BA Drama and English Literature

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Devising for Performance

Course unit fact file
Unit code DRAM21042
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module combines aspects of practical and improvisational engagement as a performer/theatre maker with embodied exploration and analysis of performance techniques in the field of devising. The module helps students to gain practical skills relating to the process and practice of devising for performance, and develops their ability to evaluate their own creative work in practice. The module is structured through workshops that explore a mainly body based approach to devising designed to build a working practical vocabulary and repertoire through which students can work towards creating original devised work in performance. Students are expected to read from the reading list provided and to research the work of contemporary companies and practitioners who make work through devising. This research will form the basis of an understanding of the wide variety of practice constituting devised theatre.



  • Pre-requisites: Any L1 Drama Practice module – Performance Practices 1; Performance Practices 2.
  • Co-requisites: Any L2 Drama Core Study module: Theatres of Modernity or Screen, Culture and Society


  • To develop and deepen students’ working knowledge of approaches to devising for performance
  • To extend students’ knowledge of key practitioners in the field of devised performance, and their ability to draw on these approaches to develop their own work
  • To enhance the students' skills in devising theatre and their ability to evaluate their own creative and intellectual work
  • To provide students with an opportunity to learn how to work effectively in a group-based process of theatre-making, from conceptualisation to realisation of a piece of group performance that is intelligible, playable, and challenging


Knowledge and understanding

  • examine and test in practice some of the key components of the theory and practice of devised theatre
  • develop effective strategies for collaborative group work
  • demonstrate an ability to evaluate their own work and consider professional practitioners through critical reflection. 
  • demonstrate skills and a working knowledge base in devised performance practice

Intellectual skills

  • display a critical and practical understanding of the various relationships possible between text-stimuli (including images, text and objects), body, actor, theatrical space and spectator
  • analyse the creative process of others, student and professional, and measure the quality of their own work against professional standards
  • draw theory and practice together through processes of creation and reflection


Practical skills

  • collectively devise for, and present material to, an audience
  • demonstrate their ability to take personal responsibility and take initiative in decision-making
  • offer constructive feedback to peers and revise their own approach in response to feedback from tutors and peers


Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate a good level of interpersonal communication and team-working skills
  • Demonstrate creative group-work skills (problem-solving, thinking innovatively, drawing on creative approaches of others, evaluating creative approaches of others, giving and receiving feedback, time-keeping)
  • Use effective leadership and group-work skills to solve problems and sustain a creative process
  • perform with confidence and precision for specific audiences/contexts, making use of diverse creative approaches and media as appropriate to the module


Employability skills

Group/team working
The capacity to work autonomously and collaboratively to conceptualize, plan, execute, and assess original, sophisticated responses to briefs, managing a creative process from its inception to production, post-production, and evaluation.
An enhanced ability to use reflexivity and emotional intelligence when working in groups (maintaining balance between taking initiative/leading and developing the ideas of others, supporting and challenging, ability to empathise with multiple perspectives, ability to adapt to distinct contexts etc.).
Enhanced skills in managing a group-work process - leadership skills, ideas-sharing, giving and receiving feedback, taking initiative, negotiation, flexibility, compromise, collaboration, making contributions, reliability, time-keeping et cetera.
Project management
Maintaining professional standards as regards self-presentation, including ability to perform in front of an audience with confidence and precision, and to effectively adapt performance to specific contexts.

Assessment methods

  • Summative: Group performance (60%)
  • Summative: Critical Reflection (40%). 2000-word essay, or 12 minute recorded presentation, 
  • Formative: Work in progress presentation 

Feedback methods

  • Formative: Work-in-progress presentation - oral and written
  • Formative: Ongoing feedback during workshops – oral, peer to peer and tutor to student 
  • Formative: Feedback in ‘realisation’ phase of performance preparation - oral 
  • Summative: Group performance - written
  • Summative: Critical reflection - written

Recommended reading

Colin, Noyale, and Stefanie Sachsenmaier. Collaboration in Performance Practice: Premises, Workings and Failures. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 


Go¿mez-Pen¿a, Guillermo, Roberto Sifuentes, and Rachel. Roger. Exercises for Rebel Artists: Radical Performance Pedagogy. New York: Routledge, 2011. 


Harvie, Jen, and Andy. Lavender. Making Contemporary Theatre¿: International Rehearsal Processes. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010


Heddon, Deirdre, and Jane Milling. Devising Performance: a Critical History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006


Leupin, Rahel. “Making the Intercultural: The Rehearsal Processes of Gintersdorfer/Klassen.” Contemporary Theatre Review 28.4 (2018): 504–521.


Oddey, Alison. Devising Theatre: a Practical and Theoretical Handbook. London: Routledge, 1994


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Cara Berger Unit coordinator

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