School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance

Take centre stage - break the boundaries in a vibrant and creative environment that encourages interdisciplinary and multimedia approaches to performance. Become a skilled practitioner with a focus on physical performance, confident use of your voice, collaboration and critical awareness. You’ll develop a spirit of curiosity that extends beyond the traditional, embracing alternative approaches to performance making. Professional development throughout will open up exciting career possibilities.

Key features

  • In the 2016 National Student Survey, 95 per cent of students agree that staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching; 100 per cent agreed that they have been able to access specialised equipment, facilities, or rooms when needed and 85 per cent of students were in work/study six months after finishing.
  • Be among the first to experience our stunning, new, purpose-built performing arts facility, The House.
  • Develop a strong career portfolio with work-based learning and professional development opportunities that will boost your skills and expertise, and enhance your employability.
  • Benefit from the breadth of the course which explores different aspects of theatre and performance, embracing contemporary, alternative, interdisciplinary and multimedia approaches. You can also try your hand at devising your own performances - work with professional practitioners and explore your own style.
  • Advance your creative practice with talks, master classes and workshops with visiting companies and internationally recognised performers; in the past these have included Action Hero, Low Profile, John Nettles, Wildworks, Lone Twin, Earthfall and Robert Lyons.
  • Perform with our graduate touring company that visits schools and colleges across the country, mentoring young people.
  • Enrich your experience at Plymouth with the opportunity to attend shows and performances by well-known practitioners and companies, both locally and in London, or study overseas with our exchange programme.
  • Benefit from free texts provided in year one, intensive residency with a visiting company in year two (past residencies have included Gecko, Analogue Theatre Company and Liz Aggiss), and a production budget available for your final degree performance.
  • Build up your studio practice time with intensive teaching delivery and production rehearsals, giving you the same experience you’d gain with a professional theatre company.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll focus on developing the tools to both examine and create performance. You’ll concentrate on the performer-audience relationship, improvisation, play, and the use of space and the body. You will acquire core performance skills including voice, movement and working with text. Your practical sessions will be supported by seminars and lectures in performance language and theory, while you explore different approaches to performer training.
    Core modules
    • THPF405 Theatre Ensemble

      This module will focus on developing the skills necessary to work in a successful ensemble context, exploring the practice and examines the creative processes involved in the crafting and devising of performance work. Through workshop study, a creative understanding of the physical and mental processes necessary in theatrical presentation will be established.

    • THPF402 Introduction to Performance

      Launching the first year of the Theatre & Performance programme, this module will offer an intensive learning experience designed to explore the specific of studying a practically driven subject at degree level. Through the development of a range of critical and analytical skills, the student will be introduced to material that will encourage them to reflect upon their role as an embodied learner.

    • THPF403 Performance Praxis 1

      This module comprises both a lecture and a workshop series that surveys the key elements of dance, theatre and performance, including the terminology and discourses that help to develop a critically engaged practice. It includes an introduction to contemporary and historical theories and debates, while offering students an introduction to appropriate modes of study, research, devising and workshop skills.

    • THPF404 Performance Praxis 2: The Politics of Culture

      This module positions all performance practice as the product of its own specific cultural setting. Aiming to resist a Western-centric approach, the module explores performances from different cultures whilst providing a context and awareness of the key issues and debates surrounding intercultural/cross-cultural theory and practice. It problematises the issues of theatre, culture and ideology: the politics and problems of cultural contact and exchange.

    • THPF406PP Plymouth Plus: Performance Lab 1

      Offering Dance, Theatre and Acting students the chance to work collaboratively on a site-based project, this module will foreground the city as a rich and vibrant context for the creation of performance materials. Encouraging students to understand the wider socio-cultural positioning of their emerging practice, and encouraging them to build relationships beyond their immediate surroundings.

    • THPF401 Improvisation and Creativity

      The module identifies and explores the dynamics between the key elements of performance through the medium of improvisation, fundamental to all forms of `live¿ theatre and performance. The module places the study of theatre and performance within a contemporary context by exploring the discourse of and tension between naturalism and non-naturalism in 20th century performance theory and practice.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll explore a diverse range of performance practices working intensively with a professional theatre company. Within these practices you’ll focus on structure, style, form, context and cultural significance. You will advance your creative practice in performance workshops, master classes and intensive study with a range of expert academics. You’ll also get the chance to direct and lead your own creative project.
    Core modules
    • THPF501 Crafting Theatre

      This module explores practically the work of major practitioners and introduces key theories that have impacted upon contemporary theatre making. Through practice and contextual study, students will explore the implications of ideological, cultural and social codes for contemporary performance makers. This study will culminate in the production of a performance exploring the work of a chosen practitioner, or generic style.

    • THPF502 Performance Lab 2

      This module addresses collaborative and interdisciplinary practice. It is a practical and studio-based module that emphasises the development and presentation of student-led work and collaboration across year groups.

    • THPF505 Performance Training

      This module will enhance the development of a number of performance skills (such as the use of the voice and the exploration of specific movement techniques) necessary for the successful creation of contemporary performance. Through workshop study, students will embark in a creative exploration of physical and mental processes engaging thus with the notion of Performer Training as a systematic and rigorous process.

