Bring history to life through performance and use theatre as a powerful means of interrogating our most pressing social issues.
Home to the prestigious Wickham Theatre, a 24-hour rehearsal space, sound and design studios, carpentry and costume workshops, and one of the largest theatre archives in the UK.
The home of theatre
We have a long history in the innovative study of theatre and performance. Our department was the first in the country to offer a degree in the subject in 1947.
Benefit from partnerships with leading Bristol arts organisations such as Bristol Old Vic, Watershed, Travelling Light and Tobacco Factory Theatres.
Theatre courses for 2023
Theatre at Bristol
Theatre and performance studies at Bristol is distinctive for blending study of historical contexts and theoretical perspectives with practice-based activities and investigations. You'll study with innovative and enthusiastic pioneers in everything from Shakespeare to contemporary performance practices, and use our two in-house theatres for your presentations.
Facilities include the professionally equipped Wickham Theatre, 24-hour rehearsal space, sound and design studios, and a costume workshop. There are opportunities to engage with professional theatre makers and our museum-accredited archive, the Theatre Collection.
Our students develop excellent transferable skills. Graduates have gone into theatre production, research, broadcasting, education and related business sectors, as well as further study and research.
You'll find Bristol theatre alumni throughout the creative industries, with successful careers as performers, directors, writers, producers, stage managers and designers. Alumni include actors Pearl Mackie, Simon Pegg, Tim Piggott-Smith and David Walliams; playwrights David Grieg, Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill and Laura Wade; and Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Gregory Doran.What our students do after graduating
In the first year you will learn how to analyse performance and work with play texts, as well as developing your practical skills in theatre production. In the second and final years you will take a series of units designed to deepen your analytical, critical, practical and historical expertise and skills – as well as exciting optional units.
As part of your final year you will have the opportunity to complete a group practical project, an individual dissertation or extended essay. You will also have the opportunity to undertake professional development with a local, national, or even international partner.
You can combine theatre studies with film, English or innovation, or study theatre and a modern language to spend your third year abroad. For more information visit Global Opportunities.
Sample units may include:
- Clowning Through History
- Decolonising the Stage
- Site-Specific and Immersive Performance
- Early Modern Theatre Practice
- Applied Theatre.
Immerse yourself in theatre
Bristol is an exciting place to be a theatre student. Theatres, venues and festivals around the city stage a huge variety of performances of every genre, enhancing and broadening your studies with access to cutting-edge drama.
There is also a huge range of student societies to get involved in, from the Theatre department's in-house student led company, InterAct, to the established DramSoc and Spotlights, Bristol Improv, PantoSoc, Music Theatre Bristol, and the Stage Technicians' Association.
Theatre courses for 2023
Bristol was the first UK university to offer a theatre studies degree. The University continues to be a pioneer in the study of theatre and performance.
Theatre and performance studies at Bristol are characterised by the way we blend historical and theoretical study with practice-based investigations.
Why study Theatre at Bristol?
You will study historical contexts, consider critical perspectives and engage in practice-based activities using our two in-house theatres for your presentations. Facilities include the professionally equipped Wickham Theatre, 24-hour rehearsal space, sound and design studios and a costume workshop. There are opportunities to engage with professional theatre makers and our museum-accredited archive, the Theatre Collection.
The first year introduces histories, contexts, ways of analysing performance and practical skills in theatre production. In subsequent years optional units will deepen your expertise around particular performance contexts and practical skills in theatre making. You will be taught by renowned scholars and practitioners.
The Department of Theatre has strong links with a wide range of arts organisations and theatre companies. In your final year you can undertake an industrial placement within the creative industries.
Our alumni include renowned playwrights, actors and directors, including actor Tim Pigott-Smith; playwrights Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill and David Greig; and RSC director Gregory Doran.
What kind of student would this course suit?
The course is suitable for those interested in the practice, history and theory of theatre and performance.
You should be able to demonstrate a commitment to the study of theatre and performance in an academic context, for example through extracurricular reading and theatre going. You should also be motivated and have evidence of achievement in performance and theatre making, perhaps by having taken part in extracurricular or community drama productions.
How is this course taught and assessed?
Teaching is delivered through lectures, seminars and practical workshops. You will also be taught by industry professionals and practitioners during your studies.
Assessment is by a combination of essays, individual and group presentations, practice-based productions, reflections on performances, and critically reflexive journals.
In your final year you will also undertake a supervised independent project: a written dissertation or a group practical project.
What are my career prospects?
Our students develop excellent transferable skills. Graduates have gone into theatre production, research, broadcasting, arts administration, education and finance and related business sectors, as well as further study and research.
Find out more about what our students do after graduating.
Important disclaimer information about our courses.
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