Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Research essay - 2500  30%
Semester Assessment Independent project 3500  50%
Semester Assessment Two seminar presentations 1: 10 minute presentation to be delivered in pairs (oral feedback will be given). 2: An individual oral presentation in preparation for the research project accompanied by a 500-word proposal   20%
Supplementary Assessment Research essay - 2500-3000 words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Independent project 3500-4000 words (accompanied by a 500-word proposal)  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Articulate the relation between the disciplines of theatre and history in presentation and written form;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the set of practices and theories that constitute theatre history;
  • Critically consider the politics surrounding the making of theatre history;
  • Understand the role of a range of theatrical elements in creating theatre history;
  • Develop independent research skills by identifying, accessing, and presenting relevant historical research.

Brief description

The course studies the interaction of theatre with history in order to demonstrate how this contributes to understanding the discipline as a whole. It introduces students to some of the principle methodologies used by theatre historians, and it provides them with the opportunity to gain an experiential knowledge and understanding of the subject.


This course builds upon the broad historical approach to theatre that students encounter on core level one modules. These courses are necessarily of an introductory and survey nature, whereas this module adopts a tighter historical focus and addresses the methodology of theatre history.


The course is divided into two halves. The first half considers: a) different approaches to theatre history; b) ideology and ethics; d) dissident reading.
Types of theatre history:
a. Time period based - e.g. 19th century theatre
b. Descriptive period based - e.g. modernist theatre
c. Thematic history/the history of ideas - e.g. representation of race
d. Infrastructures of theatre history - e.g. politics, economics (funding arrangements), regional factors
2: Theatre as mirror and vehicle of historical change: Case study 1: Suffragette Theatre
3: Theatre as social history: Case Study 2: Modern Feminist Theatre
4: Theatre history and ideology: Case Study 3: Black Arts Movement
5: Mainstream theatre history: resistant reading/writing

The second half of the module concentrates on independent research in theatre history. It focuses on a range of resources used by theatre historians and their uses.
6: Archival Research: Introduction - Visit to National Library
7: Theatre historiography
a) types of evidence and their uses: e.g. primary/secondary sources; contemporary/subsequent commentaries
b) resources: play texts, handwritten documents, programs, reviews, performance, video, biographies, costume, posters
c) Interpretive frameworks: source-led and problem-led
8: Case Study: Uncle Tom's Cabin - Part 1
9: Uncle Tom's Cabin - Part 2
10: Conclusion: Approaches and considerations for the future

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication By seminar presentation and discussion, written skills will be developed through the case study and theatre history project
Improving own Learning and Performance Via feedback on formative assessments
Information Technology Use of library catalogs and databases, web-based research
Personal Development and Career planning Through reflective practice via formative and summative assessments
Problem solving Through lectures, students presentations and assessments
Research skills Through visits to record libraries, through using the library to retrieve information and assemble primary and critical materials
Subject Specific Skills Students will gain practical inter-disciplinary research skills in theatre history and knowledge of research methodology in theatre history. They will improve their ability to situate dramatic texts in a cultural and historical framework.
Team work Via first formative presentation

Reading List

General Text
Stowe, Harriet Beecher (1853.) A key to Uncle Tom's Cabin : presenting the original facts and documents upon which the story is founded. Together with corroborative statements verifying the truth of the work /by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Primo search Stowe, Harriet Beecher (1995.) Uncle Tom's cabin /Harriet Beecher Stowe ; with an introduction by Alfred Kazin. Primo search Stowell, Sheila (1992.) A stage of their own :feminist playwrights of the suffrage era /Sheila Stowell. Primo search (2002.) Exclusions in feminist thought :challenging the boundaries of womanhood /edited by Mary Brewer. Primo search (2004.) The Cambridge companion to Harriet Beecher Stowe /edited by Cindy Weinstein.
Should Be Purchased
Chothia, Jean (1998) New Woman and Other Emancipated Woman Plays Votes for Women Oxford University Press Primo search
Essential Reading
Spender, Dale and Carole Hayman (1985) How the Vote was Won and other Suffragette Plays Methuen Primo search
Recommended Text
Ammons, Elizabeth (1994) Uncle Tom's Cabin: Authoritative Texts, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism W.W. Norton Primo search Bean, AnneMarie (1999) A Sourcebook of African American Performance Plays, People, Movements Routledge Primo search Benston, Kimberly (1978) Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) A Collection of Critical Essays Prentice-Hall Primo search Brewer, Mary (1999) Race, Sex and Gender in Contemporary Women's Theatre Sussex Academic Press Primo search Downs, Laura Lee (2000) Writing Gender History Hodder Arnold Primo search Elam, Harry and David Krasner (2001) African-American Performance and Theatre History A Critical Reader Oxford University Press Primo search Hawkes, David (2000) Ideology Routledge Primo search Hodge, Bob and Gunther Kress (1993) Language as Ideology Second Routledge Primo search Johnson, Richard (1982) Making History Studies in History-Writing and Politics Hutchinson Education Primo search Keyssar, Helene (1984) An Introduction to Plays of Contemporary British and American Women Macmillan Primo search Kobialka, Michal (1999) Of Borders and Thresholds Theatre History, Practice and Theory University of Minnesota Press Primo search Logan, Marie-Rose and John Frederick Logan (1980) Rethinking History Time, Myth and Writing Yale French Studies Primo search Malpede, Karen (1992) Women in Theatre: Compassion and Hope Limelight Primo search Postlewaite, T. and B.A. McConachie (1989) Interpreting the Theatrical Past: Essays in the Historiography of Performance Questions for a Feminist Methodology University of Iowa Press Primo search Reilly, Charles (1994) Conversations with Amiri Baraka The Theatre and Coming Revolution University Press of Mississippi Primo search Ryan, Barbara (1992) Feminism and the Women's Movement: Dynamics of Change in Social Movement, Ideology and Activism Routledge Primo search Stefan, Berger, et. al. (2003) Writing History: Theory and Practice Arnold Primo search Sundquist, Eric J. (1986) New Essays on Uncle Tom's Cabin Cambridge Primo search Van Deburg, William (1993) New Day in Babylon The Black Power Movement and American Culture: 1965-75 University of Chicago Press Primo search

Amato, Carol J. (Feb. 1999) The World's Easiest Guide to Using the MLA:A User-Friendly Manual for Formatting Research Papers According to the Modern Language Association Style Guide Primo search Gibaldi, Joseph (Jan. 2004) MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing Primo search Lipson, Charles (Sept. 2006) Cite Right:A Quick Guide to Citation Styles--Mla, Apa, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions and More Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6