"Creative relationships which maybe started as the result of first year projects have now developed into professional artistic collaborations."
This degree reflects the diversity and excitement of the subject in the new millennium, and gives you the opportunity to study the theory and practice of theatre and performance in a range of media.
Applicants with A-levels in Arts and Humanities subjects such as English, History, Languages, Philosophy, Sociology are welcomed. While Drama and Theatre Studies would be an advantage, this is not necessarily essential as we are also interested in those with other subjects or complementary experience.
You must be able to express a well-informed interest in theatre and performance theory and practice. Please note that we do not normally accept applications for deferred entry.
If your first language is not English, please check our English Language requirements.
The Department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths does not offer applicants auditions, although some – but not all – candidates will be invited for interview. The degree doesn't aim to provide a vocational training in acting, but rather the opportunity to engage in a broad creative and critical study, exploring the possibilities of theatre making in a wide historical and cultural context to provide transferable skills for a richly diverse array of career choices. This is why we're not looking for performing skills alone but for a range of intellectual, creative, critical and inquisitive qualities when we select candidates for a place.
Our distinctive emphasis on performance and production work alongside and informed by theoretical and critical study (and vice versa) , the stimulating atmosphere created by staff with diverse research expertise, and our location in the heart of London's performance culture, mean that we offer an unique approach to drama and theatre arts.
The degree programme leads you through a range of study including: theatre making: production processes and performance; close analysis of performances and written texts; the history of theatres across a range of cultures; critical vocabularies for reading, writing and analysing texts as well as performances; physical investigation of - and reflection on - modes of performance; the acquisition of technical skills; understanding how performance affects audiences; theatre, studio and site-specific practice; understanding of theatre in terms of its social engagement; an ability to define and critique what falls under the broad term ‘performance’.
After your First Year in which you study practical skills via Questions of Dramaturgy and Scenography, Analytical Vocabularies and the relationship between Space, Body and Spectator, you apply your learning in Theatre Making projects. From the Second Year you are offered Options: in Theatre Histories and Modernist and Postmodernist topics, in Questions of Performance (e.g. character, text, voice and performance) and in the role you will take in company Theatre Making projects (e.g. directing, writing, performing, scenography). In your Third Year you develop a specialist focus: you choose from Options in Culture and Performance such as e.g. Art and Japan, Black British and American Drama; you develop your study of Dramaturgy; you develop Final Show Theatre Making projects in either Text, Devised, Live Art, or Applied theatres, again, taking a specialist role in company collaborations; you conceive, research and write a Dissertation, supervised by a specialist Tutor. You also follow a vibrant Personal and Professional Development Programme that is run in collaboration with the Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE) and involves professional alumni and a range of career-focused workshop activities.
Throughout your learning you benefit from the College Library, department theatre and studio spaces, open access to the department's digital (media and sound) and scenographic workshops, supported by the department's team of professional technicians.
The department is also part of the Erasmus Scheme and has a wide international professional network, including a new Association with LIFT.
The department's Special Project Fund supports students' own productions and workshop projects.
The Department scored 97% for Teaching in the 2013 National Student Survey (NSS) whilst 97% of respondents agreed that their Communication Skills had improved.
The degree is based on a balanced combination of courses in the theory, practice and history of drama, theatre, performance and related media. You take four courses of study a year, but any one course may include within it two or more options.
[Please note that courses are currently under review, and may be subject to adaptation for 2013]
Performances, production processes, essays, group projects, dissertation and timed examinations.
|tbc||Theatre Making: Scenography and Technology||15 credits|
This course examines the principles and techniques of theatre design and stage management. It introduces a range of key concepts, terms and practical processes related to theatre design and related technologies. Students on this course learn to understand and apply a range of theatre skills in the following areas: Lighting Design, Scenography and Sound Design.
|tbc||Theatre Making: Process and Performance||15 credits|
This course will introduce students to processes of directing and performing, and examining various approaches to working with space, composition, rhythm, texts and improvisation. The intention is to enable students to interrogate, through practice and discussion, selected historical and contemporary modes of performance. From this, students develop a group exercise in theatre making, based on a text.
