School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre Practice with Foundation

Are you passionate about theatre but you wonder if you’re the type of person who goes to university? If you don’t quite hit the tariff for UCAS points for our 3-year course, have you thought about applying for our 4-year course which includes a foundation year? This would provide you with a solid base of skills and experience to progress from. You’ll acquire a toolkit of skills in a supportive professional environment, and the confidence to know how to use it.

Through collaborative provision with Theatre Royal Plymouth and its practitioners in the South West, we offer the very best, up-to-date industry expertise, research and teaching practice plus unrivalled access to professional opportunities. On successful completion of your first year, you’ll join the BA (Hons) community for 3 lively years of discipline-specific study and inter-disciplinary enquiry giving you the chance to find your unique voice as a theatre practitioner.

Plymouth Conservatoire - Esme Appleton in Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Golem. Photograph: Bernhard Mueller.

Join Plymouth Conservatoire

This programme is delivered through Plymouth Conservatoire - a unique collaboration between the University and Theatre Royal Plymouth, providing training and professional experience that will set talented students apart in today’s arts and creative industries.

Plymouth Conservatoire

£500 Performing Arts Foundation Bursary

We in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts like to reward those applicants who show a significant commitment to studying with us.

Therefore all applicants holding a valid offer for the BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance with Foundation will be eligible to receive a bursary of £500 which will be automatically deducted from their tuition fees upon enrolment onto the course in September 2021.

Progression routes

From this course, you can progress onto:

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Key features

  • This course is an integrated part of a performing arts degree at the University of Plymouth.
  • The foundation year is an integral part of the extended degree. Completion of the foundation year will not lead to a separate award or qualification its own right but will provide access to Year 1 of your degree.

Course details
  • Year 0 (Foundation Year)

  • In your first year, you’ll explore a wide range of performance practices which will offer you a solid base for your BA degree. You’ll acquire a toolkit of skills in a supportive and professional environment, and the confidence to know how to use it.

    Core modules

    • Introduction to the Study of Performance (PLYCO001)

      In this module, students learn both written, theoretical and conceptual skills that will support them in a BA Performing Arts degree. The module will provide an overview of key historical shifts in theatre, dance and performance practices and will examine the way in which they have influenced contemporary performance making.

    • Introduction to Performance Training (PLYCO002)

      This year-long module, foster the development of vocal and movement skills and techniques necessary for the successful creation of contemporary performance. Through regular workshop study, students will embark on a creative exploration of the physical and mental processes embedded in core traditions of actor, dance and drama training.

    • Introduction to Performance Making Processes 1 (PLYCO003)

      This module will introduce a range of theatre devising, dance making and performance making methods to develop students' understanding about the relationship between process and performance. Students will be required to research relevant processes and practices of theatre and dance through ensemble and small group performance work.

    • Introduction to Performance Making Processes 2 (PLYCO004)

      This modules will continue the study of a range of theatre devising, dance making and performance making methods aiming to further the students' understanding about the relationship between process and performance. Students will explore and research in more depth relevant processes and practices of theatre and dance through ensemble and small group performance work.

    • Introduction to Performance Analysis (PLYCO005)

      In this module, students learn the art of theatre and dance analysis and enhance their writing skills. Students are required to attend professional productions and will apply their analytical skills to write critical analyses of these productions. This module allows the students to strengthen their skills as a writer and grow their understanding of performance production through the audience's eye.

  • Year 1

  • In your second 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

    • Self and Character (ACT444)

      This module is all about preparing actors to work in a profession with certain innate dangers to personal mental and physical health. The process of adopting a character, and enacting a role can mean that actors have to negotiate some very personal feelings and experiences, and giving them tools to do this is a health and sustainable way is what this module is all about.

    • Devising Toolkit 1: Improvisation and Creativity (DRAMA401)

      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.

    • Theatre Making and Collaborative Processes (DRAMA402)

      Launching the first year of the Drama and Theatre Practice 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.

    • The Body in Performance (PLYCO404)

      This module positions all performance practice as the product of its own specific cultural setting. The module explores a wide range of performances from different cultural settings whilst providing a context and awareness of the key issues and debates surrounding cultural theory and practice. It problematises the issues of theatre, culture and ideology: the politics and problems of cultural contact and exchange.

    • Devising Toolkit 2: Ensemble Practice (PLYCO415)

      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 performance presentation will be established.

