Theatre Studies BA (Hons) – 2014 entry

The lecturers are knowledgeable and very keen to see you succeed outside of the University, as well as in your studies.

What you'll study

Theatre Studies offers experience and knowledge of one of the oldest and most significant forms of human expression. You investigate dramatic literature and practices of theatre from historical, critical, aesthetic and experiential perspectives, and consider the connections between theatre texts and cultures. You work with specialists in theory and practice, both those at Surrey and also invited guest directors and teachers.

Our Theatre Studies degree explores the ideas and practices that inform current theatre-making, both nationally and internationally. You consider a breadth of performance practices, from the mainstream to the contemporary. Through performance, analysis and debate, you engage directly with the specialisms that shape this changing field.

Your studies are grounded in artistic enquiry, theatre history, culture and performance analysis, and informed by research, practice and reflection. Through a series of academic, practical and professional approaches, the Theatre Studies degree programme provides an enviable experience of both making and reflecting on the significance of theatre today.

Programme overview

The Theatre Studies degree programme at Surrey complements the University’s long-established reputation for dance and music. You join a thriving performing arts community which includes a wide range of subjects within the School of Arts. Our degree benefits from the excellent studio facilities on the University campus, which include the Ivy Arts Centre and Guildford School of Acting (GSA) building. Students are encouraged to take an optional Professional Training placement year in the industry, as part of our emphasis on preparing students for employment.

You are encouraged to engage actively in both written and practical work, and to explore the rich cultural histories of the locations in which we work. Our Theatre Studies degree provides you with a firm foundation in the study and practice of theatre and helps you to meet the demands of the creative and cultural industries.

You begin by establishing an understanding of key texts, practices and methods that inform Theatre Studies today. As you progress through the degree programme, you follow practical, academic and professional pathways. 

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

Year 1 introduces key concepts and a foundation of core knowledge, practices and methods. As part of the practical pathway, you look at strategies to develop character, while in theoretical modules, you explore the different ways in which text and the body have been understood at key points in the history of theatre.

Modules include:

  • Character Study
  • Acting: Text and Character
  • The Performing Body
  • Production: An Introduction
  • Physical Theatre
  • Production: Professional Competencies
  • Theatre Project

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

Year 2 begins to ask questions of theatre in culture, popular and radical theatre forms, and the opportunities for theatre to develop as a form. As a year group, you also consider the role of performance space and emergent technology in the making and analysis of theatre. You explore devising for performance, taking the metaphor of the laboratory to focus your practice. To prepare for professional work in the placement year or after your degree, you learn about areas including policy, professional practices, education and community practice. 

Modules include:

  • Theatrical Revolutions
  • Acting: Acting for Recorded Media
  • Production: Management and Design
  • Popular Theatres
  • Working in the Arts
  • Augmented Realities
  • Independent Study
  • Theatre Laboratory

Professional Training placement (optional)

During this year, you are supported in gaining valuable experience in degree-related professions such as marketing, education and outreach, audience development, administration, community work or media. You have both a University supervisor and a workplace mentor to guide you through an original project in an industry context.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

Year 3 involves wider perspectives on management of the arts at international levels, on understanding research as a contribution to a field, on the scale and spectacle that is possible in performance, and on your own individual research through the dissertation project, which can involve a practical element. A module on research and reflection prepares you for this solo work, which is supported through staff supervision. This year is a chance to reflect on your development through the programme and to focus on specific areas for future work or study after the degree. 

Modules include:

  • Research and Reflection
  • Acting: Actor and Audience
  • Production: Theory – Design – Practice
  • International Arts Programming
  • Special Topic
  • Theatre Spectacle
  • Dissertation

In Years 2 and 3, you are able to take selected modules from other subjects to make up your programme, which may include modules from Dance Studies, Film Studies, Creative Writing or English Literature.

Professional Training and placements

During this year, you are supported in gaining valuable experience in degree-related professions such as marketing, education and outreach, audience development, administration, community work or media. You have both a University supervisor and a workplace mentor to guide you through an original project in an industry context. 

