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Study Theatre Studies at Otago

Step into the light.

Theatre explores and represents human experience and imagination in a dynamic, immediate and relevant way. Theatre Studies helps unlock such skills as self-confidence, teamwork, communication and creative expression, as well as giving you the chance to reflect on and inhabit lives vastly different from your own.

Drawing on the rich diversity of theatrical expression across time and cultures, Theatre Studies at Otago offers an exciting, stimulating combination of practical skills and academic training, preparing you to present yourself across a wide variety of careers both within and far beyond theatre and the performing art.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Why study Theatre Studies at Otago?

Theatre Studies is a subject that is easy to become passionate about. It provides an understanding of the nature of performance, allows you access to the tools of a theatre-maker, and looks at performance using critical and analytical skills.

You’ll study different times and cultures from a theatre perspective, ranging from Shakespeare to performance art and all points in-between. Practice and analytical investigation inform and support one another.

Your lecturers have professional as well as academic expertise in the fields of acting, producing, directing, criticism, stage design, lighting and sound design, playwriting and translation. And then there is our unique weekly Lunchtime Theatre programme at Allen Hall, which is your testing ground as a performer, director or playwright, and in all aspects of stagecraft.

Otago offers a wide selection of papers in Theatre Studies, drawn from the following areas:

  • Performance skills: improvisation; principles of actor training, including Shakespeare, voice and movement
  • Analysis and interpretation of drama on stage and screen
  • Bicultural theatre; drama and theatre of Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Pacific and Australia
  • Directing
  • Theatre history, contemporary drama and performance art
  • Performance analysis and critical theory
  • Theatre technology and design, especially lighting and stage design
  • Playwriting and the creation of new theatre works

Background required

All students are welcome to enrol in Theatre Studies at Otago. A background in theatre is not necessary.

Major or Minor in Theatre Studies

Theatre Studies is available as both a major and a minor subject of the Bachelor of Arts (BA) programme. Theatre Studies may be combined with another BA major or form part of a double degree e.g. with Law, Commerce or Science degrees.

The major comprises 10 papers from within Theatre Studies, plus an additional 10 papers either from within the programme and/or from other departments. The minor comprises a total of 5 papers from Theatre Studies.

Information for first-year students

As a first-year student, you can enrol in Drama on Stage and Screen, Improvisation, Theatre Technology, and Voice and Movement, all of which provide an excellent grounding for higher-level papers.

Honours and postgraduate study

Theatre Studies offers a 4th-year Honours programme for which the entry is a B plus average at 300-level. An Honours degree makes you more employable in the workforce, and it may also be a stepping-stone to a higher degree such as a Master of Arts (MA), a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) (Theatre Studies), or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). These degrees may all include a significant creative component.

Class formats

Classes variously involve lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical workshops. Most classes are relatively small, and students have many opportunities to pursue independent projects in groups and individually.

Career opportunities

Theatre Studies graduates work as actors, directors, publicists, script-writers, TV/radio journalists, film-makers, comedians, designers, teachers, musicians and theatre technicians. Others take up careers in arts administration, advertising and marketing, or undertake further training in theatre-related fields.

Some choose to combine Theatre Studies with another subject (e.g. English, Music, Dance, Anthropology, Film & Media, Psychology, Māori Studies and many more) or with another degree, such as Law, Marketing or Education.

Theatre papers teach personal and professional skills which are widely applicable across a range of careers and disciplines. They include critical analysis, research, creativity, confidence, team-building techniques and the ability to communicate in diverse ways. These attributes are highly valued in many professions, as are cultural sensitivity and the ability to think laterally and independently. They are skills for a career, and skills for life-long learning.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Theatre Studies

Level Papers Points
100-level

THEA 122  Drama on Stage and Screen

THEA 151  Improvisation

THEA 152  Theatre Technology

Note: THEA 152 should normally be taken in the first or second year of the programme.

