Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 Years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112 (September 2021 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Derby Theatre

Course description

Your course will be delivered at Derby Theatre, a fully equipped, professional theatre and major live performance venue, allowing you to gain valuable industry experience and contacts as you learn. To find out more about the work that Derby Theatre do outside of the University, please visit their YouTube Channel.

This contemporary theatre and performance programme will develop your theatre and performance skills such as acting, directing and devising for your career as a professional theatre artist. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to showcase your work and you may be involved in performances regionally, nationally and internationally.

This dynamic and exciting theatre arts programme is taught by practising professional artists with expertise in their own fields. Built around process, experimentation and risk taking you will encounter a range of practices to explore and develop theatre making and performance skills. An exciting part of your studies will be the professional work experience within Derby Theatre or partner organisations which will contribute to the development of your professional portfolio. You will take part in a number of public performances across your years of study and in a variety of venues, including main house and studio theatre spaces, off-site in the community, schools, and art centres.

In the 2020 National Student Survey (NSS), 90% of students were satisfied with the teaching on the course. The NSS is managed by the Office for Students and gathers opinions of current students on the course. Additional results include:

Derby Theatre
The UK's unique professional, producing and learning theatre 

As a Learning Theatre, Derby Theatre provides a unique opportunity for students to learn to their craft by working alongside both academics and theatre professionals in the heart of a professional producing theatre, to develop your skills in technical theatre or performance. 

Students, academics and artists work, create and learn side by side at Derby Theatre. All decisions about the development of both the art and the learning opportunities are made together. At every stage, there is huge potential in the crucible of the arts, learning and research combining to both underpin and inform our future work.  

Derby Theatre provides an extraordinary platform for real life learning to take place, not only through the exciting main stage and studio programmes, but also through the work that the Theatre does with young people, young people in care, emerging artists and the community. Graduates of the programme can also be supported by our Artist Development Programme, In Good Company, which is part of a large regional funding programme. 

Winner: Excellence in Arts Education Award, UK Theatre Awards 2019
Derby Theatre won the Excellence in Arts Education Award at the annual UK Theatre Awards, in recognition of its learning theatre vision which has transformed the venue and provides opportunities for young people to take part in high-quality arts, sports and cultural activities across the city. The award was also in specific recognition and celebration of This is Derby, a unique project delivered by Derby Theatre and other cultural and sports organisations in the city, including Derby County Community Trust, Cultural Campus: Derby's Cultural Education Partnership and the City's Sports Forum.


Team from Derby Theatre stand for their photo at the UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre wins Excellence in Arts Education Award at UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre has won recognition of its learning theatre vision and innovative This is Derby project.

View the full storyView the full story
Students taking part in a performance at Derby Theatre
A Student taking part in a performance at Derby Theatre
A technical theatre student works on sound equipment in the theatre

Derby Theatre

Our students have a rare and exceptional learning experience at Derby Theatre. We are one of the only universities in the country to own and run a professional producing and receiving theatre.

Take a look at the theatreTake a look at the theatre
About Derby Theatre and how students can access this venue during their studies

View Study at Derby Theatre video transcript

What you will study

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4TH520

Spotlight on: Industry Practice

This module provides the opportunity for all students to fully interact with the processes involved in the professional theatre environment in which you are based.

You will engage with the various departments within Derby Theatre and explore the plethora of roles and responsibilities involved in theatre and theatre making, from Front of House, to Technical, Learning, Creative, Directing, Marketing and Fundraising. As such, this module will create the connections that you might draw on for your work experience and facilitates your future networking skills and professional opportunities.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4TH522

Performance Skills

This module will focus on developing some of the key skills necessary for the actors work, such as ensemble, voice, physicality, script analysis and character development. Through a series of workshops you will develop your vocal and physical potential, and experiment with various methods of script analysis, character analysis and development.
40 Credits

Code: 4TH523

Writing in Action

This module will explore a broad range of facets related to writing for performance, and the many possibilities available to the dramatist. You will engage in experimental practical exercises to explore the creation and development of ideas, and construction of script. There will be an emphasis on the practical investigation of structuring scenes while also exploring rehearsal methods used by contemporary actors and directors.
20 Credits

Code: 4TH524

Critical Dialogues

This module approaches fundamental work in the contextualisation and critical analysis of theatre and performance practice. It aims to provide an introduction to, and development of, a range of academic skills necessary for the practical and theoretical study of theatre and the successful completion of the programme.