A pioneer in integrated professional training, the University has operated the placement scheme for the last 40 years. The University has a strong record of supporting the placement year, and employers have been impressed by the maturity and professionalism of those who have undertaken it.


Theatre Studies is taught through a combination of practical classes, lectures, seminars and tutorials. Through practical modules, you establish a professional approach to performance creation. Academic sessions develop informed thinking about theatre in a shared space that values both individual contribution and peer reflection. 

You are encouraged to own your individual learning experience while at Surrey and to become familiar with building and sustaining peer networks. All learning is fully supported by the University’s e-learning environment, and you are able to develop skills and experience in academic software and the ways in which new technologies can support work and learning. 


You are encouraged to articulate your ideas through a range of forms and to understand key aspects of these forms, whether in practical performance, essays or presentations. Assessment methods include performance, character study, essay, lesson plan, project proposal, viva voce, report, bibliography and dissertation. As a modular programme, Theatre Studies enables you to monitor your progress throughout the degree. 


Our programmes are well resourced in terms of practical spaces and library holdings. The University campus houses the state-of-the-art Ivy Arts Centre with its main theatre and studios, and a separate performance studio for audiences of 120. Studio classes, rehearsals and workshops are run in spaces across the campus, including the purpose-built GSA building. 

You are encouraged to locate taught modules in the context of wider performance and arts practice. This includes regularly seeing and participating in live theatre and arts events on and off campus. The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford stages new and canonical works, and there is a thriving local theatre scene, an established book festival and a host of local galleries, libraries and archives. 

With London only half an hour away, there is a wealth of arts and culture to explore, with theatre trips and regular reference to recent productions forming an important part of the life of the programme. 

Global opportunities

In order to add an international element to your University of Surrey experience, you could decide to spend one or two semesters overseas doing a Professional Training placement abroad or studying at one our partner universities.

In previous years students have studied at La Trobe University, Melbourne (Australia), the Monash University, Melbourne (Australia), at North Carolina State University (USA), and at the University of Central Florida (USA).


Career opportunities

During your time on the Theatre Studies programme, you have a personal tutor who will monitor progress and offer advice and guidance. You identify an individual career path and establish a plan that will support your career aspirations. Teaching on the programme is informed by professional practices, to support your work on the degree and to prepare you for life in the placement year and in a career after university. 

Graduate prospects

Our Theatre Studies degree equips you with skills, knowledge and experience that are valuable for a range of careers in such areas as performance and contemporary theatre practice, arts administration and management, technical production, education and community arts, events management, cultural policy, media and creative arts. Throughout your degree, you secure goals and competencies that help you to prepare for a specific career path.

2014 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking in our offers.

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


European Baccalaureate

74% (including 8 in an arts, humanities or social science subject)

International Baccalaureate

34 points (including an arts, humanities or social science subject)

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent). Grade A at A-level in an arts, humanities or social science subject.

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades. Suitable candidates will be invited to an Applicant Day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English will normally be required to have IELTS 6.5 or above, with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill (or equivalent).

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

See 2015 entry information

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BA (Hons) 3 years W440 View KIS data set
BA (Hons) 4 years W441 View KIS data set

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Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

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Why Surrey?

  • Ranked in the top 20 departments in the country by The Times Good University Guide 2013, The Guardian University Guide 2013 and The Complete University Guide 2013
  • A wide range of rich performing opportunities combined with rigorous academic studies
  • A strong research culture that informs your learning and practice
  • Continued sustained investment in theatre and the arts at Surrey
  • Gain in-depth professional experience in the creative and cultural industries through our unique Professional Training placement year
  • Excellent employment prospects in theatre, industry, education and community practice
  • Participation in a strong, well-knit community with peer and academic support
  • Access to professional-standard performance facilities both on and off campus
  • Easy access to London and its world-class arts and cultural events

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