texts studied might range from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, through Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest to Terry Johnson’s Hysteria and Sarah Kane’s Crave.
Years 2 and 3
The second year begins with a grounding in British Theatre 1950-Present, a chance to explore modern and contemporary British text-based theatre through playwrights such as Harold Pinter and Cary Churchill and theatre makers, such as Max Stafford-Clark. Further second-year modules include:
- Theatre and Theory - Modern and Postmodern, explores a theoretical approach to theatre using various materials including visual, textual and audio.
- Renaissance Tragedy and Comedy exposes you to key genres and plays such as Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy and Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside.
- a Work Placement module in Drama: such as working at a local theatre, with a theatre company, experiencing arts administration or teaching first hand, giving you valuable skills for your career post-Brookes.
In the third year you will have the opportunity to further specialise on specific areas which also inform the cutting-edge research of your tutors. Examples of modules might include:
- People, Plays and Places: an opportunity to carry out detailed and performative research, building on issues of space, performance and historical context already encountered. You’ll focus specifically on Early Modern drama, for example performance at a specific place or time, such as at Hampton Court Palace or the Rose Theatre in London.
- Spectacular Origins: Theatre, Medicine and Science, in which you can explore depictions of medicine and science in relation to dramatic and theatrical representation in largely practice-based ways. Topics of interest might include the birth of modern science, the theatre of Tom Stoppard, women, madness and psychiatry, or Charles Darwin onstage.
The Final Production module of your degree reflects our emphasis on student choice, enabling you either to take part in a final performance, working as a director, performer, designer or in a similar creative role.
You may also elect to create a sustained piece of written work by opting to undertake an interdisciplinary dissertation in an area of your interest.
Modules designed to give you insights into careers in the professional theatre are also included, and these are supplemented by the specialist workshops provided by our Creative Consultants, including Goat and Monkey Theatre.
You'll have the option to take a work placement module in your second year - this could involve working at a local theatre, with a theatre company, in arts administration or teaching, giving you valuable career skills. In the past work placements have included:
- teaching in local schools
- with arts companies, working on a professional show
- backstage experience at a professional theatre
- marketing and arts admin experience
- community engagement projects with Pegasus Theatre.
You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year.
Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:
- increasing your employability within an international market
- boosting your language skills
- building your confidence in adapting to new situations
- improving your knowledge of different cultures.
While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.
We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.
There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.
For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges.
Departmental research highlights
Dr Carina Bartleet carries out research into the links between science and theatre, which directly informs her teaching of a third year module, Spectacular Origins.
Dr Eleanor Lowe and Professor Tom Betteridge both carry out practical performance research projects in Early Modern drama; some of this work is explored in the second year module, Renaissance Tragedy and Comedy. Tom's work has also opened opportunities for students to contribute to professional productions at locations such as Hampton Court Palace.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
There are a number of performance opportunities at Oxford Brookes. The Students' Union has two drama societies and there is also the chance to take part in activities in the city.
The drama department is involved in a number of community projects, and works in partnership with Pegasus Theatre. Pegasus has pioneered theatre and arts education work with young people in Oxford for the past 50 years. It has a brand-new studio theatre, rehearsal and dance studios, cafe and technical facilities.
Members of the department are actively involved in a number of local projects including the staging of plays and workshops in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace in London.