Module code: THE3031

Module Overview

This module introduces students to current debates in and practices of dramaturgy for the theatre. The module provides an historical and conceptual overview of dramaturgy as both an approach to theatre and performance (and dramatic text(s) in particular) as well as a specific set of practical labours embedded in stage craft. The module allows students to critically interrogate the role and function of dramaturgy in contemporary theatre making through readings, viewings, seminar discussions, and where possible, practical experience.

Module provider

Guildford School of Acting

Module Leader

WAGNER Matthew (GSA)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: W440

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

Overall student workload

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The content of the module may vary somewhat depending on the specialism(s) of the tutor, but indicatively, the module will consisit of seminar discussions focused upon a range of perfomance texts; this may include using one key text (such as King Lear, or Endgame) as a core object of study through the module, and incoporating the study of other cognate texts alongside sire for purposes of compoarison and contrast. Or it may include a suite of different types of texts (such representative example(s) from classical, realistic, and absurdist traditions).

In both cases, the module will first introduce students to basic readings on and ideas about dramaturgy, as a concetp and as a practical function/role in the creation of theatre and and performance. These ideas will then form the landmarks, or touchstones, for the investogations into the texts noted above.

Dramaturgy is, in many respects, a specific and carefully refined art of asking questions, and as such, the seminars are intended to be predominently disucrsive, and grounded in discussion, group work, and student contributions (rather than based upon staff ‘lectures’). Where possible, this work will include readings or practical exercises.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Casebook 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of dramaturgy as a way of thinking about theatre and performance and as a specific job in the process of theatre and performance making.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module is a dramaturgical casebook, to be developed from and used in performance practice, and to include a reflective essay which speaks to the student’s own process of learning and practices in developing the casebook. The casebook is highly individualized project – its form and content are dictated by both the individual dramaturg and the production s/he is working on. For pedagogical purposes, however, a rough format/outline for the casebook (borrowed from current practitioners/teachers of dramaturgy) will be used and adapted (as appropriate) in this module. This format stipulates that the casebook should include:

• A communique to the director/devisor(s) of the production

• A selection of research (both textual and imagistic) relating to the production

• A selected performance history of the play at hand (or, if the production is new/devised work, or otherwise previously un-produced, the performance history might take the shape of an overview of relevant styles or conventions of theatre).

The casebook should also include a reflective statement/essay on the student’s process and practice; this should constitute roughly a quarter of the casebook.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive feedback in classes and tutorials prior to the assessments being due, and classroom sessions in the latter part of the semester will be devoted to helping students function appropriately in the rehearsal room and develop their casebook. This will include the submission of a plan or outline for the final (summative) casebook.

Module aims

  • Familiarize students with key concepts, questions, and debates surrounding dramaturgy in contemporary theatre;
  • Introduce students to dramaturgical trends across select theatrical conventions;
  • Provide students with the opportunity to undertake detailed dramaturgical study of a select play(s);
  • Where possible, provide students with practical experience in working as a dramaturg.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate an understanding of core concepts and definitions of dramaturgy KT
002 Analyse performance work (in text and on stage) dramaturgically CPT
003 Produce dramaturgical outputs for performance production (such as annotated script(s), casebook(s), or research packages) CKPT

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 provide students with a core understanding of dramaturgy as an approach to theatre and performance and as a set of specific labours.

The learning and teaching methods include:

• Lectures

• Seminar/Discussion

• Case studies

• Performance attendance

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: THE3031

Other information

Under the three term structure that commences from academic year 2019/0 – this module’s delivery falls in Semester 2 due to the teaching occurring in Teaching Block 3.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Dance with Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 2 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.