PA5001 - Analysing Drama and Performance

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What will I learn on this module?

Analysing Performance is a lecture/seminar based module which introduces you to a range of key topics and current debates in theatre and performance. The module focusses on four main topic areas and tackles these from a number of perspectives which foreground current practice, thinking and research. Topic areas are represented in lecture titles such as Performance and Presence, Performance and the Body, Performance and Politics, Performance and Time. We will also be working with you to help open up some important critical and academic texts which present new research and ways of thinking about these areas of performance. Throughout the classes you will asked to contribute ideas, discuss, watch and respond to a range of stimuli presented to you by lecturers.
Great emphasis will be placed on trying out and testing ideas both in class discussions as well as in a number of formative written submissions, and the module helps you to build a sophisticated set of concepts and ideas on theatre practice. For instance, we will look at the political assumption which might underpin a particular performance strategy, or the idea that certain kinds of performance can demonstrate the capacities of the body in particular ways, or how a given form of performance positions the viewpoint of the spectator. We will be working closely with you as you engage in some of these important debates through discussion and writing, leading you and closely supporting you towards the Semester 2 summative submissions. These critical explorations support a range of practices which are taking place in your other modules, such as Contemporary Performance, Advanced Acting and Performance Skills, Exploring Scriptwriting and Devising Applied Theatre.

How will I learn on this module?

This is an academic module which is taught through the format of lecture/seminar. In each lecture, the lecturer will share with you and help you to understand some key ideas and concepts relating to different kinds of theatre and performance practice. The lectures will be delivered in varied ways; you will not only be listening to lecturers but also asked to try out ideas, to watch pieces of film and respond to a range of questions and provocations. It is an environment that encourages dialogue and debate, informed by your engagement with texts that we will look at on the course. Seminars consist of much smaller group discussions with a tutor, where there is even more emphasis on contributions to discussions by individual students. The use of the e-learning portal (Blackboard) will be a key feature of the module; here you will find regularly updated course materials and readings which will be updated regularly throughout the year.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your learning is supported in a number of ways throughout the module. The classes themselves are structured in a way which is responsive to your needs; lecturers will explore ideas with you and ask you to affirm your understanding of them, and you will be given response tasks in classes to which lecturers will feed back to you, which will help you to measure for yourself your own progress on the module. A series of texts will be selected for you to read which will help you to navigate your way through the module, and these texts will be directly spoken to in classes so that your reading is supported. The module also incorporates a number of formative written submissions which give you the opportunity to practice and hone your academic writing skills in response to feedback which will be given to you by lecturers on each formative written submission.
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:
1. Be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of a range of concepts relevant to the analysis of performance.
2. Be able to show a broad awareness of the differences between key theatrical strategies in terms of aesthetics and politics.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Demonstrate an ability to analyse and critique theatre practice.
4. Demonstrate an ability to construct reasoned arguments about theatre both in oral and written form.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate a readiness to share ideas and knowledge in with others.

How will I be assessed?


Formative feedback is woven into the module via ongoing class discussions. In classes there will be opportunities to respond, to question and to contribute to discussion, and lecturers will be responding to student contributions, and this is a form of ongoing formative feedback. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Essay (2500 words). This essay asks you to articulate and sustain an argument in response to a set question which arises directly from the lecture and seminar classes. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5,)

Portfolio of Responses (1,500 – 2,000 words). This Portfolio consists of short pieces of writing which you will have formatively submitted over the duration of the module, prior to receiving feedback and then submitting in one final and edited document: the Portfolio of Responses (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)





Module abstract

What are some of the key academic debates and discussions in relation to theatre and performance practice today? Through a series of lectures and seminars we will be working with you through significant ideas and important theoretical concepts in drama and performance such as presence, the body, and politics which will help you shape your understanding of your subject. Together, we will be looking at drama and performance work, analysing and debating different practices and the questions that they raise about the nature of theatre, and theatre’s relationship to developments in our culture. You are encouraged to build research strategies to investigate key concepts and reflect on performance practices. Through this module you will have the opportunity to develop yourselves as independent thinkers, and this thinking can further enhance the quality of your practice.

Course info

UCAS Code W400

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 2020

Fee Information

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