Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Successful completion of Part 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 hour Lecture-Seminar-Workshop


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay (3000 words)  40%
Semester Assessment Presentation and Documentation  60%
Supplementary Assessment Essay (3000 words) - (to a new title)  40%
Supplementary Assessment Presentation plan and documentation  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Engage, critically and analytically, with issues of identity, authenticity and representation in contemporary and pre-c20th performance

Articulate an understanding of the relationship between theoretical and practice-based discourses in the analysis and staging of performance

Apply theoretical approaches to identity, authenticity and representation to a self-nominated area of theatre or performance practice

Identify, structure and pursue a self-contained minor research project to confirm and extend a specialist area of interest

Contribute, through a mature and critical reflection on their own interests and abilities, to a collaborative research exercise

Brief description

This module explores the relationship between theories of representation, authenticity and identity, and performance practice. Though a key critical focus of the module is on the staging of sexualities in contemporary and pre-c20th works, this module is also designed to consider the implications of queer theory for the broader field of theatre and performance studies. As such, this module recognises a range of performance conventions for which the issues of identity and authenticity are of central concern, including autobiographical performance, verbatim and documentary theatre, and participatory forms including forum theatre and playback.
Accordingly, critical issues of interest for this module include how speech and performance might constitute identity and agency; how the representation of 'rnmarked? or socially invisible communities presents particular challenges for performance; the implications of 'rate speech? for performance and performers; and the construction of (sexual) identities in relation to rural and urban spaces.

Note for students clarifying the relationship between this module and the cognate module Theatre, Gender and Sexuality.

- the primary critical lens of this module is queer theory, on which Theatre, Gender and Sexuality has only one session. In the context of this module, ‘queer’ refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans concerns, as well as a range of other identities which do not (or cannot) fit within given normative categories. Accordingly, this module will also explore how ‘straightness’ might be performed, and where different practitioners and playwrights have sought to examine the borders of what counts as heterosexual identity.

- as suggested by the outline on the module database, the question of identity and sexuality will be explored through critical engagement with both specific performance texts (e.g. Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane) and modes of performance practice which make different kinds of claims to staging ‘authentic’ identity (e.g. autobiographical performance, documentary/verbatim performance).

- the sample texts listed on the module database are indicative but not final (i.e. I want to be able to respond to the particular interests of the group that registers for the module; we may not be studying all of them).

- key theorists on this module will include Judith Butler and Eve Sedgwick (perhaps in common with Theatre, Gender and Sexuality) alongside Judith Halberstam, Jose Esteban Munoz and David Halperin.

- If you have any questions, please drop me an email:


This module will be taught through a series of ten 2-hour seminars, each focussing on a key critical concept or text and using that material to investigate contemporary and pre-c20th texts and performance.
Students will also contribute in a group-authored annotated bibliography, participation in which will also form one criteria of the essay task assessment.

Key theorists will include Judith Butler, Eve Sedgwick, Michel Foucault and Peggy Phelan. Sample playwrights and practitioners include Tony Kushner, Joe Orton, Carol Churchill, Sarah Daniels; pre-c20th works of interest will include Webster's The Duchess of Malfi and Ibsen's The Father.
Topics will include:

- Introduction to theories of subjectivity
- The politics of the personal: queer theory meets feminism
- Psychoanalytical narratives: Lacan and Freud
- Judith Butler: from 'Gender Trouble' to 'Undoing Gender.'
- Austin's How to do things with words and Butler's Excitable Speech: identity,speech acts and hate crimes.
- Eve Sedgwick: public identities and The Epistemology of the Closet.
- Peggy Phelan's Unmarked: challenging the primacy of the visible.
- Staging 'whiteness,' performing race.
- Staging the self: autobiography and performance.
- Autotopography: biography and landscape.

Texts used to prompt student choices will include:
Angels in America: Tony Kushner
Entertaining Mr Sloane: Joe Orton
Cloud Nine: Carol Churchill,
Masterpieces: Sarah Daniels
Black Watch: Gregory Burke
Meda: Liz Lochhead
Look Back in Anger: John Osborne
The Duchess of Malfi: John Webster
The Father: Henrik Ibsen

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number There will be specific reference to the economic and social contexts of theatrical and performance work, though this element is not assessed on this module.
Communication Each student¿s ability to articulate and communicate their ideas to one another and in formal academic settings is developed throughout this module. All forms of assessment include a consideration and evaluation of effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students are encouraged, through contributing work to the group oral exercise, to identify their own practical and analytical strengths though this is not directly assessed on the module.
Information Technology This is not directly taught on the module, however, it relates to work surrounding research skills, such as collecting and collating information, and accessing digital and archival theatre / performance records.
Personal Development and Career planning Through the emphasis on structured, independent research activity, this module seeks to assist students in identifying possible paths into postgraduate study. The corresponding ability to identify and develop possible research projects (as well as possible performance activity) is developed and through the essay and oral presentation tasks.
Problem solving Through the essay task, students are required to engage with and range of theoretical approaches and identify where those analytical methodologies may support the critical evaluation of performance practice.
Research skills Research skills form a key element of both forms of assessment, and are developed through contribution to a collaborative annotated bibliography, and in independent research reading to support their own area of interest for the essay task.
Subject Specific Skills See QAA Dance, Drama and Performance Subject Benchmark Statement (Version 2007).
Team work This skill is specifically addressed on the module and will be evaluated and assessed in relation to their contribution towards the group oral exercise.


This module is at CQFW Level 6