Undergraduate Personal Statement Example: Drama and Theatre Studies

Reading examples of personal statements can be valuable when applying to a university or college course. 

After all, personal statement examples can teach you how to write and structure your application, and you can quickly learn how to write a personal statement by examining others.

But with so many university personal statement examples available, how do you know if you’re reading a good one?

Undergraduate personal statements should highlight relevant academic and practical experience, academic skills, ambitions and suitability for the degree field. This undergraduate personal statement example for Drama and Theatre Studies clearly illustrates these three critical elements.

Undergraduate degree personal statement examples are sometimes referred to as personal mission statements or statements of purpose, so if you’re tasked with writing a personal mission statement, the following example will work for you.

I’ve broken down this personal statement example section by section, with a commentary on each element. 

That way, you’ll see its strengths and weaknesses and get some inspiration for your own personal statement.

Once you’ve read the personal statement example and analysis, you can download a pdf of the whole document to use as inspiration for your own!

Undergraduate Personal Statement Example: Drama and Theatre Studies

Personal Statement Example: Introduction

“Performance holds a mirror up to the world and asks questions that we may be too scared to ask individually. It will always be integral to society, and part of that power comes from the force of the ensemble. Studying drama has made me observe life through a different lens and harness the vital tool of the imagination. My secondary school had a theatre in the round with lighting rigs and the opportunity to create varied set designs with a devoted staff team. It was here that I learnt so much of what I know and where my inspired appreciation for performing arts became something I never wanted to stop doing.”

My Commentary and Analysis 

There are lots of different elements present in the first couple of sentences of this undergraduate personal statement example. The writer quite succinctly offers their own definition of drama and links this to an element of the subject inherent in most degree courses.

They go on to give a sense of their personal connection with the subject and then reference some quite generalised experiences. This allows them to sow the seeds of their long-term engagement and reiterate their commitment to the subject.

However, I would suggest that this is a relatively vague opening. There are very few specifics of terminology or experience, and this would have been an excellent opportunity to connect their views with an artist or practitioner they admired. This would have shown a bit more depth of knowledge and engagement.

The term ‘much of what I know’ is also quite vague. The writer could have identified some practical skills or techniques and discussed the value of what they’ve learned.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that Drama and Theatre Studies is largely a practical and experiential subject. Any personal statement should make some reference to the writer’s acting skills, as this is a key indicator of suitability for most courses.

If you’re struggling with your personal statement introduction, check out my article on how to write perfect opening paragraphs here.

Personal Statement Example: Section 2

“I learnt how to balance a full schedule through participating in extracurricular opportunities. Directing a play at fourteen exposed the complexities of preproduction roles and how an impact is achieved through different mediums. Around the same age, I began duo Vanguard acting lessons, where I was first introduced to the idea of exploring characters and how to portray them. I later progressed onto solo LAMDA examinations, achieving grade 8 with honours. I was beginning to learn the practice of ensemble work, and joining the local theatre youth group allowed me to expand my horizons beyond the curriculum. This bought to light the uniting force of theatre, a safe space for everybody which nurtures growth in creative spirit and confidence.

In year two of BTEC performing arts, with a cast of five, I curated an immersive Oedipus adaptation that propelled the audience into ancient Greece. This was a tumultuous project, where a new challenge seemed to arise after the last was solved. I poured an abundance of energy and care into the process, and it’s my proudest performance. This collaborative process was special to be part of, and I harnessed the skills I learnt for film projects on Art and Design Foundation. Acting in seven student films in spring familiarised me with on-set practices, and I often offered direction or design ideas. Used to working with a variety of people, I quickly improvised and built dynamics with cast members on the day of production. I have since been asked back to act in more recent projects.”

My Commentary and Analysis

The writer has done a good job of summarising their experience within the subject. Showing a range of experiences within directing, acting and studying show a breadth of engagement over time, which is another strong indicator of their suitability.

It would have been even more effective if the writer had outlined the value of these experiences in relation to their ambitions for a degree. They could also have used these elements to outline how suitable they were for a degree course by making links between their skills and typical course demands.

Referring to their BTEC course makes it clear that the candidate has a good range of experience at a higher level. Again, however, there is no real indication of the skills the writer used. Devising, editing, improvisation, directing, design? Which practitioners were used as inspiration? What academic research was carried out in the project, and why is this useful in relation to a degree?

The reader won’t really be very interested in whether it’s the writer’s proudest performance, and in an undergraduate personal statement, which is limited to a low number of characters, this is a bit of a waste of space. They want to know how it has inspired the writer or given them skills that will allow them to be successful in relation to the courses they’re applying for. 

A good way for the writer to communicate this is to write about how they overcame the challenges they mentioned.

If you’d like to learn more about how to structure your personal statement or statement of purpose, check out my awesome Personal Statement Template eBook here. It’s full of detailed examples of what to include!

