Module code: THE3022

Module Overview

This module takes audiences as its subject, broadly understood as spectators, watchers, creators, participants, voyeurs, fans, consumers and publics. Spectatorship will be explored as an evolving practice; it will be historicised and politicised; genealogies will be traced; and forms and modes of being an ‘audience’ will be theorised. Interdisciplinary theoretical material will be drawn on to inform understandings of spectatorship as an evolving practice. The module will focus on practices of spectatorship both inside of theatre buildings and outside of them. Students will engage with performance analysis, but focus will be narrowed to audiences, or to the relationship between audiences and the theatre/performance event. While a range of historical and contemporary theatre and performance practices will be considered, emphasis will be placed on contemporary scholarship.

Module provider

Guildford School of Acting

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: W470

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 40

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module will introduce students to some of the dominant and contemporary methodological approaches to and theories of the audience in theatre and performance studies, as well as art and contemporary art history. Indicatively, this may include: qualitative and quantitative audience research; archival research; historical and new historical approaches to audience research; philosophies of spectatorship; aesthetics; semiotics; phenomenology and embodiment; feminist spectatorship; critical intimacy; socially engaged art and performance; relational aesthetics; spatial practices; rioting audiences; film theory; cognitive science; affect theory; and sympathy, empathy and kinesthetic empathy.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (3000 WORDS) OR EQUIVALENT 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to: get students thinking about methodology so that they can make informed and reasoned choices in selecting an appropriate methodology; encourage students to reflect critically on methodology; encourage students to identify positive and negative aspects of selecting a particular methodology; develop awareness of methods of enquiry and ability to evaluate critically the appropriateness of these for the analysis of audiences or the performer-audience relationship; give students the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of audiences, as well as the opportunity to integrate appropriate theories where appropriate; and to give students the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to achieve learning outcomes.

Thus, the formative assessment is intended to give students the opportunity to begin to engage with methodology in a critical and reflective way that will be of benefit both for the summative assessment, as well as comparable assignments in other modules. The summative assessment for this module consists of an academic essay to enable students to demonstrate all of the above, in alignment with the grade descriptors.


Formative assessment and feedback

This assessment strategy, with a formative assignment placed mid-way through the module, is intended to provide an important stepping stone towards the summative assessment. The methodological reflection will provide an opportunity for the module tutor to provide written feedback which will take into account: comprehension of methodology; appropriate use of methodology; satisfactory referencing; and how well the student understands the shortcomings and usefulness of a particular methodology. Written feedback received from the formative assignment is designed to supplement informal oral feedback in response to unassessed weekly student presentations. 

Module aims

  • To develop knowledge and understanding of historical and contemporary practices of spectatorship in theatre and performance
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of contemporary theories of spectatorship and participation, as well as relevant theories from a range of disciplines
  • To investigate appropriate contexts (political, social, historical, economic) to inform understanding of spectatorship and participation in theatre and performance
  • To develop awareness of and to apply appropriate methods for audience research
  • To enable students to articulate ideas with accuracy and confidence in written and spoken form

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify specific theories, practices and histories of spectatorship and participation, including interdisciplinary approaches to audience research K
002 Describe, interpret and analyse particular audience forms, while engaging with a broad range of theoretical perspectives, including interdisciplinary perspectives KC
003 Retrieve and interpret relevant information from a range of contexts to inform analyses of audience forms KCT
004 Develop imaginative and critically rigorous ideas through the construction of scholarly arguments. 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: enhance knowledge and understanding of audiences and critical approaches to audiences; develop analytical and evaluative skills in reading theoretical texts and theatrical events; foster an enhanced understanding of the relationships between audience forms and their contexts; enable students to be aware of and draw on a broad range of methodologies and understandings of audiences in creating their own rigorous and informed arguments; encourage interdisciplinarity; develop confidence in articulating ideas in both written and spoken form; and to promote a collegiate and supportive learning environment as a means of fostering disciplined and scholarly debate.

Indicative learning and teaching methods include: lecture/seminars, workshops, field trips, peer-to-peer learning, debates 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
Dance BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with German BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Theatre and Performance with Film Studies BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Theatre and Performance with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Dance with Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 Optional 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 2018/9 academic year.