TP5003 - Performance, Politics and Power in Contemporary Society

What will I learn on this module?

This module explores some of the most critical questions of our time, asking why particular theatre productions, plays, and performance traditions are important now and how they might be engaged in understanding, critiquing and remaking the world around us. Building on the foundational work completed in year one, this research driven module will help you to develop and hone your performance analysis and research skills. Through tutor facilitated discussions, debates and in-class research activities, you will draw on research materials from key academic and political debates; this may include critical race theory, post-colonial studies, queer theory, disability studies, performance theory, feminism and gender studies, etc. By studying a wide range of theatrical texts and performances, you will have the opportunity to understand the interrelations between innovations in theatre and performance practices and the wider social and political contexts from which they emerge. That is, this module asks you: why should we make theatre and performance now?

How will I learn on this module?

Relating to areas of staff research specialism, the module’s delivery models may vary depending to the tutor leading the work; however, in the main, the module will focus on tutor facilitated seminars, framed by your engagement with relevant research materials that might include play texts, journal articles, performance viewings (live or recorded), archival materials, online essays, blogs, podcasts etc. The module may also make use of field research (to see artworks in context or to museum exhibitions for instance), workshop activities, online tutorials and meetings, or short lectures. In all cases, tutors will support and guide you through the module,encouraging you to ask questions of each other, of the material before you and of the tutor. Discussion and debate are at the centre of the learning on the module, ensuring you develop critical thinking, reflection and communication skills across different media that will be vital to future employability and academic success.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your learning will be supported in a number of ways throughout the module. The sessions themselves are structured to be responsive and to adapt as the sessions unfold and develop and depending on the particular content and approach of the session. As a research focused module, staff will seek to engage you and your peers in discussion and debate throughout, posing questions and setting up small group tasks and activities to vary learning models. You will explore ideas with your tutors, who will ensure you affirm your understanding of the ideas and materials you are exploring. Regular formative feedback in response to individual contributions and group activities will be provided by tutors, ensuring that you are able to measure for yourself the progress you are making on the module.

The module's assessments (a research presentation) will be talked through with you in detail in the sessions, and support will be offered in how to research, structure and successfully deliver this exciting piece of work.

Information and resources will be available to you on Blackboard and the 'Reading List' contains links to websites and online video material which can help you develop appropriate knowledge and understanding.

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:
? Articulate an understanding of the importance of geo-political context to the production and reception of theatre and performance works

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
? Demonstrate developing critical thinking, communication and reasoning skills

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
? Evidence engagement with and understanding of different cultural and/or ethical positions as they relate to the study of relevant performance works

How will I be assessed?

In small groups, you will share short prepared responses to a case study or set topic featured in the module schedule at the start of sessions. The aim is to introduce a subject for the other students, which staff can then curate into an opening discussion. Feedback on understanding and clarity will be offered by staff and peers.

Performance Research Presentation (100%)
You will be assessed via an individual research presentation (c. 10-15 minutes) addressing a tutor set research question* evidencing clear and sustained engagement with relevant research materials and making use of creative or performative means where they advance the argument of the work. That is, while critical enquiry and rigorous research will underpin the presentations, you will be encouraged to think creatively about the form their work takes.

(*You may develop their own question in discussion with the module tutor)





Module abstract

Building on staff research expertise, this module explores some of the most pressing and vibrant questions of our time. We will ask why particular plays and performance traditions are important now and how they might be engaged in understanding and remaking the world. The international upsurgence of #MeToo or Black Lives Matter, or the ongoing movement for Disability Rights, demonstrate how politics is always entwined with dramatic representation and why it is sometimes referred to by mass media as a ‘culture war’. Through tutor facilitated discussions, debates and in-class research activities, you will be encouraged to think through the politics of your own everyday life and how that relates to global performances of politics and power. By studying a wide range of texts and events, you will understand the interrelations between innovations in theatre and performance practice and the wider social and political contexts from which they emerge.

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

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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