    • THPF503 Performance Practices

      This module encourages students to find their creative voice through the exploration and application of a specific performance practice. Students will develop and practically interrogate the skills and understandings that establish specific forms of contemporary performance practice as both skilled activities and culturally significant artistic statements.

    • THPF504 Performance Praxis 3: Culture, Ideology and Representation

      The module will ask students to reconsider the cultural position of a number of performance materials through an in-depth exploration of their ideological connotations and ascriptions. Amongst those materials the module will pay special attention to the problems, debates and discourses surrounding the issue of `representation.¿ Students will engage in those debates through the development of their own practice.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll focus on your own areas of interest. You’ll develop advanced performance practice and prepare for your final degree showcase. You will also work closely with your supervisor in group seminars and practical tutorials to produce a research project that is completed as either a written dissertation or a practical performance piece. A strong focus on employability and professional development will prepare you for a variety of theatre and performance-related careers.
    Core modules
    • THPF603 Performance Lab 3

      Working in self selected groups students will identify significant aspects of contemporary performance practice to inform their own creative process. Students will explore the implications of this research for their own practice in order to produce a series of exploratory performances. These will culminate in an extended public performance piece.

    • THPF605 Performance Research

      Students will plan and conduct a research enquiry relevant to the application, practice and study of performance (including dance, theatre, live art, and cross-form practices). Through lectures, workshops and tutorial guidance, students develop appropriate ways of collecting, analysing, documenting and organising material to present and evidence their research process and findings. Projects can be articulated in one of two ways; practice as research or dissertation.

    • THPF606 Professional Development Project

      In this module students will be asked to identify a specific professional working relationship, for example mentor/project/ liaison or context, to work in. This initiative should reflect the students¿ personal development planning aims and needs and support their career ambitions and life long learning.

    Optional modules
    • THPF601 Advanced Performance Training

      The module fosters deep understanding and practical knowledge of a form/approach to performance training. Through expert-lead practice, students will experiment with techniques, strategies and approaches to training that will help them to develop and deepen their understanding of skills germane to a specific style.

    • THPF604 Performance Praxis 4: Cultural Embodiment

      Students will pursue research into a topic of contemporary relevance to performance theorists and/or practitioners (e.g. Gender & Sexuality in Performance) that consolidates aesthetic, social, historical and cultural products. This approach recognizes the interdependency of related disciplines and also the role of dance, theatre and performance in the production of culture in its widest sense.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Theatre Performance Studies 1896

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

A level
A minimum of 2 A levels, General Studies accepted

International Baccalaureate
28 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably performing arts, humanities or combined), with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

Mathematics and English Language grade C.

English language requirements.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered, please contact

An audition workshop and interview are requirements for entry onto this course.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary

Fees, costs and funding

New students 2016-17

Full time Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero £7,500 £10,300 £9,000
2 year fast-track (Business only) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Master of Architecture (MArch) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
PGCE £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Management Practice (Online) (First year - part time) tbc £3,996 tbc

Part time (per 10 credits) Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £750 £1,045 £750
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero £625 £860 £625
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
PGCE £750 £1,025 £750

*The tuition fee for UK students transferring to Plymouth University from a partner institution is £9,000.
**Please refer to the policy for capping of international student tuition fees.

***‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Continuing students

Please note some fees for continuing students may differ slightly.

For a full listing please visit our fees for continuing students 2016-17 page.

Further information

Download our fees brochure

Read our Student Fee Policy for the Ordinary Degree route

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

The House

Experience our stunning resources for students and researchers in the new performing arts building, The House.

Benefit from our £7 million dynamic four-storey production house and specialist learning and research environment.

Explore the House

Humanities and Performing Arts Showcase

An annual celebration of student achievement featuring theatre and performance, history, English and creative writing, art history, music and dance.

BA (Hons) Theatre and performance – Joe Richards

Joe is one of our Associate Lecturers. A playwright and director, Joe works closely with our first year students. You might get to meet him at one of our audition days.

BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance - interview guidance and preparation

The interview by workshop lets us find out more about you, and gives you the chance to find out more about us.

Make the most of your interview

BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance – student voice, Alix Harris

Challenging intellectually and physically, the course opens your eyes to new ways of thinking and viewing theatre. It not only shapes you as a theatre maker but as a person. Thanks to this course I am now working in a profession that I love.

Alix works at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth.

Visit the Barbican Theatre website

Emily in the ITV show 'Bottom Knocker Street'

BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance - student voice, Emily Miller

I loved the course for the wide breadth of performance it covered. It taught me what it truly is to work as part of a creative team and the processes a piece of performance must go through before it’s ready to share.

Emily now works professionally in the film and TV industry following the completion of a masters at Bristol.

View Emily's profile

Jonny Rowden - graduate profile

The course at Plymouth University taught me to be inquisitive and critical and to push myself, yet be patient and reflective.

Find out more about Jonny's story