The University of Sheffield
School of English

BA in Theatre and Performance

Overview

The study of theatre and performance at Sheffield is based on the integration of theory and practice in modules taken in our excellent studio and workshop spaces. You are assessed on both your practical contribution, and your ability to contextualise and reflect on practice using analytical, theoretical and historical approaches. During the Course you will:

  • Engage with a range of historical and contemporary genres and questions.
  • Explore different approaches to making performance.
  • Encounter major playwrights, texts, practitioners and companies.
  • Focus both on traditional and more experimental practices.
  • Develop subject-specific and transferable knowledge and skills in academic and practical areas.

Course Structure

This a short description of our BA in Theatre and Performance. This video will give you information on how the year is broken up into semesters, the core (non optional) modules you will take as well as the optional modules you can take within the School of English or the wider University.

The video is presented by Dr Rachel Zerihan.


First Year 

This is a list of the modules being offered to first year students on the BA in Theatre and Performance, with links to detailed descriptions of what you study on these modules. All modules are worth 20 credits unless otherwise stated.

Please note that we do regularly update our programmes, so the list may be slightly different in future years.

Autumn modules

Spring modules

Theatre and Performance students will be split up into two halves for the Techniques of Production module, with half of you taking it in your first semester and the other half taking it in your second semester. Whichever semester you are not taking Techniques of Production for, you have 20 credits of time to choose approved modules.

For your remaining 20 credits, depending on your qualifications, you may choose to take 20 credits from within or outside of the School of English. If you choose to take 20 credits outside the School of English, you can choose options including; a modern language, journalism, philosophy or history.

Second Year

In your second year you will take the following core modules:

  • Theatre Practice: Performance I (20 credits)
    Across the two core practical modules at level 2 ('Performance I' and 'Performance II') students will take part in a series of contrasting  projects which focus on different kinds of material, different ways of working, and the creation of different genres and styles of performance. While each project will be directed and/or supervised by members of staff, students will work individually and as members of  a group, taking increasing responsibility to explore the material, its historical, cultural, philosophical and performance contexts, and its particular challenges and potential for performance today. Students will be expected to take on a range of contrasting roles across the projects, taking into account their own preferences as well as the needs of the group and the nature of each project. Possible roles may include performing, designing, directing, writing, stage managing, or taking responsibility for technical elements. In each project, students will extend and develop appropriate physical, creative, research and intellectual skills. They will also be expected to document and analyse their work, and that of the group, and to compare the contrasting methods and processes they have encountered across the year. Some projects will include input from external and professional theatre practitioners, and some are likely to involve an element of public performance. Examples of starting points and areas of focus for different projects across the two modules include, but are not limited to: An Elizabethan or Jacobean playtext, a series of short, Contemporary Plays, Live Art, Site-Specific work, Verbatim Theatre, Adaptation of a Short Story, a Post-Dramatic text, Theatre in Education, or Durational Performance.
  • Theatre Practice: Performance II (40 credits)
    See Theatre Practice: Performance I. Performance II will involve students in working on further and contrasting projects, as indicated, and will require them to extend their range and level of skills, understanding and creativity. They will also become more sophisticated in their ability to document, to analyse, and to compare.
  • Radical Texts (20 credits)
    This module introduces students to radical texts for performance from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Each week students engage with a text or texts that has helped to shape, or that vividly reflects, developments in contemporary experimental dramatic practice. The focus is primarily on work in the UK but with additional reference to a wider European or international context. Material studied may include the performance texts of 1970s Happenings, through to current practices of Live Art and developments in contemporary 'postdramatic' theatre and performance.

For your remaining 40 credits, you will take at least 20 credits within the School of English. Here is a list of some of the modules currently being offered in English Literature for second years. Please note that we do regularly update our programmes, so the list of optional modules will vary year on year. If you have an English A-Level and have taken Introduction to Advanced Literary Studies 2 at Level One you can take any of the optional modules on the list below.

Autumn Semester

Spring Semester

You may choose to take 20 credits from outside the theatre programme, for example in a modern language, journalism, philosophy or history.

Third Year

In your third year, you will take the following core modules:

  • Research Project (20 credits)
    In this module students will participate in a staff-led research project. Projects will reflect staff interests, and may include applied theatre, site specific performance, contemporary avant garde forms, community theatre, theatre in education, physical theatre, and so on. Students will be expected to participate in both practical work on a given form, and to experiment with possible ways of recording, analysing and reflecting on their practice. This may require them to explore how we can use technologies to help us create more permanent artefacts for performance research.
  • Performance Essay (20 credits)
    The module focus will be a student led practical research project. The Performance Essay will offer students the opportunity to work
    independently in an area of theatre which they find interesting and stimulating. The project will focus on a clearly defined research
    question, which will be explored through practical work, drawing on the range of practical knowledge and skills developed through the course. Projects will be negotiated with staff, and will be supervised by them. The Performance Essay represents the theatre equivalent of the literature dissertation.
  • Company Project (40 credits)
    This module invites you to work as part of an independent theatre company, responsible for the creative development, organisation, and
    technical management of a performance programme. You will work to a specific commission, based on professional industry standards.
    Commissions might include creating a touring community production: developing a theatre in education programme: site specific work in the city and its environs: the production of new writing, and so on. You will be invited to use the skills and knowledge you have developed
    across the degree programme to meet the creative, organisational and research challenges of being independent theatre practitioners.

For your remaining 40 credits, you will take at least 20 credits within theatre. Here is a list of some of the modules currently being offered in English Literature for third years who have the aforementioned prerequisites detailed above. Please note that we do regularly update our programmes, so the list of optional modules will vary year on year.

Autumn Semester

Spring Semester

 You may choose to take 20 credits from outside the theatre programme, for example in a modern language, journalism, philosophy or history.

As you will see one of the choices in your final semester is the Theatre Dissertation module. This is a chance to work on any topic arising from your degree studies, in consultation with a supervisor, resulting in a piece of around 8-9,000 words. Though it may be an advantage to do a dissertation if you are considering further academic study, this is an optional module like all the others (ie. you do not have to do it).

You may choose to take 20 credits from outside Theatre, for example in English, a modern language, journalism, philosophy or history.

For further information such as teaching staff, teaching methods and contact details please visit the "Theatre and Performance Further Information" page.

Applications and Further Details

All admissions enquiries should be directed to our reception, on english@sheffield.ac.uk.

All general enquiries should be directed to Sidsel Hornby, our English and Theatre secretary (s.hornby@sheffield.ac.uk).