BA Music and Drama

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Post-Thatcher British Theatre: New Writing Since 1992

Course unit fact file
Unit code DRAM20102
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


On this unit, students encounter a cross-section of British playwriting from the early 1990s to the present day. We focus on dramaturgical innovations and the challenges these pose for performers/performance, and the key trends and themes of the period. Students work both critically and creatively to explore and understand the approaches to form, content, character and structure of a range of plays and playwrights. Throughout, we work to situate writers and their works in wider social, political, theatrical, cultural and artistic contexts. Students will explore the ways in which contemporary playwrights have engaged with the world around them, paying particular attention to the relationship between content, form and politics, in order to develop an understanding of the possibilities and potential meanings of these plays in and for performance.



Pre-requisite units

Any L1 Drama Study module


Co-requisite units

Any L2 Core Drama module – Practitioners in Context 1; Practitioners in Context 2




  • To engage with a wide range of contemporary playwriting from the early 1990s to the present day, paying close attention, in particular, to issues of form and dramaturgy, content and context.

  • To explore the relationship between text and theatrical production in diverse examples of contemporary dramatic writing.

  • To raise questions about the relationship between theatre and the wider world.

  • To develop students’ abilities to work both independently and as groups, both creatively and critically, and to facilitate the development of skills in research and research presentation.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate detailed understanding of a range of key works by contemporary British playwrights.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural and political contexts of from the early 1990s to today.
  • Explore a range of critical, contextual and theoretical material and show an ability to interrogate the relationships between this material and primary texts.

Intellectual skills

  • Develop coherent arguments and analyses and articulate these in both written and spoken work.

  • Reflect critically on and evaluate a range of texts and performances.

  • Express themselves effectively and use creative methods to explore critical ideas

  • Synthesise and analyse a range of critical texts.

Practical skills

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

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

Group presentation 40%
Essay 60%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Essay - written


Presentation – oral and written


Consultation on presentation and essay plan - oral



Recommended reading

Adiseshiah, Siân, and Louise Lepage, eds. Twenty-First Century Drama: What Happens Now. London Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Boles, William C., ed. After In-Yer-Face Theatre: Remnants of a Theatrical Revolution. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

DMonté, Rebecca, and Graham Saunders, ed. Cool Britannia? British Political Drama in the 1990s. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2008.

Forsyth, Alison, and Chris Megson, ed. Get Real: Documentary Theatre Past and Present. London: Palgrave, 2009.

Goddard, Lynette. Contemporary Black British Playwrights: Margins to Mainstream. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2015.

Holdsworth, Nadine, and Mary Luckhurst, eds. A Concise Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Drama. Oxford: Blackwell, 2007.

Rebellato, Dan, ed.  Modern British Playwriting: 2000-2009: Voices, Documents, New Interpretations. London: Methuen, 2013.

Sierz, Aleks. Modern British Playwriting: The 1990s: Voices, Documents, New Interpretations. London: Methuen, 2012.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rachel Clements Unit coordinator

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