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Making Theatre Happen

  • Module code: DA4002
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 4
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module runs throughout the academic year. The module introduces students to significant skills, vocabularies and methods associated with creating performance and explores ways in which these may be applied within a range of dramatic and theatrical contexts. The main features of this module are the study and practice of key elements of performance such as the use of space, time, force (or energy); body and voice; play; interpersonal interaction onstage and off; performance structure and dynamics; and the creation of dramatic meaning and theatrical effect. In the first part of the module students participate in a variety of tutor-led exercises designed to increase their understanding and skills in these areas. These are drawn from methodologies and techniques developed by 20th and 21st century practitioner-theorists such as Anne Bogart; Rudolph Laban, Jacques Lecoq and Augusto Boal. They are also introduced to the basic principles of theatre lighting and sound. In the second part of the module they apply what they have learned in a student-led, staff-supervised project based around material studied in DA4001 Staging Histories.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • develop students’ awareness and understanding of key elements of performance and the relation between them
  • introduce students to ideas and techniques of performance designed by a range of important practitioner-theorists and to the methodological contexts in which these developed
  • develop students’ ability to express themselves confidently and effectively in performance
  • develop students’ ability to work effectively in group contexts

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • show awareness of key elements of performance and understanding of how these operate in relation to each other
  • display confidence and an appropriate degree of skill in employing performance methods      and techniques
  • select and apply ideas and techniques imaginatively and appropriately in the creation of performance (Key Skill: Creativity and Problem Solving)
  • employ their understanding of aspects of dramatic structure and theatrical effect to the creation of performance
  • work creatively and effectively in individual and group contexts (Key Skill: Interpersonal )
  • reflect critically and usefully on their creative work (Key Skill: Self Awareness)

Curriculum content

The particular methods and techniques selected each year will depend upon the specific expertise of module tutors and on appropriateness in relation to the texts studied on Staging Histories

  • Physical  and vocal technique drawn from the work of, for example, Jacques Lecoq, Chris Crickmay and Miranda Tufnell, Cicely Berry, Kristin Linklater
  • Exercises in focus and concentration
  • Exercises in precision and clarity
  • Use of space, time and force drawn from, for example, Rudolph Laban, Anne Bogart and Tina Landau (Viewpoints)
  • Creative play, improvisation and groupwork drawn from, for example, Mike Pearson, Keith Johnstone, Augusto Boal
  • Creative principles and methodologies such as those of Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht, Jerzy Grotowski, Vsevolod Meyerhold
  • Viewing and analysis of performances by companies such as Complicite, DV8, Improbable, Kneehigh
  • Basic principles of production design
  • Basic principles of dramaturgy and dramaturgical analysis
  • Devising strategies

Personal Tutor System activities:

  • acclimatisation and support services
  • personal development planning
  • academic skills including library skills, research, essay planning, bibliography and referencing
  • groupwork skills including communication, interpersonal interaction, time-management, project-planning
  • reflective skills including how to write a reflective essay
  • Understanding the grading process and making best use of feedback

Teaching and learning strategy

For the first sixteen weeks, this module is taught principally as a practical workshop, although it may include occasional presentations and viewings. Practical workshops engage and motivate students, develop their communication and interpersonal skills, and are appropriate to the study of performance. Critical reflection and analysis are developed through performed ‘sharings’ in which students comment on their own work and that of others. Presentations and viewings contextualise the practical exercises in relation to the ideas and methodologies of practitioner-theorists. From midway through the second semester, students work independently in groups (though with tutor supervision) to create, rehearse and perform a group-based performance.

This module is directly linked to the Personal Tutor system. Students meet regularly in small groups or on a one-to-one basis with their personal tutor, who is one of the tutors teaching them on either DA4002. The tutorial sessions help them to consolidate and reflect on their learning in these modules and to prepare for assignments, as well as offering more general support and guidance in relation to the transition to degree-level study. Groups for the final project-based assessment are formed from tutor groups and supervised by the personal tutor. 

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 16 X 3 hour workshops (including presentation/viewings) 48
Guided independent study Independent group rehearsal including scheduled supervision. 15
Scheduled learning and teaching Performance (including own performance and watching others) 8 (all students and tutors attend all performances)
Guided independent study Individual independent study 229
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

There is one formative assessments in this module which help to prepare students for their final assessment.  This is a group-based polished improvisation at the end of Teaching Block 1.

The summative assessment consists of three elements: a short, preparatory reflective writing exercise; a group performance and a reflective essay. The initial reflective writing exercise requires students to analyse, evaluate and contextualise their efforts to apply in practice one of the techniques or methods to which they have been introduced in the first five weeks of teaching; the performance assessment requires small groups of students to respond creatively to an aspect or aspects of one or more of the plays studied in DA4001 Staging Histories and is synoptically assessed with this module; and the reflective essay requires students to explain their group’s aims and creative method and reflect critically on their process and performance.

 The three elements of assessment are structured as follows (percentages are indicative):

  • Reflective writing exercise            500 words              10%
  • Performance                               15 minutes              60% 
  • Reflective essay                          1500 words             30% 

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Show awareness of key elements of performance and understanding of how these operate in relation to each other formatively in polished improvisation and reflective writing exercise summatively in performance and reflection
Display confidence and an appropriate degree of skill in employing performance methods and techniques formatively in polished improvisation; summatively in final group performance
Select and apply ideas and techniques imaginatively and appropriately in the creation of performance (Key Skill: Creativity and Problem Solving) formatively in polished improvisation and reflective writing exercise summatively in performance and reflection
Employ their understanding of aspects of dramatic structure and theatrical effect to the creation of performance formatively in polished improvisation and reflective writing exercise summatively in performance and reflection
Work creatively and effectively in individual and group contexts (Key Skill: Interpersonal ) formatively in polished improvisation; summatively in performance
Reflect critically and usefully on their creative work (Key Skill: Self Awareness) formatively and summatively in reflective writing

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

There is no single core text. Tutors will suggest key readings depending on their particular focus.

Bibliography recommended reading

Berry, C. (1991) Voice and the Actor. New York, Collier Books

Bogart, A. and Landau, T. (2005) The Viewpoints Book: a practical guide to Viewpoints and composition. New York, Theatre Communications Group

Callery, D. (2001) Through the Body: a practical guide to physical theatre. London, Nick Hern books

Johnstone, K. (1990) Impro: improvisation and the theatre. London, Methuen

Linklater, K. (1988) Freeing the Natural Voice. London, Nick Hern Books

Tufnell, M. and Crickmay, C. (2001) Body, Space, Image. London, Dance Books

Any of the following from the Routledge Performance Practitioners Series

Babbage, F. (2004) Augusto Boal. London, Routledge

Bradley, KK. (2009) Rudolf Laban. London, Routledge

Mumford M. (2009) Bertolt Brecht. London, Routledge

Murray, S. (2003), Jacques Lecoq. London, Routledge

Pitches, J. (2003) Vsevolod Meyerhold. London, Routledge

Slowiak, J. (2007) Jerzy Grotowski. London, Routledge

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