Why choose this course

Our unique BA Theatre and Performance course offers students the best of both worlds: practical theatre making in a prestigious conservatoire, and academic enquiry provided by leading researchers. We'll encourage you to question received wisdom and develop your own creative and critical voice, equipping you with the skills to effect positive change in the industry.

Surrey’s state-of-the-art Ivy Arts Centre boasts a main theatre, a separate 120-seat performance studio, and 15 rehearsal studio spaces.

Guildford School of Acting is ranked top five for drama and dance in the UK by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

What you will study

Our course is built around three closely connected areas: theatre making and performing, working behind the scenes, and researching the theories and philosophies that will help you understand the importance of theatre and performance.

Your studies will cover theatre making and performing, theatre history, politics, ethics, and performance analysis alongside a focus on experimentation. Engaging with canonical work from William Shakespeare to feminist performance, alongside emerging trends such as immersive theatre and the latest live art, you'll be provided with a platform for innovating your own ideas and creative practice.

You’ll engage with the specialisms that are currently shaping theatre and performance, allowing you to thrive in a range of professions linked directly to theatre, as well as the creative and cultural industries.

Course facts

Qualification Course length Professional Training Start date UCAS KIS code
BA (Hons) 36 months Oct 2020 W440 View KIS data set
BA (Hons) 48 months Oct 2020 W441 View KIS data set

Professional Training placements

A Professional Training placement provides you with the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace. These qualities are widely recognised by employers and many of our students are offered employment on graduation by their placement provider.

The Professional Training placement year gives our students an insight into their subject and career potential, and early access to professional experience. It can be invaluable in developing work-based skills and helping them secure a graduate career.

Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.

Theatre and Performance placements

Our courses have a strong focus on preparing you for employment and a career. Unusually for a theatre and performance course, we offer you the option of taking a Professional Training placement, giving you valuable experience in a theatre-related organisation. This gives you the opportunity to try out a possible career. As well as meeting leading professionals, you'll be working with them as a trusted member of their team.

As a pioneer in integrated professional training, the University has operated a placement scheme for the last 40 years, and employers have been impressed by the maturity and professionalism of our students.

In theatre and performance, we have established good connections with employers, both locally and internationally, but we’re always keen to help students identify placements with companies that are of particular interest to them.

Some examples of organisations that have participated in this scheme include:

  • The National Theatre
  • Royal Opera House
  • The Young Vic
  • Theatre Delicatessen
  • Blast Theory
  • Fierce Festival
  • Norwich Arts Centre
  • Chickenshed Theatre Company
  • English Touring Theatre
  • The Tricycle Theatre
  • Camden People's Theatre
  • Allsorts Drama for Children.

During this year, you will be supported in gaining valuable experience in degree-related professions such as running practical workshops, diverse areas of production, marketing, education, outreach, audience development, community work, media or arts administration. You will have the opportunity to draw from our extensive list of placement options, or to explore the prospect of a new placement informed by your own unique interests and staff knowledge and expertise.

A University supervisor and a workplace mentor will guide you through an original work programme in an industry context.

Applying for placements

Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via our online placement opportunities platform called Surrey Pathfinder, within which students can select and apply for placement vacancies. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way. However, support is also provided to students wishing to source their own placement, subject to university requirements being met.

Students are generally not placed by the University, however they are given thorough support and guidance alongside access to the vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.

The BA Theatre and Performance course is intended to diversify career prospects. During your studies, you’ll have a personal tutor who will monitor your progress and offer you guidance and advice. You’ll identify an individual career path and establish a plan that will support your career aspirations.

Our teaching is informed by professional practices, to support your work on your course and to prepare you for life on the Professional Training placement and in a career after university.

Our BA Theatre and Performance course will equip you with skills, knowledge and experience that are valuable for a range of careers, in areas such as:

  • Starting your own theatre company
  • Performing as an independent theatre maker or live artist
  • Arts administration and management
  • Technical production
  • Education and community arts
  • Events management
  • Cultural policy
  • Media and creative arts.

Graduates over the last few years have secured roles such as:

  • Founder and co-director of their own theatre company
  • Head of Commercial Video and Video Producer, Eagle Radio
  • Actor, Lyceum Theatre
  • Teacher of Theatre and Singing, City Academy
  • Actor, Vienna's English Theatre
  • Actress/Singer, Queen's Theatre
  • Fundraising Officer and Marketing Assistant, Youth Music Theatre UK
  • Assistant Stage Manager, Jamie Hendry Productions
  • Senior Account Executive, AKA North.

Throughout your course, you will secure goals and competencies that will help you to prepare for a specific career path.

Study and work abroad

We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. View our study and work abroad exchange information to find out more and see where you can go.

Please note: the status of the Erasmus+ scheme is dependent on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

In order to add an international element to your University of Surrey experience, you might decide to spend one or two semesters overseas doing a Professional Training placement abroad or studying at one our partner universities.

Our partners include:

  • Monash University
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Wollongong
  • Brock University
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Maryland
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • University of Virginia.


