BA Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Theatre, performance and care: studying artful care and careful art

Course unit fact file
Unit code DRAM33461
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


In this module students will examine the concept of care aesthetics or ‘careful art/artful care’ and explore how it applies to contemporary performance, applied theatre, health and social care settings and everyday life. Students will be introduced to theories of care ethics and aesthetics, and then examine a range of theatre and performance practices through these lenses. In Part One of the course, this will include one-to-one performance, community dance, and arts in health including applied theatre in care settings (for example in dementia care). This part of the course will be framed as Careful Art, with the second half of the course shifting to Artful Care to examine health and social care practices as craft or art. This will introduce students to the art of nursing (including the role of arts in training of health professionals), care workers as craftworkers and then the art of care in everyday life situations. The final part of the course will explore ‘care aesthetics’ in relation to the Covid crisis – studying examples of micro acts of artistic solidarity and examples of projects of creative caring for neighbours and communities.  


Available on which programme(s)? 

L3 Drama, Drama/Film, Drama and English, Music and Drama 


Available as Free Choice (UG) or to other programmes (PG)? 



Pre-requisite units 

Any L1 Drama Study or Practical core option 


Any L2 Drama Study core option  


Co-requisite units  




  • To introduce students to the relationships between care ethics and aesthetics in contemporary theatre and performance, with a particular focus on applied theatre, and provide them with strategies for analysing practices of both theatre and care from the perspective of ‘care aesthetics’.   

  • To develop critical understanding of a set of key theatrical, cultural and philosophical debates in relation to applied theatre and performance as it relates to the practices of care. 

  • To develop a critical framework for thinking about the care practices of artists, the artistic practice of carers, and the ‘artful care’ practices in everyday life.  

  • To explore how issues of gender, sexuality and race and in particular issues of interculturalism expand our understandings of both careful art and artful care.  

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate familiarity with and understanding of applied theatre in contexts of health and social care 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the major theories of care, aesthetics and socially-engaged arts as they apply to the theatre, performance and care practices explored in the course 

  • Confidently discuss the relationship between care ethics, aesthetic theories, applied theatre and performance and different social and health related contexts.  

Intellectual skills

  • Develop sophisticated and coherent arguments and articulate these in both written and spoken work, as demonstrated through a range of assessments. 

  • Demonstrate facility for rigorous analyses of theatre and performances practices that link form, content, and context. 

  • Responsibly compare and contrast works from different contexts. 

  • Contribute to seminars and express themselves effectively. 

Practical skills

  • Work efficiently as a key member of a small group engaged in research, practical work, and presentation  

  • Demonstrate advanced skills of independent research and self-directed learning. 

  • Communicate research material both verbally and in writing. 

  • Use creative work and techniques to explore and convey critical ideas. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate an advanced ability to self-manage learning – to ask questions independently, identify relevant research material, take initiative, make decisions, and develop independent and sustained responses to complex problems 

  • Demonstrate an advanced ability to develop sustained arguments and present these effectively in written and oral form 

Employability skills

Group/team working
Working productively as part of a group and independently in learning environments that present complex and unpredictable challenges
Ability to effectively adapt self-presentation to difference audiences/contexts, especially when communicating complex topics
Problem solving
Advanced critical thinking, problem-solving and planning skills
Advanced ability to exercise initiative and personal responsibility

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
Practical skills assessment 40%

Feedback methods

Feedback method  

Formative or Summative 

Group presentation -- written 


Essay -- written 


Consultation -- oral 


Recommended reading

Basting, Anne (2020) Creative Care: a revolutionary approach to Dementia and Elder Care. London: HarperCollins. 

Brodinski, Emma (2010) Theatre in Health and Care. London: Palgrave. 

Bunting, Madeleine (2020) The Labour of Love: The Crisis of Care. London: Granta. 

The Care Collective (2020) The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence. London: Verso. 

McAvinchey, Caoimhe (Ed) (2014) Performance and Community: Commentary and Care Studies. London: Bloomsbury. 

McCormick, Sheila (2018) Applied Theatre: Creative Ageing. London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.  

Stuart Fisher, Amanda and Thompson, James (Eds) (2020) Performing Care: New Perspectives in Socially Engaged Performance. Manchester: MUP. 

Tronto, Joan (2013) Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality and Justice. New York: New York University Press. 

Saito, Yuriko (2007) Everyday Aesthetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Tutorials 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
James Thompson Unit coordinator

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