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BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Performance (with Foundation year)*

Course summary

Of all the university courses that study the dramatic arts, none is as different, stimulating and engaging as ours. That’s because our Drama, Applied Theatre and Performance course is enriched by a unique interaction between our drama and theatre students and our vibrant local community.

The foundation year at UEL is the first year of a four year programme which provides an introduction to study at University and your chosen subject. The Level 3 Foundation year in Performing Arts is designed to equip students with a range of performance and academic skills.

‘Applied theatre’ asks if we can use drama and performance to think about the world in new ways. It devises theatre that communicates with its audience and opens up the arts to the entire community.

So, your studies will have a practical core as you develop your performance projects to make connections with a range of diverse groups within educational settings and the wider community.

One minute you could be involved in intensive studio-based work at our new, £33 million University Square Stratford building. The next, you could be working on projects beyond the University and in the community with our professional partners such as the Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Half Moon Theatre Company.

You’ll be developing your knowledge and understanding of different cultures through theatre, as well your ability to think critically, analyse arguments and write intelligently. And our study abroad option will give you the chance to develop your artistic skills and gain an international perspective on theatre at the same time.

Return to campus: dual delivery

In a Covid-secure environment, enjoy learning on our state-of-the-art campuses and flex between online delivery

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Specialist equipment

You’ll learn from professional actors, directors and writers at our Institute for Performing Arts Development (IPAD). It’s located in a fantastic, new building featuring dedicated teaching, rehearsal and performance spaces and £750,000 of specialist equipment.

Community links

You’ll be able to showcase your creativity through our unique artistic and cultural links with the community and our local and international partnerships, including the Hackney Empire and the London International Festival of Theatre.

While you may work locally, there’s also a celebratory international feel to our course with guest lectures and workshops from well-known actors, directors and writers



Joey Lubelfeld

Drama, Applied Theatre & Performance, BA (Hons)

I personally appreciate having a theoretical understanding of what I am doing as it allows me to create stronger work that is imbued with intention.

What you'll learn

Practical performance lies at the heart of your studies. So in each of your three years, you’ll be involved in productions or performances.

In year one, you’ll develop your critical skills while studying theatre from around the world. You’ll also learn techniques of storytelling and monologue and be assessed in your performance.

During your second year, you’ll hone your skills in both devising theatre and acting. As a group, you’ll put together a performance piece. In the second term, you’ll be joined by exchange students from Columbia College, Chicago, bringing an international flavour to your collaborations.

In your third year, we’ll help you find and make the most of an extended placement with a theatre company or arts organisation.

You’ll also develop a final piece of theatre that you’ll perform in public and write a dissertation on the area of drama and theatre that most interests you.

About the Foundation Year
You will study acting, dance, physical theatre and community theatre through six distinctive modules. You will participate in a variety of dynamic projects and learn about current trends in the performing arts. The course content is specifically chosen to reflect the diverse nature of our students and this is evident through the themes, practitioners and subject matter covered. You will learn in a highly supportive environment where you can develop the self-confidence, knowledge, skills and understanding for further study.

Each module focuses on developing your understanding of the techniques intrinsic to the separate disciplines and will prepare you for a successful entry onto your chosen degree pathway listed below.

BA (Hons) Dance: Urban Practice
BA (Hons) Performing Arts
BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Performance

The foundation course is for students who:

  • do not yet have the entry requirements for study at level 4.
  • want to develop skills and confidence before embarking on study at Level 4.
  • are returning to study.
  • are changing careers and need to gain experience in the performing arts.

What you'll study and when

Drama Skills 1
Group Work 1
Public Outcome
Drama Skills 2
Group Work 2
Professional Life (Mental Wealth)

Applied Theatre Technique 1
Collaboration 1
Public Project 1
Applied Theatre Technique 2
Collaboration 2
Professional Life 1 (Mental Wealth)

Social Engaged Theatre 1
Multidisciplinary Collaboration 1
Public Project 2
Social Engaged Theatre 2
Multidisciplinary Collaboration 2
Professional Life 2 (Mental Wealth)

Professional Participatory Practice 1
Final Project: Research and Development
Public Project 3
Professional Participatory Practice 2
Final Project: Engagement and Impact
Professional Life 3 (Mental Wealth)

How you'll be assessed

We assess approximately 50 per cent of the course through practical rehearsals, presentations and performances. We assess the remainder through essays and workbooks/study journals, reflecting on a critical understanding of drama and theatre and its application to performance. Second and third-year module grades contribute towards your final degree award classification.

The final year of the course contains a compulsory written dissertation and a placement in a theatre or arts institution. Project work forms an important part of the course. Many of the modules are practical in nature and the teaching takes the form of lecture, seminar and practical, studio-based workshops. You’re also expected to engage in a wide range of research-based personal assignments.

Course specification

How you'll learn

Connecting with the local community is at the heart of our course. Enriched by our position in the cultural hub of east London, you’ll have opportunities to be involved in a range of work-related projects.

You’ll take up a work placement in a community, arts or educational setting and benefit from our links with professional partners such as the Half Moon Theatre Company, the Hackney Empire, Hoxton Hall, Stratford Circus and the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT).

While you may work locally, there’s also a celebratory international feel to our course with guest lectures and workshops from well-known actors, directors and writers.

Those of you who most impress on the course have the best chance of earning an exciting international exchange option. You could spend a term studying for your degree in one of our partner universities in North America – Chicago’s Columbia College, Boulder’s University of Colorado and the University of the Fraser Valley in Canada.

You’ll be taught by outstanding theatre practitioners and theorists, headed by the author, Ananda Breed. She’s contributed to several important projects internationally, exploring how theatre can aid conflict prevention, most recently running workshops in Kyrgyzstan for UNICEF.

Her supportive team is based in the superbly equipped Institute for Performing Arts Development at our new University Square Stratford base, which boasts three performance studios with advanced lighting rigs. Our students tell us it feels like you’re training on a West End stage.

Your future career

Graduates who have studied drama and theatre at UEL have landed jobs in a wide variety of areas. We’ve produced actors, arts administrators, teachers, broadcast journalists, advertisers, designers and scriptwriters.
What many students here have discovered is that this is a course that gives you the ambition and confidence to succeed.

“I’ve discovered strength I never knew I had. I found my self-confidence to pursue my dreams,” explains student Leigh-Anne Rodriguez.

Abdul Shayek knows that feeling, too. He’s one of the great success stories of our department, having become a leading arts administrator and director. He went to work as an assistant director for National Theatre of Wales and now runs his own theatre company, YOCA.

Reflecting on his dramatic progress since graduating in BA (Hons) Theatre Studies, Abdul says: “I feel that without the degree, that may have been difficult to achieve as I was constantly lacking the confidence and correct theatrical language and context to engage in in-depth conversations and discussions.”

Our course throws you in the deep end straight away. So, for instance, actor Michael Amaning was only in his first year at the University of East London when he auditioned for a role in a Royal Shakespeare Company production and landed his first professional part.

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Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.

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