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EN9A7 Drama and Performance Theory

street theatre montreal theatre

The aim of this module is to introduce students to drama and performance theory, by giving them the opportunity to explore and discuss some of the methodologies, debates and conceptual approaches to drama and performance, both current and historical. It will encourage students to consider these methodologies when reading primary material, and to this end five key primary texts are allotted for the module which will encourage dialectical consideration of theory and practice. There will normally be a tie-in theatre trip late in the course.

There will be one 2 hour seminar/workshop per week in the Autumn term, and the module will be assessed by a 6,000 word essay (or 8,000 if taken as a 36-CATS course). Most classes will be on Monday late afternoon this year, but because of theatre trips (Thursdays) and staff availability, we will negotiate the final timetable in week 1.

This is now updated for 2022-3. QUERIES TO t dot grant at warwick dot ac dot uk

Please read all the primary texts before the start of term (or as many as you can). We will be assuming familiarity with them from week 1.

The plays you will need to acquire and read for 2022-23 are:

Euripides, The Bacchae (trans. David Greig)

Marlowe, Dr Faustus (ideally the parallel A and B texts, ed. Bevington and Rasmussen, but the link will take you to the online Gill edition which has the additions in an appendix)

Centlivre, A Bold Stroke for a Wife (ed. Hughes)

W. S. Gilbert, Great Expectations (pdf script link but trying to sort permissions for Jim Davis' better edition)

Sarah Kane, Cleansed (probably best to buy this if you can)

John McGrath, The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (ed. MacDonald) (probably best to buy this if you can)

Class timetable

Week 1: Making Sense of the Stage / Introduction (Tess Grant) NB the reading for this week will be the introduction from Gerould (see below) and Freshwater's Theatre & Audience.

Week 2: Theatre and Trauma (Anna Harpin)

Week 3: Theatre and History (Matt Franks)

Week 4: Theatre as Structure: Tragedy (Tess Grant)

Week 5: Theatre as Structure: Comedy (Tess Grant)

Week 6: Adaptation? (Jim Davis). Trip to Pantaloons Great Expectations at Leamington Thursday 10th November.

Week 7: Theatre and Archive (Matt Franks) - at the MODERN RECORDS CENTRE

Week 8: Spectatorship (Tess Grant)

Week 9: Theatre in Context: Pantomine (Jim Davis) followed by a trip to see Jack and the Beanstalk at the Belgrade (on Thursday 1st December)

Week 10: 'Popular' Theatre (Tess Grant)


The reading for each week will be advertised on the course Moodle; typically, we will be discussing one play or performance in relation to a number of theoretical texts.

You will be provided with digital copies of most of the theoretical texts. However, you will need your own copies of the following:

Gerould, Daniel (2000) [ed.] Theatre/Theory/Theatre: the Major Critical Texts, New York: Applause Books. This is a key textbook for the module and will form the basis of multiple weeks' reading.

Freshwater, Helen (2009) Theatre and Audience, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.