TP5002 - Contemporary Theatre Making

What will I learn on this module?

This practically led module will explore the processes and practices of contemporary theatre making from a number of different perspectives, drawing on a range of international practitioners. The module will help you to locate your work in relation to the history of key theatre practitioners from the late-20th and early-21st centuries. You will engage with practices such as verbatim theatre, immersive or physical performance, along with the work of (e.g.) Forced Entertainment, Augusto Boal, or Jatinder Verma. In doing so, the module asks you to think about what ‘theatre’ is (form and context) in practice. That is, through practical exploration (in studios, in urban contexts, in homes or in online environments) the module explores how we create theatre and the importance of understanding theatre-making as an active practice and ongoing cultural, political and critical process in the world.

How will I learn on this module?

You will work through a series of structured practical theatre workshops focused on the work of practitioners or performance approaches. Alongside staff presentations, reading materials and performance viewings (live or recorded) the structured programme of workshops will help you to build knowledge of and skills in the areas of performance addressed on the module.

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. As such, classes will combine a workshop model of group tasks and exercises with sharing of work- in- progress, debates and discussions. The module creates space you 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?

You will have the opportunity to discuss the relationship between approaches and ideas studied and the rest of your programme of study, facilitating a holistic understanding of their learning and the interconnected nature of thinking and ideas between modules. E-learning and tutorial support will enable you to understand the context for the module activity and provide additional areas for personal investigation and research. Where possible and practical, external input to the module (for example: workshops, online tutorials, project briefs, interviews) will give you further opportunity to consider the relation between your learning and emerging practice and the wider cultural landscape in NewcastleGateshead and nationally, a valuable means through which to consider the place and function of theatre and performance, and to develop holistic perspectives on a career in theatre and wider cultural industries.

The module also creates space in class for discussion with the module tutor(s), affording you a chance to develop your own opinions and consolidate learning, as well as directly to question, constructively challenge and debate with the tutor. The programme of reading and sharing practice in development means there is a consistent and regular formative feedback loop both from tutors and peers.

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:
? Demonstration of clear understanding of key areas of practice within contemporary theatre and the relation of that to wider social, political and/or cultural questions.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
? Demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly the practical and artistic elements of a proposed project in relation to wider performance landscapes and histories, and the place of that work in relation to the contemporary world.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
? Show awareness of ethical responsibilities inherent in creating embodied representations; demonstrate cultural awareness (local and/or global as appropriate) of the ‘function’ of such representations in relation to contemporary social concerns.

How will I be assessed?

Tutor feedback on work-in-progress showings during workshops; peer-to-peer and tutor feedback on debates and articulation of ideas in relation to research.

Scratch performance with viva (100%).
This assessment is divided into two elements, but receives one overall grade and feedback sheet: final performance and group viva.
• Scratch performance (70%) (MLOs 1, 3)
In groups, research, design and ‘pitch’ a scratch performance (c.10mins) that emerges from and responds to a chosen area practice covered in the module, and that addresses provocations / stimuli/ questions provided by the tutor. This should include a realised practical example of the work (precise format to be agreed with tutor)
• Group Viva (30%) (MLO 2)
As a group, you will respond to questions from staff on your creative and technical decisions. This will also be used to evidence your own input and role in the performance.





Module abstract

This module explores how you create theatre which speaks directly to the world we now live in. It will engage you in practical exploration (in studios, in urban contexts, in homes and/or in online environments) and in cutting edge practices, such as verbatim theatre, immersive or physical performance. You will be led through examples of leading contemporary companies, such as Forced Entertainment, TARA Arts, Quarantine and Back to Back Theatre. In doing so, the module invites you to think about what ‘theatre’ is in practice and what it might become in a fast-changing world. As well as developing your skills as a maker you will be encouraged to understand the importance of theatre-making as an active practice of ongoing cultural, political and critical awareness.

Course info

UCAS Code W405

Credits 20

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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