Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Documenting Performance
Academic Year
Semester 2
Successful completion of Part 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1. Essay (2,000 words)  40%
Semester Assessment 2. Performance Documentation  (equivalent to 3,000 words, including 1,000 words of critical evaluation)  60%
Supplementary Assessment Students who fail Assessment 1 will be set a different question for their essay.  40%
Supplementary Assessment Students who fail Assessment 2 will have to choose a different performance to document for their resubmission.  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of existing approaches to preformance documentation.

2. Utilise a range of analytical skills necessary for research into, and investigation of, documentation and its role within the fields of theatre and performance.

3. Apply appropriate skills for the task of designing and executing their own performance documentation.

4. Make informed judgements regarding the relationship of the live event to the performance document.

Brief description

Theatre and performance practice have always used different means to record and document the fleeting moment of performance: from painting, drawing and writing, to photography, film and video, to the recent application of digital media. These documents are often the only thing left when the performance itself has vanished, and they become important tools for marketing, for scholarship, for education and for the creative process of the artist. As a result, the role that documentation plays for how we understand performance and the implications that different approaches to documentation may have on this understanding are widely debated. Increasingly, performance makers also use documentation as a creative means to reach a secondary audience for their work.

This module aims to provide you with a critical awareness of and skills in the documentation of performance which are a valuable preparation for your move into professional practice or further academic work after graduation. The module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the field of performance documentation, focusing on important debates and practices in this field. It will examine a range of different models for documentation and critically evaluate how they relate to the event of performance. You will be encouraged to see performance documentation as a creative practice that develops along different lines depending on the nature of the work to be documented. In addition to the research and examination of different approaches to documentation you will develop your own piece of performance documentation - either documenting one of your own performances, or that of another maker.


The module aims to:

  • give a comprehensive introduction to important debates in the field of performance documentation
  • introduce students to a range of existing approaches to documenting performance, from the use of photography to the application of digital media
  • develop student's critical tools in examining and critically evaluating different approaches to recording and documenting performance
  • improve student's practical skills for the task of recording and documenting performance work
  • encourage students to document and present work undertaken during their university career in preparation for their move into the professional world or further study


1. An introduction to forms of performance documentation

2. The document I: as photograph

3. The document II: as mediated object (video, film, sound recording)

4. The document III: as mediated object 2 (digital media)

5. The document IV: as text

6. Critical genres: opinion, review, criticism

7. Techniques of mapping and notation

8. Archiving Performance

9. The document V: as lecture or second-order performance (performance about performance), installation or exhibition

10. Documentation in Practice

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication The ability to cummunicate ideas effectively in written form is assessed directly through Assessment 1 and 2. Oral communication is developed through seminar work.
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 Assessments 1 and 2.
Information Technology The ability to utilize information technolgy both in the research for and delivery of assignments is assessed directly in Assessments 1 and 2.
Personal Development and Career planning Transferable skills (managing personal workloads ans meeting deadlines, designing and realising assessment project) are devloped through the completion of assessment tasks 1 and 2. Assessment task 2 provides students with an awareness of and skills in the documentation of performance work, which are regarded as being valuable preparation for their move into professional practice or further academic study after graduation.
Problem solving Analytical problem solving, outcome recognition and the identification of appropriate strategies and procedures are encouraged and assessed.
Research skills Appropriate personal research and the development of effective personal research practices are directly assessed through Assessments 1 and 2.
Subject Specific Skills See QAA Dance, Drama and Performance Subject Benchmark Statement (Version 2007). The following subject specific skills are developed and partly assessed: *describing, theorising, interpreting and evaluating performance texts and performance events from a range of critical perspectives *creating original work using the skills and crafts of performance making *developing skills of observation and visual, aural and spatial awareness *considering theories of spectatorship and developing an awareness of the audience or client group for performance and an ability to respond and adapt to it through flexible means * achieving expertise in the use of various technical apparatus necessary to realize the demands of production in live performance and/or recorded media *using new technologies such as computer aided design, television and sound editing, sampling and composition, and digital and media arts *engaging in research, whether independent, group or performance-based
Team work Seminar discussions demand the application of skills necessary to conduct collaborative activity, such as negotiating ideas and opinions.


This module is at CQFW Level 6