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IE925-30 Drama & Theatre Studies in Theory & Practice

Department Education Studies

Level Taught Postgraduate Level

Module leader Tracy Irish

Credit value 30

Module duration 10 weeks

Assessment 100% coursework

Study location University of Warwick main campus, Coventry


The module focuses on drama and theatre as means of artistic communication. How does drama/theatre communicate its meanings? How do we read a wide range of performance genres? What are the alternative historical and avant-garde connections between communicating in theatre and in drama education?

The module explores, through study and practice, the use of signs and symbols in theatre and drama and semiotic and anthropological approaches to drama as a cultural system.

Principle Module Aims and Outcomes
  • To consider a range of historical and contemporary theoretical and practical perspectives that will inform the teaching of drama and theatre studies in schools and colleges.
  • To identify methodologies of performance analysis which are inclusive of a wide range of cultural and historical traditions in drama and theatre.
  • To critically examine contemporary approaches to the teaching of drama and theatre studies in schools and colleges with a particular emphasis on post-colonial and multicultural perspectives.
  • To be able to draw on social anthropological studies of performance and the work of key practitioners and theorists as a means of locating Drama Education within an inter-cultural and multi-disciplinary view of the aesthetics of Theatre.
  • To enhance and renew students' existing practical and theoretical knowledge of drama and theatre.
  • Introduction; definitions of performance and theatre
    Practical activities to introduce the module, participants and the field of theatre and performance semiotics; analysis of performance genres and a consideration of field theory as it relates to defining theatre.
  • Theatre semiotics 1
    An introduction to structuralist and post-structuralist semiotic theories and concepts with particular reference to the work of the Prague School, Martin Esslin, Patrice Pavis, Umberto Eco, Richard Schechner.
  • Theatre semiotics 2
    Opportunity for the comparative use of different semiotic methodologies in relation to theatre, film and televisual texts. The avant-garde tradition and the influence of anthropology in understanding social and artistic intentions.
  • The Private/Literary And Oral/Communal Aesthetic Traditions And Their Social Class Associations
    An examination of the different histories and social functions of the two aesthetic traditions. A consideration of basic conceptual distinctions between realism and non-realism and presentational and representational modes of performance.
  • The Elements of Theatre And Their Uses
    A practical investigation of the elements and conditions of theatre and a consideration of the boundaries between social and aesthetic modes of performance.
  • Reading texts for Performance 1
    Representational theatre - A practical exploration of strategies for realising realist and representational texts in performance; Stanislavski's legacy and technique.
  • Reading texts for Performance 1
    Presentational theatre - A practical exploration of strategies for realising non-realist and presentational texts in performance; Brecht's legacy and technique.
  • Teaching Dramatic Literacy
    Identifying appropriate histories, codes, vocabulary within a model of progression; evaluating approaches to teaching dramatic literacy. Developing practical approaches to teaching dramatic literacy at different ages and for different levels of ability.
  • Practical Applications 1
    Workshop explorations which combine the teaching of theatre history and codes within a participatory and experiential drama mode.
Type Required
Lectures 10 sessions of 3 hours (10%)
Practical classes 1 session of 5 hours (2%)
Private study 265 hours (88%)
Total 300 hours
Coursework 100%
Module Information

This is a core module for MA Drama and Theatre Education, and an optional module on MA Childhood in Society, MA Education, MA Educational Innovation, MA Educational Leadership and Management, MA Islamic Education: Theory and Practice, MA Global Education and International Development, and MA Psychology and Education.