Module Identifier PF10120  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Heike Roms  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Other staff Professor Mike Pearson  
Co-Requisite PF10320 and PF10420; or SG10320 and SG10420; or DR10210 and DR10220  
Course delivery Lecture   10 x 1 hours  
  Seminars / Tutorials   5 x 1 hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Critical commentary (1,000 words)  20%
Semester Assessment Seminar contribution  20%
Semester Assessment Portfolio (total 3,000 words) Comprising of 1. Research project (1,500 words) and 2. Critical evaluation (1,500 words)60%

Learning outcomes

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

  1. describe, interpret and evaluate a diverse range of contemporary performance texts, practices and forms
  2. demonstrate an appropriate ability to analyse the structure and staging of performance as a live event within a variety of stylistic conventions and genres
  3. demonstrate an appropriate understanding of key theoretical frameworks and methodologies relevant to the analysis of contemporary performance practices
  4. employ appropriate personal research strategies in the examination of contemporary performance practice and to realise this through academic presentation

Brief description

This module offers a comprehensive introduction to the major artists and the main artistic and analytical concerns in contemporary performance. Through key readings and extensive video viewings the module explores how new forms of performance have questioned conventional theatrical treatments of narrative, character, the body, space and time in order to foreground the physical/ visual aspects of 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 an analysis of live performance.


The module offers a series of lectures on major forms, genres, histories and theories of performance practice in the late 20th and 21st century, incorporating a series of extensive video viewings of key performances. The lectures will be accompanied by tutor-led seminars, 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.

Lectures will cover, among other aspects:

1. Definitions of 'performance' and its relationship to theatre and drama
2. An introduction to performance analysis
3. 'Postdramatic' performance since the 1960s
4. Character: From acting to performance
5. Body: The development of physical theatre
6. Audiences: Voluntary or involuntary
7. Space: stage versus 'site'
8. Time: Performance as a 'real-time' event
9. Media: Performance, liveness and multimedia
10. Text: New forms of writing for performance

Module Skills

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.  
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.  
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.  
Information Technology 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.  
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.  

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Barba, Eugenio and Savarese, Nicola (1997) From acting to performance - Essays in Modernism and Pstmodernism London/New York: Routledge
Carlson, Marvin (2003) Performance: A Critical Introduction Routledge
Childs, Nicky and Jeni Walwin (eds) (1998) A split second of paradise: live art, installation and performance London;New York: Rivers Oram Press
Counsell, Colin (1996) Signs of performance: an introduction to twentieth-century theatre Routledge
Counsell, Colin (ed.) (2001) Performance analysis: an introductory coursebook Routledge
Drain, Richard (1995) Twentieth-century theatre: a sourcebook Routledge
Fischer-Lichte, Erika (1997) The show and the gaze of theatre: a European perspective University of Iowa Press
Huxley, Michael & Witts, Noel (eds) (1996) The Twentieth Century Performance Reader Routledge
Kaye, Nick (2000) Site-specific art: performance, place and documentation Routledge
Pavis, Patrice (2003) Analyzing performance: Theatre, Dance and Film University of Michigan Press
Schechner, Richard (2002) Performance Studies - An Introduction Routledge
Auslander, Philip (1997.) From acting to performance :essays in modernism and postmodernism /Philip Auslander. 0415157870


This module is at CQFW Level 4