Title: Theatre in the Community
Term: Full Year
Convenor: Saul Hewish
Classes: Friday 0900-1300 G53
Assessment: 25% - Practical Examination 1, 50% - Practical Examination 2, 25% - Critical Review
Theatre in the Community provides students with a grounding in the contexts, objectives and strategies of drama and theatre in community settings. In particular there is a special emphasis on work in criminal justice and social agency settings that draws on the extensive practical experience of the module tutor. Students will develop skills in workshop planning, facilitation, behaviour management, and devising for specific contexts. The module also includes an opportunity for students to research a range of professional community theatre organisations as well understanding how political and social policies have informed such work. The module examines the relationship between ‘process’ and ‘product’, the ethics of participatory practice, and offers strategies to help with creating projects that are honest and have integrity. The work in terms 1 & 2 is designed to help prepare students for a major practical project which takes place during term 3 under supervision. Within this participants will work in small groups to plan, devise and present a performance and workshop to a prison audience* Responsibility for the content of the practical project lies with the students although you will receive support throughout the devising process.
Term: Full Year
Year: 2nd & 3rd
Convenor: Caroline Griffin
Classes: Wednesday 1100-1300 G56
Assessment: 25% - Essay (2500 words), 25% - Assessed Seminar Pres., 50% - Essay (5000 words)
This module will provide an overview of the theory and practice of strategic marketing and audience development for the arts, with a special emphasis on practical application. Over the course of the module we will look at general marketing theory, the use of market intelligence and data and the special challenges of marketing creative products. There will be an emphasis on exploring the concept of audience development as it is understood in the arts. We will also look at different organisational approaches to being audience focused, and associated implications for programming, resource management, internal communications and business planning. Other specific areas to be covered will include creating marketing materials, using social media, budgeting and evaluating marketing activity.
The taught section of the module breaks into 3 main sections:
an overview of the application of marketing techniques in the arts and evidence-led marketingexploration of marketing as a strategic management toolpractical application of marketing tools in practice.
Through the course we will also look at associated areas such as how the arts are funded and how that affects audience engagement, the role of marketing and marketers in organisations and basic consultancy skills. In each session we will consider how the topics under discussion work in practice, with a particular emphasis on preparing for the placement project that forms the basis for the final written assessment. To bring the subject to life we will be using live case-studies, industry resources and presentations from industry professionals.
After the taught portion of the course, students will be required to work on a marketing or audience development project within an arts organisation. A written assignment of the project will comprise 50% of the overall mark.
Through the course, students will be expected to develop a full understanding of the following:
1) the concepts of marketing and audience development and their application in arts organisations
2) practical tools of theatre marketing and the processes of strategic development, tactical planning and evaluation
3) the nature of arts audiences in the subsidised and commercial theatre sectors, and techniques for gathering and using information on consumer behaviour, economic trends and the funded environment
4) the relationships between the needs of the market and artistic provision, within the framework of an arts organisation.
Title: Writing for Theatre and Performance
Term: Full Year
Convenor: Silvija Jestrovic
Classes: Friday 1430-1730 G53
Assessment: 20% - Practical Assesment, 30% - Practice-based Portfolio 1, 30% - Practice-based Portfolio 2, 20% - Critical Review
The goal of this module is to introduce students to different dramaturgical approaches and creative processes embodied in a range of textual forms–from traditional dramatic writing to performance scenarios. The main purposes of the module are to enable students to develop their practical and creative skills in playwriting and also their critical skills in exploring the strategies and processes involved in their own work and that of notable practitioners.
Through a combination of writing workshops, critical seminars, and discussions students will be exposed both to traditional dramaturgical thinking rooted in cause and effect logic and to nonlinear writing based on principles of montage, association and intuition. Constituent elements of the dramatic text such as action, character, dialogue, space and ways in which they function within different dramatic structures will be explored simultaneously with more experimental and interdisciplinary approaches to playwriting rooted in visual art and popular culture. The relationship between the playwright and the context within which she/he writes will also be taken into account. The module aims to expose students to different techniques and strategies of the playwriting craft, while at the same time encouraging them to toy with “dramaturgical rules” in search for their individual voices as writers.
The module will assist students in: 1) producing a playwriting portfolio, that will include both short exercise pieces and the final project—a fully developed play or performance scenario; 2) examining critical concepts and practice in playwriting and performance writing; 3) understanding through practice and discussion the specific aspects involved in the creative process of writing for stage; 4) conceptualising the student’s own practice as writers in relation to other playwrights/ performance writers’ works, creative approaches, and within a wider socio-political context.
Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students will be able to: understand the specific nature of writing for theatre and performance and to demonstrate a practical and critical knowledge of playwriting and performance writing in terms of subject and medium, selection of material, dramaturgical techniques and strategies, genre and form, constituent aspects of dramatic text including structure, action, character, dialogue, and space, as well as knowledge of representative examples by notable playwrights/ performance writers.
Term: Full Year
Convenor: Tim White
Classes: Tuesday 1400-1800 Edit Suite and 1600-1800 G55
Assessment: Script (Group): 30%, Screening (Group) : 70%
The module draws on the practical skills of students and augments them with the competencies required to produce a video. Assessment is divided into a script that is developed over the first term and leads to the final video that is shown at the end of the Spring Term. Alongside a scriptwriting mentor, students will conceive and develop a video project that constitutes the final assessment.
The module is based in the department’s edit suite and includes instruction in use of camcorders and training in video editing using Adobe Premiere Pro. Instruction is also provided in audio editing, colour grading using Speedgrade and motion graphics and compositing using After Effects. Works have previously embraced stop-frame animation and multimedia installations and students are encouraged to engage creatively with the possibilities afforded by the moving image. This is an option choice that does demand considerable commitment beyond the allotted course hours. Please note that the video projects will be group works in order to acommodate as many students as is practicable.
Title: Mad, Bad and Sad: Madness and Cultural Representation
Term: Full Year
Convenor: Anna Harpin
Classes: Wednesday 1100-1300 G52
Assessment: 50% Presentation, 50% Essay
This module will examine artistic works that have sought to represent and communicate non-normative psychological experiences. Through close analysis of key plays, films, and texts we will interrogate the nature and limits of artistic representation. At stake within discussions of ‘madness’ and ‘mental illness’ are myriad questions about the nature of reality, the coding of social norms, and even what it means to be human and to have a (good?) life. The module will explore history and politics of psychiatry and mental health care alongside a broad range of cultural objects in order to better understand the meanings of madness. This course will be comprised of weekly seminars.
Title: Tragedy in Performance: Conventions | Discourses | Dramaturgies
Term: Autumn + Spring
Convenor: Andy Lavender
Classes: Monday 1300-1600 G53
Assessment: Seminar contributions (15%), Essay (3,500 words) (35%), Project-based assessment (50%)
Tragedy has helped to define theatre, performance and cultural expression for over two thousand years. How is this, and what does it mean to us today? Tragedy in Performance addresses these questions through seminar study and practical workshops in the first term (exploring significant plays, approaches and ideas), and the development and presentation of practice-based projects in the second (exploring contemporary dramaturgies for performance).
Title: Twentieth Century Irish Theatre
Convenor: Wallace McDowell
Classes: Tuesday 0930-1130 G56
Assessment: 40% - Portfolio (2 x 1000 words), 60% - Essay (3000 words)
TH226 Twentieth Century Irish Theatre The module will investigate:
• How ‘Irishness’ was depicted in a range of plays and performances in the 20th Century
• How the staging of Irish plays are affected by concepts such as landscape, memory, history and myth
• How the Irish theatre reflected the formation of an Irish nation and was used to both rehearse and critique Ireland after the English
• How Irish playwrights have used major historical events to reflect on contemporary events
• How Irish plays and performances have engaged with the wider international world
Title: Audio-Visual Avant-Gardes
Convenor: Michael Pigott
Classes: Monday 0900-1300 G55
Assessment: 50% - Essay (2500 words), 50% - 1.5 Hour Written Examination
This module explores the history of avant-garde film, video, sound, and installation work from the early twentieth century up to the present day. It will allow you to engage both conceptually and practically with a wide range of forms, movements and practices, and to explore the persistent currents of interaction and exchange between avant-garde and popular cultures. It will examine the contexts from which the term ‘Avant-garde’ emerges, and the ways in which the description has been employed in various periods and places, by considering it in relation to alternative descriptors such as: ‘underground’, ‘experimental’ and ‘subcultural’. The module operates as a broad survey that will help you to make connections amongst a variety of disparate movements and trends, from the 'high art' domain of 1920s avant-garde film to the popular eruptions of early 80s hip-hop, while also providing the opportunity for detailed analysis of a number of key works.