Personal Statement Example: Section 3

“I explored the breadth of my creativity on the foundation but focused on photography, film, and textiles. In film classes, I learned more about production by trying out directing, scriptwriting, and cinematography. I frequently discussed TV and film analysis with an interest in the symbolism of cinematography. The creative environment changed my perception of artistry. I now use art as personal documentation, amongst other things, such as the sketchbook I took interrailing in summer, and beginning to create my own clothes. Another form of self-care I indulge in is yoga, where diligence and consistency in practice are vital.”

My Commentary and Analysis

It’s always sensible to reference related aspects of your previous courses of study, but only if they are relevant. Here, the courses taken are largely relevant to a Drama and Theatre Studies degree, but the outcomes don’t particularly develop the reader’s understanding of the writer’s suitability for the course.

Many of the elements referenced are valuable components of an actor’s preparation, but I don’t see significant justifications made between these and how they make the writer a suitable candidate.

There is little tangible sense of what’s been learned or its value.

References to self-care are welcomed, and certainly, the yoga practice speaks to the writer’s level of physical fitness and stamina, but it is all quite vague and undeveloped.

This is beginning to drift from a personal statement about Drama to a general description of accomplishments, preferences and experiences. Given the highly competitive field, it’s unlikely that the content so far would result in an offer being made, although the practical audition process is critical in this discipline.

Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!

Personal Statement Example: Section 4

“Now taking a year out, I am a full-time waitress and planning my route for solo travelling around Asia. Taking three essay subjects at A-level developed my critical analysis skills and written voice. In English Language, I thoroughly enjoyed cross-examining articles from different decades for an independent research project. Amongst other topics in Classics, I studied the origins of theatre from religious practice to the earliest examples of tragedy in the late 5th century. I am an avid reader and have continued to learn through books such as Stanislavksy’s An Actor Prepares, Stephen Fry’s Mythos and Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue.”

My Commentary and Analysis: 

There is some reference here to the value of related studies, as mention is made of transferable skills. In that sense, the content has a degree of merit. Gap year plans are only worth including if they have a direct and positive bearing on the courses being applied for. 

What the reader really wants to understand about a gap year is how that time will be spent building skills, knowledge or contacts that will increase the applicant’s chances of successfully completing the degree courses (and hopefully adding value to the experiences of their peers).

There’s mention here of undertaking a research project, but no clarity on which skills or techniques were used, which lessens the impact. 

Published works are referenced, which is positive, but no arguments are made, and there’s no discussion of the contents. Nothing here is developed, and there’s no evidence that the writer has actually read the books. 

If you mention having read books, don’t just write a list. Pick a couple and explain their impact on you, how your thinking has been altered or how valuable you find the knowledge they contain. 

The one thing that all successful personal statements have in common is that they are concise, engaging and accurate in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Consequently, I always recommend Grammarly to my students and clients. 

It’s an outstanding tool for ensuring your personal statement is rich with detail whilst hitting those all-important word limits. Check out the free version of Grammarly here, or hit the banner for more information.

Personal Statement Example: Conclusion

“Through academic learning and practical development, I have built a strong foundation of knowledge about the Performing Arts industry. In this industry, one never stops learning. Every individual you meet or place you go to is an opportunity for a fresh perspective. Immersion in performance studies would help me realise how I can bring my varied skills into what I offer as an artist. The next stepping stone towards my career is a multidisciplinary course allowing me to explore pathways whilst sharpening my academic and performance skills.”

My Commentary and Analysis

The writer uses some relevant vocabulary here, summarising the importance of the course to their ambitions. This is a sound idea, but quite limited in detail.

What are the writer’s actual ambitions beyond the course? How will the course be ideal for bridging the gap to a creative career? What kind of areas might the writer want to work in, and how might some of the general modules of the courses be of value?

In summary, I feel there needs to be a far stronger focus on the writer’s acting work, the precise skills developed and exactly how these will be of value on the course. For a Drama application, there’s not much actual evidence of engagement or an understanding of the industry or the creative sector as a whole.

For more great advice, check out my article on writing an excellent final personal statement paragraph here.

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Whether you’re looking for personal mission statement examples or an example of personal purpose statement, I hope this personal statement example has been helpful. Above all, I wish you every success in your academic career. 

If you’d like to work with me to develop your personal statement 1:1 and write a powerful mission statement, I’d be delighted to hear from you. 

Find out about my personal statement support services by clicking here or on the image below.

Research and content verified by Personal Statement Planet.

David Hallen

I've worked in the Further Education and University Admissions sector for nearly 20 years as a teacher, department head, Head of Sixth Form, UCAS Admissions Advisor, UK Centre Lead and freelance personal statement advisor, editor and writer. And now I'm here for you...

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