In this practice/theory two-term course, we focus on the body as your primary tool for communicating theatrically in workshop sessions. In seminars we discuss notions of the body, movement, space, spectator relationship and performing, as well as engagement in critical spectatorship and performance analysis. We look at key theorists and innovations in the 20th and 21st century in which Space-Body-Spectator relationships have been challenged and reconfigured. You develop your own performance material in the Theatre and site specifically, applying the methodologies investigated. Teaching draws on both European and Asian sources.
|tbc||Analytic Vocabularies||30 credits|
An exploration of methods of performance analysis. We examine some of the significant theoretical frameworks for the analysis of Western performance, identifying creative processes and outcomes in the light of the theories of key practitioners. We evaluate performance texts from different media, and distinguish how history and culture influence contemporary theatre making.
|tbc||Theatre Making 1||30 credits|
This is the culmination of your first year’s work in the department. It is an opportunity to explore theatre making in a collaborative, creative and inventive fashion, within defined parameters and a constructively critical framework. Although the work is assessed, we hope that this project also takes on the quality of a festival.
|tbc||Performance Theory/Practice||30 credits|
This is a laboratory course, which investigates the major forms of 20th-century Western theatrical performance, exploring ways in which various practices have been theorised and, conversely, the way performance theories have been translated into practice.
|tbc||Elements of Theatre History||30 credits|
The aim here is to develop an understanding of the relationship between a work and its historical – social, cultural, intellectual – context. You choose two options (each of 10 weeks) from a wide range including for example: French Theatre; Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama; Irish Theatre and Politics; Greek Theatre; Spanish and Catalan Theatre; American Theatre; African Theatre. Options are likely to change from year to year, depending on staff availability and research interests.
|tbc||Theatre Making 2||30 credits|
This focuses on the development of performance-making skills, including performing, technical and scenographic competence, and the application of those skills to the creation of a performed event. The emphasis is on collaboration and working in companies and teams.
|tbc||Modernisms and Postmodernity A||15 credits|
This course is an introduction to key aspects of modern and postmodern thought, culture and theatre. It aims to explore the historical and cultural contexts of its topic while at the same time exploring the theoretical and cultural ideas and practices that have been seen as modernist and postmodern.
|tbc||Modernisms and Postmodernity B||15 credits|
You normally chose one 10-week option. These options are designed to extend the study of modernism and/or postmodernity through a sustained engagement with a particular range of material. We offer as specialist topics, for example: Post-Colonial Theatre; Brecht and Political Theatre; Theatre of the Artistic Avant-Garde; and Contemporary Women Practitioners. Options change from year to year, depending on staff availability and research interests.
|tbc||Culture and Performance: Critical Theory and Options||15 credits each|
This course provides an approach to the study of performance within a culturally diverse society. Lectures and seminars introduce you to a range of issues in the field of multi-cultural performance, including cross-culturalism, interculturalism, interchange and globalisation. You opt to make a specific study of the way contemporary performance in the UK relates culturally diverse practitioners to particular communities or institutions within society.
|tbc||Theatre Making 3||45 credits|
This gives you the opportunity to study a theatrical form in depth, and to apply your acquired knowledge and skills in a group-based project. Autumn term taught sessions develop into project planning. In the spring term, rehearsals lead towards productions, performed outcomes and events. Genres range from text-based to devised performance and Live Art.
This is a year-long project where you choose a topic of personal interest that motivates you to study intensively, with a tutor as your personal supervisor, to create an extended written critical study. The Dissertation builds your skill and confidence in self-directed research that might be either purely academic and/or bring some fieldwork study to bear.
On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills. You'll also carry out performance and production work, and will attend lab sessions.
But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.
This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers.
Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:
Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.
We offer you the opportunity to become an articulate, critical, independent and self-initiating member of the cultural community by developing a range of transferable skills, including the ability to:
When you graduate you might, like many of our students, go on to work in the theatre or related media, in publishing, administration, programming, project management, development work, marketing and publicity, management or technical production.
Performing live in a global, digital age
From ritual to the RSC, theatre is the live embodiment of the human story, however it’s told. At Goldsmiths we reflect our story and our contemporary world through the interdisciplinary and the intercultural. We explore what theatre and performance can tell us about the way we live now by drawing on everything from sociology to psychoanalysis and from politics to the playgrounds of the world.
