Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts
The prestigious professional Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts (BADA) Degree is awarded after the successful completion of 4 years of intensive professional, practical and academic training.
The Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts (BADA) course is distinctive in allowing students the opportunity to pursue a broad spectrum of studies or, alternatively, intensify their skills development in specialist areas all broadly accommodated with a range of cultural practices associated with drama, performance and critically informed theatre-making.
‘Drama and Film’ is the compulsory academic core course for the BADA degree in the division of Theatre and Performance and is also a course for which students studying towards a BA degree in the Faculty of Humanities may enrol. What distinguishes the BADA degree at Wits from other performance training programmes is that the qualification develops critical skills required in the area of reading, thinking, writing and constructing informed insights. The course focuses on critical practice and ways of thinking about how texts are produced, circulate, received and interpreted. Contemporary debates and a range of selected case studies are presented in a formal lecture situation. Being able to speak and write about how plays, theatre productions and films are made and produced, along with understanding the various factors influencing how these texts and products operate within the formation of cultures and value systems, is an important aspect of creative practice as much as a legitimate field of scholarship in its own right. Students are required to engage in a range of individual discursive or scholarly assignments and sit for written exams in June and December.
In first year, all students in the Wits School of Arts register for Film, Visual and Performing Arts (FVPA) – an interdisciplinary course which focuses on cultural theories and practices in a range of media, including painting, sculpture, music, drama and film. At second and third year levels, the focus becomes more discipline-specific. In the fourth year, students may select a Research Project from several options, or if eligible, enrol for the Long Essay.
This course is compulsory for all students enrolled in a BADA degree at the first and second year level, and is not open to general BA students. It introduces students to the basic vocabulary of performer training – acting, voice and movement, and is primarily focused on foundational training in the requisite skills needed to be a performer. The course takes a disciplined approach to crafting performance and advocates technical vocabulary and assimilation of core competencies such as sight reading, posture, active observation and listening among others.
Concepts in Theatre and Performance
This course is compulsory for all those enrolled in a BADA degree at first and second year level but is available as an option for general BA students. It introduces students to conceptual frameworks in performance and theatre-making, with a focus on storytelling, visuality and text for live performance. The course provides the conceptual basis necessary for the critical thought and reflexivity that underpins all creative practice. Concepts in Theatre and Performance is a practical course that engages with a range of modalities for making work (aural, visual, kinetic, object-based and more).
Design & Production Studies
Theatre, film and television are all visual media. The design course introduces and develops the ability in “ways of seeing”, making and critiquing work. What this means is that it aims to develop confidence in visual research, making and interpreting still and moving images. Read more
Performance Studies is offered at the senior levels of study (third and fourth year). The course offers aspects of voice, movement and acting, integrating into one cohesive course designed to both train the performer’s body as well as introduce them to the theoretical conventions of Performance. Read More
Students can elect Writing as a major from their third year of study. The primary focus of the Writing programme is on writing for the stage. This emphasis on producing texts that can be staged means that the students will become familiar with techniques of crafting stage work, dialogue and stage business. Because of the broad nature of writing as a skill set, students will also be expected to work on short prose fiction, reviews and criticism and possess knowledge of the theory of representation in writing.
The Division of Theatre and Performance professional undergraduate Arts Management training programmes encourage artists to work as livelihood motivators for themselves, or as arts managers in community based organisations and public or private cultural institutions. The present economy does not allow artists to wait for jobs or be “discovered”. Creative arts business training is key to sustainability. Read more
The Physical Theatre courses are geared towards nurturing the student’s ability to become a critical thinker and to generate critical material. Physical theatre locates the body as the primary means of expression and communication and thus aims to cultivate the student’s physical intelligence. Read more
Directing is a series of senior courses offered to 3rd and 4th year students who have completed two years of Performance Studies. The practical courses are aimed at exposing students to a variety of directing techniques, styles and a means to conceptualising the process of creating and producing productions and stories. Read more
The WSOA Dramatic Arts Division is situated inside the Wits School of Arts building which can be accessed from the Station Street entrance.
Maria Marques Fiandero
Divisional Secretary: Dramatic Arts
Room 241, Second Floor, WSOA Building
Telephone: +27 (11) 7174638