Musical Theatre BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)





Benefit from expert musical theatre training on our Cambridge-based Musical Theatre degree. Develop as a Triple Threat performer and take part in musical theatre productions from Year 1. Get industry experience and study abroad for a semester.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Find out more about our placements and work experience, or the faculty's employability support.

This degree prepares you for a variety of roles in musical theatre and the wider creative industries. Our wide choice of optional modules means that you will be able to specialise in a particular area, if you chose to. Possible careers include:

Creative industries

You can work as a musical theatre performer, director, choreographer, or stage manager or you could choose to focus on technical theatre. You could also create your own company, produce new work and tour it globally.

You can access jobs within arts organisations and management, acting as a theatre producer or event organiser, or join theatre and companies' marketing teams. You may develop as an arts journalist or critic or you could work in arts fundraising.


As a graduate you’ll have access numerous job opportunities within the educational world, pursuing a career as primary or secondary school teacher, or as a workshop facilitator for a variety of communities. You can work as a musical theatre assistant, supporting school and students' productions; you might also have a role touring schools to use musical theatre to educate student groups.


There are a growing number of roles in the health sector looking at the role of drama in well-being. If this area interests you, you might want to train as a dramatherapist with our MA Dramatherapy.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Humanities, English, Media, Social Sciences and Education
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to the humanities, social sciences, English, media and education. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching, and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to a broad range of disciplines whose skills and theories are widely applicable. Students will study a variety of writing styles in order to recognise, deconstruct and replicate various forms of persuasive, analytical, and informative writing. Students will learn the basics of intercultural studies and how these theories can be applied to real-world problems. Students will consider social perceptions held across western cultures, and the difference between social and self-perception, participating in structured discussion and argument. Students will be introduced to the core principles of psychology and will explore various current applications of psychological theory. Students will also be introduced to ethics and will learn about some of the key theories and thinkers in the development of current ethical considerations in a range of scenarios. This module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Intercultural Studies; Psychology; Composition and Style; Ethics; Social Perceptions.

Year one, core modules

  • Technical Skills 1 and Showcase
    This module will give you a solid foundation of training across a range of skills within the musical theatre discipline. You will engage in ensemble singing, music theory, acting technique, physical theatre, modern ballet and jazz dance. Within these skills classes, you will be pushed to challenge your creative boundaries both individually and in ensemble work. The classes will reflect industry practice and will involve intensive rehearsal as you gain an understanding of the potential of your body and voice as performance tools. The module will follow a workshop-based approach, emphasising ‘learning through doing’. Therefore, you will need to demonstrate discipline and commitment as part of your process and development. You will be expected to respond to stimuli such as image, scores, librettos, music, object or scenario and this will culminate in a showcase performance to a public audience.
  • Technical Skills 2
    This module will help you refine and consolidate the technical skills you learned in the previous module and further develop your capacity to perform as a triple-threat performer in musical theatre. You will develop your physicality, your technical competency in dance, practice diverse solo and ensemble singing techniques and develop your acting in more demanding and complex scenarios. You will gain practical skills for contemporary dance, develop a repertoire in solo singing and also be introduced to a professional context of audition preparation and techniques.
  • The Small-Scale Musical
    This module will introduce you to the key creative and theoretical elements of contemporary musical theatre practice, culminating in a public live performance. Through a series of rehearsals, including ensemble singing and one to one vocal coaching, acting and directed script work, you will develop analytical and experimental strategies that you will utilise in your creative and theoretical practice. You will develop discipline, learn rehearsal etiquette and self-awareness in order to cultivate an environment of trust and professionalism. Your rehearsal process will involve auditions and active participation in the interpreting and staging of your script and score, which will require you to engage with the dramatic practices that are relevant to the selected work. You will contribute to the numerous staging ideas that the production will need, and work positively towards creative solutions with your peers and director.

