Module Information

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

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1 - 2000 Words  15%
Semester Assessment Essay 2 - 2000 words  25%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Two examination questions will be published in advance and students will be asked to prepare answers for writing under examination conditions.   Two examination questions will be published in advance and students will be asked to prepare answers for writing under examination conditions.  60%

Learning Outcomes

Typically, upon completion of this module the student should be able:

- To identify the production choices made in selected performances through the application of basic skills in performance analysis: Observation, documentation and interpretation.
- To reflect analytically and critically on the significance of production choices.
- To demonstrate a detailed knowledge of two of the texts used in the productions studied and a deeper understanding of the problems, possibilities and challenges of interpreting these texts for contemporary performance.
- To produce critical analyses of live theatrical events.

Brief description

The module will examine a number of both professional and in-house productions in order to consider critically the way in which the different elements of a production come together to create the theatrical experience. These elements, which include the contribution of the directors, designers and performers, will be considered in isolation and in relation to each other. The module will also examine semiotic, sociological and phenomenological approaches to the complex and demanding task of analysing live theatrical performance. Aspects of performance history and the critical evaluation of particular texts will also be looked at and opportunities will be provided to discuss production choices and working methods with directors and members of production teams.


The aims of the module are:

  • To examine some of the methods for analysing productions of plays in performance.
  • To apply these methods to selected productions.
  • To examine the 'performance history' of selected texts and previous production choices made.
  • To deepen students' understanding of the challenges and difficulties of presenting two of the texts studied for modern theatre audiences.
  • To develop the students' ability to write critically and effectively about the theatrical event


This module is for single honours students only.

In the first semester the lectures and seminars will focus on the text chosen for performance. Several of these will be third-year productions of texts performed as part of the Department's English-medium practical semester. In Semester 2, lectures will focus on the text in performance for the School's Shakespeare project and productions chosen for the London visit.
Students should bear in mind their own responsibility for acquiring experience of the relevant text and bringing it to bear on their analysis of separate production events. It is also the responsibility of students to ensure that they attend the productions studied on the course. The lectures and discussions arranged with theatre practitioners are designed to be generally helpful and informative, but they should not distract attention from the proper focus of the module which is firmly on the personal experience and analysis acquired and developed by the individual student.
Students should be aware that they are expected to contribute towards the cost of the London trip. It is estimated that this will be approximately #180 (arrangements can be made with the departmental administrators to spread this cost over up to 3 instalments).

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students will demonstrate oral communication skills in seminar sessions and gain experience in selecting and analysing material for written assessments.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will receive feedback on written assignments.
Information Technology IT and information handling skills will be demonstrated through students¿ individual web based and library research and through word processed essay presentation.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will have the opportunity to explore specific areas which reflect and strengthen their individual career needs.
Research skills Students will demonstrate the results of individual research in the form of essays, examinations and contribution in lectures and seminars.
Subject Specific Skills Students are encouraged to develop the use of a critical and analytical awareness and to expand their vocabulary in written and oral response to issues concerning theatrical texts in performance for modern audience.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Module Reader A Module Reader with key readings will be available for purchase from the Department Primo search
Recommended Text
Aston, E. and G. Savona (1991) Theatre as Sign System: A Semiotics of Text and Performance Routledge Primo search Counsell, C. (1996) Signs of Performance: An Introduction to Twentieth Century Theatre Routledge Primo search Counsell, C. and L.Wolf (Eds) (2001) Performance Analysis: An Introductory Coursebook Routledge 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 Helbo, A. (1991) Approaching Theatre Indiana University Press Primo search Hornby, R. (1996) Script into Performance: A Structuralist Approach Applause Books Primo search Knowles, R. (2004) Reading the Material Theatre Cambridge University Press Primo search McAuley (1999) Space in Performance: Making Meaning in Theatre University of Michigan Press Primo search Pavis, P. (2003) Analyzing Performance: Theatre, Dance and Film Primo search Reinelt, J. and J. Roach (eds) (1992) Critical Theory and Performance University of Michigan Press Primo search Rozik, E. (2008) Generating Theatre Meaning: A Theory and Methodology of Performance Analysis Sussex Academic Press Primo search Sauter, W. (2000) The Theatrical Event: Dynamics of Performance and Perception University of Iowa Press Primo search States, B. (1985) Great Reckonings in Little Rooms: On the Phenomenology of Theater University of California Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6