English, Theatre and Performance BA

Year of entry

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UCAS code
QW35
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
Duration
3 years full time
Work placement
Optional
Study abroad
Optional
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
including A in English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature).
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Campus

This distinctive, flexible and varied degree combines the study of English literature with workshop-based practical theatre work, allowing you to explore performance from both creative and critical perspectives.

You’ll study literatures in English from the medieval to the contemporary period, exploring richly diverse literary texts across different genres, including fiction, poetry and drama. You’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to understand literature in the context of a variety of historical periods, places and cultures. Reading and understanding literature can help us to find out about ourselves and see the world from other perspectives. Through engaging with different kinds of texts from across the globe and from different periods of history, you can learn how language reflects and shapes human experience.  Literature modules explore themes relevant to how we live today, including race and ethnicity, gender, climate change and nature, social class, disability, and wellbeing. 

You will also develop your skills as an artist-researcher through practical workshops led by our own theatre specialists. With compulsory and specialist optional modules spanning theatre, performance, applied theatre, design, digital performance, directing, musical theatre, event management, acting and collaborative practice, you’ll be able to follow a broad range of interests suited to your own academic and professional development.

Throughout your degree, you’ll learn through a combination of seminars, lectures, workshops, practical experimentation and working with both specialist and readily available digital technologies. This degree encourages you to integrate your literary and theatrical interests through a wide range of literature, theatre, and performance options. It provides you with a challenging and rewarding opportunity to combine ambitious, collaborative practical projects with rigorous critical thinking. You’ll develop your skills as a critical reader and a persuasive writer, while reflecting upon the impact that performance has on cultures and societies across the world. You'll become an advocate of the creative arts, developing collaborative, creative, critical thinking and project management skills that will benefit you in a wide range of careers.

Graduates in English and Theatre & Performance have progressed to a wide variety of career destinations, including professional theatre and media, publishing, writing, events management, marketing and business, as well as further academic study.

Our Facilities

Students on this joint honours programme have access to a wide range of theatrical resources that are unrivalled at any UK University, including four theatres, two fully equipped black box studios, and multiple rehearsal spaces.

On this programme, you’ll have access to our excellent range of performance and rehearsal spaces – fully equipped with lighting, sound, and digital technologies – which are used for teaching and group work on theatre and performance modules. Our Workshop Theatre has been pioneering theatre studies since 1968 and counts among its alumni leading theatre practitioners, dramatists and educators. Our stage@leeds building in the centre of campus houses a professional theatre, dance studio and Alec Clegg studio. Facilities for teaching also include specialist black box studios, the Banham Theatre and rehearsal spaces where you’ll develop your own creative practice within small groups. You will have the opportunity to use advanced digital technologies such as VR headsets, 360-degree cameras and binaural microphones and the opportunity to work with external partners and community groups which may include: Leeds Playhouse, Opera North and local theatre companies, schools, galleries, museums and institutions within the criminal justice system.

The Workshop Theatre, Banham Theatre and stage@leeds provide multiple opportunities for students to become involved in performance activities both through the curriculum and as volunteers or as a member of one of the many Student Union theatre and performance societies. These opportunities offer the unique experience of working in a professional theatre environment within a university context.

Course details

In your first year, you’ll study four core modules introducing you to foundational aspects of literary, theatre and performance studies. You’ll select two further modules from a wide range of options. Indicative topics include poetry; drama; race, writing and decolonisation; stage management; digital culture and technology; musical theatre. Your option module may be a Discovery module chosen from subjects from across the University.

Once you have this base of knowledge and skills, you’ll develop them in your second year. English Literature modules explore urgent contemporary challenges, the climate crisis and personal wellbeing, and will examine how these issues can be understood and expressed through literary texts. You will also take modules in Theatre and Performance Studies, which will allow you to develop your creative practice and encourage you to think about the historical context of dramatic texts and how theatre can convey social and political agendas.

You’ll also select one or two further modules from a wide range of English Language, English Literature, Theatre and Performance options. Typical options include a range of period modules from Medieval / Tudor Literature through to Contemporary Literature, or modules in theatre directing or performance design. One of those modules may be a Discovery module from elsewhere in the University. Level 2 will deepen and enrich subject knowledge and intellectual skills, preparing you for more independent learning.

After your second year of study, you may apply for transfer to an International Degree at one of a wide range of universities with which the University of Leeds has established links. You may also spend a year in industry on a work placement as an optional third year of their degree programme.

