This degree enables you to explore a broad range of topics across English literature and theatre, as well as areas where the two subjects overlap.
You will be studying in two departments (English Literature; and Film, Theatre & Television) who collaborate with each other extensively. Both have been leaders in their fields for a long time. English Literature was one of the first university departments in the UK to study American and Canadian authors like Margaret Atwood, and we continue this tradition with a curriculum that includes the best of contemporary writing from Britain, America and the Caribbean. The Department of Film, Theatre & Television pioneered the study of film in UK higher education, and we continue to lead in the range and breadth of the modules we offer.
The theatre component of your degree focuses on performance, and so we investigate plays in a variety of settings. You will make regular trips to performances in Reading and London, and will investigate a range of contemporary practices including site specific work and examples of digital technologies in live performance. We study twentieth and twenty-first century dramatists, such as Caryl Churchill, Sarah Kane, and Samuel Beckett. Our teaching is a dynamic mix of theory and practice, and optional modules that include group-based practical projects are available for those who enjoy practice-based study. We have state-of-the-art facilities, including three theatre spaces, a dedicated recording studio and a mixing suite. You will have access to a studio with a flexible lighting system, multi-camera facilities, a talk-back system and Chroma key and a studio gallery linked to the theatres for live filming and mixing work. We provide industry standard software and support from dedicated technicians, and all spaces are equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia equipment and lighting. Over 100 performances, films, and television programmes are created in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television each year, meaning that there are plenty of opportunities for you to develop your technical or performance skills on an extra-curricular basis.
Your English Literature modules will enable you to examine in greater detail authors and genres that you already know. You can study drama (including Shakespeare and Beckett), novels (Victorian, modern and contemporary) and poetry, from the middle ages to the present. But you will also encounter aspects of literary studies that you may not know so well, from children’s literature to publishing studies and the history of the book. Our academics have published research on everything from medieval poetry to contemporary Caribbean and American fiction, and they will help you to develop your own literary interests. Everyone in our departments, from new lecturers to professors, teaches at every level of the degree, so you are learning from experts as soon as you begin your first year.
We place a strong emphasis on small-group learning within a friendly and supportive environment, because we believe that the study of literature and theatre is a discursive process where we learn by sharing ideas. We provide detailed and thorough feedback on your written work within 15 working days: this is crucial to your development as a writer, whether you intend a career in creative or professional writing.
Study abroad - In your second year, it may be possible for you to spend a term studying abroad at one of our partner institutions in the USA, Canada or Australia. Within Europe, we have exchange programmes with the University of Heidelberg in Germany, with Charles University in Prague, and with the University of Salamanca and the University of Valladolid in Spain. This is a great opportunity to continue your studies while immersing yourself in a different culture and enhancing your language skills.