Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Directing and Dramaturgy
Academic Year
Semester 1
Successful completion of Part 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars
Workshop 10 x 2 Hour Workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Presentation.  Conceptual project ‘pitch’ (5 mins) and accompanying documentation (1000 words or equivalent)  40%
Semester Exam 14 Hours   Practical Exam  Performance fragment or ‘etude’ (15 mins) and accompanying documentation (1000 words or equivalent)  50%
Semester Assessment Peer and self-assessment of process.  10%
Supplementary Assessment Written essay.  Conceptual project proposal, rationale, and methodology (2,500 words)  40%
Supplementary Exam 7 Hours   Practical exam.  Performance fragment (15 mins) and accompanying documentation (1000 words or equivalent)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Peer and self-assessment of process.  10%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the role of the director in contemporary theatre practice.

2. Demonstrate an ability to employ appropriate rehearsal methodologies and directorial strategies in working with others to generate performance.

3. Demonstrate an ability to employ creative resources (texts, images, objects, environments, scenarios etc.) effectively in performance.

4. Demonstrate the capacity to envisage and partially realise a coherent directorial concept, strategy and performance design

5. Demonstrate an awareness of the ramifications of historical, political and cultural contexts on the aesthetic form and function of theatre-making practice.

Brief description

This module provides an exploration of a range of contemporary directing practices. Recognising that contemporary directors have become much more than 'interpreters' of texts and functional metteurs-en-scène, the module challenges common-sense understandings of theatre directing by historicising the rise of the director as auteur and critically interrogating the director's role in the theatre-making process. With reference to case-studies drawn from a broad spectrum of contemporary theatre and performance, the module explores the skills and processes involved in working with performers, dramaturgs, scenographers and choreographers in organizing the elements of the theatrical event; foregrounds the importance of research as a key component of directorial practice; investigates a range of rehearsal methodologies and compositional strategies; and provides an opportunity to develop and experiment with these in a workshop environment. Constructed as a series of investigative case-studies and linked workshop practices the module provides students with an analytical and compositional tool kit of principles and strategies as well as an understanding of the contexts within which these principles and strategies have been developed and used.


Course delivery:
10 x 1 hour lectures
10 x 2 hour workshops
10 x 2 hour development labs (mixed mode group seminar/supervised independent practice)

The module explores the critical skills and creative processes involved in working with performers, dramaturgs, scenographers and choreographers in organizing the elements of the theatrical event. It involves examining potential directorial approaches to a range of canonical dramatic texts: for example, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus; Ibsen’s A Doll’s House; Chekhov’s The Seagull; Maeterlinck’s The Intruder; Strindberg’s A Dream Play; Artaud’s The Lesson of Anatomy; Genet’s The Maids; Stein’s Dr Faustus Lights the Lights. During the course, students will be given the opportunity to try out, test, and experiment with different rehearsal methods and directorial methodologies, and to develop and ‘pitch’ their own directorial concept and approach to one of the texts studied.

The aims of the module are:

• To historicise the emergence of the figure of the director in 20th century theatre practice
• To analyse the role of the director in contemporary theatre
• To investigate key approaches to directorial practice operative in contemporary theatre-making
• To introduce theories, principles and practices of directing.
• To develop a critical awareness of the work of the director in relation to the work of other practitioners in the theatre-making ensemble.
• To encourage students to develop a critical and creative process of practical investigation, reflection and development of their own directorial practice.

Topics covered may include, for example:

1. Thinking through Theatre: Directors and directing (Indicative case-study practitioner: Romeo Castellucci (Italy); example case-study text: Dante, Inferno)
2. Thinking through Encounter: Directing audience attention (Indicative case-study practitioner: Ariane Mnouchkine (France); example case-study text: Homer, Odyssey)
3. Thinking through Action: Directing the performative (Indicative case-study practitioner: Max Stafford-Clark (UK); Indicative case-study text: Genet, The Maids)
4. Thinking in Perspective: The ‘Viewpoints’ methodology (Indicative case-study: Anne Bogart; example case-study text: Maeterlinck, The Intruder)
5. Thinking intermedially: frames of representation (Indicative case-study practitioner: Katie Mitchell (UK); example case-study text: Chekhov, The Seagull)
6. Thinking intertextually: deconstructing meaning and authority (Indicative case-study practitioner: Liz LeCompte (USA); example case-study text: Stein, Dr Faustus Lights the Lights)
7. Thinking beyond the text: textual montage and assembly (Case-study practitioner: Jerzy Grotowski (Poland); Case-study text: Marlowe, Doctor Faustus)
8. Thinking through site and situation: theatrical contexts and materials (Indicative case-study practitioner: Mike Pearson (Wales); example case-study text: Artaud, The Lesson of Anatomy)
9. Thinking scenogrpahically: staging mise-en-scène (Indicative case-study practitioner: Philippe Quesne (France); example case-study text: Strindberg, A Dream Play)
10. Thinking the Contemporary: visualising the moment (Indicative case-study practitioner: Thomas Ostermeier (Germany); example text: Ibsen, A Doll’s House)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Neither developed nor assessed.
Communication The development and use of communication skills are intrinsic to the students’ experience in this module. The individual student’s ability to articulate and communicate their ideas and opinions is developed and encouraged across all aspects of the module, and the assessment forms recognise effective communication across written, verbal and performative material.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students are expected to respond to formative feedback during workshops and are required to reflect critically as part of their learning process. Self-regulation, motivation and time-management are demanded to maintain engagement with the development of the course and the completion of its concomitant assessed assignments. Assessment procedures recognise effective self-management and self-motivation.
Information Technology Skills of information handling are exercised through the conduct of research, presentation processes, and the collation of materials, within assessed submissions, and weekly writing assignments, and are recognised in the assessment of those submissions.
Personal Development and Career planning The module encourages the initial development of skills directly applicable to careers within cultural (particularly theatre/performance) industries. Further transferable skills (project planning and execution, the development of personal creative initiatives) are also developed through the completion of assessment tasks, though this does not of itself constitute an assessed element.
Problem solving Appropriate personal research and the development of effective personal and group research practices, are implicitly encouraged throughout the module, and are assessed through their impact on the development and presentation of the assessed submissions.
Research skills Appropriate personal research and the development of effective personal and group research practices, are implicitly encouraged throughout the module, and are assessed through their impact on the development and presentation of the assessed submissions.
Subject Specific Skills See QAA Dance, Drama and Performance Subject Benchmark Statement (Version 2007).The following subject specific skills are developed and partly assessed:* engaging in performance and production, based on an acquisition and understanding of appropriate performance and production vocabularies, skills, structures and working methods * contributing to the production of performance * creating original work using the skills and crafts of performance making * using performance techniques associated with particular cultural forms and/or practitioners * engaging in research, whether independent, group or performance-based * making records of performance, using skills in notation and/or documentation * working within a group to make performance.
Team work Practical classes demand the application of skills necessary to conduct successful collaborative activity. The assessed group project relates directly to the development and employment of such skills.


This module is at CQFW Level 5