Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Thinking Theatre 2: Analysing Performance
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 1 hr lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2 hr seminar/workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Reflective Portfolio (equivalent to 1,500 words)  40%
Semester Assessment Essay (2,500 words)  60%
Supplementary Assessment Reflective Portfolio (equivalent to 1,500 words)  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay (2,500 words)  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

Identify, describe and discuss critically a range of theatre and performance practices.

Demonstrate an appropriate ability to analyse theatrical performance as a live event within a variety of stylistic conventions and genres.

Produce critical analyses of live theatre and performance events.

Brief description

This module examines theatre and performance as 'aesthetic events' and introduces students to critical and methodological approaches to the complex and demanding task of analyzing live theatre and performance. Students will be required to attend a number of live performances (of varying genres and styles) as an essential component of this module.


  • To introduce working definitions of theatre and performance as both aesthetic practice and live event.
  • To introduce critical vocabularies and methodological approaches to the analysis of live performance and their application.
  • To develop students' ability to write critically and analytically in response to experiencing live performance.


The module offers a series of lectures on definitions of performance and analytic approaches to performance analysis, with a particular focus on bodies, space and the different contexts in which production and spectatorship occur. The lectures will be accompanied by attendance at a number of live performances (of varying genres and styles) during the semester which will enable students to engage with the critical vocabulary introduced in the lectures, and provide opportunities for students to apply this vocabulary to an analysis of live performance. Tutor-led seminar/workshops will allow for the practical exploration and application of critical concepts.

Indicative content:

:Lectures and seminars will cover, among other aspects:

  • An Introduction to Performance Analysis
  • Bodies: Performance and/as Physical Action
  • Spaces: Performance and/as Spatial Manipulation
  • Spectators and Audiences
  • Critical Approach 1: Theatre Semiotics
  • Critical Approach 2: Phenomenology
  • Dramaturgy and Structure
  • Performance in Context
  • Politics of Performance
  • Genres of performance and analytical approaches

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number This element is not assessed.
Communication The ability to communicate ideas effectively is developed in the seminars and assessed directly through both assessments.
Improving own Learning and Performance Self-regulation, motivation and time-management skills are developed through the module and are demanded for the successful completion of both assessments.
Information Technology The ability to utilize information technology both in the research for and delivery of written assignments is assessed directly in both assessments.
Personal Development and Career planning Transferable skills (managing personal workloads and meeting deadlines, designing and realizing research project) are developed through the completion of assessment tasks. Career's awareness does not of itself constitute an assessed element of this module, however.
Problem solving Analytical problem solving, outcome recognition and the identification of appropriate strategies and procedures are encouraged and assessed across the duration of the module.
Research skills Appropriate personal research and the development of effective personal research practices are directly assessed through both assessments.
Subject Specific Skills See QAA Dance, Drama and Performance Subject Benchmark Statement (Version 2007). The following subject specific skills are developed and partly assessed: describing, theorising, interpreting and evaluating performance texts and performance events from a range of critical perspectives, developing skills of observation and visual, aural and spatial awareness, considering theories of spectatorship and developing an awareness of the audience or client group for performance and an ability to respond and adapt to it through flexible means, engaging in research, whether independent, group or performance-based, identifying and interpreting the cultural frameworks which surround performance events and on which these events impinge, and taking these into account in creating and/or interpreting performances and making records of performance, using skills in notation and/or documentation
Team work Effective group work through negotiating ideas and opinions is addressed through the seminar/workshops. Seminar/workshop discussions and exercises demand the application of skills necessary to conduct collaborative activity.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Collins, Jane & Nisbet, Andrew (eds) (2010) Theatre and Performance Design: A Reader in Sceonography Routledge Primo search Counsell, C. (1996) Signs of Performance: An Introduction to Twentieth Century Theatre Routledge Primo search Counsell, C. and Wolf, L. (eds) (2001) Performance Analysis: An Introductory Coursebook Routledge Primo search Howell, Anthony (1999) The Analysis of Performance Art Harwood Primo search Knowles, R. (2004) Reading the Material Theatre Cambridge University Press Primo search Lehmann, H-T (2006) Postdramatic Theatre Routledge Primo search Pavis, P. Analyzing Performance: Theatre, Dance and Film University of Michigan Press Primo search Pearson, M. and Shanks, M. (2001) Theatre/Archaeology Routledge Primo search
Recommended Text
Aston, E. and Savona, G. (1991) Theatre as Sign System: A Semiotics of Text and Performance Routledge Primo search Balme, C. (2008) The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies Cambridge University Press Primo search Bishop, Claire (2006) Partiticipation MIT Press Primo search Elam, K. (2002) The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama Methuen Primo search Garner, S. (1994) Bodied Spaces: Phenemonology and Performance in Contemporary Drama Cornell University Press Primo search McAuley (1999) Space in Performance: Making Meaning in Theatre University of Michigan Press Primo search Schechner, R. (2002) Performance Studies: An Introduction Routledge Primo search Schechner, R. (1988) Performance Theory Routledge Primo search Sheer, Edward and Klich, Rosemary (2011) Multimedia Performance Palgrave Macmillan Primo search States, B. (1985) Great Reckonings in Little Rooms: On the Phenomenology of Theater University of California Press Primo search Zarilli, P. (1995) Acting (Re)Considered Routledge Primo search Di Benedetto, Stephen New Theatre Quarterly Stumbling in the Dark: Facets of Sensory Perception and Robert Wilson's 'H.G.' Installation Vol. 17, No. 03, Pgs 273-284 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4