BA Drama and English Literature

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Street Theatres

Unit code DRAM21211
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


In this module students will explore the history, theory, and practice of street theatre. After briefly considering such longstanding traditions as pageants and processions, we will turn our attention to forms of street theatre that have emerged since the 1960s in the UK and Europe, South Asia, Africa, and the Americas. We will structure our analysis of these practices around three themes: agitation and activism, invisibility and interruption, and magic and myth. Each of these units will entail theoretical reading alongside detailed case studies of specific performers and troupes, including Jana Natya Manch, El Teatro Campesino, Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Royal de Luxe, and La Machine. We will consider how street theatre alters and/or critiques prevailing relationships between performer and spectator, protest and festival, and art and everyday life. We will also consider questions of the public sphere, public space, and what counts as the ‘street’.



Pre-requisite units

Any L1 Drama Study module


Co-requisite units

Any L2 Core Drama module



  • To engage with the theory, history, and practice of street theatre, focusing on themes of agitation and activism, invisibility and interruption, and magic and myth

  • To explore in depth selected case studies of street theatre from the UK and Europe, South Asia, Africa, and the Americas

  • To discuss and debate the relationship between theatre and protest, theatre and everyday life, and theatre and the urban environment

  • To raise questions about how theatre might construct a ‘public’ or even a ‘public sphere’

  • To develop students’ abilities in performance analysis and research writing

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify major figures in street theatre from the UK and Europe, South Asia, Africa, and the Americas

  • Identify and discuss major issues in the theory and practice of street theatre since the 1960s

  • Understand how contemporary street theatre responds to past aesthetic traditions and current social conditions

  • Engage with questions of theatre’s place in the public sphere and understand the theoretical and political issues that arise when theatre makes a claim to public space

Intellectual skills

  • Describe and analyse theatrical events based on multiple forms of performance documentation

  • Evaluate the information offered and questions raised by different kinds of evidence, including live performance, video, photography, personal accounts, and newspaper reviews

  • Responsibly situate performances within historical, geographic, and cultural contexts

  • Incorporate performance analysis and theory into a structured, written argument

Practical skills

  • Locate multiple forms of evidence using Library resources, particularly databases

  • Write coherent, well-structured arguments

  • Take organised observational notes

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively with others about intellectually demanding concepts, topics, materials

  • demonstrate an ability to draw with accuracy, focus, detail and precision on complex materials in independent and group work

  • demonstrate an ability to effectively present – through discussion and in writing – complex topics, drawing convincingly on oral, written and visual media as appropriate to the topic

Employability skills

¿ a good level of critical thinking and problem-solving skills ¿ an ability to develop detailed, planned and multi-layered approaches to tasks ¿ an ability to work productively as part of a group and independently in learning environments that present complex challenges ¿ an enhanced ability to effectively adapt self-presentation to different audiences/contexts, especially when communicating complex topics

Assessment methods

Performance Analysis 40%
Essay OR Creative project proposal 60%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Performance analysis – written


Essay OR Creative project proposal – written


Consultation on performance analysis and essay or creative project proposal plans – oral and written



Recommended reading

  • David Wiles, A Brief History of Western Performance Space (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
  • Marvin Carlson, Places of Performance: The Semiotics of Theatre Architecture (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993).
  • Sudhanva Deshpande, ed., Theatre of the Streets: The Jana Natya Manch Experience (Delhi: Janam, 2007).
  • Jen Harvie, Theatre & the City (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
  • Susan Haedicke, Contemporary Street Arts in Europe: Aesthetics and Politics (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
  • Jan Cohen-Cruz, ed., Radical Street Performance: An International Anthology (London: Routledge, 1998).
  • Liesbeth Groot Nibbelink, Nomadic Theatre (London: Bloomsbury, 2020) .

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Calder Unit coordinator

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