BA Drama and English Literature

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Theatre & Performance 1 - Texts

Course unit fact file
Unit code DRAM10001
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course aims to introduce students to theatre studies as an academic discipline. Focusing on key moments in theatre history, and via close readings of playtexts, performances, and critical material, it encourages students to think carefully about theatre as an art form. Drawing attention to the wide range of contexts which inform both the making of and the understanding of theatre practice, it aims to give students a grounding in key skills (relating to the analysis of play texts, performances and contexts) while also developing their understanding and knowledge of theatre over time. The course aims to encourage students to consider contemporary theatre practices in relation to historical precursors, and vice versa.


  • To engage students with a range of pre-20th century performance texts and associated critical materials.
  • To enhance students’ critical appreciation of play texts, in relation to their performance history as well as potential contemporary relevance.
  • To equip students with key skills related to theatre and performance studies.

Teaching and learning methods

The lectures for this course unit will be delivered online.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the multiple ways in which theatrical performances are ‘read’ by spectators.
  • Articulate a clear and detailed understanding of how plays and performances are shaped by, and speak to, their theatrical and historical contexts.
  • Position a work of theatre in its cultural and performance context.

Intellectual skills

  • Analyse theatre and performance using a range of key disciplinary skills.
  • Identify key features of playtexts and performances and analyse these in detail.
  • Understand and explore the relationships between playtext, performance, and context.
  • Locate, synthesise and connect a range of source materials and contexts in order to develop detailed understandings of primary texts.

Practical skills

  • Communicate understanding of course materials effectively in both speech (as evidenced through seminar participation) and writing (as evidenced by summative assessments).
  • Develop a clear, coherent and critical interpretive argument.


Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Work productively both independently and in seminar settings.

  •        Engage critically and creatively with new and challenging material (including texts, performances, resources).

Employability skills

Employability skills that students can expect to gain from successful completion of this module include: ¿ Time management (structuring and organising their seminar preparation and assessments in first term of university) ¿ Analytical skills (analysing texts and materials) ¿ Editing (selection of relevant material and editing of written work); ¿ Working to fixed deadlines ¿ Organisational skills (finding research materials and organising resources) ¿ Interpersonal skills (working with fellow students)

Assessment methods

Performance Review 40%
Group Presentation 60%
Short Performance Review NA (formative)


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Detailed formative feedback given at key milestones, including the Short performance review


Performance Review (7 day take home paper)


Group Presentation



Recommended reading

Maaike Bleeker, Adrian Kear, Joe Kelleher and Heike Roms (eds) Thinking Through Theatre and Performance. (Bloomsbury, 2019)

Jill Dolan, The Feminist Spectator in Action: Feminist Criticism for the Stage and Screen (Palgrave 2013)

Lynette Goddard, Staging Black Feminisms: Identity, Politics, Performance (2007)

Mick Wallis & Simon Shepherd, Studying Plays (Bloomsbury 2010)


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 16.5
Independent study hours
Independent study 172.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Katharine Dorney Unit coordinator

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