Title: Religion, Secularity, and Affect in the Modern World
Convenor: Milija Gluhovic
Classes: Tuesday 1130-1330 G56
Assessment: 10% - Assessed Seminar Presentation, 40% - Essay (2000 words), 50% - 1.5 Hour Written Examiniation
This inter-disciplinary course explores the ways in which theatre, performance and film intervene into debates about religion, secularity, and affect in the modern world. Even a cursory look at recent world events such as the storm over the sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church, the ire over the Danish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, the demolition of the Babri mosque in India by right-wing Hindu groups, the hijab (heardscarf) controversy in Europe, the protests within the Sikh community in Birmingham around Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s play Behzti (2004) exposes the fragility of claims of a secular public sphere. The increasing public contestations of the secular ideal mobilize passionate performances through claims and counter-claims that confirm the importance of religion in public life. Our increasingly globalized world has not rendered religion irrelevant but rather ever more powerful. How do we understand this seeming paradox? What do we mean by “secular”? How has the category of “secular” been historically constructed in opposition to religion? What role does religion play in the shaping of national identity? Why is our increasingly globalized world confronted with the concurrent rise in religious extremism? How are progressive sexual politics in Western democracies instrumentalised to discriminate against religious minorities? We will consider how a variety of artists and scholars tackle these questions.
By the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary theatrical practice in the light of cultural, political, historical, and philosophical debates on religion and secularity in the modern world. 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.
Title: Nineteenth-century Melodrama in Context
Convenor: Jim Davis
Classes: Tuesday 1200-1400 G56
Assessment: 60% - Essay, 20% - Assessed Seminar Presentation, 20% - Written Portfolio
Melodrama was one of the most popular forms of entertainment ever. Once dismissed as a meaningless example of mass culture, it has increasingly attracted critical attention in recent years. This course explores the genre, paying attention to the diversity of nineteenth-century melodrama, its changing role in society and its theatrical realization. Commencing with Gothic melodramas such as Frankenstein the module will also consider melodrama as a form of social protest, its representation of women, its increasing obsession with spectacle and its gradual absorption into film and television.
Title: Post-war British Theatre and Social Abjection
Convenor: Nadine Holdsworth
Classes: Tuesday 0930-1200 G56
Assessment: 40% - Project-based Assessment, 60% - Essay (3000 words)
This module will address the theatrical treatment of issues that have been at the heart of the British nation in the twenty-first century and subject to widespread public debate, media campaigns, political controversy and legislation: migration, Gypsies and Travellers, homelessness, riots and the north/south divide. As such, the module will address many of the pressing issues that are informing contemporary political debate about how the nation, national life and national citizenship are currently conceived, imagined and represented. The module will highlight the ways in which theatrical practice has contributed to national debate by creating alternatives to dominant narratives and images of 'social abjection' evident in political campaigns, media discourse and popular debate. The module will address a range of different theatrical contexts and forms from large-scale plays for major theatres, to smaller-scale community pieces that encompass various styles including musicals, dance theatre, verbatim and monologues.
Convenor: Susan Haedicke
Classes: Monday 1500-1800 G55
Assessment: Practice-based Portfolio: 40%, Project-based assessment : 60%
In this practice-based module, we will focus on two key tasks of the dramaturg: detailed play analysis and background research that help theatre practitioners answer questions of form, content, action, character, theme and context. We will experience what a dramaturg does primarily through creative practice using writing, research, art, and imagination as we develop diagrammatic scene breakdowns, image boards, rhythm analyses, and programme essays, and explore background research presented in written text, images, music, and more. We will work on various dramaturgical techniques in and out of class that will receive oral feedback in class and are structured to be preparation for the practice-based portfolio entries.
Title: Performing Online
Convenor: Tim White
Classes: Monday 1030-1230 G55
Assessment: Project (Group): 50%. Essay 50%
What freedoms do we relinquish for the opportunity to participate in social networks online? How much of ourselves do we upload and what is the relationship between our online self and that which remains offline? What are the possibilities and dangers of virtual worlds? This module looks at the interventions of theatre practitioners and artists who consider these questions as well as interrogating posthuman and cyborg futures, culminating in small group projects that explore what it means to perform online.
Convenor: Tim White
Classes: Weeks 1,6,7 summer term (intensive)
Assessment: 50% Assessed Presentation (Group) , 50% Critical Review
The module aims to introduce students to technologies that reject the physical and critical distance of a viewer in favour of experiences that draw in the participant. Though the focus of the module will be be given over to exposing students to a number of platforms - virtual reality, 360 degree video, motion tracking, proxemics and binaural sound - the introductory sessions will locate current immersive practices within the context of work including environmental theatre, immersive theatre, immersive cinema and surround sound. During week one of the summer term there will be four days split between contextualising lecture and afternoon workshop. Following this, students will submit a proposal in week 3 and, in conjunction with the convenor, undertake familiarization and research that feeds into the intensive work sessions in weeks 6 and 7, culminating in a presentation of their work at the end of week 7 (50%) and a subsequent critical review week 8 (50%). This module is intended for those who do not have written exams in the summer term.