The curriculum comprises 3 taught courses (96 NQF credits) and a research essay/project (30 credits).

All Honours students are required to complete two semester academic courses (Readings in Performance A and B) and a research essay course. In addition to these, students then have a whole year practical studio work course, in one of the following streams:

  1. DANCE

    This course is an introduction into becoming a Dance researcher in the performing arts, cultural and educational contexts. It explores some of the key discourses in Dance in the late 20th and 21st centuries including Dance and Cultural formation, History and Aesthetics. Coursework is by seminars, practical workshops, engagement with on and off campus dance groups, conferences and symposia. The course also involves extensive reading, writing and deepening of observation and analytical skills. Students are expected to have prepared prior to the learning and teaching activity each week. Such preparation will include critique of audiovisual materials and research essay writing. The course objectives are:

    To extend understandings of the field that is Dance archival research.

    To investigate digital archives (mostly located in the global south) that are examining dance especially dance on film.

    To strengthen an ability to conduct comparative analyses and build synthesis in Dance research.

    To refine and deepen an ability to undertake focused enquiry of the dance object in a specific place and time.

  2. THEATRE (students are required to apply for ONE of the following streams)

    • Directing
      This course explores directing theory in depth, and offers the students opportunity to develop their directing practice for the stage. Coursework is by extensive reading of directing theory, regular studio workshops, and observation of an experienced director at work, practical directing tasks and written assignments. Assessment will consist of formative directing tasks, analytic written assignments, a directing examination piece and the Director’s Book.
    • Technical Theatre Management
      This course explores the challenges of technical theatre management through fortnightly class tutorials in theoretical and practical aspects of technical work in the theatre. The theory and practice is applied through the work completed in at least two (major) assignments, in the fields of stage management, lighting, costume, properties and sound or audio/visual design. These assignments are accompanied by a fully theorised and written explication of this work, including visual support materials as appropriate (such as design sketches, photographs, lighting plans, ground plans, prompt copy, lighting or sound cue sheets, a CD/DVD of lighting or sound material utilised).
    • Applied Theatre and Dance Studies
      This course is an introduction to students to becoming a facilitator or teaching artist using applied theatre and/or dance in arts projects, educational and/or social justice contexts. The course will offer the student opportunities to engage practically with schools and communities in the development of their facilitation skills. Coursework is by theoretical seminars on key practices, practical workshops in applied theatre/dance, and regular facilitation engagements with off campus groups in formal or non-formal educational or social justice settings. Assessment will consist of two externally examined facilitation sessions, a critically-reflexive journal and written assignments.
    • Playwriting
      This course introduces students to the skills related to writing for the theatre. Coursework will include practical writing tasks that focus on adaptation for the stage, dramaturgy, script development, writing dialogue, and conceiving of spoken text in time and space. Assessment will be by formative practical writing tasks, a reflective essay, the script development and staged reading of an original play as complete text. Candidates will attend classes, rehearsals, tutor meetings and undertake preparatory work as appropriate to the needs of the course.
  3. PERFORMANCE (students are required to apply for ONE of the following streams)

    • Live Art
      This course investigates through practice and theory, notions of ‘live art’ or ‘performance art’. Live art as a term is used here, to encompass performance practice that cannot be defined as dance, drama, visual art or music. The field draws from these disciplines as well as others such as writing, architecture and film to such disciplines as anthropology, ecology, sociology and political science. Theoretical perspectives consider the history of such interdisciplinary practices in the West with the development of performance art at the turn of the twentieth century as well as the roots of elements of live art in classical African tradition. The course focuses on the practice of live art in contemporary South Africa and the conceptualization and production of a Live Art work.
    • Public Art
      This course explores in depth the rationale and processes for the engagement of performance and performance theory in public spheres. The course considers a range of theoretical perspectives around public spheres and public art in South Africa as well as internationally. Coursework is through lectures as well as by extensive reading around urban theory, formal and informal processes in the production of public art projects and the use of art making practices in public spheres for a range of outcomes.


Please be aware that our academic year starts at the beginning of February of each year, and applications for Honours close 31 October of the previous year.

Herewith general information on the requirements and process of applying for Honours:

Applications can be made online via the UCT website:    

The entry requirements for Honours are an undergraduate degree with a major in Theatre or Dance and an average mark of not less than 65% in the final year of study in the Theatre or Dance major at undergraduate level or, with the permission of the Head of Section who is persuaded that the applicant’s prior education and theatre or dance experience are the equivalent of a BA with Theatre/Dance as a major

 Applications should be made online via the UCT website and the following documents emailed to Shabnam Pansari ( These should include:

  1. Evidence of undergraduate study (university transcripts/academic record);
  2. A CV, giving ALL your contact details, e.g. email, telephone no., cell no., address; your work history, productions, extra-curricular activities.
  3. A motivational letter outlining your key interests in theatre/dance, and your intended research area. 850 words
  4. The names and contact details of at least two referees who know you in respect of the desired area of study, i.e. academic and production referees.

For information regarding postgraduate funding, please visit

Please note additional information may be requested, as well as an interview with the Honours Programme Convener if required for your application.