Module code: THE1025

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the discipline of theatre studies. It provides core knowledge that both founds and frames the Theatre and Performance programme at Surrey. The module focuses on influential and radical theatre and performance practices and practitioners that have shaped theatre history in Europe and elsewhere in the world, specifically addressing modern and postmodern practices and practitioners. The module will address a series of issues that are raised by these practices, which may include: mimesis, representation and ‘the real’; art-for-art’s-sake versus instrumental art; art and/as institution; the ‘activation’ of audiences; riots and protest; individual, community and state power; and class, race, gender and sexual identity.

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

The module will introduce a series of texts (written and performed) to offer students a genealogical sense of theatre and performance as evolving practices with accompanying academic disciplines. Lines will be drawn between theatre, performance, society and the political and theatre and performance practices will be introduced as historically innovative aesthetic mediums for social and political experimentation. The module will provide access to a range of sources that might inform the analysis of texts, together with opportunities for discussion and debate of their suitability for analysing theatre texts (written and performed).

The module will engage with a breadth of theatre forms, techniques and theory, which may focus, indicatively, on: Naturalism; Futurism; Dadaism; German Expressionist film and theatre; Symbolism; Surrealism; Epic Theatre; Theatre of Cruelty; the Situationist International; the Living Theatre; the Wooster Group; Theatre of the Oppressed; Welfare State International; Bread and Puppet Theatre; Verbatim Theatre; the shift from theatre studies to performance studies; and protest and/as performance.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (1500 WORDS) 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to work toward the following learning outcomes:

identify theoretical and methodological developments in theatre theory and practice and to demonstrate effective analysis of those developments;
apply relevant methodological approaches to the analysis of theatre and performance, informed by an awareness of historical context and appropriate aesthetic and political discourse;
demonstrate an effective grip on academic argumentation, particularly with regards to independent research, clarity of communication and a balanced sense of critical perspective.

Thus, the summative assignment for this module consists of an academic essay to enable students to demonstrate all of the above.  The essay requires students to select a theoretical or methodological paradigm from a range of options (i), and to utilize this paradigm in the analysis of a performance or text (ii).  It further requires students to present that analysis in a clear and cohesive fashion, building to a well-founded and well-presented argument (iii). 



This assessment strategy, with a formative assignment placed mid-way through the module, is intended to encourage critical thinking and analysis at a fairly early stage in the module – and in the Programme – while providing an important stepping stone towards the summative assessment. The essay plan and abstract will provide an opportunity for the module tutor to provide written feedback which will take into account: effective essay planning; the formation of a skeletal, but clear and concise argument; the proposal of clearly defined claims and observations; and a suitable depth of engagement with scholarly literature. 

Module aims

  • To provide core knowledge of theatre and performance practices and studies as a foundation to the Theatre Studies programme
  • To consider theatre and performance in historical context, both in terms of the form of theatre itself and in terms of the operation and interpretation of theatre in wider culture(s)
  • To introduce students to the aesthetic and political significance of theatre
  • To enable students to use informed and relevant critical vocabularies and research methods

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify theoretical and methodological developments in theatre as a form that relates to changing artistic, historical and political contexts KC
002 Apply theoretically-informed approaches to the analysis of theatre in culture, with awareness of key historical, political and/or aesthetic perspectives KCT
003 Conduct research with a range of tools and across a range of resources to produce informed and clearly-communicated academic argument PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: enhance knowledge of nineteenth- and twentieth-century theatre practice and theory; foster critical thinking and analytical skills (particularly with regards to theatre and performance analysis), as well as evaluative skills; enhance confidence and ability to articulate ideas clearly and effectively; nurture effective argumentative skills; enhance knowledge of nineteenth- and twentieth-century theatre practice and theory; promote supportive spaces for deliberation, contestation and debate.

Indicative learning and teaching methods include: lecture/seminars, workshops, field trips, peer-to-peer learning and independent research and reflection.

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


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Theatre and Performance with Film Studies BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Theatre and Performance with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Dance with Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 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 2018/9 academic year.