Undergraduate programmes

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.

Academic Trajectory

‘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 fthe fourth year, students may select a Research Project from several options, or if eligible, enrol for the Long Essay.

Performance Practice

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 vocabluary 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

From 2016 Performance Studies at Wits is will be 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…


From 2016 students will be able to 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.

Arts Management

The Division of Dramatic Art’s 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 …


Physical Theatre

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 …

Auditions and Interview: Preparation and Requirements

As part of the process of applying for the BADA degree, you will need to come to a scheduled audition where your suitability for the program will be assessed by lecturers from the School of Arts. The assessment will involve a morning of various workshops and activities in which you will be required to participate. Please make sure you arrive for the auditions with comfortable working clothes (tracksuit pants, t-shirt, takkies) and anything else you may require such as water, lunch/snack. To set up a date for the BADA audition please call Maria Marques Fiandeiro on 011 717 4638 or send an email to mariamarques.fiandeiro@wits.ac.za.

Auditions run from mid-August to the end of November. You are advised to book and confirm your audition date as early as possible as auditions dates fill up very quickly. Please note that the closing date for booking your audition date is Friday, 6 November 2015.

Professional Courses
To be accepted into the BADA programme you will need to be accepted into both professional courses. All applicants will be required to take part in the audition workshops. We will view your participation in the light of your ability to (a) make creative work and (b) discuss it insightfully, both orally and in writing.

The workshop will consist of the following:

  •  A physical and vocal warm-up session
  • A group improvisation workshop
  •  A studio session focusing on making and developing the visual and dialogue elements of a performance
  •  A short film screening and a set of written questions requiring an analysis of the film.

You should also expect the auditioning staff to take some time to talk to you during the audition about what you are reading, your interests and views on events and matters in South Africa and the world.

You must bring the following with you to the audition:

  1.  a 1- page document detailing your personal information -include your full name, address, telephone and email contact information, the name of the last school you attended, and year of matriculation (or planned year of matriculation)
  2.   1 passport size photo of yourself in either black and white or colour. Staple this to the document with your personal information
  3.  a transcript of your most recent marks
  4.  a 1-page document that includes one paragraph on each of the following:
    •  the areas of theatre and performance in which you are interested, with a clear statement of why you want to study these
    •  a list of all extramural activities you are involved in, cultural/artistic and other
    • a brief mention of your career aspiration
  5.  a critical essay: Name a play, film or TV programme you have recently seen. Briefly describe it, before identifying one aspect you found noteworthy. Explain what it is about this noteworthy aspect that you think is relevant for people working in the field of theatre and performance.

Applicants who fail to bring the documentation requested above to the audition will not be permitted to participate in the audition.


PLEASE NOTE: While we offer professional courses as part of the BADA degree, we are first and foremost an academic institution. Applicants will be thoroughly assessed on their discursive and academic abilities. Each candidate requires an APS mark of 34 and 60% for English (minimum) to be accepted into this degree. Applicants are reminded that a successful audition and acceptance by the Division of Theatre and Performance is a requirement of, but does not guarantee acceptance by, the Faculty of Humanities and the University.