    • Performance Spaces and Environments (PLYCO430)

      The module identifies the dynamics between the key elements of performance within the context of the devising and generation of ‘live’ theatre practices.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 third 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

    • Theatre Residency (PLYCO522)

      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.

    • Performance Practices (PLYCO523)

      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.

    • Apply, Fund, Deliver, Repeat (PLYCO525)

      Apply, Fund, Deliver, Repeat is a training module for students to build their management and professional capabilities. Just as the students are required to have performance training, they will also undergo training on budgetary and management skills while learning how to successfully apply for funding and then how to manage those funds once the project is underway.

    • Performance and Everyday Life (PLYCO555)

      Research-informed lecture-seminar based exploration of an exciting and diverse range of performative case studies and influential theories, this module gives students the opportunity to study independently and work together to open up for themselves a whole new way of seeing the world of the everyday.

    • Performance Skills (PLYCO560)

      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.

    • Performance Making (PLYCO570)

      This module explores practically the work of major practitioners and introduces key theories that have impacted upon contemporary performance making. Through practice and contextual study, students will explore the implications of ideological, cultural and social codes for contemporary performance makers.

  • 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

    • Performance Research (PLYCO610)

      Students will plan and conduct a research enquiry relevant to the application, practice and study of performance (including acting, 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 three ways; lecture demo, practice as research or dissertation.

    • Professional Placement and Practice (PLYCO616)

      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.

    • Applied Practices: Community, Education and Wellbeing (PLYCO617)

      This module offers students access to community-based professionals and work-based experiences within the realm of the student's employability. Through seminars and independent practice, the student will take an initiative in directing their future endeavours regarding employability within the field.

    • Festival Practices (PLYCO619)

      This module will support students' entry into the wide field of the creative industries through the careful planning and execution of a professional quality performance product. Working in small companies, students will be expected to define their particular area of interest. In dialogue with supervising tutors, students will negotiate their role within the company, and articulate how their contribution will lead towards the development of performance material commensurate to professional practice.

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 Drama Theatre Practice with Foundation Programme Specification 2020 21 6715

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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

We require an IELTS of 6.0. overall with at least 5.5 in all components (reading, speaking, listening and writing).

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021 2022
Home £9,250 To be confirmed
International £14,200 To be confirmed
Part time (Home) £770 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

£500 Performing Arts Foundation Discount

We in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts like to reward those applicants who show a significant commitment to studying with us.

Therefore all applicants holding a valid offer for the BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre Practice with Foundation will be eligible to receive a discount of £500 in their foundation year, which will be automatically deducted from their tuition fees upon enrolment onto the course in September 2021.

How to apply

If you are interested in this course, then please contact Dr Alex Cahill, Programme Lead for BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance: alex.cahill@plymouth.ac.uk

Welcome to Plymouth Conservatoire

Experts from the University of Plymouth and Theatre Royal Plymouth work together to give you training and professional experience that will set you apart in today’s arts and creative industries.

Get the very best, up-to-date industry expertise, research and teaching practice as well as unrivalled access to professional opportunities.

Watch our film about Plymouth Conservatoire.


Take a tour of Plymouth Conservatoire

Watch a video tour of the spaces at Plymouth Conservatoire with Josh Slater, Lecturer in Dance, Theatre and Performance. See the spaces where our students learn, perform and experience visiting performance companies. Hear about the equipment available for students to use. See how flexible our purpose-built spaces at Plymouth Conservatoire are.

Your own purpose built theatre:

The House

The University of Plymouth committed £7 million to building The House, a purpose built theatre on campus – and now the teaching home to Plymouth Conservatoire. 

A state-of-the art building, built to the very highest technical and sustainable specification, this award winning facility is a fully-accessible building with a 200-seater auditorium, a studio theatre and rehearsal spaces.

Come in to The House


<p>The House stage</p>
The House stage
<p>The House stage viewed from above</p>
The House stage from above
<p>The House studio</p>
The House studio
<p>Roland Levinsky Building room 307</p>
Roland Levinsky Building room 307
<p>Roland Levinsky Building room 306</p>
Roland Levinsky Building room 306
<p>Roland Levinsky Building room 308</p>
Roland Levinsky Building room 308

Any questions?

Please contact Dr Alex Cahill, Programme Lead for BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance: alex.cahill@plymouth.ac.uk

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