Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Musical Theatre Dramaturgies
Academic Year
Semester 2
Successful completion of year 2 of the degree programme
Other Staff

Course Delivery

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


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written Essay (2500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment 7 Hours   Performed Fragment  (10 min group performance followed by a 10 min presentation + Q&A)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Written Essay (2500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Performance Etude  (5 min performance followed by a 5 minute presentation + Q&A)  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an analytical understanding of a range of theories, practitioners and performances in music theatre.
2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the socio-political aspects of music theatre and its historical contexts.
3. Apply an understanding of the concepts and practices of music theatre dramaturgies through the conception and devising of a performed fragment of a music theatre performance.
4. Work effectively in a group context towards conceiving and devising a fragment of musical theatre performance.

Brief description

This module will offer a critical exploration of some of the major periods of musical theatre history, with an emphasis on the dramaturgical composition of various forms of musical theatre. The module will look at key case studies from Wagnerian opera, Victorian operetta, the Brechtian-musical, popular musicals, postmodern opera and contemporary experimental music theatre. Students will be equipped with a substantial analytical framework that will encourage and facilitate the analysis of both the dramaturgical structures inherent in various forms of music theatre, and also of the performances themselves. The module will have a practical component where students will experiment with staging and conceptualizing elements of musical theatre dramaturgies. At the module’s conclusion, students will devise a 10-minute performed fragment followed by a 10-minute presentation, based on a specific dramaturgical strategy taken from one of the examples of music theatre studied on the module. The ability to read music or play an instrument is not essential, and all students who are enthusiastic about exploring musical theatre and its performative possibilities are welcome.


Course Delivery:
Lectures: 10 x 2 hour lecture/viewings
Seminars: 10 x 2 hr seminar/workshops which will consist of a discussion of set readings and a practical exploration of musical dramaturgies discussed during the lecture.

Indicative Structure and Case Studies:

Part One: Towards Integration
1 Introduction: Verdi; Wagner and the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’
2 Early Forms: Operetta, Gilbert and Sullivan; Cole Porter; George Gershwin
3 The Popular and the Political: Zeitopera; Weill and Brecht; Kern; Rodgers and Hammerstein

Part Two: Integrated Musical Theatre
4 The Book Musical: Bernstein and West Side Story; Gypsy; My Fair Lady
5 The Megamusical: from the 1980s onwards

Part Three: Deconstructing Integration
6 The Concept Musical: Sondheim; Kander and Ebb
7 The Celluloid Musical: Dancer in the Dark, London Road, Moulin Rouge
8 Contemporary Opera: John Adams; Phillip Glass; George Benjamin
9 Deconstructing Voice: Kurt Schwitters and the Dadas; John Cage; Cathy Berberian
10 Experimental Music Theatre: Heiner Goebbels, Jérôme Bel

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication The ability to communicate ideas effectively is developed in the seminars/workshops and assessed directly through Assessment 1 and 2.
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 its assignments. These skills are directly assessed through Assessment 2.
Information Technology The ability to utilize information technology both in the research for and delivery of written assignments is assessed directly in Assessments 1 and 2.
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. The module will also provide students with necessary theoretical and analytical skills for employment in the creative arts industry where sound and music design are under increasing demand. Career awareness does not of itself constitute an assessed element of this module.
Problem solving Analytical problem solving and the identification of appropriate dramaturgical strategies and processes are encouraged and assessed across the duration of the module through Assessments 1 and 2.
Research skills Appropriate personal research and the development of effective personal research practices are directly assessed through Assessments 1 and 2.
Subject Specific Skills See QAA Dance, Drama and Performance Subject Benchmark Statement (2007). The following subject specific skills are developed and partly assessed: a. histories and theoretical explanations of forms and traditions of theatre, scenography and performance; b. historical and contemporary contexts of production, circulation and reception of theatre; c. key practitioners and practices, and/or theorists, which may include writers, actors, composers, critics, dancers, directors, choreographers, designers, and producers; d. cultural and/or historical contexts of such practitioners and practices; e traditional and contemporary critical perspectives on theatre, and of relevant theories, issues and debates relating to the subject; f. a range of key components of theatre within the disciplines: text, movement, aural and visual environment, the performer; g. significant sources and critical awareness of the main research methods used to collect and analyze data.
Team work Effective group work through negotiating ideas and opinions is addressed through the seminars. Seminar/workshop discussions demand the application of skills necessary to conduct collaborative activity. These skills are directly assessed through Assessment 2.


This module is at CQFW Level 6