Module code: THE2039

Module Overview

This module introduces students to practices of and debates in the production of critical analyses of the performing arts. The module takes as its model the type of performance review found in scholarly Journals (Theatre Journal, NTQ, etc); over the course of the module, students will attend, analyse, and review a variety of performances from a range of disciplines (theatre, dance, film, music, digital arts, and, where appropriate, other visual arts). Students interrogate current trends in and questions about the representation of performance in writing and popular culture; they will further their own critical analysis skills via presentations and writing tasks, particularly with respect to forming short, concise and incisive pieces of analysis; and they will increase their exposure to a variety of performance disciplines and activities.

Module provider

Guildford School of Acting

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 30

ECTS Credits: 15

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 260

Lecture Hours: 40

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

• The popular review and the critical analysis;

• Contemporary sources of analysis (journals, print media, blogs/online media, panel review programmes);

• Relating the review and the discipline;

• Analysing performance (class/group discussions of performance(s) attended)

• Analytical writing and debate presentations – tools and tactics.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Analytical performance review, 1000 words 30
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Individual Presentation 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to analyse the arts and to express that analysis in clear, concise and dialogic (debate) oral form and in writing. It is also designed to expose students to a variety of critical analyses and enable them to productively compare, contrast, and negotiate multiple analyses. Students will therefore read a variety of critical analyses from across disciplines and apply that reading to the analysis of different art forms. Students will therefore learn to evaluate these frameworks and use them as models (where appropriate); they will then produce a series of critical analyses involving at least two different disciplines in relation to at least two art forms.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• A short, written critical review essay (30%)

• An individual presentation, in the form of an individual contribution to a staged group debate about 2 - 3 contemporary cultural products (akin to an academic version of Front Row / The Cultural Frontline / The Culture Show). Each group debate will last up to 20 minutes (70%)

Formative assessment

In preparation for the review essay: students will be invited to submit essay plans along with a short abstract of the essay and will receive feedback on this via 1:1 tutorial.

In preparation for the presentation: Each week, selected students will put into small groups to carry out short presentations and debates, mirroring the structure of the summative presentation assessment, and will receive oral feedback on that work. These groups will be selected by the tutor one week in advance and a clear brief given for the formative assessment task. This ensures that all students have an opportunity to practice the style of assessment and will embed ongoing formative assessment in the module.


Summative assessments will receive formal written feedback. Formative assessments will receive oral feedback in class or in tutorials.

Students will also receive feedback on their analytical skills through classroom discussions of performances and other cultural products that have been attended by the group, as well as discussions of the varying merits of critical reviews that the group will read.

Module aims

  •  Facilitate students' exposure to and attendance at a variety of performances and other cultural practices relevant to the discipline o fperformance studies.
  •  Introduce students to a range of styles of writing about and criticism of performance, and enable students to distinguish different tools/requirements/tactics used in such critical practices across disciplines

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify and navigate sources of critical performance reviews (A1, A3, D1) CK
002 Select the most relevant and interesting components of any given performance for description and analysis (A2, B2) CKPT
003 Analyse a variety of performance styles critically and concisely, and produce such analyses in writing (B3, D2, D4) CPT

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: introduce students to specific practice of analytical criticism in the field of the performing arts, to enable them to attend and productively discuss and analyse performance from a variety of disciplines, and offer them experience in and tools for the writing and presentation of critical analysis of the arts.

The learning and teaching methods include:

• Lectures

• Seminar/Discussions

• Group debates

• Performance attendence

• Writing workshops

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: THE2039

Other information

Under the three term structure that commences from academic year 2019/0 – this module’s delivery is year-long due to the teaching occurring in Teaching Blocks 1 and 2.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Theatre and Performance BA (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long 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.