PA7000 - Researching Theatre and Performance

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will be introduced to a range of research methods and strategies relevant to the contemporary academic fields of theatre and performance. You will also learn how to work as an ethical researcher, and will be expected to follow the University Ethics Code for research.

You will be encouraged to align your developing research interests with contemporary debates and approaches within this field and to view your own evolving scholarly understanding and interests as a developing ‘body of research’ from which you can extract, test, and process your own research questions. You will be supported by tutors to identify and refine specific research questions that underpin your developing scholarly interests, and to activate and explore these questions in and through your own research output.

Work on this module is designed to enhance the scholarly research based enquiry that will inform your work on Theatre and Performance Project. The module will encourage you to develop academic skills focussing particularly on: developing skills in reflective and evaluative research writing; and supporting you to build an extensive bibliography and resources list that will lead you into your final project.

You will be introduced to a number of approaches and methods, drawing on existing practices and expertise within the core academic teaching team. Explicitly, staff research will inform a significant part of your learning on this module as you will engage directly in discussions rooted in staff research projects.

You can expect to encounter methods, theories and approaches such as:
Practice as Research; Ethnography; Action Research; Phenomenology; Applied Research; Qualitative methods; Semi-structured Interview techniques; Archival Research; Performance Analysis.

Likewise, you can expect to encounter research topics and questions in the areas of (indicatively):
Performer Training Research Practices; Documentation and Performance Practice; Research within Applied Theatre contexts; Researching the Body in Performance; Exploring Identity through Performance; Autobiography; Walking Practices; Political Performances; Social Performance (e.g. protests or political speech making).

How will I learn on this module?

You will meet regularly with academic staff and peers in a series of lecture-seminar settings. Here you are encouraged to identify and explore research questions that underpin your own developing practice (as being developed in Theatre and Performance Practice).

Key approaches, texts, theories and methodologies pertaining to staff expertise and research projects will be shared, discussed, and debated
Tutorials in which you will be supported to extend and build on your discoveries in the seminars towards undertaking an independent exploration of academic methodologies and questions in relation to your own individual theatre and performance research interests.

You will submit examples of writing at regular intervals on the module and will receive individual formative feedback through tutorials prior to summative submission. Teaching methods are designed to ensure that on successful completion of the module you will have had the opportunity to:
- explore and reflect on a range of potential approaches to framing academic research in theatre and performance;
- develop core skills as a researcher in the broad area of theatre and performance and key skills in evaluative writing
- develop critical thinking and creative problem solving skills though your engagements with literature reviewing and bibliography development.

These skills will support you in the delivery of the final MA module Theatre and Performance Project, as well as being fundamentally important skills in all sectors of employment post-graduation.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your learning is supported in a number of ways throughout the module. The sessions themselves are structured in a way which is responsive to your needs. Questions that arise from lecture-seminars can be further explored and discussed in individual tutorials.
You will be supported through the process of undertaking academic research and writing via formative feedback in a tutorial setting prior to your summative submission.

Tutors teaching into the module will directly support you to define and develop research questions and interests. Tutorials will be arranged with you outside of scheduled lectures and seminars, and you will also be encouraged to make regular use of staff office-hours.
The main form of support we offer you is guided discussion and ongoing dialogue about your work.

Relevant course materials will also be made available to you via the ELP.

All work carried out on this module is subject to Ethical Approval. With the support of your tutor, you will complete an Ethics Approval Form that is submitted for scrutiny by the Faculty Ethics Committee prior to you starting research on your project. You must gain ethical approval before you can begin working on your project.

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 the ability to critically engage with and evaluate a range of methodologies and approaches pertaining to academic research.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

2) To demonstrate your developing voice as a research practitioner

3) To demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the contexts and modes of delivery in which research outputs are disseminated in the field

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

4) Demonstrate a readiness to engage in the ethics and politics of academic research practices

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment (%100) involves submission of :
a Research Essay (5000 words) that responds to and develops from the research inquiries presented and discussed in lecture-seminars. From this you will develop and explore a specific research question that triangulates the presented research with your own academic theatre and performance interests, and which includes the writing of an abstract and relevant literature review.

You will receive verbal formative feedback from your tutor in the form of dialogue in seminars. Other students will also be encouraged to participate and offer critical feedback, creating a productive and supportive learning environment. Additional formative feedback will be offered throughout the module through individual tutorials.

Formative Feedback on written work is offered verbally in lectures, seminars and tutorials.
Summative Feedback for the summative assessments will be written on standard feedback sheets and will be made available within 20 working days of the final submission deadline.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

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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