University of Chester

Programme Specification
Drama and Theatre Studies BA (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours)

Drama and Theatre Studies

Drama and Theatre Studies

University of Chester

University of Chester

Kingsway Campus, Chester

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - October




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Performing Arts

Drama, Dance and Performance (DDP)


Performing Arts

Wednesday 16th January 2013

  • To equip candidates with the academic and practical skills of the learner in the acquisition of dramatic and theatrical concepts.
  • To facilitate the capacity for independent and ensemble work, the management of workload and meeting of deadlines.
  • To enable the demonstration of intelligent engagement with forms, practices, theories and realisations of drama and theatre.
  • To develop the creative skills necessary to the realisation of theatre.
  • To engage with the interplay of theory and practice in making and analysing dramatic performance.
  • To achieve graduateness and subsequent employability in the cultural industries.

Level 4 -

Identify and understand aspects of theatrical style, genre or tradition and their context within history, society and culture. (PA4210, PA4211)

Demonstrate some knowledge of key practitioners and practices and/or theorists and their cultural and/or historical contexts.  (PA4210, PA4211, PA4802)


Level 5 –

Demonstrate a breadth of understanding of the practices, traditions and histories of drama and performance, and place these within their historical, social and cultural contexts.  (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5210, PA5211, PA5212, PA5213, PA5214, PA5215)

Identify and critically interpret the cultural frameworks that surround performance events and on which these events impinge.  (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5210, PA5211, PA5213, PA5214, PA5215)


Level 6 –

Demonstrate comprehension and intelligent engagement with forms, practices, traditions and histories of performance and of theoretical explanations of those histories.  (PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6004, PA6208, PA6209, PA6210)

Demonstrate contextual knowledge and ability to analyse, interrogate or create, and present findings or results, in a coherent and appropriate format relevant to the fields of study.  (PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6004, PA6010, PA6208, PA6209, PA6210)


Level 4

Demonstrate an ability to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to problem solving associated with the discipline.  (PA4211, PA4802)

Demonstrate an ability to apply analytical skills to performance theory and practice.  (PA4210, PA4211, PA4802)


Level 5 –

Describe, interpret and evaluate theatrical styles, production techniques and performance events.  (PA5001, PA5121, PA5210, PA5211, PA5212, PA5213, PA5214, PA5215)

Critically evaluate research methodologies and frameworks that surround creative theory and practice.  (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5210, PA5211, PA5213, PA5214, PA5215)

Demonstrate critical and analytical skills in developing ideas and constructing arguments.  (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5210, PA5211, PA5213, PA5214, PA5215)


Level 6 –

Engage creatively and critically in appropriate independent research, whether investigating past or present performances or as part of the process of creating new performance.  (PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6004, PA6010, PA6208, PA6209, PA6210)

Show a critical understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in drama and performance, and use relevant techniques and methods to explain and demonstrate that interrelationship. (PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6208, PA6209, PA6210)


Level 4 –

Demonstrate fundamental technical theatre skills relating to sound and lighting.  (PA4802)

Evaluate performance techniques and demonstrate the results of these in performance.  (PA4211, PA4802)


Level 5 –

Demonstrate an emerging sense of personal performance style and specific performance practice skills. (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5210, PA5212, PA5213, PA5214, PA5215)

Work creatively and imaginatively in a group and to have the developed creative skills needed for the realisation of practice based work.  (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5210, PA5212, PA5213, PA5214, PA5215)

Understand professional practice and apply intellectual and imaginative skills in a variety of vocational, academic, educational and creative contexts.  (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5210, PA5212, PA5213, PA5214, PA5215, WB5004, WB5008, WB5101)


Level 6

To critically engage with practical work at a high creative and imaginative level.  (PA6001, PA6002, PA6004, PA6208, PA6210)

Work with an appropriate professional attitude at all times, demonstrating an ability to manage personal workloads efficiently and effectively, to meet deadlines and pursue goals with others, to manage constructively and effectively personal and interpersonal issues.  (PA6001, PA6002, PA6004, PA6010, PA6208, PA6210)

Level 4 –

Present a structured and coherent argument in a variety of forms.  (PA4210)


Level 5 –

Effectively communicate underlying concepts and principles, arguments and analysis in various forms.  (PA5001, PA5121, PA5203, PA5210, PA5211, PA5213, PA5214, PA5215)


Level 6 –

To communicate a higher level of critical thought through a synthesis of information, ideas, problems and solutions in a variety of ways to a variety of audiences.  (PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6004, PA6010, PA6208, PA6209, PA6210)


The Combined programme focuses on theatre practice within the broader field of performance. Throughout the programme theory and practice run side by side and module design is premised on student progression in learning.

