Skip to main content

TH336 - Contemporary European Theatre

Module Code: TH336 Contemporary European Theatre: Representations, Ethics, Politics (2017/18)
Module Name: Contemporary European Theatre
Module Credits: 30

Convenor/Tutor: Dr Milija Gluhovic (; Tel. 024 765 74773)

Timetable: Autumn term, Fridays 13.00-15.00; Spring term, 15:00-17:00 (tbc); Room G56 in Milburn House

Office hours: Tuesdays 13.30-14.30 (or by appointment), Room F04A Milburn House, 2nd floor

Module Description

The module set out to explore a broad constellation of recent European plays, performances, and films originating from different parts of Europe, which address the changing historical, political and cultural realities of Europe in the wake of the Iron Curtain’s collapse and the fall of communism in 1989. Specifically, the module aims to engage with the following pressing issues and concerns: How does theatre articulate Europe’s new sociocultural space, shaped and negotiated by the experiences of war, exile and the shifting contours of Europe’s borders and territories? How do European artists witness and respond to the current refugee crisis and stories of fraught Mediterranean crossings as migration becomes the defining issue of this century? How does performance address the complex issues of right-wing nationalism, the ongoing financial crisis, and social justice now that the EU faces the biggest crisis since its foundation? What are the ways in which performance takes part in the current debates in Europe concerning secularism, the rise of religious extremism, and fears about national security in the aftermath of the events such as the London bombings and the Paris attacks? How does theatre engage with the traumatic experiences of the Holocaust, the Stalinist Gulags, colonialism and imperialism, and current preoccupations with the politics of memory in Europe? We shall also explore aspects of European cultural policy, cosmopolitan stages of European theatre festivals as well as some popular expressions of “Europeannes” such as the Eurovision Song Contest as a site where cultural struggles over the meaning, frontiers, and limits of Europe are enacted.

Learning Outcomes

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.


Essay #1 20% (Autumn term)

Essay #2 20% (Spring term)

Research assignment/presentation 10%

Written Exam 3 hours 50% (Summer term; TBA)

Full Assessment Criteria
Departmental Assessment Deadlines