The BA Drama and Musical Theatre course at Wolverhampton offers a unique opportunity to develop performance skills as a ‘singing actor’ in a department at the cutting edge of international musical theatre research and drama practice. Our staff members have professional industry experience as directors, musical directors, performers, dramaturgs and writers, and this is reflected in the breadth of the course. The course is vocationally-led and aims to enhance your future employability so that by the end of the course, you will have the know-how to develop your professional skills further. The balance of practical and academic work in the programme allows for a wide range of career choices upon graduation.
What happens on the course?
Our course prepares students for employment in all areas of theatre and beyond. The practical element of the course focuses on developing singing and performance skills, with a particular emphasis on the role of the ‘singing actor’ and the application of theatre in different educational settings. There is a particular focus on the use of text and physical theatre alongside contemporary musical theatre, and students are encouraged to enhance and expand their chosen repertoire through weekly individual singing lessons with professional vocal tutors. Practical work is supported by an outstanding academic programme that investigates how identity shapes our experience of musicals as creatives, performers and audience members through the lenses of gender, race, nationality, sexuality and class. The continued dialogue between practical and academic skills make our graduates particularly versatile for future employment prospects, as evidenced in our 100% graduate employment rate.
Level 4 modules
4DR004 Practical Approaches: Performance Skills
4DR006 Challenging Conventions: Text
4DR008 Musical Theatre Practice – developing ensemble and individual skills through small group masterclasses and ensemble workshops
4DR015 Academic Skills in Musical Theatre
4DR005 Applied Drama: Setting The Context
4MU015 Performance Workshop – workshopping new musicals (public performance)
Level 5 modules
5DR003 Performance: The Creative Performer (public performance)
5DR004 Scenography: Applying Technologies
5MU014 Performance in Practice – compiling an industry-standard audition book and performing a concert (public performance)
5DR006 Applied Drama: Educator or Facilitator?
5DR008 Politics, Popular Performance and Musical Theatre
5MU062 Acting in Musical Theatre
Level 6 modules
6DR009 The Professional Project – an extended individual project on an area of musical theatre
6DR005 Contemporary Context of Musical Theatre
6DR002 Applied Drama: The Workplace
6MU010 Performance: The Independent Producer
6DR006 Musical Theatre Production - (public performance)
Wolverhampton is at the heart of the thriving West Midlands performing arts scene that includes three major touring houses in the Wolverhampton Grand, the Birmingham Hippodrome and the Alexandra Theatre as well as the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. There is also a lively fringe scene in Birmingham, particularly at the Old Joint Stock Theatre, and a range of amateur companies throughout the Black Country. The University has its own professionally-run Arena Theatre, and students regularly take part in public performances at this venue.
The course itself is taught on our Walsall campus in the purpose-built Performance Hub, which is equipped with five dance and drama studios, a recording studio and a fully operational black box theatre. There is also a swimming pool and gym onsite, and there are regular buses to both Birmingham and Wolverhampton from the edge of campus. The department regularly invites practitioners to work with students – past visitors include Layton Williams (Billy Elliot, Hairspray, Rent), Cleve September (In The Heights, Hamilton) and Matt Rawle (Evita, Pippin) as well as musical theatre writers and producers.
Graduates could go on to employment or further training in a range of areas. You could work as an actor-musician, private teacher, FE lecturer, youth/community leader; performer, director, writer; work in community theatre, as an arts outreach worker; work as a theatre administrator or work in arts marketing.
You could continue your academic studies by progressing on to MA study and then progress to a PhD. Alternatively; you would be ideally placed to audition for advanced performance training at postgraduate level at a conservatoire.
Graduates from Performing Arts subjects are heads of drama/teachers/lecturers in schools and colleges across the region and elsewhere in the UK and abroad; they have formed their own professional companies, they work in community arts; are youth arts workers and education officers in theatres; they are stage technicians, playwrights, casting directors, work in the media, or work in arts marketing/management. Previous graduates have also gone on to work in areas such as marketing and arts management or in commercial activities such as in promotion companies and venue administration.
What skills will you gain?
The course provides opportunities to train as either a singing actor or an actor-musician. You will be able to apply a range of skills to a variety of contexts in Drama and/or Musical Theatre. The diverse nature of the modules offered enables students to consider a number of career paths on graduation.
What our students say
“My Musical Theatre training was an amazing journey! Throughout the course of three years the amount I learned about musical theatre was outstanding. My skills as a performer have also evolved. All this is due to the outstanding tutors that have taught me.”
“The vocational aspect of the drama training I have received is stimulating, and it prepares you for the professional world”
“Excellent lecturers who are always enthusiastic in teaching.”
These modules are correct at the time of publication. Modules may change over time due to validation and continuous monitoring policies. Applicants will be notified in writing of any significant changes to their chosen course(s).
Rockschool Level 3 (RSL) Extended Diploma in Creative and Performing Arts grade D
Access to HE Diploma full award (Pass of 60 credits - of which a minimum of 45 credits must be at level 3 including 18 at Merit or Distinction)
If you've got other qualifications or relevant experience, please contact The Gateway for further advice before applying.
International entry requirements and application guidance can be found here
Those meeting the entry requirements may be shortlisted to attend an Audition. Read further information on the audition processhere
Applicants will also be required to provide satisfactory reference.
Students must have studied a minimum of two years post GCSE level. However, it is expected that some applicants will be mature students with work experience, who wish to further their career development. These applicants will be processed through standard procedures, which may involve an interview as part of the process. Please see http://wlv.ac.uk/mature for further information.
Applicants who do not meet the entry requirements may be offered an alternative course.
Additional Field trips - £1000 - All Performing Arts students will have an opportunity to partake in the bi-annual trip to New York, costs vary according to cohort size and programme of events but can be expected to be in the order of £800 - £1,000. There will be opportunities to attend Musicals and Theatre performances in London and across the UK, recent examples: Hair, Kinky Boots, Hamilton, Rent
Additional Events/Performances - £250 - Final performances and productions are by individual design as as such costs in this area are difficult to quantify. Potential spend areas: venue hire; props; costumes; choreographers; sets etc
Further information on these additional costs will be provided prior to the start of your studies
The University is committed to a transparent fee structure, with no hidden costs, to help you make an informed decision. This includes information on what is included in the fee and how fees are calculated and reviewed
The University also offers a range of Bursaries and Scholarships in addition to other financial support packages
Tuition Fees Loan: If you wish, you can take out a Government Student Loan which covers the full course fee. You pay it back once you’ve left university and your income is more than £25,725 (from April 2019). More information on repayments can be found at: repayments.It’s available to eligible full-time higher education students and does not depend on family income.
The amount of the Tuition Fees Loan is paid directly to the University of Wolverhampton by the Student Loan Company.
Visit student finance on the gov.uk website to find out more.
Self-funding: If you don’t want to take out a loan to pay your fees, you might want to take advantage of the University’s scheme to pay by instalments: see How to Pay.The funding available to you depends on when you started your studies and if you have been to University previously.