BA (Hons) Musical Theatre course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your university studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Open the links below to find out more:

Suggested reading

This section relates to reading specifically for your programme. For suggested reading and other materials to read or watch now, please view the other sections on this page.

The books listed below are some of the key critical texts that you will need for your course. Although they are available in our University Library, it is advisable to have your own copies to ensure they are always available when you need them. More specific reading lists will be provided when you start your modules and there are many books and journals in the Library and online for you to investigate once you are here. It is not necessary to have read everything from cover to cover before you start, but you should definitely begin to engage with the content before Induction Week.

Although you may not have the means to buy all the textbooks, the selection of texts below are essentials which we recommend for purchase, so that you can begin reading around your subject well before you arrive.

  • DAY, T. Success in Academic Writing 2018 London Palgrave
  • FISHER, M. (2015) How to write about Theatre Bloomsbury: London
  • HENSON, D. and PICKERING, K., 2013. Musical Theatre: A Workbook. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • KENRICK, J. (2017) Musical Theatre: A History. 2nd edition. London and New York: Bloomsbury
  • TAYLOR, M. & SYMONDS, D. (2014) Studying Musical Theatre. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • WOOLFORD, J. (2012) How Musicals Work London: Nick Hern

Suggested materials and clothing

Please bring a pen and notepad with you and a good diary and planner would be a very sensible purchase as well; the one we recommend is The Palgrave Student Planner by Stella Cottrell.

You should also sign up for an Arts Centre Membership which will give you access to tickets to the forthcoming season.

Practical Clothing

In your studio practice sessions, it is vital that you can move safely, without restriction, and that your tutor can see your body to correct alignment and placement. Therefore, we ask that you come prepared with the following kit:

  • Black leggings, Three quarter length shorts or close-fitting dance trousers
  • Leotard or unitard
  • Close-fitting vest top or t-shirt
  • Correct supportive underwear
  • Jogging bottoms and top for warm-up activities and some somatic work
  • Soft knee pads
  • A good pair of running/aerobic trainers
  • Ballet slippers
  • Hair ties for long hair.

You must be prepared to work practically in all sessions, as all modules are a balance of theory and practice.


Useful websites


Watch live performances

We expect you to see as much live performance work as you can throughout your degree programme, so make sure you budget for visits to the theatre to see work or to watch it online whenever there is the opportunity to do so.

Try and see some productions in the summer before you start your course – there are some great productions available online. Maintaining a personal journal about the work you watch can be a useful resource in preparing for seminar presentations, essays, portfolios and other assignments.

Whilst at Edge Hill you will have the advantage of being able to see professional touring performance work at The Arts Centre, our on-campus professional venue. Edge Hill University Students can sign up to The Arts Centre’s free membership scheme. Attendance at some performances will be compulsory as part of your modules, for example for the purpose of writing reviews or live performance analysis.

Whilst not a compulsory part of the course, it can be useful to have some basic knowledge of musical notation. If you feel this is an area you would like to explore, check out the theory lessons on musictheory.net.

Induction Week will be filled with introductory talks, activities and Drama workshops to help you settle in.


Practical tasks for summer

Take the opportunity to watch performances, listen to songs, read plays, take online dance classes and immerse yourself in musical theatre from the comfort of your own home. Take inspiration from actors, musical directors, choreographers and theatre directors for your future performances as well as to enhance your understanding of musical theatre.

When you are watching, think about some of these questions:

  1. What do you like about the show?
  2. What do you think is less effective?
  3. How do the actors communicate with the audience?
  4. As a creative team what choices do you think the Director, Musical Director and Choreographer have made to realise their vision?
  5. What design elements have been introduced to support the production?

Reading Play-Texts

Reading plays and reading about theatre is also really important for the study of Musical Theatre. Try to read as many play-texts as you can from as many different historical periods as this will help you to get a sense of how theatre works. For many years Shakespeare has been used by actors to really hone their skills as performers. Why not read learn a speech from one of his plays?

Theatre making skills

Working at home and finding a new routine can be difficult. Now that you have some free time why not explore some theatre-making skills

  • Write a new song
  • Learn a speech from a play or a new song from a musical
  • Create a singing group so you can sing together with your friends via an online conferencing app
  • Experiment with some static, gestural choreography
  • Create a model box of a set for your own staging or your favourite show

Additional ways to prepare

Join our virtual session: Preparing to start with Edge Hill, Wednesday 10 August, 4pm – 5pm.

This session examines how to make a successful transition to University study, from planning your results day, accommodation and commuting tips, extra support available to you as a prospective student before you start in September and what to expect as well as what to get involved in during your first week.

Use this link to join the session

University can be one of the most exciting and amazing experiences, and can offer the chance to learn, meet new people, gain independence and find out more about who you are.

We want to make sure you get the most out of your university experience! The following information provides an insight into what to expect when coming to university along with some good advice on how to navigate some of the potential challenges you may face.

Starting preparing yourself