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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PECI2713 Performer Training in the C20th and C21st

20 creditsClass Size: 22

Module manager: Prof. Jonathan Pitches

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Module replaces

PECI 2506

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is aimed at promoting an in-depth understanding of various performer training systems and methodologies. It concentrates on the last and this century as this is the key period during which acting and performing became theorised and systematised.The module is interested in examining how training is passed on and what factors play a part in this transmission. It will outline in detail how training systems work and will debate the extent to which they adapt to specific cultural contexts and pressures.


On completion of this module, students should be able to ...
widen understanding of the genesis and development of actor training methodologies in the 20th and 21st centuries
- examine the mechanics of tradition-making in performance
- outline the political contexts surrounding training and transmission systems
- develop appropriate research methods for the scrutiny of training.

Learning outcomes
demonstrate a broadened knowledge of 20th and 21st century performer training regimes
- apply appropriate historical, analytical, critical and comparative methodologies to the articulation and development of arguments concerning training
- understand the relationships between training and performance and/or production

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

demonstrate the development of research, essay-writing and oral presentational skills;

display independence of thought, self-motivation and initiative;

manage personal workloads and meet strict deadlines;

demonstrate information retrieval skills, including the ability to gather, sift, synthesise and organise material independently and critically evaluate its significance


The following is an indicative week-week syllabus, focusing on Russian training systems and their relationship to Britain, and the US:
Week 1: Introduction: the languages of performer training
Week 2: Komissarzhevsky and the Barnes Theatre, West London
Week 3: Stanislavsky's passage into the British theatre
Week 4: Michael Chekhov: the Dartington Studio
Week 5: Meyerhold's Biomechanics and its evolution in Britain
Week 6: Training Reflections and Group Presentations
Week 7: Maria Knebel: Conduit or Practitioner?
Week 8: Joan Littlewood's 'European' Training
Week 9: Strasberg, Adler and Meisner: Training in the US
Week 10: The Northern Stage ensemble and Lev Dodin
Week 11: Conclusions: Declan Donellan's Target and Cheek by Jowl.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment13.003.00
Independent online learning hours33.00
Private study hours134.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- 1 hour evaluation of notes per lecture-seminar: 11 hours
- 6 hours reading, watching, listening and practising per lecture-seminar: 66hours
- Essay writing: 32 hours
- Seminar presentation preparation: 25 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Usual attendance monitoring per class
- Contribution to weekly seminars
- Achievement in oral presentations. (In week 6 of the module (S2)

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 - 4500 words70.00
PresentationVerbal (30 mins) Group Presentation30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Alternative assessment is set according to individual circumstances and approved by Exams Tutor and Pro-Dean for Student Education

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:43:25


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