Year two, core modules

  • The Book Musical
    In this module you will perform in, design and produce a large-scale public performance based on a selected musical theatre piece. You must show a willingness to participate in all aspects of work on the production. Similarly, you will be expected to follow and put into practice the input of the director and musical director as appropriate to the production and rehearsals. The module will develop your practice and challenge you creatively through the demands and rigour of rehearsing a full-scale book musical. You will be expected to demonstrate professionalism, discipline and a methodical approach to developing your rehearsal and performance skills. The selection of material for this production module is determined by the range, skills and dynamics of each student year group. You will be assigned a performance role and engage with an in-depth study and practical work on script, score and choreography according to the style and aesthetics of the selected piece. As a collaborative production module, you are required to maintain professional conduct; measurements of such conduct will include reliable attendance, punctual arrival at rehearsals, high levels of concentration within sessions and a willingness to take direction from others.
  • Ruskin Module
    Ruskin Modules are designed to prepare our students for a complex, challenging and changing future. These interdisciplinary modules provide the opportunity to further broaden your perspectives, develop your intellectual flexibility and creativity. You will work with others from different disciplines to enable you to reflect critically on the limitations of a single discipline to solve wider societal concerns. You will be supported to create meaningful connections across disciplines to apply new knowledge to tackle complex problems and key challenges. Ruskin Modules are designed to grow your confidence, seek and maximise opportunities to realise your potential to give you a distinctive edge and enhance your success in the workplace.
  • Theatre Theory and Specialist Skills
    This module combines theory and practice by introducing you to a range of concepts, genres and performance practitioners, which then help your development of more specialist skills in musical theatre performance. You will study notable composers, lyricists, book writers and choreographers, gaining a working knowledge and understanding of the contexts and precedents within musical theatre performance. You will be encouraged to think critically, discussing and presenting arguments in class. You will then put this theory into practice, working on specialised skills in performance, as derived from your study in the first part of the module. You will show advances in your technique and skills acquirement appropriate to level 5 work. The module will culminate in a mid-semester assessment period, whereby you will be required to demonstrate your new performance practices to tutors in a showcase format.
  • Industry Project
    This module will develop your professional discipline while you work alongside industry-led professionals through work-based learning. You will gain a new perspective on the employment opportunities available in the Musical Theatre sector and an understanding of individual career pathways. You will also undertake a realistic evaluation of your own employability skills and where further development is needed. For this module you will become an ‘employee’, working with a professional Director and resident Musical Director, functioning as a member of a production company with your peers. You will create a musical theatre piece for live performance, but within a much more intensive production timescale than has been your previous experience. The timescale will be over four to five weeks, typically timetabled for full days over this production period. The director will expect full commitment to these longer working hours, exemplary discipline and to see dedication in the ensemble to developing a wide range of practical skills in dance, acting and singing.

Year three, core modules

  • Undergraduate Major Project
    The Undergraduate Major Project module will allow you to engage in a substantial piece of individual research and creative work, focused on a topic of your choice that is relevant to the Musical Theatre course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. Your project can be a dissertation or a substantial piece of creative practice. Regular meetings with your supervisor will take place, so that the project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction. The project developed in this module is the most self-directed piece of work that you will produce during your undergraduate studies. The successful completion of this module will enhance your employability, evidencing your ability and appropriate skillset.
  • Festival of Performance
    This module aims to consolidate your skills as theatre makers through the curation, programming, marketing and delivery of a festival of performance. You will synthesise and apply the processes of production explored throughout your degree, collaborating with your peers and staff and taking a high level of responsibility and independence in preparing the work created and shown. At the start of the module, you will reflect on your individual learning journey and career aspirations through the creation of professional portfolio materials to support your input to the festival. This will involve advancing your skills in creating professional CVs, show reels, online profiles and critical reflection of their suitability for your chosen career pathway. You will then identify an appropriate role for yourself as part of the festival team and will take responsibility for associated tasks, including the curation or polishing of existing work and working as an ensemble member in the creation new work for presentation at the festival. This will involve a production process, supervised by a member of staff. In the second period of the module, you will develop, rehearse, design, market and realise a piece of performance, which might be based on a published play text or musical theatre book, an adaptation from other source materials or an original devised piece. These works will form the core of the festival and inform the curation of other events, such as workshops, community performance and/or work presented by other students. The festival will be public facing and designed for an external audience. At this stage, you must show self-discipline, professionalism and full commitment to additional rehearsal and production sessions as the festival approaches.
  • Advanced Techniques
    This module encompasses advanced technical training that will encourage and develop the skills you need for professional practice in musical theatre. It will include group classes in complex musical routines and will develop skills from previous technical classes in acting, ensemble singing, tap, jazz and ballet classes. You will learn technical and specialist choreography and complex harmony work from traditional and contemporary musical theatre shows quickly, demonstrating the ‘pick-up ability further refining your audition technique. This module will develop your readiness for the audition process within the musical theatre industry and provide transferable skills in self-confidence, adaptability, resilience and rapid thinking that will boost your employability for other careers.

