PA4004 - Ensemble Exploration: Devising and Physical Theatre

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What will I learn on this module?

Following on from Acting: Movement Voice and Text in which you were introduced to acting techniques, physical and vocal training and processes to realise a play text, in this module you will be introduced to practices, practitioners, techniques and styles of performance that will help you identify and develop your own abilities as a performance maker. Through an exploration of current performance making strategies and approaches you will begin to develop an understanding of yourself as an individual artist within the theatrical ensemble, learning techniques, skills and processes of the actor-creator. In this module you will experience and develop an understanding of the potential for the physical body onstage and a growing awareness and expanding knowledge of the artistic possibilities of both text and movement. You will gain a greater knowledge of your own body and develop processes to support both physical expressiveness and safe physical practice.

How will I learn on this module?

Through a series of workshops you will take part in practical exercises to explore and research the methods of some key 21st Century theatre practitioners, including ensemble performance makers, cabaret artists, improvisers, contemporary choreographers and writers. You will then work in both small and large ensemble groups to develop what you learn from these different areas of expertise. Through these processes you will generate and shape your own theatrical material, which you will present in a final ‘symposium’ style demonstration of work and processes. Alongside these workshops you will have focussed readings and presentations on the practices, their underlying theories and their origins and you will undertake independent study and research resulting in a critical reflection on your practice presentation.
In addition to the academic support you will receive from tutors, you will also be supported technically to realise your project through regular drop in sessions and meetings with the technicians designated to support the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

As for Acting: Movement Voice and Text, you will work together in groups through extended sessions over two days of the taught week. You will undertake a practical session, followed by a directed study period, followed by a tutor led session to round off the day whereby you can share findings with your tutor, who in return will offer verbal formative feedback on your progress.

You will be encouraged on this module to explore techniques which will take you out of your comfort zone, and to apply the various skills and techniques that you acquire through the workshops to your own making process. This process will be supported by your designated tutor, from whom you will receive regular verbal formative feedback in taught classes. Your tutor will then continue to offer you advice and support in the development of your own devised performance material through tutorials and prearranged show back points.

Through the taught sessions, tutors will engage you in exercises that will support and enrich your understanding of ensemble practices to best prepare you for the process of working collaboratively with peers. You will be encouraged to offer supportive and constructive peer feedback as you develop your performance material for assessment. Tutors will advise you on additional readings and resources that will help you critically reflect on your process and contextualise your practice in preparation for assessment. Showing of assessment work-in-progress will offer you additional opportunity to engage in discussion of you own work and that of your peers further extending your skills of observation and ability to articulate your ideas in relation to aesthetic choices.

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: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of devising strategies and techniques in the realisation of an ensemble performance
2. Show an understanding of how the body may be incorporated into performance in imaginative and original ways demonstrating appreciation of your own potential as physical performers

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. Demonstrate that you can make imaginative, considered and informed choices in the creation of performance, and to articulate reflections demonstrating knowledge, understanding and self-awareness

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

4. Demonstrate a sound attitude to punctuality and workshop practice, rehearsal conduct and be able to collaborate effectively in ensemble practice

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment is an integral feature of this module. You will receive immediate and direct feedback from your tutor in each practical session. The focused nature of the directed study sessions means that you will also engage in a process of regular peer feedback as well.

Once work within the mini ensemble is underway, you will be formatively assessed individually in order to help you to grasp the key concepts and the effectiveness of the group work you are engaged in. This will offer you the opportunity to reflect and focus your efforts on preparation for the summative assessment.

Summative Assessment:
There are 2 summative assessment points, both of which are designed to measure your attainment against the learning outcomes:
• Demonstration of practice (70%) which allows you to embody and show through embodiment an understanding of the techniques and performative ideas explored on the module, which should also evidence the ensemble nature of the process and preparation
(1, 2, 4)
• A blog critically reflecting on the practice (30%) which allows you to evidence your critical understanding of the practice you are engaged in, and to apply concepts and textual reference points to the work (3)

Feedback for the summative assessments will be written on standard feedback sheets and will be made available within 20 working days of the submission deadline.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

Following on from Acting: Movement Voice and Text in which you were introduced to actor’s techniques, physical and vocal training and processes to realise a play text, in Ensemble Exploration: Devising and Physical Theatre you will explore practices, practitioners, techniques and styles of performance that will help you identify and develop your own abilities as a performance maker. Through an exploration of current performance making strategies in your weekly classes and in workshops with visiting artists such as Forced Entertainment, Third Angel and Paper Birds, you will begin to develop an understanding of yourself as an individual artist within the theatrical ensemble, learning techniques, skills and processes of the performer-creator.

Course info

UCAS Code W400

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 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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