School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies
TH321 Theatre of the 'New' Europe
The module set out to explore a wide range of theatrical representations originating from different parts of Europe, which address the changing cultures of Europe in the post-1989 era. What is at stake in this “new” Europe touches upon many pressing cultural and political concerns. Specifically, the module aims to engage with the following issues: How does theatre articulate Europe’s new sociocultural space, shaped and negotiated by the experiences of displacement, diaspora, exile as well as by the EU expansion and the shifting contours of the Schengen territories? How does performance address the complex issues of nationalism, fears about national security, borders and social justice as they pertain to the spectres of Eurocentrism? How do performance practices and perspectives represent/negotiate the process and the dynamic of integration and assimilation (of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers) and their counterparts, alienation and disintegration? What are the ways in which performance takes part in the current debates in Europe concerning secularism, Republican ideals, Islam, and European identity? How does performance address the cultural and emotional losses of our past, and how can it be productive for history, memory, and politics? We shall also explore aspects of European cultural policy as well as some popular expressions of “Europeannes” such as the Eurovision song contest and its historical function as a mode of unity despite ethno-national diversity, and cosmopolitan stages of European theatre festivals. We will address these and related issues via a broad constellation of recent European plays, performances, and visual art references as well as writings on politics and culture.
By the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary European theatrical practice in the light of cultural, political, historical, and philosophical issues across Europe in both historical and contemporary context, by way of making use of interpretative frameworks introduced or extended in the module. They should also be able to demonstrate an enlarged appreciation of the distinctiveness of European cultural contexts but also areas of commonality, as well as current political challenges facing Europe internationally. Furthermore, students should come away from this seminar with a new set of conceptual models and analytic tools to make use of in thinking about this complex and rich body of art.
Students will achieve these learning outcomes through close reading of primary and secondary material, seminar discussions based around prescribed texts and seminar papers on specific topics. In addition to film screening, performance recordings will be used to illustrate the theatrical dimensions of the plays. Weekly preparation prior to each seminar, based on set readings, will be crucial
Fri 1400-1600 (G51)
Assessment [50% examined]
10% Assessed Seminar Presentation
50% Written Exam 3 hours