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SEL1031 : Drama, Theatre & Performance

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Zoe Cooper
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 120 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Theatre performance is always a social event: it is a creative act, in which real people and objects are presented to other people in a shared space.

Writing for performance and analysis of the same, therefore, require different skills to those required in other mediums. This module is designed to provide an introduction to the writing and analysis of theatre script.

It has four main aims:
•       To engage with drama as a performance medium as well as a form of literature.
•       To explore a range of performance conventions, thinking about bodies, objects, space and the role of the audience.
•       To develop an understanding of the process of writing for the stage from the point of view of the writer.
•       To engage in group learning in order to develop an independent critical/creative practice.

Throughout the module, students will be encouraged to approach drama as a performance medium — that is, an event which takes place within a specific time, space and locale. Dramatic texts may be looked at as much for information about the modes and places of performance that are implied within them, as for the ideas and themes they seek to represent.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus will include elements of learning that are drawn from creative and critical approaches to writing for performance. Content may alter from year to year, but an indicative syllabus might include:

Creative: Practical study of the tools of playwriting including the exploration of stage directions as a site of collaboration, character objectives and obstacles, the relationship between the play, acts, scenes and units of action, monologue, use of space, gesture and props.

Critical: Analysis of plays which work to engage the audience in different ways; plays which make use of specific performance forms or genre (e.g. comedy); plays which are meta-theatrical or work to interrogate what it means to ‘perform’. First, we might consider how one might read a play text with careful attention to some of the material elements of performance (costume, set, onstage/offstage characters, etc.), as well as to what characters are doing as well as saying. Second, we might consider the way in which the play text is framed by the space or site of the theatre event. Finally, we will explore key techniques associated with performance analysis. Specific subjects of study may include:

•       the role of the audience
•       the significance of space, place and location
•       conventions and acting style
•       props, scenery and other theatrical ephemera

If possible, we will also engage creatively and critically with the act of viewing live performance either in person or online.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion167:0067:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork12:002:00Trip to see live theatre performance or instructions to watch through a third party platform.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study198:0098:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module is designed to support students to develop their own independent creative and critical practice.

The weekly lectures will introduce students to key ideas and materials. Students will be supported to respond to these ideas and materials by means of scheduled learning and teaching activities. The weekly small group teaching activities will be led by seminar leaders and students will be asked to participate by responding to structured tasks and activities. Weekly study group workshops will require students to work together in developing their ideas independently.

The guided structured independent learning is an essential aspect of this module as it is in this time that students will develop the core learning and skills outcomes of the module. This structured independent learning will take the form of sustained and ongoing preparation for weekly structured teaching and learning, as well as more intensive and time-limited preparation for module assessment.

Professional guest speakers will be invited, where possible, to enhance learning and diversity of teaching.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2A90A selection of critical and creative written exercises written in response to weekly prompts. Equiv. to 3,600 words.
Report2A10A 400 word report recording and reflecting upon the student's participation and engagement on the module
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The end of module portfolio will contain a selection of written exercises, chosen by the student, which have been completed over the course of the module. It is designed to allow the student to demonstrate the development of their independent critical and creative practice. This will be accompanied by a 400 word report, which will reflect on the student's participation and engagement on the module.

Reading Lists