Drama is the performance of fiction on stage and comes from the Greek word ‘action’ meaning those who engage with drama are in action which is why they are called ‘actors’. Dance, however, is the performance of a series of movements that construct a form of art, while Cinematics is the performance of drama and dance designed for the cinema. Theatre, which is usually paired with drama or performing arts isn’t the same as studying drama at A-Level or GCSE – it will focus on playwrights, acting techniques and styles and the way the theatre as a whole, has developed over time.
If your desire is to become the next Kate Winslet or Brad Pitt, then acting school may better suit you, whereas studying a degree in any of the four areas above is more focused on the theoretical side.
Some degrees, which are more practical in nature may ask students to provide a portfolio or to attend an audition as part of the admission interview/process. Whereas degree courses that have more emphasis on the theoretical aspect will have universities asking for at least 240 UCAS tariff points and it will help if you have A levels in subjects related to the degree, such as theatre, performing arts or drama.
Research is important when interested in a degree in drama, dance, cinematics or theatre to determine if students wish to study a more theoretical or practical based degree.
University reassurance is essential for students, they are advised to check with their chosen university or desired courses to establish what they need to secure admission to the course.
There are many different degree courses that students can choose from, and most universities offer joint degrees allowing candidates to study in more than one area of discipline. Some examples include Bachelors in; drama and dance, drama visual culture, drama and a modern foreign language and drama and English – (Learn more – Choosing a degree course)
While some degrees focus on the production side of the theatre, and other courses look into the writing aspect, the key is to conduct plenty of research to ensure individuals are applying for the right course suited to them.
Degrees in these areas are varied and mix practical performance, written theory and workshops. There will be performances to prepare for – for assessment and during the learning process – which will keep students on their toes and continually work on their skills.
Studying in these areas can be draining, though, with late-night rehearsals and line learning which are expected to be completed alongside class hours and the degree, there is a lot of work required for these degrees; therefore, preparation is key – (Learn more – Why planning at university is going to help).
The methods of assessments for a degree in dance, drama, theatre or cinematics will depend on the module and course that candidates are studying. There will be written and practical assessments throughout, such as essays, seminars, tests, logs and work diaries, peer assessment, physical performance, written analysis and group work. There may also be a third-year project and dissertation waiting for individuals.
Students will be physically, mentally and creatively tested through their studies, and skills will be gained in these areas as well. Skills in Set Design, Stage Management, Lighting, Directing and Design will be available through specific modules as well as what it takes to put a performance together on the stage.
Students who attend and move away to university will gain skills that they can implement throughout life and employment when they graduate, from organisation skills with assessments and social skills learned through group work and presentations.
Universities allow students to choose optional modules, and some institutions let individuals choose modules in similar degree courses, meaning if you are studying Drama and Dance degree but fancy a module in cinematics you’re able to pursue those interests. These means that students can tailor their degree into what interests them and specialise in areas that they enjoy, which makes choosing the right university an important factor with this degree especially.
Those who enjoy English literature, Drama and Dance will enjoy a degree in these areas. From working behind the scenes of a play to writing the words and watching actors perform your work – there is so much to do within these degrees.
Certain students try to conquer the job market, while others may continue with their studies to gain specialised training. Talent and luck will aid any individual within the drama and performing arts sector as it can be quite difficult to secure the job of your dreams from the day after graduation.
While some students try to complete full-time work through acting or freelancing, others can supplement their income by working part-time. Additionally, there is the option to study in acting schools after that.
Although it is not adamant that individuals find many celebrities have within the performing arts sector – some candidates find work and implement their skills in careers such as PR, publicity, marketing, publishing, events and journalism.
There are many options out there for students, from teaching, acting, or working within the industry, from being a runner for the BBC or a set designer for Doctor Who!
Drama, dance, cinematics and theatre are tough industries to try and break into – although they are not impossible at all. There are areas of employment that graduates seek and enjoy when they finish studying from, dancing, drama therapy, theatre, actor, community worker, film and television directing, teaching and lecturing, stage management and presenting.
However, for those individuals wishing to continue their studies after graduation can choose from a range of Master’s and postgraduate programmes available, such as; choreography, advanced performance, ballet studies, vocal studies, dramatic therapy and applied theatre.
There are many celebrities who have studied drama at college and university! Tina Fey, from Saturday Night Live and Mean Girls studied a Bachelor’s in Drama at the University of Virginia. While Sandra Bullock obtained a BA in Drama at East Carolina University, and Meryl Streep earned a BA in Drama and an MA in Fine Arts and Drama at Vassar College and Yale University respectively. Finally, Oprah Winfrey gained a BA in Speech and Drama at Tennessee State University!
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