This module will provide you with structures to support your practical work, as you will be introduced to practitioners, theories, and theoretical frameworks for the discussion and analysis of performance and theatre practice. You will engage with deep theoretical, analytical reflection and lively debate, in relation to experimentation across your modules, and the live theatre you will see. You will cultivate an understanding of the relationship of your developing practice to wider global historical and contemporary practice and performance. You will gain foundational theoretical grounding and develop critically reflexive thinking and writing skills.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4TH525

Theatre Lab

This module provides you with the space to explore, experiment and develop your practical skills and understanding of what theatre and performance may be, through a focus on devising work. As a complement to your assessed piece of text-based main stage performance in Performance Skills, this module will focus upon physical and potentially more avant-garde approaches to performance that would feature in small scale/studio or site specific environments.

As such, you will be encouraged to take creative risks, and discover new styles of performance and working practices that you may not have encountered before. The module introduces some key elements in the group devising process and the exploration of your performance potential.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5TH515

Theatre Making: Creation and Collaboration

This module will develop your interests and skills cultivated in your level 4 module Theatre Lab as you will explore the creation of theatre that is bold, dynamic and responds to political, cultural, social and creative concerns. You will be challenged to explore artistic processes and the broader considerations that will prepare you for theatre making and innovative practice in the 21st Century.

Part of this will involve a deep consideration of the role of the audience, the relationship of collaborators in the space, as well as the contemporary climate in which theatres are producing and receiving work.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5TH516

Spotlight on: Research and Professional Development

This module will engage you in a deep consideration of your developing interests and skills in creative, academic and work-based contexts. You will build on your developing practice and wider understanding of theatre and performance, through academic study and exploration of professional practice. As such, this module becomes preparation for level 6 of your study, as well as enabling you to begin to plan towards your future employability.
20 Credits

Code: 5TH517

Applied Theatre Practice

The emphasis on this module is professional experience and potential career development through working with different groups in society. These may be adults, young people, offenders, the elderly and other disadvantaged or hard to reach groups and minorities, or a specialist audience.

Inherent in this module is the exploration of the skills, theoretical knowledge and understanding needed for delivering a short participatory drama project. The module is firmly rooted on the practical realities of working creatively using drama techniques. A hands-on work-based learning approach will be underpinned with a clear theoretical context.

The module focuses on the application of your skills, theoretical knowledge and understanding of applied drama which address learning objectives in a wider community and professional context. The exact nature of the project is decided through negotiation between the student, tutor and outside agencies involved. Whilst this module may draw on devising skills/practice, there is also the potential for an existing script to be adapted or developed through this method as well as including some participatory elements.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 5TH518

Performance Practice

This is an exciting module where you will perform to the public on Derby Theatre main stage. Working under direct tutor and Derby Theatre supervision, you will form production companies comprising of mutually-interdependent teams and individuals. There is the opportunity for you to collaborate with students from other undergraduate programmes for this project if appropriate so the company can include the technical/production/marketing team as well as the creative/performing team.

You will continue to develop your voice and physicality through continued student-led physical and vocal warm up sessions, as established in your Performance Skills module. You may also carry out non-performance as well as performance roles, dependent on your area of particular interest.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 6TH514

Directors and Directing

This module will involve a theoretical and practical approach to directing. You will research into the historical, contemporary, and creative processes that directors draw upon, and how these can be applied in a rehearsal context. In considering the broader concerns of a director, you will explore relationships and working practices beyond the director/actor relationship. For example, the director and the set/costume and lighting designer. You will also gain an appreciation of how understanding the way that theatres programme their received work, may impact on your process as a director.
20 Credits

Code: 6TH515

Research Project

This is an exciting module which gives you the opportunity to develop a focused research project on your area of interest and developing specialism that you identified in your level 5 module Spotlight on Research and Professional Development. This may take the form of practice as research, with a written component, or may be exclusively written, dependant on the relative needs of your area of research. The module is crucially driven by you as an independent researcher and practitioner, with suitable support and guidance from your teaching team and professionals within Derby Theatre, as appropriate to your project. The module is designed to enable you to hone your independent critical thinking in relation to materials encountered within your study. Good practice of academic enquiry, research methodologies, and an appropriate level of research is expected.
40 Credits

Code: 6TH516

Spotlight on: Employability

This module focuses on the systems and protocol that are expected within the Creative Industries and Theatre specifically. For example, CVs, interview technique, funding applications, etc. As such it is intended as a development of the skills considered necessary for self-management of graduating students moving into professional practice within the industry. You will also reflect upon the transferability of your skills in relation to broader employability possibilities and career pathways.
20 Credits

Code: 6TH517

Independent Production

In this module you will form theatre companies and mount small-scale productions in an appropriate environment. The type of performance that you create will be negotiated with your module tutor but should evidence creativity, independent practice and competent command of techniques and processes.

As such the size of company is negotiable, as is your particular role within it. You can also draw upon opportunities for collaboration across undergraduate programmes as appropriate to the production and its relative demands.

You will be responsible for all aspects of the production including research, approaches to working methods, organisation of materials, rehearsals and resources. Your work will mirror professional practice and as such you will need to apply company structure, funding, marketing/promotion, documentation as well as ethical working practices.

More information
40 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Side-on portrait of a young student with purple bokeh lights in the background

Campus Tours

Campus Tours are a great way to explore our campuses, facilities and halls of residence. We’ll be running the tours in two-hour timeslots, giving you the best possible experience while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Book your Campus TourBook your Campus Tour

Virtual Open Day

Delve deeper into the course with our Virtual Open Day, packed with subject and course information to help you make your choice, including tours of facilities, 360° views of award-winning accommodation plus advice and insight from students and academics.

Explore our Virtual Open DayExplore our Virtual Open Day

How you will learn

This Theatre Arts programme involves a combination of practice-led, studio-based exercises and lecture or seminar activity. There will be major performance projects, study of devising strategies, case studies and analysis of movements and practices in the 20th and 21st centuries. You will learn through workshop presentations, rehearsal strategies, directing and dramaturgy, new theatre writing and contemporary performance practices. The work will be underpinned by research, academic criticism and the professional production programme of Derby Theatre. You will carry out coursework that will be subject to academic criticism both written and practical. 

Teaching is through a combination of practice-led, studio-based exercises, workshops, performances and lecture or seminar activity. You will learn from expert lecturers who are also practising artists, as well as from theatre professionals based at Derby Theatre and visiting companies and lecturers. There will also be the opportunity to take part in masterclass residencies and engage in a variety of field trips.  You will have the opportunity to learn by working within your own student-led theatre company with full professional technical support and mentoring. The work will be underpinned by the professional production programme of Derby Theatre. 

Assessment is through a range of methods including written coursework, presentations, creative portfolios, assessed rehearsals, practical workshops and public performance. 

People at the box office at Derby Theatre

Explore Derby Theatre through a virtual tour:

A 360 look around Derby Theatre

Degree Show

Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June and is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:

Take a look at highlights from the 2019 Degree Show.

Applied Theatre and Education students taking part in a performance for a group of school children

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Dr Phil Green
Programme leader

After studying for a BA (Hons) Performing Arts Phil worked in the industry in theatre, television and radio.  He moved into teaching in Further and Higher Education on completion of his MA Theatre. He has extensive experience as an external examiner.  He continues to produce work as a solo performer.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

September 2021 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionYes - see interview details

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year



£14,045 per year


Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


Students from this discipline area regularly go on to successful careers in film, television and theatre industries for example as actors, directors, theatre crew, teachers, artistic directors of their own theatre companies and other arts professionals. Alternatively, many students go on to postgraduate study and employment in a wide variety of professions like Kira who secured a marketing role at Derby Theatre and Andy who started his own theatre company. 

Be inspired by their journey to employment in the below videos: 

University of Derby graduate Kira Barnett talks about her experience of studying Theatre and securing a full-time marketing role at Derby Theatre before she graduated.

View Securing a job before graduation video transcript

University of Derby graduate Andy Mandoiu talking about his experience of studying Theatre and what he has gone on to do since graduating.

View Starting my own theatre company video transcript

Notable graduates

Please note these are graduates from the subject discipline, not the course, as it is new

Graduate Danny Hendrix stars in War Horse

Danny Hendrix graduated in 2014 in Theatre Arts and is currently in the National Theatre touring production of the iconic First World War drama, War Horse. His tour of War Horse will visit Hong Kong and New Zealand – and his 2019 will end with a month of performances in Paris.

Danny is playing Billy Narracott, Seargent Klebb and Heine in the National Theatre tour, which is also visiting a string of theatres in the UK and Ireland.

His acting career has previously taken him to Australia to perform in Sydney Opera House and seen him appear in the West End and touring production of David Walliams’s Gangsta Granny.

If you’re interested in studying theatre at Derby, Danny has some tips for you: “Get involved in any way you can, not just in performance but also backstage and in technical roles, because the industry demands it. Use your time wisely and give 100% but also enjoy every second – I had the time of my life."

Danny Hendrix in The Snow Dragon
Danny Hendrix in Tall Stories: The Snow Dragon

“The University provided me with opportunities and stepping stones that enabled me to put myself out there into the theatre/performing business. My lecturers inspired me in many different ways by challenging my abilities and skills but also by having faith in my talent and abilities to undertake such large roles.” - Danny Hendrix

More notable graduates

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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