As a department we approach ideas in many exciting and challenging ways, and as a student here you’ll have the freedom to cultivate your own creative identity. We embed theory in practice, and vice versa: our courses draw on rich staff research specialisms covering diverse areas from physical theatres and new writing to Black British performance and multimedia/Live Art. We encourage you to develop your historical and cultural knowledge, with the time and space to experiment, learn technical skills and develop your thinking and your practice.
We want you to graduate with a degree that will take you wherever you want to go with the confidence to ‘make it happen’ as an independent self-starter. We know you may work in many aspects of the industry so we make sure you gain experience across the discipline – from performing to directing, from administration to production – and learn the research and making skills to critique and transform the cultural landscape. In short, we cultivate the articulate practitioner.
We’re interdisciplinary and intercultural. As a student here you’ll be encouraged to look within and beyond British traditions into European and World theatres, studying the discipline in relation to a whole host of others from anthropology and sociology, to philosophy and cultural studies; and with specialists in African and South East Asian theatre, you will be able to discover practices you can’t study elsewhere. Meanwhile, we embrace new technologies and the important contribution they are currently making to live work.
We’re interrogative and student-centred. You can decide how to answer questions of performance through your own research. We address the politics of culture and theatre making, so that you can find what kind of contribution you want to make and which career path you might choose, armed with a range of transferable skills. We’ll give you the tools to develop your own ideas so you find your voice and create original projects from scratch.
We’re taking theatre from and back into the world. At Goldsmiths you won’t only be transferring a text from page to stage. You could be inventing, writing or devising your own. And you’ll see how theatre and performance making can transform the lives of others, whether within a prison, a school, a community or theatre venue. You’ll also be guided by a dedicated team of world-leading practitioners and theorists: 94% of our students said they’d received the help and support they need (National Student Survey 2012) whilst 99% agreed their course was intellectually stimulating.
At Goldsmiths you can:
• Learn from internationally renowned practitioners amongst our permanent staff as well as from our regular Performance Research Seminars and other prominent events
• Use our on-site facilities and performance spaces including purpose-built white and black studios, a 160-seat theatre, and scenographic, costume and lighting workshops
• Access our new Open Access Media Lab so you can and edit your own work and learn digital scenography on CAD software
• Enjoy our excellent Library facilities that include the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) Archive and a wide range of books and digital resources to support your learning
• Access a huge network of London venues from the Southbank Centre to Sadler’s Wells and from Battersea Arts Centre to the Barbican
• Become a rounded practitioner by getting involved in all aspects, from performing and directing to scenography, stage management, technical operation, sound, video and lighting
• Create your own Final Show specialising in your chosen form, from applied theatre to devising to new writing to Live Art; and research a written dissertation topic with expert advice from your supervisor
• Prepare for your future with our dynamic personal and professional development programme
• Go on to gain international recognition in the field – our recent graduates have won awards and commissions from the National Theatre, Soho Theatre, the RSC and The Old Vic; initiated projects funded by the Arts Council; and become cultural leaders funded by the British Council and the Rolex Mentoring Scheme
• Join a growing department where 93% of students expressed overall satisfaction with the quality of the course, with 90% agreeing that Theatre and Performance had improved their Personal Development skills (National Student Survey 2012)
Rebecca, BA Drama & Theatre Arts, graduated 2009
Worked as a Staff Director at the National Theatre, assisting Sir Richard Eyre
"Creative relationships which maybe started as the result of first year projects have now developed into professional artistic collaborations."
Studying at Goldsmiths provided me with opportunities and experiences that introduced me to the career I have been pursuing ever since. My tutors demanded I experience and analyse theatre in an ever evolving way, and were always ready to offer the advice or critique I sought. Tutors who I worked closely with during my time in the department continue to support me years after graduating, and creative relationships which maybe started as the result of first year projects have now developed into professional artistic collaborations.
After graduating from Goldsmiths I was fortunate enough to secure one of four places to study on the Directors Course at LAMDA. Since completing my training I have produced work regionally and in London, and have assisted directors such as Rupert Goold, Max Stafford-Clark and Natalie Abrahami.
In 2011 I was awarded one of the Jerwood Assistant Director bursaries at The Young Vic, and then went on to be awarded the National Theatre Studio's Bursary to become Resident Director there for six months. I have just completed a period of time working as a Staff Director at the National Theatre where I assisted Sir Richard Eyre and Melly Still, and I am now beginning work with the RSC's touring company.