At Level 3, you select four options from a wide range of specialist research-led modules across English Language, English Literature, and Theatre and Performance Studies. These modules change every year according to staff availability and current research interests, but typical options might include Modernist Sexualities; Theatricalities: Beckett, Pinter, Kane; Bowie, Reading, Writing; Postcolonial London; Contemporary Theatre Makers; Intercultural Shakespeare; Performance Design and Space.

You’ll also undertake a Final Year Project, which forms the capstone of your degree. You will be able to choose from a group performance project for a public audience, or an extended independent research project in English Literature, or in Theatre and Performance.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Level 1

In your first year, you will take a range of modules designed to introduce you to the key skills of English, Theatre and Performance.

Compulsory modules

Reading Between the Lines (20 credits): This module equips students with a critical vocabulary for sophisticated literary study, introducing the creative and exciting discipline of English Studies. Through close analysis of specific texts across a range of periods and forms, students will encounter some of the varied theories that have shaped and continue to underpin the discipline. Students will find out how an English degree might change the way we read and see the world, while developing their academic skills through guided critical reading, collaboration with peers in group presentations and seminar discussions, and a variety of assignments designed to introduce them to the different formats of assessment required throughout the degree.

Studio Practices (20 credits): In this studio-based module you will be introduced to and experiment with key creative skills of performance, including body awareness and effort, voice and sounding, proxemics and performer relationships, explorations of stage space and place, response to and integration of music, narrative understanding and development, improvisation and devising. These skills are introduced through a series of weekly workshops organised into themes. You will be encouraged to develop critical and practical tools, shared languages and working processes that will form the foundations to underpin your future creative practice across all Levels of the programme. Studio Practices will encompass diverse approaches to creative work and may include: movement, speech, writing, use of digital tools, and socially-engaged and design-led approaches to performance-making. You will work collaboratively in small groups to create a devised piece of performance work.

Performance Project: From Text to Performance (20 credits): This module provides an opportunity for a realised ‘public’ performance that emerges from staff-led research interest. Students will be allocated to groups to pursue a devising and production process corresponding to the tutor’s brief. Although the emphasis for each group will be different (e.g. working from an existing play text, adaptation, deconstruction, writing own performance text from given stimulus) the module will introduce students to the larger processes necessary for creating work for a public audience and will provide a model of working methods and processes for performance work which will underpin creative work at Levels 2 and 3 and beyond.

You will also be required to study one of the following:

Performance Matters (20 credits): This lecture series with seminar-based learning will ask you to consider the role of performance in the broader context of performance studies and selected theoretical perspectives. Using a wide range of case studies (e.g. political resistance, environmental activism, community-making, feminist performance, sustainability, indigenous place-making, etc.) you will explore the potential of performance to make a difference in society and the ways in which it can be used as a positive force and an agent of change.

Performance Perspectives (20 credits): This lecture series with seminar-based learning will provide a foundation for the degree programme. It will typically focus on the study of performance perspectives drawn from concepts such as body, space, time, technology, interactivity and different forms of creative organisation. Seminars will be used to explore students’ responses to these concepts in relation to the work of practitioners, and their own performance practices, but also to develop foundation skills in sourcing and critiquing materials, ethics, presentation, critical thinking and argument.

You will also be required to study one of the following:

Writing Matters (20 credits): Writing and communication skills are vital to most professional careers, and they are especially valuable in the field of English studies. This module explores debates around a canonical literary text, examining theoretical approaches and rhetorical strategies used to write about literature. Students will hone their own writing skills by engaging ethically with the text and the ideas of others, developing structured arguments, expressing ideas clearly and concisely, working with feedback, and practising writing as a process. As a result, students will cultivate a deeper understanding of how writing works, learn how to share insights with greater efficacy and sophistication, and practice how to transfer this knowledge to future workplace contexts.

Drama, Text and Performance (20 credits): This module invites you to think critically about drama as performance and a literary genre, drawing on a range of plays from different cultures, theatrical traditions, and historical periods. By approaching the plays thematically, you will explore how dramatic texts work on page and stage, developing skills in close reading and a basic understanding of theatre mechanics—the relationship between actor and audience, blocking and the layout of the stage, the use of lighting, costuming, props, movement, and gesture.

Optional modules

Alongside these compulsory modules, you will also be able to choose one module from a wide selection of relevant modules in English Language, English Literature or Theatre and Performance Studies, or a Discovery module from a wide range of options offered across the University.

Level 2

In your second year, you will take a range of core and option modules designed to develop and consolidate your understanding of English Literature, Theatre and Performance.

