Module code: THE1022

Module Overview

This module aims to introduce students to core questions and concerns surrounding theatrical texts.  The term ‘text’ carries multiple connotations here: the module will focus considerable attention on the play text, but will also consider other forms of writing for and about theatre and performance, including expressionistic or absurdist alterations to the notion of the play text, writing for devised performance, and critical writing or textual representations of performance.  In so doing, the module will introduce students to select conventions of theatrical/performance writing, and will also ask students to interrogate the concept(s) and authority of text in the field of theatre and performance.  Finally, the module will offer students careful and detailed tutelage in the process of writing critical essays for this field.

Module provider

Guildford School of Acting

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: W440

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

The poetic/heightened theatrical text (i.e., Shakespeare, Classical Greece)
The realistic theatrical text (i.e., Chekhov, Glaspell)
The expressionistic/absurdist theatrical text (i.e., Toller, Artaud, Beckett)
The postmodern/devised performance text (i.e., Müller, Churchill, Frantic Assembly)
The adapted theatrical text (performance created from literature, poetry, song)
Critical approaches to text (i.e., semiotics, poststructuralism)
Guide(s) to essay writing

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 2000 WORD ESSAY 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate a) their understanding of different types of ‘text’ in the field of theatre and performance; b) their understanding of a selection of critical and theoretical approaches to the role of text in theatre and performance; c) their critical writing abilities.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

One 2000-word essay

This essay will be due during assessment week(s), and will be preceded by a series of formative tasks designed to develop the students’ skill in essay writing.


Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment is as follows; over the course of the semester, students must submit

A practice thesis statement
A practice bibliography and demonstration of in-text citation(s)
An essay outline
Abstract (300 words)

Students will receive feedback on these pieces of work from both peers and the tutor in the module’s workshops; students will also be required to bring all pieces to the individual tutorial, where they will receive further feedback from the tutor. The goal of these pieces of formative assessment is to provide students with experience in the various stages/components of essay writing.   

Module aims

  • Develop experience of reading written and performed texts and develop knowledge of texts that are relevant to current practices in theatre and performance
  • Introduce students to critical questions about the role of text in the making of theatre and performance, and enable them to apply such questions to their thinking about plays and performance texts 
  • Devlop students' analytical and critical writing abilities

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Identify varying roles and modes of operation of the written text in multiple performance conventions KC
2 Demonstrate a knowledge of critical and theoretical approaches to the role of text in theatre and performance KC
3 Produce in writing a clear and articulate critical investigation into the role of text in theatre and performance KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Seminar Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to expose students to a selection of theatrical/performance texts and to critical and contextual questions surrounding those texts.  Moreover, the strategy is designed to facilitate debate and discussion in the classroom, thereby foregrounding questions of authority and slippages meaning (or the presence of multiple perspectives on a single ‘set’ text).  The strategy is also designed to keep students actively and simultaneously engaged in two activities – the study of specific texts and critical contexts, and the preparation of critical writing.  To this end, a series of workshops on essay writing are written into the delivery of the module; these will address questions of critical essays such as the thesis, research and referencing, outlining, and style.  Each workshop will link with the week’s content, and each will require students to come with prepared work.  Finally, a set of individual tutorials are included in the strategy, to allow the tutor to directly address the development if each student’s writing and skills and critical understanding of text.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Individual tutorials

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for THE THEATRICAL TEXT :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Dance with Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Liberal Arts and Sciences BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media Studies with Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 Optional 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.