Module code: THE2033

Module Overview

This module explores creative approaches to working with devised solo material in performance. We study ways of explore the truths, lies and ethics of using the personal and autobiographical in performance. Throughout the module, students will be introduced to a variety of artistic techniques and strategies that will enable them to create their own solo pieces. In this module students will work with a range of material and forms, which may include play texts, contemporary experimental theatre, performance/live art, site-specific practice, verbatim theatre, examining the work of specific UK and international companies and artists (such as Bobby Baker, Forced Entertainment or Marina Abramovic, for instance).The module explores the creation and showing of a solo piece of performance. The module also establishes the importance of focus, discipline and rigor in the work of the performer and promotes self-organisation and non-autocratic ways of collaborating and devising.

Module provider

Guildford School of Acting

Module Leader

WAGNER Matthew (GSA)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module will consider varying practical approaches to developing solo performance material that draws on the personal and auto/biographical on stage. A practical enquiry will enable the students to pursue and further their own interests and enhance their skillset while learning new methods and strategies to create and devise embodied and self-generated performance in a collaborative manner. The module will take as case studies a range of theatrical styles and conventions stemming from the 20th and early 21st century’s theatre history; it will be as important to consider the staging and performing of solo work within the history of theatrical avant-garde or within contemporary radical Live Art practice as it is to consider current forms of collectively devised theatre. The students will be invited to create, devise and perform a piece of solo performance that draws on the practices and processes introduced in class.

Indicative content includes:

Autobiographical performance from 1960s-present

Gender and performance

Feminist performance and political activism

Intimacy, one-to-one performance

Systems are examined further through themed sessions referring to the work of specific companies, practitionners, and/or performance approaches. The following companies and / or practitioners are given here by way of example:

Bobby Baker


Forced Entertainment

Spalding Gray

Split Britches

Marina Abramovic and Ulay

Adrian Howells

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment Practical - devised solo performance 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

first-hand experience, knowledge and critical understanding of 20th and 21st century solo performance practices, including but not limited to personal and auto/personal performance and devised theatre; exploring practice as a means of interrogating into and understanding specific forms of personal and auto/biographical theatre and performance.

Thus, the performance outcome will address directly the relationship between the focus of the module and questions of the self and auto/biographical material in contemporary performance, especially as these concern intersections between theatre and other arts practices (including political activism, feminism, documentary film and/ or visual arts).

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A solo devised performance of c. 7 minutes

Formative assessment

Students are to present their final performance in Week 10. Prior to this, sessions will be dedicated to supervised and mentored devising and rehearsal process during which the students will show their findings to the tutor and share concerns and thoughts in an informal settings. Sutdents develop their final performance iteratively throughout the module and will have the opportunity to present that work formatively every other week of the module from week 4 onwards.


Students will receive bi-weekly oral feedback from a tutor on the work they are developing. Students will receive formal written feedback on their final performance.

Module aims

  • Provide a practical overview of theories and practices of solo performance, including autobiographical and personal performance in twentieth and twenty-first century theatre
  • Enable students to consider and engage critically and analytically with the body in performance
  • Enable students to physically explore ideas as a mode of personal expression and communication
  • Introduce ethical issues in working with personal material.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a creative and embodied engagement, through performance exercises and presentation, with the key principles of auto/biographical performance and use those as a foundation from which to develop original performance material (A2, B2) CK
002 Engage critically and analytically with the body in performance; and carry out a project through to performance that engages with and articulates personal and auto/biographical material (A1, A2, B2, C1, C3) CK
003 Learn about the ethics of working with personal material (B2) CKT
004 Learn how to engage in practice-based research and explore theoretical concerns through practice and to synthesise findings in practical tasks (D1, D2, D3, D4) CKT
005 Relate to others in theatrical processes and performances; to work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and to initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work within strict time limits and basic technical competence (A2, C1, C3) PT
006 Express and communicate creative ideas and images; ability to initiate and sustain creative work, both group and solo (A2, C1, C3) PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

enhance first-hand knowledge and experience of 20th and 21st-century solo performance practices; foster technical and performance skills; enhance confidence and the ability to articulate and present ideas clearly and effectively.

The learning and teaching methods include: workshops, supervised and unsupervised rehearsals, group discussions and readings, peer-to-peer learning, independent research and reflection.

Indicatively this will be in the form of 10x2hr practical classes. At the start of the module, students will receive an outline of the practical classes, which is likely to list staff-led workshops, student work (individually or in groups) and assessment (formative/summative).

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: THE2033

Other information

Under the three term structure that commences from academic year 2019/0 – this module’s delivery falls in Semester 1 due to the teaching occurring in Teaching Block 1.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
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 2019/0 academic year.