Module UXB-1120:
Theatre Making

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Branwen Davies

Overall aims and purpose

The Theatre and Performance: introduction module allows students to encounter and focus practically on some of the key elements and perspectives which contribute to the process of creating and viewing a performance. From a given starting point (which will be a variety of performance texts) students will explore different aspects of the given material and its contexts, its challenges, and potential for performance. Depending on the text being used, this may involve historical, biographical and other appropriate contextual reading - including, where appropriate, production history, critical reception, and other performance works. The aim of this module is to teach students how to analyse texts from different dramatic traditions.. Students will be expected to explore by means of written presentations and practical workshops the performance styles demanded by these differing texts. They will also be expected to relate this experience to live theatre performance. Students may also explore the performance material from the perspective of performers, designers, directors, technicians and others, analysing the specific demands, opportunities and difficulties raised by the performance texts, and considering the different ways of approaching them.

Course content

What is performance? What are all the elements involved in a performance? The historical and cultural legacy of selected theatre traditions. How selected theatre traditions challenged and enhanced the notion of performance and the theatre.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

D

  • Knowledge of key areas/principles only
  • Weaknesses in understanding of main areas
  • Limited evidence of background study
  • Performance or written response only poorly focussed on question and with some irrelevant material and poor structure
  • Arguments presented but lack coherence
  • Several factual/computational errors/unconvincing performance
  • No original interpretation
  • Only major links between topics are described
  • Weak group skills
  • Many weaknesses in presentation/performance and accuracy

good

C

  • Knowledge of key areas/principles
  • Understands main areas
  • Limited evidence of background study
  • Written or performance response focussed on assignment but also with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure
  • Arguments presented but lack coherence
  • Has several factual/computational errors/mostly unconvincing performance
  • No original interpretation
  • Only major links between topics are described
  • Limited problem solving/satisfactory team work
  • Some weaknesses in presentation/performance and accuracy

B

  • Strong knowledge
  • Understands most but not all
  • Evidence of background study
  • Focussed written or performance response with good structure
  • Arguments presented coherently
  • Mostly free of factual and computational errors/mostly convincing performance
  • Some limited original interpretation
  • Well known links between topics are described
  • Good group skills
  • Good presentation/performance with accurate communication

excellent

A

  • Comprehensive knowledge
  • Detailed understanding
  • Extensive background study
  • Highly focussed and well structured written or performance response
  • Logically presented and defended arguments
  • No factual/computational errors/committed and convincing performance
  • Original interpretation
  • New links between topics are developed
  • Strong group skills
  • Excellent presentation/performance with very accurate communication

Learning outcomes

  1. Ability to function effectively as a member of a collaborative team in a creative process

  2. Demonstrate an ability to read and critically interpret relevant background material and to analyse dramatic texts

  3. Display skills in making performance outcomes, such as directing, acting, producing, etc.

  4. Demonstrate a critical awareness of current discussions and debates in the field of theatre and performance and be familiar with the work of a number of innovative movements and practitioners.

  5. Show awareness of the interplay between theory and practice within the area of performance studies and of conceptual and creative processes that underpin the understanding and realization of performance

  6. Describe, interpret and evaluate performance across a range of occurrences and sites.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Group Performance Piece 40
Performance Review 20
Critical Essay 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Students must undertake substantial work outside the taught sessions. This includes group work on the performance assignment, reading and other research activities, essay and critical review writing and performance visits.

167
Seminar

Seminars: these will last 1 hour during the first 6 weeks and will range between staff presentations, student presentations and discussions of readings undertaken.

6
Practical classes and workshops

Practical theatre workshops: In the first 6 weeks these will last 2 hours; in the final 5 weeks they will last 3 hours to assist the preparation of performance assessment work under the supervision and guidance of the lecturer.

27

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • An understanding of creative and critical processes, and of the wide range of skills inherent in creative writing. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.1).
  • Artistic engagement and ability to articulate complex ideas in oral and written forms. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Ability to connect creative and critical ideas between and among forms, techniques and types of creative and critical praxis. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Reflective practitioner skills, including awareness of the practice of others in collaborative learning (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • The ability to synthesize information from various sources, choosing and applying appropriate concepts and methods (English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Ability to formulate and solve problems, anticipate and accommodate change, and work within contexts of ambiguity, uncertainty and unfamiliarity (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Ability to engage in processes of drafting and redrafting texts to achieve clarity of expression and an appropriate style. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3; NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Information technology (IT) skills broadly understood and the ability to access, work with and evaluate electronic resources (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).

Resources

Resource implications for students

Students are required to attend at least one live performance during this module so they should allocate approximately £15 to this activity. Where possible it is advised that the group make use of group discounts.

Reading list

Core Reading (11 items)
 Edgar, D. (2009) How Plays Work. London: Nick Hearn Books Graham S and Hoggett S. (2014) The Frantic Assembly book of devising theatre. Oxon: Routledge Lane D. (2010) Contemporary British drama. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Mermikedes A. and Smart J. (eds.) (2010) Devising in Process. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Pavis P. ‘Analysing Performance in Counsell C and Wolff L (eds) (2001) Performance Analysis: An Introductory coursebook. London: Routledge Schechner, R. (2013) Performance studies: an introduction. London: Routledge

Plays to be advised (a limited number of copies of each will be available to share from the department)

Recommended Reading Boal, A (2002) Games for actors and non-actors. New York: Routledge. Mitter, S and Shevtsova, M (2005) Fifty key theatre directors. London: Routledge Brook, P. (1990) The Empty Space. Middlesex: Penguin Books Braun, E. (1982) The director and the stage: from naturalism to Grotowski. London: Methuen. Merlin, B. (2014) The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit. London: Nick Hearn Books. Styan, J.L. (1975) Drama, stage and audience. London: Cambridge University Press. Wiles, D. (2003) A short history of Western performance space. New York: Cambridge University Press. Bradby D. (ed.) (2006) Theatre of movement and gesture/Jacques Lecoq. London: Routledge.

Wider Reading (7 items) Ainslie, S. (2010) Complicite: rehearsal notes: a visual essay of the unique working methods of the company. London: Complicite
 Govan, E, Nicholson, H. and Normington, K. (2007) Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices. London: Routledge Heddon, D. and Milling, J. (2006) Devising Performance: a critical history. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Lecoq J, Carasso, J-G, Lallias J-C and Bradby D. (2009) The moving body: teaching creative theatre. London: Methuen Drama Johnstone, K. (2007) Impro: improvisation and the theatre. London: Methuen Mitter, S. (1992) Systems of rehearsal: Stanislavsky, Brecht, Grotowski, and Brook. London: Routledge Pavis, P. (1996) Analyzing Performance: Theater, Dance, and Film. Michigan: University of Michigan Press Tufnell M and Crickmay C. (1993) Body, space, image: notes towards improvisation and performance. London: Dance Books

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: