BA Drama and English Literature

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Performance and Climate Change

Course unit fact file
Unit code DRAM21882
Credit rating 0
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course aims to consider the role of drama and theatre as we grapple with the impending crises attendant to anthropogenic climate change.  It examines some of the most influential critical issues which emerged in the context of global warming focusing on the contribution of theatre in tackling (or at least mediating) social and political forces in an ever-deteriorating planet. It seeks to do this by exploring selected theatre and dramatic texts that mobilise artistic resources in responding to global climate emergency, foregrounding fundamental environmental concerns— environmental pollution, catastrophic flooding, droughts, storms, etc — in addressing ecological crisis. The course draws attention to theatre as a creative action, and asks questions about critical engagements with human-nonhuman relation in the context of theatrical representation.  How and why can we think critically about the intersection of theatre and eco-environmentalism? What does close attention to plays and performances tell us as we grapple with the meanings of an increasingly warming planet? 


• To demonstrate knowledge of the imaginative means through which theatre address issues concerning climate disasters.
• To read, analyse and critique plays and performances from across the world that offer figurations of anthropogenic climate change-- not merely as metaphors -- but as material realities of the human-nonhuman experiences
• To engage with ideas, theories and critical approaches that have emerged to shape debates in global climate crises.

Knowledge and understanding

• Identify the role played by theatre in combatting the existential catastrophe brought about by climate change.
• Identify the intersection of performance and climate change.
• Understand how new modes and aesthetics of performance are constantly invented in response to the ever-shifting conditions of global climate change.

• identify theatre’s function in the social and political sphere and understand the principle and concepts that facilitate its insertion for public agency and activism.

Intellectual skills

• Develop critical knowledge about plays and performances that address issues concerning climate change. 
• Develop theoretical and critical awareness about debates concerning global climate change, and its interactions with performance, to form written and oral arguments
• Demonstrate facility for artistic intervention in climate action through creative approaches to imaginative reviews, climate change campaigns and other forms of advocacy and public activism.

Practical skills

•     Demonstrate effective participation in a creatively sustaining research-oriented group.

•      Demonstrate theoretical understanding and awareness of the role that performance plays in tackling climate catastrophe.

•      Apply creative, and socially-engaged theatrical practices from a range of global contexts to explore developments in lived environmental experiences.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop advanced ability for modes of critical self-reflection, research skills and initiative for long-lasting social change.
  • Develop advance ability to communicate research materials in written and oral forms.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
¿ High level of critical and analytical skills in complex eco-social and global issues.
Group/team working
¿ Advanced level of cooperation skills, effective ability to work as key member of a team.
Oral communication
¿ Improved level of communication in discussion and presentation of research materials
¿ High level of personal research skills, including enhanced ability for problem-solving.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
Oral assessment/presentation 40%

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Group presentation -- written


Essay – written


Consultation – oral


Recommended reading

  • Angelacki, Vicky. Theatre & Environment, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2019
  • Arons, Wendy. and Theresa. J. May (eds)  Readings in Performance and Ecology, Palgrave: Basingstoke and New York, 2012
  • Chaudhuri, Una, “Anthropo-Scenes: Theater and Climate Change,” Journal of Contemporary Drama in English. Volume 3, Issue 1, May 2015
  • Chaudhuri, Una, & Shonni Enelow,  Research Theatre, Climate Change, and the Ecocide Project. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2014
  • Hudson, Julie. The Environment on Stage: Scenery or Shapeshifter. New York: Routledge, 2019   
  • May, Theresa. J.  “Tú eres mi otro yo - Staying with the Trouble: Ecodramaturgy & the AnthropoScene .” The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, 29Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 33
Seminars 11

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