At level 4, combined students will take the core module and lecture series, Introduction to Drama and Theatre Studies, which seeks to introduce methods of study and modes of practice in the interpretation of performance work. Key study skills will be embedded in this initial exploration to provide students with scholarly apparatus appropriate to undergraduate study in this discipline. In addition the module Introduction to Physical and Vocal Techniques will focus on the development of key performance skills and the module Performance and Technology will enable students to apply the skills to a theatre making context.  

Level 5 introduces frameworks of ideas in which the skills acquired at level 4 might be applied. Students commence with the core module and lecture series Theoretical Study in conjunction with the core practical skills module Movement and Voice for Performers, which enables them to contextualise and form connections between canons of practice, key theories and their own emerging interests. In addition students have the opportunity to build on the work established at level 4 via the following options: Interpretation: Performing Through Text, which explores the craft of theatre making via textual study. Approaches to Performance - Creating and Directing, which examines the craft of the director. The Live Art module engages students with developments and examples from contemporary performance practices.  Site Specific Practices draws upon rural or urban spaces as a stimulus for performance, whilst the Applied Practices module is developed in conjunction with outside agencies, schools and communities. The last of these options Urban and Street Dance seeks to examine the latter via the context of popular culture and dance. Finally, level 5 students are able to choose between an Enhancing your Employability through Work-Based learning project, which will place them in an appropriate experience either in the UK or abroad, or choose to develop their Performance Practice through a departmentally managed module that will aim to emulate aspects of professional practice built upon external partnerships and staff research.

There are further employability focused, options available such as WB5004 Learning in the Wider World and WB5008 The Study Abroad Experience.

WB5004 is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the United Kingdom. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101, must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from their PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.

WB5008 This module will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.

Level 6 encourages students to build on the diagnostic location of their personal study interests developed at level 5. All students will commence with the core module and lectures series From the Post-modern to the Present-day. Here students will examine new work and its emerging academic acceptance, interculturality and the ethics of representation. Minor students can add to this with either Negotiated Study (single), Developing Professional Practice or Pedagogy and Policy aimed specifically at those with an interest in arts education and teaching. Equal and Major students can select from Negotiated Study, Developing Professional Practice, Pedagogy and Policy, Dissertation, Final Drama Production module and Actors Workshop. Students in Negotiated Study and Dissertation modules will be supported by a supervisor.

To reiterate, at level 4 skills are introduced, at level 5 those skills can be examined in a range of contexts, at level 6 contextual knowledge is increased for all students, discipline specific skills are refined and choices can be made about the area and subject of study.

Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
PA4206 4 Devised Performance 20 N/A N/A N/A
PA4210 4 Introduction to Drama and Theatre Studies 20 Comp Comp Comp
PA4211 4 Introduction to Physical and Vocal Techniques 20 Comp Comp Comp
PA4802 4 Performance and Technology 20 Comp Comp Comp
PA5001 5 Performance Practice 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA5121 5 Urban and Street Dance 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA5203 5 Applied Practices 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA5210 5 Interpretation: performing through text 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA5211 5 Theoretical Study 20 Comp Comp Comp
PA5212 5 Movement and Voice for Performers 20 Comp Comp Comp
PA5213 5 Approaches to Performance - Creating and Directing 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA5214 5 Site Specific Practices 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA5215 5 Live Art 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional Optional Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA6001 6 Negotiated Study (single) 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA6002 6 Negotiated Study (double) 40 Optional Optional N/A
PA6003 6 Dissertation (Performing Arts) 40 Optional Optional N/A
PA6004 6 Developing Professional Practice 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA6010 6 Pedagogy and Policy 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA6208 6 Actors Workshop 20 Optional Optional Optional
PA6209 6 From the Post Modern to the Present Day 20 Comp Comp Comp
PA6210 6 Final Drama Production 40 Optional Optional N/A

Level 4 of the programme corresponds to Framework of Higher Education Qualification (FHEQ) Certificate level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Certificate of Higher Education (120 Credits).

Level 5 of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Intermediate Level 5, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Diploma of Higher Education (240 Credits).

Level 6 of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Honours Level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Bachelor Degree with Honours (360 Credits).

112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent including a grade C in one of the subjects recommended by the department. 

GCE A Level: The department recommends one of the following subjects:
Drama, Drama & Theatre Studies, Performing Arts, Performance Studies, Theatre Studies.  

