Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  30%
Semester Assessment Practical/Seminar presentation  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam (2 hours)    40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2 hour written exam. 2 x 2,500 word written assignments. Assessment of class contributions via presentations and seminar discussion  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

- To show an analytical understanding of a range of dramatic texts and production issues.

- To organize informed and original arguments reflecting research and independent thought in the subject area of the course.

- To demonstrate an intelligent awareness of current debates about the social purpose and ramifications of drama in the period under review.

- To co-operate as part of a group in presenting an argument in the analysis of course material.


To examine a selection of British and Irish drama texts, and to consider theatrical problems and consequences of previous and possible productions.

Brief description

This is a course of directed reading and weekly discussions, analyzing recent material which is purposefully challenging in both form and content, and is often imperfectly navigated by most of the existing literary criticism which ostensibly relates to it. Consequently, there is a strong emphasis on students developing original ideas about the specifically theatrical dimensions and demands of the texts under review.
Course issues are likely to recur in more than one session, but likely to include: successive dramatic bids to find language and images which interrogate conventional relationships between power, sexuality and morality; movements away from Naturalism and towards a New Expressionism; challenges posed to theatrical design, physical performance and audience comprehension; subversions of previous dramatic conventions and texts; the problems of staging violence; the role of humour; issues of national and sexual identity.


Provisional schedule of lectures:

Lecture 1: The Division of the Kingdom: Bond's Lear and Rudkin's The Sons of Light
Lecture 2: Power and the Body: Howard Barker's The Castle and Gertrude - The Cry
Lecture 3: Engendered Rage: Churchill's The Skriker and Wertenbaker's The Love of the Nightingale
Lecture 4: Urban Dystopias: Cartwright's I Liked a Slag's Deoderant and Hannan's Shining Souls
Lecture 5: Out of Control: Crimp's Attempts on Her Life and No One Sees the Video
Lecture 6: Split Subjects on the Edge: Kane's Crave and 4:48 Psychosis and Thomas's Stone City Blue
Lecture 7: Small Stories, Wider Resonances: Marber's Closer, Lichtenstein's The Pull of Negative Gravity
Session 8: 'It's incidents like this does put tourists off Ireland': Jones's Stones in his Pockets and A Night in November, McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Lecture 9: Flow or Fight: McPherson's Port Authority and O'Rowe's Howie the Rookie
Lecture 10: Last Ditch: Rabey's Lovefuries: plus conclusion and preparation for the exam

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication * Read in different contexts and for different purposes * Write for different purposes and audiences * Speak in different contexts and for different purposes (inc presentation and discussion) * Listen effectively. Oral Discussion/ Presentation Writing in an Academic Context Level 3 Critically review, consolidate and extend a systematic and coherent body of knowledge, utilising specialised skills across an area of study; critically evaluate new skills and exercise significant judgements on a range of situations; accept responsibility for determining and achieving personal and/or group outcomes.
Problem solving * Identify problems * Identify factors which might influence potential solutions * Develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving * Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions * Construct a rational proposal in response to a problem. Class discussion, written assignments and examination essays
Research skills * Understand a range of research methods * Plan and carry out research. Independent Project Work

Reading List

Essential Reading
Barker, Howard. (2006) Plays Two Oberon Primo search Bond, Edward (1972) Lear London: Methuen Primo search Cartwright, Jim (1996) I Licked a Slag's Deodorant Available from Dept. Office Primo search Cartwright, Jim (1990) Road London:Methuen Primo search Churchill, Caryl (1989) Cloud Nine London: NHB Primo search Churchill, Caryl (1994) The Striker London: NHB Primo search Hanan, Chris (2003) Shining Souls London:NHB Primo search Jones, Marie (2000) Stones in his Pockets and A Night in November London: NHB Primo search Kane, Sarah (2002) Complete Plays London: Methuen Primo search McPherson, Connor (2001) Port Authority London:NHB Primo search O'Rowe, Mark (1999) Howie the Rookie London: NHB Primo search Rudkin, David The Sons of Light - available from Dept. Office Primo search Thomas, Ed (2004) Stone City Blue London: Methuen Primo search Wertenbaker, Timberlake (1996) The Love of a Nightingale in Plays: 1 London: Faber Primo search
Recommended Background
Barker, Howard (1997) Arguments for a Theatre (3rd ed.) London: Calder Primo search Barker, Howard (2005) Death, the One and the Art of Theatre London:Routledge Primo search Davies, Hazel Walford (ed) (1998) State of Play: 4 Playwrights of Wales Llandysul: Gomer Primo search Demastes, W. W. (ed) (1996) British Playwrights 1956-1995 Westport: Greenwood Primo search Rabey, David Ian (1997) David Rudkin: Sacred Disobedience Amsterdam: Harwood Primo search Rabey, David Ian (2003) English Drama Since 1940 London: Longman Primo search Rabey, David Ian (1989) Howard Barker: Politics and Desire Basingstoke: Macmillan Primo search Saunders, Graham (2002) Love Me or Kill Me: Sarah Kane and the Theatre of Extremes Manchester: Manchester UP Primo search Sierz, Alex (2000) In-Yer-Face Theatre London:Faber Primo search (2006.) Theatre of catastrophe :new essays on Howard Barker /edited by Karoline Gritzner and David Ian Rabey. Oberon Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6