Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Holding an offer for 2020 entry? Visit our dedicated offer-holders page to find out if Manchester's right for you.

Information for offer-holders

BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Directors Project

Unit code DRAM30412
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module provides students with an opportunity to learn about and practice different approaches to directing text for theatre and performance. Students will work through workshops, discussions, observed rehearsals and supervision sessions towards a practical assessment of a short directed performance of a play excerpt in the John Thaw Studio. Written assessment involves critical reflection on the process of practice throughout the module.


Pre-requisite units


Any L1 Drama Study or Practical core option

Any L2 Drama Study core option - Practitioners in Context 1; Practitioners in Context 2; Screen, Culture and Society

At least one 20 credit L2 Drama practical course

Co-requisite units






·         To explore the role of the theatre director in the realisation of text-based performance

·         To prepare students for professional practice in directing and stage management

To develop student’s abilities to investigate practical methods and critical perspectives in theatre practice, with a focus on theatre directing


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


Week 1: Approaches to Directing – student presentations

Week 2:  Working with Naturalistic text

Week 3: Working with Shakespearean text

Week 4: Working with Post-Naturalistic text

Week 5: Rehearsal Techniques

Week 6: Production Pitches and Guest Practitioner Workshop

Weeks 7- 10 Rehearsal

Weeks 11 and 12: Performance

Teaching and learning methods

The course is taught via weekly workshops on approaches to directing, including working with text using a range of approaches to directing, and giving and receiving feedback on practical experiments, and observed rehearsal.


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

·         Demonstrate a working knowledge of a variety of working approaches to directing for theatre and performance

·         Work with dramatic texts from a number of different traditions, specifically focusing on textual analysis and the process of taking a text from page to stage

·         Work in a team to produce a short piece of theatre, in collaboration with their peer group and with technical staff

·         Consider the relationship between the director, the actor, the text and the performance stage

Evaluate and apply a process of critical enquiry to the effectiveness of their working process and final presentation outcomes.

Intellectual skills

·         Demonstrate a critical understanding of the various relationships possible between text, actor, theatrical space and spectator

·         Develop an understanding of, and critically engage with and make use of in their own reflective practice, distinct kinds of writing about directing (including writing by professional directors, researchers, reviewers, and actors as well as critical writing about theatre practice

Demonstrate a systematic understanding of key aspects of practical and intellectual approaches to directing and theatre production

Practical skills

·         Articulate an understanding of and make use of a range of directing techniques in making theatre production

·         Develop an interpretation of text/performance into a coherent theatrical performance

·         Demonstrate awareness and apply professional standards and industry practices in the area of theatre directing

·         Work collegially and productively with technical and administrative staff in an arts centre in order to realise theatre production

Offer constructive feedback to peers and revise their own approach in response to feedback

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Transferable skills that students can expect to gain from successful completion of this module include:


·         Advanced interpersonal communication and team-working skills

·         Critical thinking skills and creative group-work practice skills (problem-solving, thinking innovatively, drawing on creative approaches of others, evaluating arguments, giving and receiving feedback, time-keeping)

·         Using effective leadership and group-work skills to solve complex problems

Performing with confidence and precision for specific audiences/contexts, making use of diverse creative approaches and media

Employability skills

Group/team working
¿ Ability to work independently and as part of a group to conceive, plan, undertake and evaluate original, well-developed projects that involve complex and unpredictable scenarios ¿ Ability to work independently and as part of a group to solve problems arising from engaging with challenging and unpredictable scenarios ¿ Advanced skills in group-work, leadership, reflexivity, planning and project management
¿ Understanding of and adherence to industry-level professional and ethical standards in practical work ¿ Ability to develop informed critique of professional practice (own and others), drawing on understanding of high quality standards ¿ Development of a professional identity and skills/knowledge base to inform further professional practice, training and learning

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative


Weighting within unit (if summative)

Practice portfolio (to include preparation, rehearsal and performance of excerpt)


Pitch (10 minutes), rehearsal process (2 x I hour) and performance (20 minutes)


Reflective essay


4000-4500 words


Initial presentation on a theatre director and feedback on rehearsal workshops (throughout the module) 





Feedback methods

Full written feedback on all assessments

Recommended reading

Cicely Berry The Actor and The Text (London: Virgin Books, 2000)

Ann Bogart, A Director Prepares (London: Routledge, 2001)
Maria Delgado et al  eds., In Contact with the Gods? Directors Talk Theatre, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996).
Marina Calderone & Maggie Lloyd-Williams: Actions: The Actors’ Thesaurus.( London: Nick Hern Books, 2004).
Declan Donellan  The Actor and the Target, (London: Nick Hern Books, 2002)
Katie Mitchell  The Director's Craft: A Handbook for the Theatre, (London: Routledge, 2008) 
James Thomas: A Director’s Guide to Stanislavski’s Active Analysis. London: Bloomsbury, 2016.

Di Trevis (2011) Being A Director: A Life In Theatre, London: Routledge.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 220
Independent study hours
Independent study 180

Additional notes

Only open to Drama students (Single and Joint Honours)


Return to course details