BTEC:  BTEC Extended Diploma (Performing Arts): DMM

BTEC Diploma (Performing Arts):D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers:  B in 4 subjects

International Baccalaureate:  26 Points Including English and Theatre at HL 5 or above

Access:  Access to HE Diploma, to include 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 must be at Merit or above (15 of which must be in English)

OCR:  OCR National Extended/Diploma: merit profile plus one of the GCE A level subjects listed above.  

Extra Information:  

Candidates who do not meet the minimum entry requirements, or who have non-standard qualifications and/or relevant experience, are encouraged to apply and will be considered if they can demonstrate appropriate ability through their audition.

Please note that we accept a maximum of 8 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.


The Subject Benchmark Statements for Performing arts are available on the QAA website


The programme in Drama and Theatre Studies has a clear and progressive approach to the teaching and learning experience.  Within this context, we provide students with a theoretical framework, which is underpinned by performance practice, experimentation and exploration. This approach is identified in the learning outcomes of each module which are set against the benchmark statements – threshold (level 4) and focal (levels 5 & 6). Examples of this can be seen in the core module at level 4, PA4210 Introduction to Drama and Theatre Studies. Here, students  demonstrate understanding: through interpretation, performance and evaluation; the formulation of ideas and arguments; and organisation of material. By levels 5 & 6 the emphasis, within the Combined Drama and Theatre Studies programme, provides students with opportunities to engage in collaborative practices alongside a broad understanding of the relationship between theoretical ideas and practice. For example, the learning outcomes for second year module PA5210 Interpretation: Performing Through Texts and the lecture series PA5211 are drawn from focal benchmarking statements: in this module, students will: engage creatively and critically with a range of theoretical perspectives that inform the work;  to contribute to the creation and/or production of performance through an understanding of appropriate performance vocabularies, techniques, structures and working methods; to work creatively and imaginatively in a group and to have the developed creative skills needed for the realisation of practice based work; to engage creatively and critically with the skills and processes of production, design and rehearsal by which performance is created, and have an ability to select, refine and present these in performance; to engage creatively and critically with performance stimuli implied by a texts or forms of texts, dance notation or score, and, as appropriate, to realise these sources sensitively through design and performance; to demonstrate comprehension and intelligent engagement with appropriate interdisciplinary elements of DDP and how to apply knowledge, practices, concepts and skills from other disciplines.  Students are assessed via practice and in performance but also in formal written modes, students can expect: to demonstrate comprehension of the work of key practitioners and practices and/or theorists and their cultural and/or historical contexts; to engage creatively and critically with the possibilities for performance implied by a text, dance, notation or score, and as appropriate performance vocabularies, techniques, structures and working methods; to have a developed capacity to analyse and critically examine and evaluate forms of discourse and their effects on representation in the arts of performance; to be able to engage in appropriate independent research, whether investigating past or present performances or as part of the process of creating new performance.

All programmes in the Department of Performing Arts aim to develop students who are performance literate through rigorous engagement with performance, theory, practice and notions of professional practice. Teaching in the department seeks to move students from being interested spectators and occasional practitioners towards being engaged professionally in their own creative production. Most modules will encourage learning by trying and testing under tutor supervision, but significant learning will also be planned through writing, lectures, demonstrations, screenings, seminars, dialogues, tutorials and relevant field visits.

The delivery of individual modules within this programme adopts a variety of approaches in order to maximize the student experience and introduce a range of teaching styles appropriate to module content. All students will have had experience of large group lectures, large and small practical workshops, field trips, small research seminars and one-to-one tutorials. This varied mode of delivery also enables staff and students to benefit from the opportunity that interdisciplinarity - departmental and university wide - affords whenever possible. Across the whole programme, students will encounter a mix of learning and teaching methods which take account of the subject matter, student group size, student's previous experience and resources available. Methods of learning and teaching will include:

  • Practice based and exploratory workshops
  • Performance skills classes
  • Formal lectures
  • Practical and conceptual problem solving learning
  • Small group and independent exercises
  • Staff and student organised workshops and rehearsals
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Staff and student led seminars
  • Community and individual field work
  • Library and web-based research exercises
  • Attendance at performances, conferences and professionally led workshops
  • Self-directed learning

Range of assessment

Assessment is designed to allow students to demonstrate achievement of the stated learning outcomes of every module they study. Given the constant relationship between practice and theory, students will encounter a range of assessment demands including:

  • Oral examination
  • Formal Essays
  • Reflective notebooks
  • Seminar presentations
  • Practical demonstrations
  • Public performance
  • Lecture demonstrations
  • Presentations supported by appropriate media
  • Planning and facilitating workshops for others

Formative assessment

Formative assessment in the form of pre-assessment, peer appraisal and self-appraisal is normally a feature of all practical work. It is a keystone method in developing practical and written work and in strengthening autonomous learning. Reflection and critical contextual commentary on the student's own practice will be encouraged through ongoing discussion, and will be summatively assessed through an oral examination at level 5 and 6. Reflective writing will be used to further develop students' autonomy as both learners and practitioners, and will be summatively assessed via reflective notebooks or journals. Formal essay skills will be developed across the whole programme.