Year three, optional modules

  • Directing
    This module supports you to develop key skills involved in leading and directing theatrical projects and performance. You will engage with different directorial and creative leadership approaches through workshops, seminar discussion and practical experimentation. Skills in directing and leadership will be developed with reference to different forms of text. These will be used as the basis to explore a range of directorial approaches and to demonstrate the ways in which appropriate strategies may be tailored to the demands of various rehearsal methodologies. In addition, you will practically explore the planning and leading of workshops and rehearsals within a small group, and consider the management of production processes. As part of your directorial development, you will shadow a tutor or professional practitioner in their direction of a production module at levels 4, 5 or 6. A set number of hours will be negotiated for this work, and you will need to be prepared to attend show rehearsals during their own timetabled hours. You may also volunteer as an assistant director for a suitable module, where supervision can be offered. You will also run audition sessions, with reflection on this process included in your portfolio. You will show professionalism and discipline throughout this module, qualities that are especially important when working in collaboration with other students in a leadership role.
  • Stage Choreography
    On this module we will explore choreographic practices used in contemporary and classical musical theatre pieces, focusing on the differing styles of the 20th and 21st century. You will be taught through a weekly workshop where you will engage with practices and exercises for creating original movement work that can be applied to a production piece. To aid your work in choreography, you will shadow the choreographer in one of the musical theatre course productions, working towards the creation of one of their dance routines and learning to teach the choreographic material to an ensemble cast. You must be organised and disciplined in your shadowing role and arrive at workshops ready to develop movement ideas during class time. The workshops will be based on improvisation and movement research, in order to creative suitable movement material for the dance acts of the performance production. You will be expected to wear suitable clothing for the sessions to allow your movement to reach its full potential while investigating the concepts proposed in class.
  • Site Specific and Immersive Theatre
    On this module you'll focus on significant developments in contemporary theatre through detailed analysis and exploration of site-specific and immersive practices. You'll be asked to consider place and space as theoretical concepts and explore the influence of performance space on audience reception and on your own creative practices. You'll engage with a range of theoretical perspectives from theatre historians, performance scholars, philosophers and cultural geographers, and with a range of performance practices such as site-specific, promenade, immersive, digital and applied theatre. You'll take part in seminar discussions and reading group sessions, and a number of practice based workshops, off-site visits and theatre trips. These activities will allow you to develop a sophisticated understanding of the contemporary theatre context that you'll be entering after graduation, and working towards the assessment will allow you to imagine your own creative input to that context. You'll be asked to develop and thoroughly research your own idea for a new site-specific or immersive theatre performance. This will be assessed through an oral presentation in which you'll ‘pitch’ your creative idea, demonstrating its originality, thoughtful relationship to place, creative use of space and practical viability. This will allow you to be ambitious and work on a larger budget/scale production than you would usually be able to at this stage in your career. It will also develop a range of highly important transferable skills, such as presenting, budgeting, researching, exploring creative partnerships and fitting your work into the contemporary scene.
  • Professional Theatre Practice 2
    Entry to this module requires Course Leader approval. Please be aware that the roles available for professional supervision will vary; you must pick a reserve module in case the role you wish to pursue cannot be offered. This module is designed to accommodate specialist training under professional supervision in a defined area of theatre production. The type of work undertaken will be driven by the staffing requirements of the Mumford Theatre, Covent Garden Studio or another regional theatre placement. At level 6, this module will test your skills at an advanced level, with minimal supervision of your role. Your work will often be autonomous, taking a leading role in a production team. Indicative areas of work may be the demonstration of technical skills in lighting, sound, video or specialist software, stage design, stage management, wardrobe and make-up, theatre management or marketing. This is a module dependent on experiential learning and you must demonstrate a professional attitude to co-operation with the theatre staff, tutor and students, some of whom may be under your guidance. You will be expected to be flexible in adapting to the jobs assigned to you and be willing to work during the particular hours that may be necessary in your role. Your hours will increase during production weeks; you must demonstrate your professionalism as a responsible, reliable and expert member of the production team at this time. You will be assessed by the quality of your work as visible during a performance event. Where your work is less evident during a performance, such as marketing or theatre administration, a portfolio of work covering your role will be presented. An oral examination follows, where you will be questioned on the practical experience and knowledge gained during your production role.
  • Dance Collaboration
    Dance Collaboration explores dance theatre, choreographed theatre, abstract physical pieces and performance within a context of collaboration with other disciplines, and considering the principal features and aesthetics of 20th and 21st Century performances. The module focuses on key practitioners and companies, including Pina Bausch, Anne Theresa de Keersmaeker, Wim Vandekeybus, performance pieces by Complicité and techniques used by Frantic Assembly. The weekly workshop will engage with practice and exercises for creating original performance work in collaboration with other disciplines such as music, film and TV production. Your performance methods may include movement improvisation, gestural and pedestrian investigation, and physical contact between two or more bodies. You will read and discuss some of the main writings in this field and bring a critical approach to class discussions. At the same time, such key texts will act as the inspiration for the exercises and practical research explored in the module. Appropriate techniques of portraying movement on camera and/or movement and music composition will be researched during the workshops. It will be important to foster self-critical skills in order to develop your piece to the highest standards and sophistication.
  • Workshop Facilitation
    This module will encourage you to examine and explore teaching and leading participatory workshops in drama and the performing arts. You'll gain practical experience and skills that can be applied as a practicing professional in educational, professional and community contexts. The module will also equip you with theoretical and methodological knowledge relevant to a workshop leader and enable you to practice and develop confidence in delivering effective and well-prepared sessions. Topic areas may include philosophies of education, the sociological and psychological elements of arts pedagogy and the variety of contexts for drama and performing arts workshop education. You'll be expected to reflect on the responsibilities of leadership in creative contexts and develop enhanced skills for future employability. You'll develop skills in independent learning, research and communication of process and product throughout the module. Your assessment will comprise live workshop facilitation, in which you'll lead aspects of a prepared workshop (approximately 15 minutes) and a 1,000-word critical refection that evaluates and contextualises your workshop facilitation. As part of the module, you might be invited to identify a work placement as a workshop facilitator. This can be undertaken either in ‘sandwich’ mode during the semester or in a ‘block’ during the Easter vacation. The nature of your involvement in the placement should contribute to your ongoing reflection as well as your final, assessed workshop facilitation.
  • Provocations
    On this module you'll explore a range of contemporary performance and live art practices that are challenging, often controversial and sometimes disturbing. You'll examine how the body can be explicitly staged in performance art and the ways in which it can be a vehicle for expressing identity positions that are marginalised within dominant western culture. As such, you'll encounter contemporary performance practices that articulate racial, gender, transgender, queer, disabled and refugee identity positions. You'll consider the ethical implications of this practice, its relationship to its audience and its effectiveness as a strategy of resistance to mainstream stereotypes. Content may include the extremism of live art by Franko B, Ron Athey, Kira O’Reilly and Marina Abramovic; activist interventions by Richard Dedemonici and Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping; representations of race in Brett Bailey’s Exhibit B; queer identities in Split Britches’ Belle Reprieve; transgender performance by Heather Cassils and the representation of disability in dance works by Bill Shannon. In seminars, you'll explore the relationships between performance, the body and identity through a combination of videos, web material, reviews, interviews and critical essays from major theorists in the field. Your assessment will comprise a 3,000-word essay, with advance formative assessment by tutorial appointments to discuss your plans, arguments and case-studies. The practitioners that you'll study may deploy shock-tactics in the delivery of their work - you'll be expected to be intellectually curious, ask questions about this work and be open to new ideas, practices and processes.


