BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Dramaturgy: Professional Practices

Unit code DRAM20292
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Available as a free choice unit? No


In this course you will receive hands-on training in the core fields of dramaturgical practice which includes: production dramaturgy, creative programming, performance curation, and outreach/communication. Dramaturgy is a growing area in the professional theatre sector in the UK and with its double emphasis on theoretical/historical understanding and creative practice, it is a career pathway that lets you make the most of the skills you acquire during a Drama degree. This is a practical module which will give you the opportunity to research and pitch a season or festival tailored to the Greater Manchester area, and to workshop extracts from a performance suited to the festival or season as part of a concept presentation. To enhance your understanding of the context of your work, we will explore the production and dramaturgical work of local theatres. This part of the course will provide you with insight into the theatre ecology of the region and current developments in institutional dramaturgy.




Pre-requisite units

Any L1 Drama Practice module – Performance Practices 1; Performance Practices 2


Co-requisite units

Any L2 Drama Core Study module - Practitioners in Context 1; Practitioners in Context 2




·         To introduce students to the professional practices and critical contexts of dramaturgy.

·         To develop the intellectual, practical and professional skills necessary for successful dramaturgical work on both a production and institutional level in preparation for a career in the creative industries.

·         To enhance students’ understanding of the theatre ecology of the Greater Manchester region as a central case study and to enable them to respond inventively and critically to its needs.

To provide students with a range of techniques for developing dramaturgical concepts (which includes season programming and festival curation) in order to present these in a pitch/workshop format.



Indicative syllabus (representative only – all of the topics listed below may not be covered every year).


Part I: Production Dramaturgy


Week 1: The First Dramaturg – Dramaturgy as Mediation between Text and Context

Week 2: Brecht & After – Dramaturgy as Pedagogy and Empowerment

Week 3: From Dramatic to Postdramatic –Dramaturgy as Curation of Experiences           

Week 4:  The Dramaturgical Function in Devising – Dramaturgy as Networking of Ideas


Part 2: Institutional Dramaturgy


Week 5:  Encountering the Profession I - Programming a Building

Week 6:  Encountering the Profession II – Festivals and Curator-led Projects

Week 7:  Encountering the Profession III – Special Topic & preparation for presentation 1


Part III: Praxis       


Week 8: Presentation 1 – Institutional Dramaturgy (formative feedback point)

Week 9:  Skills for Dramaturgs 1 – Research, Text Analysis and Writing

Week 10:  Skills for Dramaturgs 2 – Feedback and Discussion

Week 11:  Development and Rehearsal Time. Staff available for guidance.

Week 12:  Presentation 2 – Production Dramaturgy

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly 3-hour sessions which are primarily taught through workshop/practical components, but are supported through seminar discussions and occasional mini-lectures.


The course unit will be complemented by a Blackboard site that conforms to minimum requirements including a course handbook, weekly course breakdown, provision of reading material, reading lists. Supplementary material from workshops will be added as appropriate. The blackboard site will be prepared and available to students at least one week prior to the beginning of the first teaching week each semester.


Knowledge and understanding

  •          Articulate a range of historical and contemporary approaches to professional dramaturgy and demonstrate an understanding of their usefulness for developing new work through oral presentations and reflective writing.
  •         Apply learnt dramaturgical techniques and professional skills to the development and realisation of concept pitches and workshop performances.
  •          Demonstrate an understanding of the theatre and performance ecology of Greater Manchester by creating practical and conceptual work tailored to it.
  •           Demonstrate an understanding of the critical contexts of dramaturgical work through reflective writing.

Intellectual skills

  •    Critically evaluate a number of approaches to production and institutional dramaturgy by articulating their relevance in a specific location and historical moment.
  •     Recognise and discuss the social, political and ethical goals underpinning particular forms of dramaturgical work.
  •     Evaluate and critically reflect on their own and colleagues’ practice.
  •    Draw on professional case studies to inform and develop their own dramaturgical work.

Practical skills

  •          Apply professional dramaturgical skills to researching, composing and delivering a presentation pitch and workshop performance.
  •         Compile, edit and professionally present a dramaturgical casebook in support of a workshop performance.
  • Evaluate and reflect on their own and others’ practice

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  •          Demonstrate a good level of interpersonal communication and team-working skills.
  •         Demonstrate creative group-work skills (problem-solving, thinking innovatively, drawing on creative approaches of others, evaluating creative approaches of others, giving and receiving feedback, time-keeping).
  •          Use effective leadership and group-work skills to solve problems and sustain a creative process.
  • Present and perform confidently to a group of peers.

Employability skills

Group/team working
¿ Ability to work independently and as part of a group to conceive, plan, undertake and evaluate original, well-developed responses to briefs (overseeing a creative process from inception through production, post-production and evaluation)
¿ Maintaining professional standards as regards self-presentation, including ability to perform in front of an audience with confidence and precision, and to effectively adapt performance to specific contexts
Oral communication
¿ An enhanced ability to use reflexivity and emotional intelligence when working in groups (maintaining balance between taking initiative/leading and developing the ideas of others, supporting and challenging, ability to empathise with multiple perspectives, ability to adapt to distinct contexts etc.)
¿ Enhanced skills in managing a group-work process ¿ leadership skills, ideas-sharing, giving and receiving feedback, taking initiative, negotiation, flexibility, compromise, collaboration, making contributions, reliability, time-keeping et cetera

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%
Oral assessment/presentation 60%

Feedback methods


 Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Ongoing feedback during workshops – oral, peer to peer and tutor to student


Feedback on group presentation – oral and written

Formative and summative

Reflective essay - written



Recommended reading

Balme, Christopher. (2014)The Theatrical Public Sphere. Cambridge: CUP.

Cardullo, Bert (ed.) (1995), What is Dramaturgy?, New York: Peter Lang.

Lang, Theresa (2017), Essential Dramaturgy: The Mindset and Skillset, Oxford: Focal Publishing.

Luckurst, Mary (2006), Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre, Cambridge: CUP.

Malzacher, Florian and Joanna Warsza (eds.) (2017), Empty Stages, Crowded Flats: Performativity as

                Curatorial Strategy. Berlin: Alexander Verlag.

Rudakoff, Judith D., Lynn M. Thomson (eds.) (2002), Between the Lines: The Process of Dramaturgy,

Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press.

Trencsényi, Katalin (2015), Dramaturgy in the Making. A User’s Guide for Theatre Practitioners,

                London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.

Turner, Cathy and Synne K. Behrndt (2008), Dramaturgy and Performance, Basingstoke: Palgrave


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Supervised time in studio/wksp 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Cara Berger Unit coordinator

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