BA Drama and English Literature

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Theatre & Performance 2 - Concepts

Course unit fact file
Unit code DRAM10002
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module will change the way you think about theatre and performance. It will challenge you to think about what theatre and performance are, what they can do, and the concepts we use to study them. In the module we think about performance as an artistic form and also as a social and cultural phenomenon. The module helps you develop skills in performance analysis, critical reading, and theoretical writing that are useful for the study of a wide range of events, from theatre to politics to the performances of everyday life. Each week we explore major theoretical debates in the study of theatre and performance by focusing on a single keyword. Such keywords might include: performativity, time, space, archive, repertoire, audience, and liveness. We ground these concepts in discussion and analysis of a wide range of contemporary performance. 


  • To engage students with foundational theoretical concepts prevalent within theatre and performance studies.
  • To encourage students to critically examine practice using theoretical frameworks as proposed in the fields of theatre/performance studies.

Knowledge and understanding

  • distinguish key theories of theatre and performance studies 
  • recognise the significance and importance of these theories and apply them to independent analysis of performance practices and theatre events
  • draw on a range of critical texts on contemporary performance in studying contemporary practices 

Intellectual skills

  • Use appropriate theory to analyse performance practice in artistic, social and political terms
  • Identify the social, political or ethical issues raised by contemporary performance practice
  • Articulate the significant formal features of different kinds of performance practice

Practical skills

  •  Locate and use academic sources on theatre and performance

  • Locate and use performance documentation in different forms

  • Present critical analysis of performance to peers in verbal and written forms 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

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


  • Ability to analyse concepts, techniques, methods, study materials (et cetera) independently and with others
  • Basic interpersonal communication skills
  • Ability to draw on individual research preparation to engage in discussions in learning environments
  • Ability to present self effectively – through discussion, presentation and in writing (including adherence to academic conventions)

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Ability to engage productively with intellectual challenges
Group/team working
Working productively as part of a group and independently
Project management
Time management skills - working to deadlines and under pressure
Problem solving
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
Planning skills ¿ developing a planned approach to tasks
In the module these skills are used in relation to every day social and cultural practices. The skills learned in this module are therefore directly relevant and foundational to a range of careers in the cultural and creative industries, as well as to other sectors where professionals use and evaluate performance.

Assessment methods

portfolio of 4 critical summaries  40%
Essay 60%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Portfolio - written and oral


Portfolio - written


Essay - written



Recommended reading

  • Marvin Carlson, Performance: a critical introduction. London: Routledge, 2003
  • Richard Schechner, Performance studies: An introduction. London: Routledge, 2015, 3rd edition
  • Diana Taylor, Performance, Durham: Duke, 2016.
  • Simon Shepherd and Mick Wallis, Drama/Theatre/Performance, London: Routledge, 2004

Palgrave Macmillan’s Theatre & series provide a useful set of introductions to theatre. Particularly recommended are:

  • Jill Dolan. Theatre & Sexuality Palgrave, 2010
  • Helen Freshwater. Theatre and Audience, 2009
  • Kim Solga. Theatre & Feminism Palgrave 2015
  • Harvey Young. Theatre & Race Palgrave, 2013


Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Calder Unit coordinator

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