Search our site
Search our site

Culture and Performance

  • Module code: DA4004
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 4
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Culture and Performance introduces students to a range of contemporary cultural and critical perspectives on drama and investigates the relationship between culture and performance. The major emphasis of the module is upon developing a refined understanding of how drama, theatre and performance operate in different contexts. The main features of the module are the investigation of ways in which drama expresses cultural and critical perspectives in practice, and the exploration of theories such as post-colonialism, feminism, and materialism as creative and analytical tools. The module is taught through seminar discussions and related practical workshops, supported by extra-curricular events such as theatre visits. The module is assessed formatively through the presentation of a performance essay and a supporting rationale.

Culture and Performance provides an essential platform for students' understanding of Drama as a discipline and helps to deepen their understanding of what theatre is, how and why it is made, and how it makes meaning. The module provides an essential introduction to later Drama modules that explore cultural and critical perspectives in more detail.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to different cultural and critical perspectives on drama
  • explore the relationship between practice and theory through a series of related workshops and seminars
  • enable students to experiment with the skills needed to create and present performance essays and write a rationale
  • identify and question their own judgements of taste and value and those of others

Learning outcomes

  • explain the significance of cultural and critical perspectives in making, performing and responding to theatre
  • identify forms, strategies or techniques through which complex ideas have been turned into theatrical practices (Key Skills: Creativity and Problem Solving)
  • recognise a range of factors that influence the academic discipline of drama, theatre and performance
  • analyse and critique performance events using the vocabulary of cultural and critical perspectives
  • create and deliver effective performance essays
  • articulate aims, strategies and ideas unambiguously in writing (Key Skills: Communication)

Curriculum content

Key questions for this module include:

  • What kinds of relationships exist between performance and culture?
  • What kinds of relationships exist between theory and practice?
  • How have ideas and concepts been applied to theatre by practitioners, critics and academics?
  • How do such ideas and concepts shape our experience of theatre as participants and audience members?

Areas explored at an introductory level might include:

  • language, the body, and the literary text
  • anthropology and ethnography
  • linguistics and semiotics
  • subjectivity
  • ideology
  • Critical perspectives such as feminist, materialist, post-colonial, postmodern
  • intercultural and interdisciplinary practice
  • ‘performance' as concept and critical frame

Key academic skills introduced include:

  • research methodologies
  • constructing an argument
  • presenting an argument (through performance essay)

Teaching and learning strategy

This module is delivered through a weekly three-hour class which mixes elements of seminar and workshop. Classroom-based learning is supported by guided independent study structured around a series of rehearsal and research tasks. Students will also be encouraged to enhance their learning by taking up opportunities to engage with a range of cultural events. Practical workshops are designed to introduce students to key areas of critical thinking in ways that engage them and that clearly locate concepts and ideas as part of theatre-making. Seminar discussions then extend and deepen students' understanding of these concepts and ideas. In teaching block 2, key areas of contemporary theory and practice will be revisited in greater depth and students will build on this foundation by selecting a specialist research area which they will explore practically and academically as part of their preparation for the performance essay assessment.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 11 x 3 hour practical workshops 33
Scheduled learning and teaching 11 X 3 hour seminars 33
Guided independent study Group rehearsals 92
Guided independent study Individual research 142
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment is through two performance essays and one supporting rationale. Performance essays are a form of assessment designed to emphasise the relationship between practice and theory. They are group-based presentations, based around a question which may be set by the lecturer or negotiated between lecturers and students and include performative elements as part of the students' response to this question. Students are thus encouraged to 'enact' ideas and arguments in imaginative and creative ways.

The performance essay set in teaching block 1 (10 min) is worth 30% of the overall mark and assesses students' breadth of understanding regarding the relationship between theory and practice in terms of the critical tradition, as well as their skills in presenting and supporting arguments through performance essays. The performance essay set in teaching block 2 (15 min) assesses students' depth of understanding regarding the relationship between theory and practice in a specific area of their choice, and again but at a higher level, their skills in presenting and supporting arguments through performance essays. Each performance essay is supported by a written rationale. In teaching block 1, this is formatively assessed, but in teaching block 2, the rationale is summatively assessed, and is 500 words long (excluding references and bibliography).

Formative assessments include small group presentations which help students develop the skills they need to express their understanding in the performance essay mode of assessment, and short writing tasks that support the acquisition of skills needed to complete a rationale.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Explain the significance of cultural and critical perspectives in making, performing and responding to theatre Formatively in small group presentations; summatively in performance essays and rationale
Identify forms, strategies or techniques through which complex ideas have been turned into theatrical practices (Key Skills: Creativity and Problem Solving) Formatively in small group presentations; summatively in performance essays and rationale
Create and deliver effective performance essays Formatively in small group presentations; summatively in performance essays
Articulate aims, strategies and ideas unambiguously in writing (Key Skills: Communication) Formatively in short writing tasks; summatively in rationale
Recognise a range of factors that influence the academic discipline of drama, theatre and performance Formatively in short writing tasks; summatively in rationale
Analyse and critique performance events using the vocabulary of cultural and critical perspectives Formatively in small group presentations; summatively in performance essay

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Performance Essay 1 30
PRC Performance Essay 2 50
CWK Rationale 20
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Allain, P. and Harvie, J. (2006) The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance. London, Routledge

Fortier, M. (1997) Theatre/Theory: an introduction. London, Routledge

Bibliography recommended reading

Bogart, A. (2001). A Director Prepares: seven essays on art and theatre. Abingdon, Routledge

Carlson, M. (2004) Performance: a critical introduction. London, Routledge

Counsell, C. and Wolf, L. (eds). (2001) Performance Analysis: an introductory course book. London, Routledge

Freshwater, H. (2009) Theatre and Audience. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Harvie, J. (2009) Theatre and the City. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan

Huxley, M. and Witts, N. (eds). (1996) The 20th Century Performance Reader. London, Routledge

Schechner, R. (2003) Performance Theory. London, Routledge

Shepherd, S. and Wallis, M. (2004) Drama/Theatre/Performance. London, Routledge

Find a course

Course finder

>
Undergraduate study
Site menu