Compulsory modules:

Re-thinking Theatre and Performance Histories (20 credits): In this module you'll engage in a rich investigation into global theory and performance practice from the late 19th century to the present. Beginning from examples of current professional practice from across the globe and a breadth of performance, theatre, design, dance and live art, you will learn about the historical influences and lineages that have informed the ideas of current practices, and which have created the foundations for specific pieces of work.

Creative Practices and Performance Contexts (20 credits): This module offers the opportunity to develop in a particular area of contemporary performance practice. It asks them to consider their creative practice within the context of contemporary performance practices and debates. They will be asked to consider the social, political, and cultural impact of the practices they are engaging with, use relevant concepts and theories to interrogate practice and articulate your growing capacity as practitioners through documentation and reflection on their own practice.

Body Language: Literature and Embodiment (20 credits): This module explores the relationship between embodiment, language and representation across a range of literary forms, genres, and periods, addressing questions such as: what does it mean to be ‘human’? Can technology change who we are? How do we navigate the relationship between the body and the mind? It examines how critical theorists and creative writers and life writers have treated and imagined this relationship between material bodies and literary representation, in order to better understand both the possibilities and limitations of literary expression.

You will also be required to study one of the following:

Writing Environments: Literature, Nature, Culture (20 credits): This module examines what it means to live as human beings on a more-than-human planet. We’ll investigate how literary texts from different times and places have understood the relationship between nature and culture. We’ll address human impacts on the environment in relation to historical phenomena such as colonialism. And we’ll explore the insights that literature can offer at a time of concern about climate change and other environmental issues.

Theatre, Society and Self (20 credits): This module examines a range of theatre forms that have social and political concerns or objectives. We will look at the work of selected practitioners interested in communicating ideas and achieving resonance - perhaps instigating change - through performance.

Optional modules

You will choose two options from a wide selection in English Language, English Literature or Theatre and Performance. Typical optional modules include: Theatre Directing; Renaissance Literature; Arts Marketing; American Words, American Worlds; and Contemporary Literature. You may instead select a Discovery module from a wide range of options offered across the University.

Level 3

In your final year, you have free choice of four specialist research modules from across the disciplines of English Literature, Theatre and Performance. English Language, English Literature or Theatre and Performance Studies. Typical optional modules include: Theatricalities: Beckett, Pinter, Kane; Bowie, Reading, Writing; Arts and Cultural Management; Performance Design and Space; Intercultural Shakespeare; and Modernist Sexualities.

In your final year you also work towards a 40-credit independent research project in English Literature or Theatre and Performance. This will bring together all your learning on the course into a single negotiated project. You can choose from a group performance project for a public audience or an extended independent research project resulting in a dissertation on any aspect of English Literature, Theatre or Performance. You'll be required to define, develop, practice and demonstrate skills relevant to the chosen project outcome.

If you choose to take your independent research project in English, you will be required to study 20 credits of modules in Theatre and Performance plus:

Negotiated Project (20 credits) – This is an independent project that responds to the specific needs of each student. It will be negotiated and agreed in advance of the final year of study and in relation to choices made for the final year project. It allows you to focus on a specific area of interest and to undertake study in a complementary area including smaller-scale performance work, solo-work, work in an applied context or an independent project focused on investigating a defined practice or answering a specific research question.

If you choose to take your independent research project in Theatre and Performance, you will be required to study 40 credits of English optional modules.

Plus, all students will take 40 credits of options from either subject. This will typically include specialist modules such as Theatricalities: Beckett, Pinter, Kane; Bowie, Reading, Writing; Arts and Cultural Management; Performance Design and Space; Intercultural Shakespeare; and Modernist Sexualities.

Learning and teaching

On this course you will be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers. Your tutors will have a wide range of performance, research and scholarship expertise that informs their teaching. Our literature modules often combine lectures and small-group seminars, whilst theatre modules are taught through practical workshops, which include group learning and self-directed experimentation. Tutorials and one-to-one supervisions may also be part of some modules, including your practical essay. We use a wide range of innovative learning and teaching methods to help you develop your creative skills and expand your knowledge.

Collaboration is a vital skill in the creative arts and the course fosters an inclusive and active approach to learning with reflective learning instilled as a key skill from the beginning of your studies. Independent study is an important part of the degree, since this is where you develop your critical and research skills. This could be in a library, in a specialist studio, or working with specific digital technologies for example, depending on each module.

Learning is supported through Minerva, our virtual learning environment and through our expert technical staff and your Academic Personal Tutor. The University library is one of the very best in the country and offers full training to help you make the most of our excellent resources.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.

