TP4002 - Theatre and Performance Encounters

What will I learn on this module?

This module has two interrelated strands: making encounters and critiquing encounters. Central to this is hands on experience collaborating with your peers in the creation of theatre and performance practice. Alongside your own creative processes, you will be introduced to the breadth of performance works taking place in the contemporary moment, both locally and globally. These dual strands ask; how do we make theatre now? Where do we encounter performance? How do we collaborate in the creation of artistic work? This will include attending performances at local arts venues in the North East, such as Live Theatre and Northern Stage, as well as watching recorded performances. The combination of making your own theatrical encounters, while encountering the work of professionals is what makes this module a fundamental and formative aspect of your introduction to Newcastle and the region. In that regard, you will be introduced to ‘practical thinking’ that challenges divisions between practice and theory through workshops based on key theatre and performance practitioners. This (indicatively) is inclusive of approaches to dramatic and postdramatic theatre, laboratory theatres, and design-led performance. The module concludes with the presentation of scratch performances that investigate your approach to making performance encounters and the submission of a critically informed reflection and critiques of your encounters with professional performance work.

How will I learn on this module?

In the making encounters strand, your learning will be primarily through practical exploration. Learning will be studio-based consisting of investigation of performance techniques, exercises and approaches, excavating text and substantial rehearsal. Working with staff, you will form small groups to devise a response to a creative stimulus (inclusive of a set dramatic text, scene study, or objects) that will form part of your formal assessment. In this regard, there will be time devoted to your own collaborative creative investigations and sharing your performance outcomes.

Workshops may also include watching and discussing video examples of professional work. Showing of assessment work-in-progress will offer you additional opportunity to engage in discussion of your own work and that of your peers further extending your skills of observation and ability to articulate your ideas in relation to aesthetic choices.

In the critiquing encounters strand, there will be a series of tutor-led seminars that offer space to reflect on performances attended and/or video archive material. The overall approach to teaching on this module is to encourage small group debate and discussion on the current methods, cultural messages, and programming decisions of venues in the UK. Recorded performances will be considered alongside live work to ensure a range of performance practice occurring in the local and global context are considered.

You will be supported to design, contextualise and present a ‘scratch performance’, such as the model used by the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC). This performative presentation model can combine practical demonstrations alongside contextual and critical research that helps explore the importance and relevance of your work in relation to a given brief or context. Understandings of these professional practices will feed the development of your own practice and the development of your own practice will help in understanding and critiquing the critical encounters. As such, classes will combine a workshop model of group tasks and exercises with sharings of work-in-progress, debates and discussions. The module creates space for you to advance your knowledge, consolidate learning and develop your voice as a critical practitioner within the contemporary performance landscape.

You will receive regular, in-class, formative feedback both from tutors and fellow students.

The sessions will be supported by material on Blackboard, the e-learning portal, with preparatory tasks and supporting information or additional research relating to the sessions

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The programme of collaborative learning will enable you to share your work and means you will receive a steady stream of formative feedback from your tutors and your peers. You will receive midpoint opportunities to show back your work and active constructive supportive feedback to underpin and move your learning forwards. This will allow you to check your progress and monitor your learning constantly with your tutors.

A series of performances will be selected for you to watch which will help you to navigate your way through the module. The module's assessments will be talked through with you in detail in class, and support will be offered in how to structure and articulate your ideas orally and in writing (including, for example, through tutor guided, peer-to-peer writing and feedback sessions). Group project supervision sessions will consider questions of collaborative working; exploring, for example, how we work together respectfully and inclusively.

Beyond this, the module will make use of an e-Reading List, linking you to core readings, websites and online video material which can help you develop appropriate knowledge and understanding. Using the virtual learning environment, Blackboard, you will have access to module information and resources 24/7. Where appropriate sessions may be recorded and uploaded to Blackboard for future consultation. Furthermore, access to technologies appropriate to the module (e.g. sound recorders, video cameras, portable microphones, I-pads etc) will be facilitated the TRC and the technical team.

Written assessment feedback will be provided within 20 working days of summative assignment submission. Access to library facilities is available 24-7 all year round.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
? 1. Be able to demonstrate a growing understanding of key practitioners and how they have influenced the methods and techniques of theatre and performance today.
? 2. Demonstrate an awareness of the cultural, practical and political relevance of contemporary theatre and performance practices

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
? 3. Demonstrate a developing ability in approaches to collaborative processes and performance skills
? 4. Evidence an ability to present in writing a timely reflection on a live performance or artwork

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
? 5. Work successful within an ensemble and developing practical skill sets.
? 6. Show an awareness of contemporary ethics and the programming decisions of venues.

How will I be assessed?

In small groups, students will informally share research materials to the class on a nominated technique and/or practitioner. Staff and peers will offer feedback that will open out into questions. This will provide a formative opportunity to practice a ‘viva’ type format.

In-class presentations will afford opportunities to develop analytical skills and to receive feedback on the construction of research evidenced argument.

Scratch Performance with viva (70%)
This assessment is divided into two elements, but receives one overall grade and feedback sheet:
• Scratch Performance (MLOs 1, 3)
Working in small groups, you will stage a short (c. 15min) demonstration of your developing skill sets in response to a stimulus set on the module (such as a scene from a dramatic text etc.).
• Group Viva (MLO 5)
A short group viva (c. 10) will be staged afterwards in which you will outline your aims and roles in the project. This may occur as a Q&A format directly after the previous element, chaired by a member of staff.

Essay (1,500 30%) (MLOs 2, 4, 6)
You will select a performance seen on the module and offer a reading on its cultural, practical and/or political relevance to contemporary theatre and performance making.





Module abstract

With two interrelated strands - making encounters and critiquing encounters - this module is an exciting opportunity to get stuck into making performance work as soon as your course begins. Through a combination of workshops, seminars and performance viewings you will work with tutors who are leaders in their fields of practice and research to develop new understandings what makes a theatrical encounter and how such encounters are produced.

Along with making your group performance, you will attend performances at local arts venues in the North East, such as Live Theatre and Northern Stage, as well as watching recorded performances. The combination of making your own theatrical encounters, while encountering the work of professionals is what makes this module a fantastic and vital introduction to your studies and to Newcastle and the region. In being introduced to ‘practical thinking’ the module is an opportunity to discover new ways of thinking about and practicing theatre that will set the foundations of your future studies and professional directions.

Course info

UCAS Code W405

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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