Effie, Project Manager Arts and Development, Nanzikambe Arts Development Organisation, Malawi
BA Drama & Theatre Arts, graduated 2007
"My time at Goldsmiths gave me the practical and academic grounding I needed to take the next steps in my career and give me the confidence to follow an unusual path, which has led into a job I love."
I arrived at university with a very narrow idea about what I thought theatre was, and how I would work in it, and left with whole new understanding of the different worlds out there. Goldsmiths taught me to push the boundaries and take risks in my work. I was constantly inspired by passionate tutors, but also by my peers as we were encouraged to challenge ourselves, our boundaries and our preconceptions.
My time at Goldsmiths gave me the practical and academic grounding I needed to take the next steps in my career and give me the confidence to follow an unusual path, which has led into a job I love. I now work at Nanzikambe Arts, a Malawian NGO using theatre as a tool for social change. My job is mainly based in Community Theatre, running a programme of weekly workshops that reach eight marginalised communities in Blantyre - we work with young women, people with disabilities, street children and prisoners. My job involves practical delivery of workshops, design of projects, training other facilitators, fundraising and administration. I am also studying for a Masters in Power, Participation and Social Change.
Recently my work has focussed on using drama as a way to open spaces for discussion, reflection and action with prisoners in Malawi. In 2012 we began a project looking at HIV in the prisons. Together with the drama group of prisoners, we devised a hard-hitting and taboo-busting performance about the realities of prison life and HIV. This performance was toured to six other prisons in Malawi – opening up debate between prisoners themselves and also between prisoners and the prison authorities.
Morgan, freelance scriptwriter
BA Drama & Theatre Arts, graduated 2003
"I have gone on to work as a freelance scriptwriter in television and theatre in various different genres and I credit my degree course and the experience at Goldsmiths for giving me the foundation to be able to do this."
I studied the BA in Drama and Theatre Arts at Goldsmiths. We had a fantastic year group and spent the three years putting shows on in the various spaces in the department. While I was there I met and started working with friends with whom I formed the group Trippplicate. We wrote and performed comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival whilst still at Goldsmiths and went on to do five years of shows together. We had huge support from the department, which was essential to our shows. In fact we had the help of the lovely Jonathan and Anna with various design and set builds that we would never have been able to manage without them.
I have gone on to work as a freelance scriptwriter in television and theatre in various different genres and I credit my degree course and the experience at Goldsmiths for giving me the foundation to be able to do this. We had a rich and varied experience whilst there and the support and space to experiment with different forms of theatre. I felt like I learnt skills that I am still using every day. I also met some wonderful and inspiring people who all coloured my time there and kept me smiling.
I still maintain contact with the department but I also work with the Goldsmiths widening participation team. I run workshops in schools that use theatre and comedy to get students to start thinking about their future and whether or not higher education will feature in it. I am always proud to speak of my time at Goldsmiths and often pop in – it’s a very friendly place!
Roanna, now working as a writer, researcher and movement director
BA Drama & Theatre Arts, graduated 2008
"My time at Goldsmiths was a fantastic foundation for my current work."
I graduated from the BA Drama and Theatre Arts in 2008. I now work as a writer, researcher and movement director, and teach movement and performance at the University of Kent, Goldsmiths, and the Central School of Speech and Drama. My work centers on experiences of the body from a number of perspectives, including the creative, political, and commercialised.
My time at Goldsmiths was a fantastic foundation for this work, which I am currently deepening through PhD research on ‘The Body Politics of Acting’. I disseminate and explore this work through lectures and workshops in various institutions, including the Young Vic, and through collaborations with fellow artists, including projects convened by Platform7 – which itself is founded by a Goldsmiths alumnus.
In 2011 I began working as Movement Director for Richard Schechner, taking his performance installation Imagining O to the International Theatre Festival in Kerala, India in 2012. I continue to collaborate with Schechner, as well as his associate Director Benjamin Mosse, with some exciting international projects in the pipeline.
I also work with writer and activist Susie Orbach as Artistic Director for the local-global initiative Endangered Bodies, which actively challenges the culture of profit-making from body-dissatisfaction.
It is a real pleasure to be back at Goldsmiths and accompany new student cohorts on the course that helped me do the fulfilling work I engage with today.
