PA6003 - Performance in Context

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What will I learn on this module?

This module places you in a specific applied theatre context and gives you the opportunity to create context-appropriate performance. Because of this specificity, the module will be different every time: in some cases students may be assigned a script of an existing work; in others, the performance material may arise from research into the given context – and therefore be devised. The underlying structure however will cover similar areas of investigation and concern. Whilst they are written in order, there is of course constant overlap between the various stages in development:
Introduces the concept of performance in a given social context and examines the underlying assumptions about why this work takes place and why performance might be needed.
Examines the roles and responsibilities of the facilitator/performer in context. Such topics as safe practice, managing time and relationships, group building and the politics of participation are addressed through a range of practical exercises and techniques.
Engages in a detailed investigation of drama methodology specific to the context.
The final weeks of the module delivery are devoted to supporting you to plan and facilitate your own performance work in small groups. Rehearsal techniques are employed which aim to bring clarity and purpose to the performance. Wherever possible, it is intended to allow you the opportunity to deliver this work to real people in real contexts.

How will I learn on this module?

The learning and teaching strategy is sensitive to the context but there are a number of principles which are common to all contexts:
• Engagement in the context: from the start you will be invited to meet and engage with the potential collaborators and client groups. This will include talks from visiting speakers, visits to various sites, meetings and workshops designed to develop and understand the place where performance happens.
• Problem solving: early on you will be set a project brief which challenges you (in groups) to design performance material for the context. The emphasis is on forming a creative response to the brief.
• Collaboration: creative co-production is the key principle in this module. You will learn to balance the agenda of the host organisation with your own needs and aspirations, forming an agreement about the aims and objectives for the project.
• Lectures and seminar discussions: these give you time to reflect and pause in your practice, to consider the ethics and methodologies of the project.
• Rehearsal and performance: this will follow a familiar patterns of tutor and peer group feedback with the addition of client feedback at various points in the process.
• Journal and reflection: you will keep a journal and reflect on the working process.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

In third year you are expected to begin a process of self-sustaining professional practice; to enhance this process you are supported by a programme of group devising. This means that you receive a steady stream of formative feedback both from your tutor and from your fellow students. Working in close collaboration with host organisations and applied contexts, you will be supported by seminars and visiting speakers who have expert knowledge of the context.

Feedback is carefully judged to support you to make your own practical and aesthetic choices. It is part of a ‘stepped’ process of supervision: this is a first semester module which allows you to engage in a context defined by tutors. Thus the context setting is done for you, but is part of a conscious graduated process: the module prepares you for the work of the independent applied practitioner in future modules.

The module is supported is also supported by the supervisory and support structures outside the formal taught time:
Office hours, Blackboard, 1:1 guidance tutorials.

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. Articulate clearly the methodology underpinning applied theatre practice

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

2. Implement professional skills in a work based context.
3. Facilitate and perform work in a specific context

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. Demonstrate strong awareness of the ethical issues inherent in applied theatre processes.

How will I be assessed?

The group devising process means that you receive a steady stream of formative assessment in a rehearsal context.

Summative Assessment: (70%)
The assessment is individual. The assessment is based upon the practical demonstration of a performance/workshop event for a particular context. (2, 3, 4)

Written log (30%)
This will detail the student’s journey of discovery throughout the module, evidencing preparation and planning in the form of a journal. A short individual statement must also be provided in an essay form, indicating the methodological basis of the work (1,500 words). This statement must include a detailed bibliography and evidence of reflection based on significant research. (1, 4)

Summative Feedback
Feedback or these tasks will be written on standard feedback sheets and will be received within 20 working days of submission deadline.





Module abstract

This module engages you in the making of performance that is context specific. Examples of contexts in previous years include theatre in: education, social housing, the care system, disciplinary systems within schools, and heritage sites. From the start you will be encouraged to learn by doing: you will respond to a professional brief, working in groups to make performance work allied to the context. The module delivered with a spirit of enquiry and collaboration. It is ‘applied’ research because it has an immediate impact on the social world. There are many employability skills that full undertaking of this module will offer you:
Engagement in the context: from the start you will be invited to meet and engage with the potential collaborators and client groups.
Problem solving: early on you will be set a project brief which challenges you (in groups) to design performance material for the context. The emphasis is on forming a creative response to the brief.

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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