Patterns of assessment

Modules in Drama and Theatre Studies Combined programme are assessed in line with general departmental policy. This means that progressive development for the student occurs between each level within the programme. The weighting of assessed components within modules places greater emphasis on critical analysis and evaluation of practice informed by theoretical understanding as the student progresses from level 4 to level 6. Components of assessment in individual modules generally follow the principle of enabling students to interrogate theory through practice and critically evaluate the aesthetic, procedural and/or technical outcomes in the light of current theory.


The QAA level H characteristics include the abilities to:

  • Apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects;
  • Critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem;
  • Communicate information, ideas, problems, and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;

Qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts;
  • the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a
    professional or equivalent nature.

Students graduating from the Combined Drama and Theatre Studies programme will be able to work independently, to manage their time effectively, and to access and process information in forms appropriate to particular tasks. In addition they will have acquired a great deal of experience in presentation and group dynamics, as part of the practical component of the course; students leaving the degree programme should possess the confidence and the ability to function well in professions in which the ability to present oneself and the ability to work well as a member of a group are useful skills. Lastly, students will be equipped with the basic skills necessary for a further exploration of the idea and practice of performance, whether at postgraduate level, or professionally. However, it should be emphasised that the course is not vocational, and students wishing to work in the profession should aim to acquire additional skills and experience after graduation.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.


Research, scholarship and professional practice are vital components of the programmes within the Department of Performing Arts.  The vibrant research environment created by the staff and students is very important and much investment is made in order to ensure its success.  The internationally recognised quality of research in the Performing Arts Department was highlighted by the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, with a significant proportion judged to be of internationally recognised or internationally excellent quality in terms of originality and significance.   Furthermore, significant grants have been awarded to staff from organisations such as the British Council, European Union and the Arts and Humanities Research Council in order to fund cutting edge work.

Staff are producing books, book chapters, journal articles, conference papers as well as a plethora of practice-based research such as performances, choreography, digital media and compositions.  Without exception the research interests of staff make a direct contribution to the curriculum and several modules derive directly from staff research thereby constituting research based teaching in the most complete sense.  Research interests include: contemporary performance practices; applied drama and theatre; performance theory; the theatre of Samuel Beckett; site specific performance; Boal's practices; the application of technology to performance; conflict resolution; storytelling and theatre; Irish theatre; Scottish theatre; documentary theatre; epic drama; performance illustration; ethnography; traditional performance. 

There are a number of PhD students studying across drama practices, applied drama and music.  All postgraduates (research and taught) and staff are active members of the vibrant Departmental research seminar series and contribute papers to this and the Faculty’s Centre for Research in Arts and Media.  Furthermore, the Faculty and Department have organised a number of conferences, the most recent being held in June 2012 on the subject of Contemporary Ethnography and Traditional Performance which revisited the meetings of folklore, anthropology and the performing arts that formed a foundation for performance studies from an international point of view including representation from Canada, England, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, and Spain.

Induction for New Students:

A one week induction period is provided. Sessions typically cover familiarisation with the structure of the programme and introductory lectures and practical workshops. Students are also introduced to the expectations of life as an undergraduate in the Department of Performing Arts, key study skills, managing time, managing finances and personal safety.  Students will be able to meet and discuss any concerns with department staff. This is followed with an intensive period of staff-led collaborative workshops, which aims to integrate the new cohort to the department and peers.

Personal Academic Tutors:

The department fully endorses and adheres to the Universities established Personal Academic Tutorial scheme.  All students on degree programmes are allocated a personal academic tutor and students are required to see their personal tutor regularly and particularly during the first year. This personal tutor (PAT) will usually remain with the student throughout their studies, providing advice on academic development and progress.

Academic/Learning Support:

In addition to the personal tutorial system, academic members of the Department of Performing Arts seek to be available and approachable for individual consultation. Although students will receive written feedback on their work, they may also make an appointment to see the relevant lecturer regarding any work submitted.

Programme Information and University Regulations:

Students will have access to a student handbook detailing the structure of the programme and relevant information concerning the University’s regulations. All such information is widely available through Sharepoint.

Careers Advice:

Careers Advisors have been allocated to the School of Arts & Media and students in the Department of Performing Arts are able to access information concerning both vocational and educational opportunities both during their studies and after graduation.

**DBS checks will be carried out as required**

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