BA Drama & Theatre Arts, graduated 2010
"Goldsmiths is a really creative place, and there’s a real sense of pride in people’s achievements and having something to aspire to for future achievements."
Since graduating from the BA in 2010 I’ve been doing drama and dance workshops with Noxon Arts, a theatre and education company. I’ve also been working independently in various creative institutions that primarily work with young teenagers and young adults with learning disabilities, including Rock Creative in Devon, and Heart n Soul in Deptford, getting a sense of how theatre changes in a completely different environment – leafy Devon compared to South East London. I’ve also done work experience in primary and secondary schools to see how theatre can be implemented within a curriculum and within a more formal structure than a workshop. All of this has helped me find where I fit in within the professional world as opposed to a formal academic learning environment, and discover where I want to take and hone the skills that I’ve got.
Doing the BA at Goldsmiths prepared me for all of this because it encourages a lot of independence, not only through the independent academic learning you carry out but also in terms of rehearsing, collaborating, and building your own contacts through the practical projects you’re given. You get confident, because you learn to ‘own’ your work and you learn to try and be original with your work as well. You’re not always relying on someone to get you to do something – you’re having to organise things yourself. The way that you learn is very similar to what you have to do beyond the course – things like learning how to source your own props, book your own venues, and collaborate with people in terms of how you find the time to do what you want to do. Goldsmiths is a really creative place, and there’s a real sense of pride in people’s achievements and having something to aspire to for future achievements.
"Goldsmiths has positioned me in good stead for the future."
Being from London, and not being able to live in halls, I was terrified that it would be extremely difficult for me to fit into the university lifestyle and feared that it would affect my studies. However the friendly, warm atmosphere that surrounds Goldsmiths fortunately put my worries to cease on the first day.
There are so many exciting and engaging projects that have not only interested and challenged me but have also made me re-examine my theoretical and physical methodologies concerning drama and theatre arts. Theoretically we are given the opportunity to explore practitioners and the history of countries in order to stimulate an in-depth discovery into drama and performance.
In the third year you are given the opportunity to self-study and write a dissertation. Before coming to Goldsmiths, the prospect of writing 10,000 words on a subject related to drama terrified me, however after two years of attending Goldsmiths, my fear has transformed into excitement. I approach the end of my third year with excitement for the projects that still await, sadness for leaving amazing friends and tutors behind, but mostly self-satisfaction and pride for attending such an amazing university which has positioned me in good stead for the future.
BA Drama & Theatre Arts graduate
Alexa is a cross-disciplinary artist whose practice fuses installation and performance. Alexa’s work is characterised by her use of site-specificity, and found objects, to develop unique immersive experiences. Alexa has led performance workshops, lectured and acted as a visiting tutor and director for a variety of arts universities.
"Goldsmiths provided a platform for exploration where I was able to develop my practice, stimulated by exciting practitioners, academics, and excellent resources."
"What made Goldsmiths stand out to me was the embracing nature and laid back attitude it presented and its acceptance to whomever you are as a person no matter where you are from and what background."
I was out of school for over two years working and travelling before I decided that I wanted to attend university. In my first gap year in I travelled around Europe and was lucky enough to be able to experience and become involved in a few endeavours of university life in London, as I had a number of friends commencing fresher’s year. I was thrilled about the dynamics and general aspirational flow of university lifestyle.
Through witnessing and being able to draw upon this small yet rewarding experience, I was overcome with motivation and fell in love with the idea of studying in the UK. I seized the opportunity and started my own research into the British university system. Being a foreign student not knowing much about the universities in the UK and since I was doing it on my own without much guidance, it was hard for me to decide on which uni is the best to apply to for drama, specifically around the London area. What made Goldsmiths stand out to me was the embracing nature and laid back attitude it presented and its acceptance to whomever you are as a person no matter where you are from and what background.
The strong arts and performance foundation Goldsmiths holds grabbed my attention more than anything and its intimate yet vibrant community appealed very much to me. The amount of freedom given to the students was ideal as well as the creativity Goldsmiths is renowned for was the epitome of perfection. What made me decide to attend Goldsmiths in the end was simply by word of mouth. Most people, strangers and people I know, strongly urged me to consider Goldsmiths as my option due to the inventive, unique and edgy reputation Goldsmiths had as a university.
Content last modified: 09 Jan 2014
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171
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