Assessment

We use a range of assessment methods, depending on the type of modules studied and the learning outcomes that are specified. Essays, presentations, blog posts and video assignments are often required for modules in English. Theatre and performance modules are assessed through a range of methods including live, digital and online performances, presentations, essays, reports and portfolios with reflective writing, depending on the theoretical and practical elements of each module. Each mode of assessment underpins specific transferable skills and relates to likely future modes of work and career needs.

Assessments will often require you to synthesise evidence from a variety of sources (eg lectures, seminars, own research, practical experimentation and wider reading) and to apply the knowledge gained in new contexts. For presentations and performances, you will be required to work collaboratively with peers within a small group, often responding to a brief to produce work for a specific audience.

We encourage experimentation and risk-taking and expect you to be able to reflect critically on your own development of skills. Assessments are designed to be fair, meaningful and inclusive, often relating directly to professional and industry practice and with a significant amount of choice and flexibility.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB including A in English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature).

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level including A in English (Language, Literature, or Language and Literature) and grade A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level including A in English (Language, Literature, or Language and Literature) and grade A in the EPQ.

BTEC

We will consider this qualification in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D2, M2, M2, including D2 in English.

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 6 in English at Higher Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2 H2 H2 H2 H3 H3 including H2 in English.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers (including English) and AABBB in Highers, or A in English Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80% including 8.5 in English.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB including English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature) at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.


Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

Fees

UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

Applying

Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

Contact us

School of English Undergraduate Admissions

Email: undergrad-english@leeds.ac.uk
Telephone:

Career opportunities

A degree in English, Theatre and Performance equips you with valuable subject knowledge, cultural awareness and an understanding of the performance and cultural industries. It also gives you transferable skills that are particularly attractive to employers. These include leadership, working collaboratively as part of a creative team, presentational and organisational skills, people and resources management, critical analysis, negotiation and conflict resolution, and digital creativity.

During the course of your degree, you’ll develop strong research and analytical skills. You’ll be a confident communicator, who can present and defend your point of view clearly, either verbally or in writing. You’ll be able to collaborate with others or work independently and you’ll understand how your experiences on the course and in co-curricular activities can translate to future employment opportunities.

The cultural and creative industries offer a wide range of opportunities for our graduates who have gone onto pursue a wide variety of careers in many different sectors. These include: writing, performing, directing, production, teaching, events management, digital technologies, arts administration, marketing, media, cultural policy, PR, community arts work and outreach, education and drama therapy.

Many of our graduates progress to postgraduate study and research in related disciplines, including our own wide range of MA degrees. These include: Applied Theatre and Social Change, Performance Design, Writing for Performance and Digital Media, Audiences, Engagement & Participation, Culture, Creativity and Entrepreneurship. You’ll also acquire the skills for professional roles in other sectors, such as human resources, health care, social work, finance, law and business.

Recent graduate job titles include: theatre director (RSC, West-End, Broadway, Regional, Touring), museum interpreter, performer (film, television, theatre), arts administrator, producer, marketing assistant, postgraduate researcher, drama therapist, theatre company director, arts festival assistant producer, teacher, university lecturer, festival co-ordinator, arts outreach worker, recruitment officer, designer, casting agent, disability awareness trainer, corporate relations manager, marketing leadership development graduate, freelance artist and theatre-maker.

Careers support

We have a strong commitment to enhancing student employability. We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one and several modules have a focus on developing specific skills towards future employment opportunities. That’s just one of the reasons that University of Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

As part of your studies, you'll also have access to many opportunities to help with your career prospects including a range of industry talks, networking events and placement opportunities. You can also develop transferable skills through supporting your fellow students as a Peer Mentor or acting as a student course or school representative and contributing to the school community through engagement in the student-staff partnership forum.

Your own Academic Personal Tutor in tandem with Leeds for Life and My Career offers a unique approach to helping you make the most of University life by supporting your academic and personal development and offering a wide range of co-curricular activities and opportunities. We benefit from close support from the specialist employability team within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures and the Careers Centre, which host regular events focused on working in the arts and the creative and cultural industries. You’ll receive a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate.

Study abroad and work placements

In your second year of study, you’ll have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partnerships worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, South Africa and Latin America.

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you’ll have the option to choose to undertake a placement module during your second year of study, and to apply to take a placement year with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas. In recent years students have worked with theatre and events companies, broadcasters, arts organisations and major international companies such as L’Oréal and Paramount Pictures.