Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Studying Theatre 1
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 1 hr lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2 hr seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1] Critical Portfolio (equivalent of 2,250 words total)  The portfolio will comprise of 2 critical assignments of 750 words each  40%
Semester Assessment 2] Seminar contribution  Each student will be required to complete a small group seminar presentation. (max 750 words)  20%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   [3] Seen-paper exam (2hr)  [Students will have to prepare an essay based on a question chosen from a list given a week prior to the exam]  40%
Supplementary Assessment Assessments 1 and 3 may be resubmitted.  1] Critical Portfolio (equivalent of 2,250 words total). The portfolio will comprise of 2 critical assignments of 750 words each  40%
Supplementary Exam 7 Hours   Individual Presentation (6 minutes)  Failure of Assessment 2 would necessitate the following supplementary assessment: Individual Presentation (6 minutes)   20%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   [3] Seen-paper exam (2hr)  [Students will have to prepare an essay based on a question chosen from a list given a week prior to the exam]  40%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an appropriate understanding of key theoretical frameworks and methodologies relevant to the analysis of historical and contemporary theatre and performance practices.

2. Describe, interpret and evaluate a range of theatre and performance texts, practices and forms.

3. Demonstrate an appropriate ability to analyse theatrical performance as a live event within a variety of stylistic conventions and genres.

Brief description

This module offers a comprehensive introduction to major periods of theatre history focusing on contemporary theatre and its pre-20th century historical contexts. Topics will be structured on a fortnightly basis exploring the 'old' and the 'new'. The first week will explore a 'historical' instance of theatre and the second week will explore its contemporary legacy while also problematising their relationship. The module will equip students with key analytical concepts of drama, character, the body, space and time. It will also provide them with an introduction to the analysis of live theatre/performance events.


Studying Theatre 1 will form a core component of the Department's revised Part 1 provision. It will provide all Part 1 students across the Drama, Theatre and Performance and Scenography and Theatre Design degree schemes with a common introduction to key concepts in the study of contemporary theatre and performance as well as focusing on core academic reading, research and writing skills. Together with Studying Theatre 2 this module will enable Part 1 students to develop a firmer understanding of the interrelated nature of study in Drama, Theatre, Performance and Scenography.
The aims of the proposed module are:

  • To introduce students to key concepts, key practitioners and major historical forms in theatre, drama and performance practice.
  • To provide an introduction to theatre theory and aesthetics
  • To introduce working definitions of theatre and performance as both aesthetic practice and live event
  • To introduce methodological approaches to the analysis of live performance and their application.


The module offers a series of lectures on major forms, genres, histories and theories of theatre and performance. Topics covered in the module will be structured on a fortnight basis. The lectures will be accompanied by tutor-led seminars that will help to deepen students' engagement with the critical vocabulary and theories introduced in the lectures and provide students with ways of applying these to an analysis of live performance.
Indicative lecture content:

  • Definitions of 'theatre', 'drama' and 'performance'
  • Greek Tragedy (Oedipus Rex)
  • Contemporary adaptations of Greek tragedy
  • Medieval theatre (The Chester Mystery Plays, Castle of Perseverance)
  • Contemporary instances of the Medieval (Mistero Buffo),
  • Shakespeare's Hamlet and the birth of the modern subject.
  • Architectures of Hamlet (Heiner Muller, Robert Lepage)
  • Neo-classicism (Racine, Moliere)
  • Contemporary manifestations of the neo-classical (Kane, Wertenbaker, van Hove)
  • Studying the historical and the contemporary

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication The ability to communicate ideas effectively is developed in the seminars and assessed directly through Assessment 1 and 2.
Improving own Learning and Performance Self-regulation, motivation and time-management skills are developed through the module and are demanded for the successful completion of its assignments. These skills are directly assessed through Assessment 3.
Information Technology The ability to utilize information technology both in the research for and delivery of written assignments is assessed directly in Assessments 1 and 2.
Personal Development and Career planning Transferable skills (managing personal workloads and meeting deadlines, designing and realizing research project) are developed through the completion of assessment tasks. Career’s awareness does not of itself constitute an assessed element of this module, however.
Problem solving Analytical problem solving, outcome recognition and the identification of appropriate strategies and procedures are encouraged and assessed across the duration of the module.
Research skills Appropriate personal research and the development of effective personal research practices are directly assessed through Assessments 1 and 2.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Effective group work through negotiating ideas and opinions is addressed through the seminars. Seminar discussions demand the application of skills necessary to conduct collaborative activity. These skills are directly assessed through Assessment 3.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Balme, Christopher (2008) The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies Cambridge University Press Primo search Fischer-Lichte, Erika (2004) History of European Drama and Theatre Routledge Primo search Pavis, Patrice (2003) Analyzing Performance: Theatre, Dance and Film. Transl. David Williams University of Michigan Press Primo search Schechner, Richard (2002) Performance Studies: An Introduction Routledge Primo search Worthen, W.B. (ed.) (2004) The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama 4th edn. Wadsworh CENGAGE Learning Primo search Zarilli, Phillip B. (2006) Theatre Histories Routledge Primo search
Supplementary Text
Belsey, C. (1985) The Subject of Tragedy Routledge Primo search Carlson, Marvin (1984) Theories of Theatre: A Historical Survey from the Greeks to the Present Cornell University Press Primo search Fischer-Lichte, Erika (1997) The Show and the Gaze of Theatre: a European Perspective University of Iowa Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4