PA5010 - Stand Up and Cabaret

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What will I learn on this module?

This module is part of a suite of options available to you in semester two of your second year. It is designed to enable you to explore and develop solo (or duo) modes of popular performance. The overarching goal is to create 7 minutes of material that you will perform in front of a live audience in a club setting. You will be able to utilise this material not just during the assessment but also indicate where else you might adapt and transport it.
You will learn the following skills:
• How to generate ideas for material
• How to structure material (jokes, stories, songs, physical/visual performances )
• How to structure a piece or a set
• How to develop a persona that draws on aspects of self but develops or exaggerates them (a clown self)
• How to gain experience and keep performing
• How to work with audiences
• How to place your own material in a social and historical context
In addition the following themes will be covered:
• Cabaret and popular performance as a mode of identity politics
• The politics of representation
• Satire

How will I learn on this module?

Your learning will be primarily though practical exploration. It is a practice-based module which emphasises learning by doing and showing rather than telling. A key principle in the learning process is that ‘funny’ or ‘evocative’ can only be evidenced by the provocation of audience response (laughter, applause, etc.), and that no amount of theorizing will determine what will ‘work ‘ (or not work) in the context of a cabaret or comedy routine. Rather, we will generate material from starting points, some private study, some shared in the moment improvisation.

You will explore the relationship between the audience and the performer within the context of live club event, collaborative workshops, writing exercises; and through a series of workshops that support spontaneous creation of material. You will be introduced to a wide variety of cabaret and comedic styles via web and audio-visual archives. This will influence your choice of material and your ability to situate your work within a popular performance tradition. After selecting your material you will be supported to hone and polish your own 7 minute comedy ‘set’ or cabaret ‘turn’ (or combination of the two). This will be an opportunity to develop a suite of material that you can take with you beyond the life of the module and perform in a variety of settings. Your practical knowledge will be underpinned by weekly readings of comedy and cabaret theory and or texts which engage working comedy and cabaret performers in discussion about their process. Where possible we will have visits and talks from industry professionals.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Due to the experiential and discursive nature of the learning in this module there will be lots of opportunity to get tutor feedback on your work; the successful development of your work will rely on highly detailed formative feedback not just with tutors but with guest lecturers and fellow students. Accepting that there is no single approach to comedy or cabaret that will work for everyone, we encourage a supportive trusting environment. Learning, in this context, is not just a matter of learning how to do but learning how to fail: failure is an intrinsic part of the process and we will ensure students have plenty of opportunities to fail…and recover! A key method in the process will be the recording of individual performance to allow for careful evaluation and improvement.
You are welcome to make use of Office Hours, email and telephone communication at other times to seek out further support and guidance.
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. Demonstrate a capacity to communicate ideas directly and simply through comedic performance.

2. Articulate the intentions underpinning the chosen form and content in performance.

3. Critically assess one’s own performance

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

4. Create a 7 minute set containing carefully selected material

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

5. Locate and articulate the ethical implications of one’s own material/persona where necessary.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment takes place on a regular and frequent basis through the workshops and rehearsals; and in ‘scratch night’ night performances.

Summative assessment takes the form of an assessed 10 minute presentation evaluating your 7 minute live set after the event. (50%)

(1, 4, )

A log book/archive of your live performance. (50%) (2, 3, 5)

Summative Feedback;
All summative assignments will receive written feedback on standard feedback sheets within 20 working days of submission.





Module abstract

This module is an introduction to comedy and cabaret. You will explore the relationship between the performer and the audience to create a stimulating and engaging performance. You will have the opportunity to work with industry professionals and to develop your knowledge and understanding. Study on the module should give you the skills and confidence to embark on your own comedic/cabaret projects and introduce you to some useful professional networks. Students may go on to perform material developed in this module in a range of popular performance contexts.

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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