Modules are subject to change and availability.

You’ll show your progress mainly through performance and practical work, with some small written components or longer essays if you choose theoretical options. The methods of assessment will include studio and public performances, essays, presentations, critical reflections, and a Major Project, which can be practical or written work.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

Using our creative expertise and industry connections in Cambridge and beyond, we create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.

At Cambridge School of Creative Industries, we believe in the importance of experimentation and risk-taking to create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.

Whether writing bestselling fiction, creating challenging documentaries or sharing a piano with people on the autism spectrum, the expertise of our staff goes far beyond teaching. Their research produces significant funding success, leading to important publications and international conferences.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Study abroad

You can apply to study abroad for one semester, and get funding to help you cover the cost

Field trips

You'll have the chance to broaden your experience on one of our field trips. Past trips have included Venice, Italy


You’ll have access to all our creative industries facilities, including two dedicated drama studios, a highly flexible black-box performance space as well as an additional rehearsal space. In Years 1 and 2, you'll also have the chance to put on a production in our Mumford Theatre, which presents a range of touring professional touring companies, local community and student theatre, as well as music concerts.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK students starting 2021/22 (per year)


International students starting 2021/22 (per year)


How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK students (and EU students starting a course before 1 August 2021) can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes EU students starting a course before 1 August 2021.

Government funding includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you’re at university.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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You will be invited to perform an audition as part of the application process.

For more guidance on how to prepare for this, please visit our creative industries auditions page.

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Apply now

UK and EU students

Apply for 2021

UCAScode: W491, W492

Apply through UCAS

International students

Applicants from outside the UK and EU, apply to ARU

Apply direct

Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

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International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

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