Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Theatre in Context 2
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2000 Words  60%
Semester Assessment Individual Seminar Presentation  10 Minutes  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2000 Words  60%
Supplementary Assessment Individual Presentation  10 Minutes  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 contemporary theatre and performance practices.

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

3. Employ appropriate personal research strategies in the examination of theatre, performance and scenography and to realise this through academic presentation.

Brief description

This module offers a comprehensive introduction to the main artistic and analytical concerns in 20th century and contemporary theatre, performance and scenography. Through key readings and video viewings the module introduces students to key analytical concepts, foregrounding the physical/ visual aspects of contemporary theatre and performance and the live interaction with an audience. The emergence of new sites for performance, the development of increasingly interdisciplinary performance practices and the influence of popular culture and new media technologies on contemporary forms will also be discussed. Students will gain a sense of the variety of the work produced in this area and a critical vocabulary with which to address this work in order to apply these skills toward the analysis of live performance.


The aims of the proposed module are:
  • To introduce students to key concepts, key practitioners and major forms in 20th century and contemporary theatre and performance practice.
  • To develop working definitions of theatre and performance as both aesthetic practice and live event
  • To provide an introduction to theatre theory and aesthetics
  • 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, performance and scenography. The lectures adopt a fortnightly structure with the first lecture establishing specific historical contexts to be followed by a second lecture, which will explore the central ideas previously introduced in relation to a specific contemporary example. Lectures will be accompanied by a weekly two hour tutor-led seminar, which will help to deepen student's engagement with the critical vocabulary introduced in the lectures, and provide students with ways of applying this vocabulary to an analysis of live performance. There will be significant time spent on developing appropriate academic writing skills.

Indicative content:

Indicative lecture content

Weeks 1 and 2: Naturalism - The Three Sisters.
Wooster Group - Contemporary reincarnations of naturalist texts - Brace Up.

Weeks 3 and 4: Epic Theatre and The Postdramatic.
Case study: Forced Entertainment.

Weeks 5 and 6: Theatre of Cruelty.
Case studies: Brith Gof / Marina Ambramovic.

Weeks 7 and 8: The Scenographic.
Case studies: Appia, Craig and Robert Lepage.

Weeks 9 and 10: Experiments in Mediation: Performance, Liveness and Multimedia.
Ecologies of presence. Case study - Lone Twin.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number This element is not assessed.
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 See QAA Dance, Drama and Performance Subject Benchmark Statement (Version 2007). The following subject specific skills are developed and partly assessed: An understanding of: a. histories and theoretical explanations of forms and traditions of theatre, scenography and performance; b. historical and contemporary contexts of production, circulation and reception of theatre; c. key practitioners and practices, and/or theorists, which may include writers, actors, composers, critics, dancers, directors, choreographers, designers, and producers; d. cultural and/or historical contexts of such practitioners and practices; e traditional and contemporary critical perspectives on theatre, and of relevant theories, issues and debates relating to the subject; f. a range of key components of theatre within the disciplines: text, movement, aural and visual environment, the performer; and, g. significant sources and critical awareness of the main research methods used to collect and analyse data.
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.


This module is at CQFW Level 4