Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Further Details:

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  7,500 words  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

*demonstrate a thorough critical awareness of the current debate regarding human consciousness;

*master the terminology associated with the debate;

*relate essential aspects of theatre to ideas and concepts of the consciousness debate;

* develop their own programs and projects of practical theatre making use of concepts encountered throughout the module.


  • To provide students with a general survey of the current consciousness debate;
  • To develop a critical methodology in dealing with key issues of the debate;
  • To relate insights from this general survey to major aspects of theatre: the actor'r emotional involvement, realism and naturalism, postmodern trends in theatre, physical theatre, improvisation and body memory;


Research into human consciousness has yielded a fascinating framework for understanding the workings of the human mind. Many issues are discussed quite controversially, and a unified understanding of consciousness has not yet emerged. However, the progress in the debate is such that it allows a reassessment of key aspects that have been dealt with in traditional interpretation of literary and theatre texts. The module Introduction to Theatre and Consciousness will discuss a number of approaches that make use of traditional and more recent developments in the understanding of the human mind as relevant to the writing of drama, the concept of theatre, its position in history, and interpretations of the dramatic text.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Malekin, Peter and Ralph Yarrow (1997) Consciousness, Literature and Theatre: Theory and Beyond London/New York: Macmillan/St.Martin's Press Primo search Shear, Jonathan (Ed) (1997) Explaining Consciousness: The Hard Problem Massachusetts, England: MIT Press Primo search
Recommended Text
Bates, Brian (1986) The Way of the Actor. A New Path to Personal Knowledge and Power London: Century Primo search Charles N. Alexander and Ellen J. Langer (Eds) (1990) Higher Stages of Human Development. Perspectives on Human Ground New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press Primo search Forman, R (Ed) (1990) The Problem of Pure Consciousness. Mysticism and Philosophy New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press Primo search Jephcott, EFN (1972) Proust and Rilke. The Literature of Expanded Consciousness London: Chatto and Windus Primo search Meyer-Dinkgrafe, Daniel (1996) Consciousness and the Actor. A Reassessment of Western and Indian Approaches to the Actor's Emotional Involvement from the Perspective of Vedic Psychology Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang Primo search Roach, Joseph R (1985) The Player's Passion. Studies in the Science of Acting. Newark: University of Delaware Press Primo search Yarrow, Ralph (1987) 'Neutral' consciousness in the experience of theatre' Mosaic 19:3 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7