18

18

18

200-level

THEA 221  Theatre: Ancient to Contemporary

Two further 200-level THEA papers

MUSI 265  Music and Theatre  or  PERF 205  Creatives Industries may be substituted for one THEA paper

18

36

300-level

Four 300-level THEA papers

MUSI 365  Music and Theatre  or  PERF 305  Creative Industries may be substituted for one THEA paper

72

Plus

180 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Arts

180
Total   360

Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in Theatre Studies

Papers Points

An approved paper at 400-level or above may be substituted for one 20-point THEA paper

120

Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Theatre Studies

The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) programme in Theatre Studies is the same as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)).

Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) in Theatre Studies

Papers

Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis)) in Theatre Studies

Thesis
  • Thesis: THEA 5

Note: Students who have not completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA(Hons)) in Theatre Studies or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Theatre Studies must complete the required papers for the BA(Hons) in Theatre Studies prior to undertaking the thesis.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Theatre Studies

Thesis
  • Thesis THEA 5A

Minor subject requirements

Theatre Studies as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level

THEA 122  Drama on Stage and Screen

One further 100-level THEA paper

18

18

200-level Two 200-level THEA papers

36

300-level One 300-level THEA paper

18

 

MUSI 265 or MUSI 365 or PERF 205 or PERF 305 may be substituted for one THEA paper

 
Total   90

Note: This minor subject is not available for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA).

Papers

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
THEA122 2022 Drama on Stage and Screen 18 points Semester 2
THEA151 2022 Improvisation 18 points Semester 1
THEA152 2022 Theatre Technology 18 points Semester 1, Semester 2
THEA153 2022 Voice and Movement 18 points Semester 2
THEA221 2022 Theatre: Ancient to Contemporary 18 points Semester 1
THEA241 2022 Writing for Stage and Screen 18 points Semester 1
THEA251 2022 Aspects of Physical Theatre 18 points Not offered in 2022
THEA252 2022 The Actor 18 points Semester 1
THEA253 2022 Bi-cultural Theatre 18 points Not offered in 2022
THEA256 2022 Design for Theatre and Performance 18 points Semester 2
THEA257 2022 Special Topic: UNESCO Play Festival 18 points Not offered in 2022
THEA322 2022 Theatre of Australasia 18 points Not offered in 2022
THEA323 2022 Performance Research 18 points Semester 1
THEA324 2022 Aspects of Modern Drama and Theatre 18 points Semester 2
THEA325 2022 Radical Theatre in Context, 1880-2000 18 points Not offered in 2022
THEA341 2022 Advanced Writing for the Stage and Screen 18 points Semester 1
THEA351 2022 Performing Shakespeare 18 points Semester 2
THEA352 2022 Directing 18 points Semester 1
THEA353 2022 Bi-cultural Theatre 18 points Not offered in 2022
THEA354 2022 Creating Theatre 18 points Not offered in 2022
THEA356 2022 Design for Theatre and Performance 18 points Semester 2
THEA357 2022 Special Topic: UNESCO Play Festival 18 points Not offered in 2022
THEA421 2022 Special Topic 20 points Not offered in 2022
THEA422 2022 Theatre of Australasia 20 points Not offered in 2022
THEA423 2022 Performance Research 20 points Semester 1
THEA424 2022 Aspects of Modern Drama and Theatre 20 points Semester 2
THEA425 2022 Radical Theatre in Context, 1880-2000 20 points Not offered in 2022
THEA441 2022 Advanced Writing for the Stage and Screen 20 points Semester 1
THEA451 2022 Advanced Directing 40 points Full Year
THEA452 2022 Advanced Production Project 20 points Not offered in 2022
THEA453 2022 Directed Project in Theatre 20 points Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year
THEA454 2022 Special Topic: UNESCO Play Festival 20 points Not offered in 2022
THEA455 2022 Shakespeare Text to Performance 20 points Not offered in 2022
THEA456 2022 Trauma and Violence in Performance 20 points Not offered in 2022
THEA457 2022 The Working Dramaturg 20 points Semester 1
THEA480 2022 Research Project 20 points Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
THEA490 2022 Dissertation 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
THEA580 2022 Studio Project in Theatre 60 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
THEA590 2022 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

Key information for students

Contact details

School of Performing Arts
Email spa@otago.ac.nz
Tel +64 3 479 8885
Website otago.ac.nz/performing-arts