Our courses are well-resourced in terms of practical spaces and library holdings. Studio classes, rehearsals and workshops are run in spaces across the campus, including the purpose-built studios in the GSA building. The University campus houses the state-of-the-art Ivy Arts Centre with its main theatre and studios, and a separate performance studio for audiences of 120.

You will be encouraged to locate taught modules in the context of wider performance and arts practice. There are live theatre and arts events on and off campus and several student societies engaged in staging theatre and performance.

In Guildford, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and GLive show new and canonical works, and the town is also home to an established book festival and a host of local galleries, libraries and archives.

With London only half an hour away, there is a wealth of arts and culture to explore, with theatre trips and regular reference to recent productions forming an important part of the course.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.

Academic year structure

The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes.


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.

Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course, you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification


Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).


Our BA Theatre and Performance course is taught through a combination of practical classes, lectures, seminars and tutorials. Through practical modules, you’ll establish a professional approach to performance creation. Academic sessions develop informed thinking about theatre in a shared space that values both individual contribution and peer reflection.

We encourage you to own your individual learning experience and to become familiar with building and sustaining peer networks.

Learning is fully supported by the University’s e-learning environment, and you’ll be able to develop skills in using academic software and become familiar with the ways in which new technologies can support work and learning.

You’ll be encouraged to articulate your ideas through a range of forms and to understand the main aspects of these forms, whether in practical performance, essays or presentations.

Research students will sometimes help to deliver your modules. These students will be researching in a similar subject to the module, and will have undertaken training prior to being invited to teach. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.


This course is taught by academic staff from the Guildford School of Acting.

Programme leader


Personal tutor

All taught students are assigned a personal tutor before beginning a programme of study. Personal tutors offer support and advice to students in the areas of:

  • Academic progress
  • Pastoral/welfare issues
  • Personal/professional development and employability.


Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of assessed practice, presentations, written coursework, and innovative methods that may include installations and different kinds of portfolio.

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.

Learning and disability support

We have two services, the Academic Skills and Development and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.

Academic Skills and Development

Academic Skills and Development is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.

Find out more about the study support available.

Disability and Neurodiversity Service

The University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Service supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).

If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.

We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.

Find out more about the support available or contact the team directly for further information.

English language support

Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.

What qualifications do you need?


Overall: ABB.

Required subjects: An arts, humanities or social science subject at grade B.

Applicants taking an A-level science subject with the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass the practical element.

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language at Grade C(4) and Mathematics at Grade C (4) (or equivalent). 

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Overall: DDD.

Required subjects: Please contact us to discuss suitability.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language at Grade C(4) and Mathematics at Grade C (4) (or equivalent).

International Baccalaureate

Overall: 32.

Required subjects: HL5/SL6 in an arts, humanities or social science subject.

GCSE or equivalent: English HL4/SL4 and either Maths or Maths Studies HL4/SL4.

European Baccalaureate

Overall: 78%.

Required subjects: 7.5 in an arts, humanities or social science subject.

GCSE or equivalent: Maths 6 and either English Language (1/2) 6 or English Language (3)7.

Access to HE Diploma

Overall: 45 Level 3 credits overall including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit.

Required subjects: Please contact us to discuss suitability.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). 

Scottish Highers

Overall: AABBB.

Required subjects: An arts, humanities or social science subject at grade B.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language: Scottish National 5 - C Maths - Scottish National 5 - C.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Overall: Pass overall with ABB from a combination of the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-levels.

Applicants taking an A-level science subject with the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass the practical element. 

Required subjects: An arts, humanities or social science A-level subject at grade A.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics ­– Numeracy as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate. Please check the A-level drop down for the required GCSE levels.

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) will receive our standard A-level offer, plus an alternate offer of one A-level grade lower, subject to achieving an A grade in the EPQ. The one grade reduction will not apply to any required subjects.

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Select your country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.

Selection process

During the day, you will take part in a practical workshop, finding out more about the course and meeting staff and students. We make offers following a successful interview and these are usually made in terms of grades.

If you can demonstrate exceptional academic performance in your schooling to date, you could be awarded an unconditional offer following a successful interview as part of the University’s Unconditional Offer Scheme.

Recognition of prior learning

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims. 

Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.


Qualification Start date Course length Professional Training UK/EU fees Overseas fees Professional Training fees
BA (Hons) Oct 2020 36 months To be confirmed To be confirmed Not applicable
BA (Hons) Oct 2020 48 months To be confirmed To be confirmed To be confirmed

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate courses.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this course:

  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: £180 approximately - Uniform including specialist footwear
  • UK-based activity: £150-200 - Theatre trips (students should aim to see some live theatre throughout the course of their programme).

Grand total: £330-380 approximately.

These additional costs are accurate as of September 2018 and apply to the 2019 year of entry. Costs for 2020 entry will be published in September 2019.

How to apply

Learn how to apply for an undergraduate course, see details about the UCAS application process and determine the steps you need to take if you receive an offer to study.

Admissions information

Our undergraduate admissions policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Open Days

05 July 2019


Join a webinar and speak to our current students

Our students


Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Placement location

As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement which would require attendance off campus, depending on where you secure your placement.

University of Surrey

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH