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3rd Year Outlines 2014/15

Independent Research Option CORE for Single Honours


FORM - DEADLINE 28/4/14 4pm

Adaptation for Performance

Adaptation for Performance is a practice-based module that uses a hands-on approach to understanding the adaptation process. You will examine theories of adaptation and interrogate case studies of live and multi-media performance adapted from a range of source materials. Using these case studies as models, you will create and perform your own adaptations for performance from various sources including prose or poetry texts, autobiographical material, historical or current events, visual images, and music.

60% Practice-based portfolio (3 adaptations)
40% Project-based assessment


This module will provide an overview of the theory and practice of strategic marketing and audience development for theatre, with a special emphasis on practical application. Over the course of module we will look at general marketing theory, the special challenges of marketing creative products and the use of market intelligence and data. We will also look at different organisational approaches to being audience focused, and associated implications for programming, resource management, internal communications and organisational structures. Other specific areas to be covered will include marketing events on tour, festival marketing, using social media and audience research.

The taught section of the module focuses on general marketing theory as it applies to arts organisations, specifically theatres and theatre companies. We will start by looking at the role of marketing in arts organisations, moving on to marketing as a strategic management tool. Later we will move onto the tactical marketing tools in common use in arts organisations, including social media. At the end of the course we will cover the role of the marketer and how contracting effects marketing activity and planning. The last two taught sessions will include case studies and sample marketing plans (both strategic and campaign), in preparation for the project that students will undertake from February.

After the taught portion of the course, students will be required to work on a specific project within an existing arts organisation, using them as a case study for an audience-focused or marketing project. This will be assessed against specific criteria and will be shared with the organisation with a view to it being of practical use to them. A written assignment of the project will comprise 50% of the overall mark.

25% Essay (3000 words)
25% Seminar Presentation
50% Written Assignment 5000 words


Intercutural Theatre Practices
This module sets out to look at the implications of contemporary intercultural performance practice in the context of globalisation in terms of form, focus, ideological and ethical implications.

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:
- demonstrate a critical analysis of cultural differences and to examine the processes of their mediation through the various cultures;
- articulate an understanding of the concepts of (1) cultural in relation to identity and aesthetics, (2) the difference between inter- and multiculturalism, and (3) the impact of cultural imperialism and globalisation in relation to theatre production
- analyse how theatre as a form can both reflect and challenge ideas of cultural representation and expression
- engage in research-led investigation of these ideas in both primary and secondary material and communicate their findings both orally and in writing.

We will explore the course through
• focussed reading of primary and secondary material for each tutorial session
• Group discussion and presentation, including visual material and textual analysis
• Research in small groups for presentation in class • Some practical class work
• Two written assessments (essay & critique) over the two semesters and an examination in the form of a research presentation

30% - Essay (3000 words)
50% - Examined Seminar Presentation
20% - Critical Review


Interpreting the Theatrical Past: Approaches to Theatre Historiography
In recent years there has been a growing interest in the ways in which we study theatre history. Why do we privilege some periods over others? Why are some aspects of theatre history neglected by scholars? What are the assumptions behind our interpretation of documentary evidence? What choices do we make about the theoretical models we use? How did theatre history emerge as an academic discipline? What sorts of narrative inform our study of theatre history? What factors determine the ways in which we write about theatre history? This module aims to investigate the ways in which the historical study of acting, audiences, theatres and performance are heavily influenced by the assumptions, prejudices and ideological beliefs of those who have written about it. A strong emphasis will be placed on the close reading of set texts and on project work applying historiographical methods and methodologies.

10% Portfolio 1 - 1000 words
10% Portfolio 2 - 1000 words
30% Project-based Assesssment
50% Assessed Seminar Presentation


Food and Performance
From necessity to pleasure, from subsistence to security, food is a constant in our lives, commandeering significant portions of our waking lives – gathering, preparing, ingesting, digesting, excreting - and annexing one-third of the planet’s land not covered in ice. We define ourselves by the food we eat, both physically (as Morgan Spurlock, Eleanor Antin and others attest) and culturally.

Commensality – the fellowship of the table – shares with performance the coming together of individuals to form a temporary group that consume and then depart. The negotiated status of performer and audience finds resonance with that between hosts and guests and an opportunity to reaffirm or challenge the rituals and etiquette by which they operate.

The tensions between creativity and domesticity, between adulation and exploitation are explored in relation to performances that acknowledge the breadth of circumstances in which we engage with food, culminating in an extended consideration of the theatricality of dining. Alongside reflection on the social and aesthetic aspects of food, the ethical and ecological cost of feeding and feasting is explored.

30% Portfolio (4 x 750 words)
35% Assessed Seminar Presentation
35% Practical exam


Performing Gender and Sexuality
The module analyses ways in which performance engages with, reveals, challenges, deconstructs and resists dominant norms of gender and sexuality. A key focus will be on how performances rreflect and contribute to shifts in circulating discourses of power. Starting with the traditionally 'umarked' dominance of white heterosexual men, students will engage with a wide range of plays, practitioners amd performance artists in order to interrogate notions of the 'other' as performances of gender and sexual identities. The module will look at theoretical framework of gender and sexuality, at the same time exploring the intersections with other elements of performance of identity such as social class and ethnicity.

This module will engage with a number of examples from a range of performance practices to examine the roles that such performances have played in contribution to debates and discourses around gender and sexuality. Examples will be drawn from performance art, performance poetry, plays, radio drama and stand-up comedy to allow the students to engage in analytical debate. Each weekly two-hour seminar will focus on a particular example of performance and explore its own particular contribution to gender and sexuality discourses. In each case the performance material will be framed by sets of weekly theoretical, cultural and historical readings in order to properly contextualise the work.

Plays looked at may include: Glengarry Glen Ross (Mamet); Frozen (Lavery); Far Away (Churchill); Black Watch (Burke); Duck (Feehily); The History Boys (Bennett); Belle Reprieve (Bourne, Shaw, Shaw, Weaver); Airsick (Frost)Phaedra's Love (Kane); Behzti, (Bhatti)

Other performers and performances examined at may include Franko B, Ron Athey, Orlan, Marina Abramovic, DV8's Enter Achilles, Mickey B, material from the Theatre of Witness Programme, and Paris is Burning.

Other documentary material will include Invisible Women and Miss Representation, both about gender imbalance in the media.

20% Portfolio (2 x 1000 words)
30% Essay (3000 words)
50% Project-based assessment


Design for Shakespeare

The aim of this module is to study the importance of stage, set, costume, lighting and sound design to the staging of Shakespeare's plays by professional companies since 1956. Trends in design will be illustrated through the detailed study of specific productions with a view to understanding how the space(s) created for performance formed an integral part of an audience’s understanding of individual plays. The module will consider the working relationships between specific directors and designers, the interest in reconstruction of original performance conditions, the variety of performance venues and budgets, curated seasons and festivals, the use of found space and the increasing tendency for some theatre designers to compete with the spectacle of film, opera, circus, particularly in the development of digitally-created performance spaces. The focus will be on British design but it will consider the importance of international influences to shifting expectations of scenographic skills.

Students will be encouraged to research the work of individual designers and to build a portfolio of materials that will demonstrate the approaches of their chosen designers to specific productions. This research will form the basis of seminar discussions and the completed portfolios will be submitted for assessment in week 8 of each of the Autumn and Spring Terms (each Portfolio is worth 25% of the module mark). In the Summer Term the students will have the opportunity, individually or in small groups, to prepare a detailed plan for an exhibition, including the reasons for specific contents, plans for the creation of an exhibition space, a proposed budget, advertising for the exhibition and an explanation of how the exhibition will extend spactators’ understanding of the process of elucidating Shakespeare’s plays through design. This process will begin with tutorials during the last two weeks of the Spring Term and students will be encouraged to arrange supervisions in the summer term. The plans for exhibitions will be assessed: they can be submitted as assessed essays of 4000 words or the equivalent in a project format. If students are working in groups, it should be clear which student had responsibility for which aspect(s) of the work. (Exhibition plans will be worth 50% of the module mark.)

25% Portfolio 1
25% Portfolio 2
50% Project-based Assessment


Performing Online
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.

50% - Project-based assessment
50% - Essay