Module code: PRO1019

Module provider

Guildford School of Acting

Module Leader


Number of Credits


ECTS Credits



FHEQ Level 4

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 105

Seminar Hours: 18

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment RESEARCH PRESENTATION 100

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites

All prior Semester 1 Level 4 modules.

Module overview

Qualifying Condition(s)

A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module.


This module is designed to prompt discussion and research into the development of production practice set against the wider exploration of the people, practices and innovation found within the history of European theatre.

Module aims

Introduce the context to much of our contemporary ideas of staging, stage formats, production techniques, the rise of technology and the interaction with audiences and performers

Provide a navigation to explore a theatrical history that continues to inspire and develop creative practice and practitioners

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Confidently discuss and debate historical reference as it relates to key areas of contemporary performance and production K
2 Significantly contribute to their lexicon of artistic, historical and creative reference KPT
3 Identify areas of inspiration and interest for further personal study in support of Level 5 and 6 show role allocations KP
4 Demonstrate thorough research and competent presentation skills CT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

A look at the history of theatre from ancient theatre 400 B.C. to current day:

Greece and Rome

Tragedy and Comedy
Greek theatre architecture
From Greece to Rome

Middle Ages

Liturgical drama
Morality and Miracle plays
The church and the laity
Mystery plays

Elizabethan Theatre

The great playhouses
The court and the groundling
Acting companies

European Theatre

The Spanish Golden Age
Italian theatre architecture
Racine, Corneille and Moliere
Commedia dell’arte

Theatre after Shakespeare

Court masques and blood tragedies
The dead hand of the Royal Warrants
The Comedy of Manners.
The arrival of actresses

Theatre between the acts 1737-1843

The diversification of performance styles
Garrick and the actor-managers
The Georgian touring circuits
The Lane and the Garden

Victorian Theatre

The decline of the playwright
Theatres, music halls and gaffs
Tragedies and dark comedies
The last plays

Playwrights of the North

Naturalism in theatre and its inheritance

The History of the Musical

The dominance of Broadway
Music, book and lyrics
Lloyd Webber and Sondheim

British Theatre Yesterday and Today

The impact of public funding
The dominance of the two national companies
Plays and musicals
The celebrity performer

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Provide a framework and impetus for personal study in a chosen area of production (technology) evolution.
Simultaneously present and explore a history of theatre and performance.
Identify the key practitioners, innovators and societal impacts upon the evolving stage/stagecraft.
Engage with archive, library and on-line research resources to provide access and opportunity for future research.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Taught practical sessions either in studio or class environment
Attendance at workshops, seminars, master-classes
Site visits/industry field trips
Timed practical exercises
Written examination
Group presentation/tutorials
Individual tutorial/viva voce

This module attempts to facilitate key areas of the Programme learning and teaching strategy specifically those defining taught sessions within Contextual Studies exploring histories and traditions of performance and production and learner-directed practical projects evidencing core, elementary theory and practice.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge acquired about practitioners engaged with digital scenography, past and present. It also offers students the opportunity to show skills in analysis of the use of digital scenography in performance, and to offer up experiments of their own for similar interrogation.


Formative Assessment (which is designed to help structure your learning)

Students will receive feedback on their performance via one-to-one tutorials and during the sessions or workshops.


Summative Assessment (for which you receive a formal ‘grade’ at the end of the module)

Assessment 1: Research Presentation (100%)

Due: Week 8

Each student will deliver a short (10minutes plus 5 minutes questions) research presentation.


Choose one area of research from the topics covered on the module and discuss it in relation to your own area of study. With reference to historical context, theoretical research, production examples discuss the development and progression of your area of production craft in relation to the area of research. For example, you might ask what impact naturalism has had on lighting design? Or, in what ways can performance studies be useful to scenography? Or, how do intermedial performance practices challenge understandings of ‘traditional’ stage management?


Assessment criteria:


Development: What is the coherence and strength of the intellectual ideas informing the work?
Impact: What is the integrity and persuasiveness of the work in performance / presentation?
Skills & Technique: Have skills and techniques appropriate to the task (e.g. research, referencing, analysis) been applied successfully?
Reflection: With what depth have critical reflection and analysis been employed in order to evolve the presentation in relation to area of practice? Does the material display analytical and critical awareness of relevant contemporary theoretical debates and discourses and /or contextualisation within the relevant area of study?


Important note:

All citations from academic texts that you use in your portfolio must be referenced according to the rules of the Harvard system. A bibliography must therefore be provided at the end of your essay, laid out according to the Harvard system.

Reading list

Reading list for CONTEXTUAL STUDIES :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Theatre Production BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.