Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written Essay 3,500 words.  50%
Semester Assessment Class presentation of 20 minutes maximum duration that may include live and/or mediated elements.  50%
Supplementary Assessment Presentation:  Resit as presentation with alternative title. Resits of assignments when necessary and in accordance with the conditions and timetable set by the university.   50%
Supplementary Assessment Written Essay:  Resit as written essay with alternative title.  50%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able:
1. to demonstrate an advanced critical awareness of the nature of performance as an aesthetic practice
2. to evaluate complex conceptual differences selected performance modes and genres
3. to articulate mastery of a particular range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the analysis of performance
4. to demonstrate a critical understanding of the potential of performative presentation in an academic context
5. to demonstrate a high level of understanding and achievement in the employment of performative means in the live exposition of intellectual material.


The aim of this module is:
a) to introduce and explore selected definitions of the phenomenon of performance as
both aesthetic practice and mode of cultural production, and to examine approaches to the analysis of a range of manifestations of performance and non-textual genres of performance
b) to provide a secure grounding in exemplary theories of performance and in a range of
conceptual methodologies, including compositional, structural, spatial, temporal and narrative composition.
c) to address and evaluate the form and function of certain forms of contemporary performance, through the development of appropriate vocabularies in the assessment of aesthetic practice.
d) to enable students to understand and critically apply the terminology of particular approaches to performance theory and application.
e) to enable students to contribute to topical debate on the nature of performance

Brief description

This is an academic module that introduces genres of performance and explores a range of interdisciplinary approaches to their appropriate description and analysis through a series of seminars and group discussions. Students will examine forms of performance, conceptual principles, theoretical and analytical approaches and issues of documenting and criticising performance.


Module content is expected to include origins and definitions of performance; contemporary genres of performance; theoretical, critical and analytical approaches to performance; aesthetic, conceptual and operational strategies of devising; structure and composition; exposition and documentation. Content may be adjusted to capitalize upon the specific expertise of those delivering the module.

Indicative sessions might include:

  • Theorizing Practice, Practising Theory
  • Definitions of Performance
  • Performance; Origins and Roots: Play, Ritual and Proto-theatre
  • Performance, Documentation and Liveness
  • Performance; Evolution & Branches: Event, Action and Installation
  • Subjectivity and Body Art
  • Gender, Sexuality, Identity
  • Postmodern Dance since the 1960s
  • Contemporary Performance Between Dance and Theatre
  • Memory, Play, Politics
  • Ethics and Event

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Encouragement of student participation in seminar component of lecture/presentations. Assessment of application of performative means in presentation of intellectual argument to peers in second assignment.
Improving own Learning and Performance Development of learning skills in order to complete original assessment assignments.
Information Technology Used in research and essay writing: assessment requires evidence of individual research and appropriate presentation. Used in presentations as data handling and projection
Personal Development and Career planning Exposure to visiting professional practitioners
Problem solving Assessment of design and implementation of personal performative presentation.
Research skills Both assessment assignments require independent library and archive research.
Subject Specific Skills Application of performative means in the exposition of intellectual argument Creative functioning

Reading List

Recommended Text
Auslander, Philip (1997) From Acting to Performance Routledge Primo search Bial, H (2003) The Performance Studies Reader Routledge Primo search Carlson, Marvin (1996) Performance: A Critical Introduction Routledge Primo search Diamond, E (1996) Performance and Cultural Politics Routledge Primo search Elam, K (1980) The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama Routledge Primo search Goodman, L and De Gay, J (1998) The Routledge Reader in Gender and Performance Routledge Primo search Hilton, J (1987) Pefromance London: MacMillan Primo search Huxley, Michael & Witts, Noel (eds) (1996) The Twentieth Century Performance Reader Routledge Primo search Pavis, Patrice (2003) Analysing performance: Theatre, Dance and Film University of Michigan Press Primo search Pearson, M & Shanks, M (2001) Theatre/Archaeology London: Routledge Primo search Phelan, Peggy (1993) Unmarked Routledge Primo search Phelan, Peggy & Lane, Jill eds. (1998) The Ends of Performance New York: University Press Primo search Read, A (1995) Theatre and Everyday Life Routledge Primo search Rheinhelt, J and Roach J, R (1992) Critical Theory and Performance Ann Arbour: University of Michigan Press Primo search Schechner, R (2002) Performance Studies - An Introduction Routledge Primo search Schechner, R (2003) Performance Theory Routledge Primo search Schechner, R (1995) The Future of Ritual: Writings on Culture and Performance Routledge Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7