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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PECI2704 Interpreting Theatre and Performance Histories

20 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Dr Kara McKechnie

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores intersections between the arts and theatre, from the emergence of modernism to the present. Weekly sessions will examine innovations in performance, theatre, design, dance and live art, including the influences of philosophical, social and technological developments during this period. A programme of readings, lectures and seminars will highlight the work of selected practitioners acknowledged for their contribution to the radical reinterpretations of the 20th and 21st centuries.Teaching will be structured to allow for close study of particular reactions to and departures from early Naturalism and Realism in the late 19th Century and the key artistic movements within which these reactions were given expression in the 20th and 21st Centuries, (e.g. Symbolism, Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, Theatre of the Absurd, Epic Theatre, Happenings, Live Art, Post-dramatic performance, etc.)


On completion of this module, students should be able to ...
- identify a selected range of innovative theories, issues, debates and ideas with modern and postmodern performance, and describe their
relationship to relevant examples of practice;

- locate the work of key performance practitioners within specific historical, political, social and cultural contexts;

- differentiate between key concepts of C20th and C21st performance (e.g. naturalism, expressionism, modernism, postmodernism, post-dramatic) and apply them to an analysis of the work of selected
practitioners and theorists and their cultural and historical contexts;

- use appropriate critical vocabulary for addressing the relationship between theory and practice in the works of key innovators in modern and postmodern performance and demonstrating an understanding of the processes by which specific performances are created and realized;

- develop appropriate research methods and forms of presentation for investigating in detail the work(s) of key performance practitioners and/or artistic movements covered during the module;

Learning outcomes
Knowledge of:
- Key theories, issues, debates and concepts in relation to modern and postmodern and contemporary performance practice.
- The historical, political and cultural contexts of these theories and practices.
- How to apply these theories in the analysis of the work of selected practitioners and theorists.
- Appropriate critical vocabulary for relating theory and practice


Weekly 1-hour lectures introduce key aspects and movements in performance history from the emergence and rejection of naturalism at the end of the nineteenth century to contemporary practice. 2 hour practical workshop/seminar sessions will typically focus on the detailed exploration of key movements and/or practitioners through examining excerpts from selected key play texts and artistic manifestos.
Selected texts and/or works will be closely examined within the appropriate historical, political and cultural contexts of their production through discussions and presentations arising from an agreed
schedule of individual reading and research.
Workshop sessions allow for practical exploration of central issues and questions.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment16.006.00
Independent online learning hours24.00
Private study hours140.00
Total Contact hours36.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

This module requires students to read materials (including play texts) from the late 19th century to the present day - 60 hours. This is supplemented by an engagement with a rich array of resources (academic writings, film clips, resource folders, etc.) in the Module area on the VLE – 24 hours. Private study will involve researching specific areas and working in small groups for the presentation – 40 hours, and preparing for the written submission for assessment for this module – 40 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Participation in and contribution to weekly seminar-workshop sessions and exercises
- Monitoring of Group Seminar Presentations.
- Formative group feedback/discussion on achievement in group presentation.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2500-3000 words60.00
Group Project15 minute presentation40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Alternative assessment will take the form of a written submission 3500 words.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 13:18:26


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