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Production Projects A

  • Module code: DA6001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 5 Drama or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module is a core requirement for full field Drama students and an optional module for students taking Drama as a major field. It provides a preparation for DA6002 Production Projects B. Major Drama students opting to do Production Projects must take both A and B. However, it can be taken as a stand-alone module by study-abroad students.

Building on students' studies at Levels 4 and 5, this module explores in depth and detail how theatre productions are made. At its heart is an advanced examination of dramaturgy - the relationship between form, structure and meaning in performance - as it has been conceived of in different time periods and contexts and as it relates to both process and performance. The module begins with an exploration of different dramaturgical perspectives, ranging from the 'well-made-play' to the post-dramatic. Following on from this, through a series of linked presentations and workshops, including workshops offered by visiting theatre professionals, students investigate the roles played by contributors to both devised and script-based theatre production, such as actor, deviser, director, designer, writer and dramaturg. These workshops are related in concrete ways to texts, themes and approaches students might employ in creating their own production and lead to the group-based presentation of a 'pitch' for a devised or scripted theatre production which they then have the opportunity to carry through to fruition in DA6002 Production Projects B.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • develop students' ability to recognise and critique relationships between form, structure and meaning in performance
  • extend students' awareness of the roles and relationships integral to theatre production and their ability to critically interrogate those roles and relationships
  • clearly demonstrate the link between processes of historical, contextual and methodological research and effective theatre production
  • enable students to articulate a set of agreed dramaturgical aims within the context of a group-based presentation based on professional theatre practice

Learning outcomes

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

  • identify and critique relationships between form, structure and meaning in performance in the context of a specific dramaturgical perspective (Key Skill: Research and Information Literacy)
  • articulate their understanding of a given production role in relation to relevant production contexts and methodologies (Key Skills: Communication, Research and Information Literacy)
  • recognise and interrogate links between processes of historical, contextual and methodological research and effective theatre production (Key Skill: Research and Information Literacy)
  • contribute effectively to the formation of a production team based around shared dramaturgical aims (Key Skills: Interpersonal, Management and Leadership)
  • present those aims and the methods by which they intend to achieve them in the context of a group-based 'pitch' for a theatre production (Key Skill: Communication)

Curriculum content

  • Perspectives on dramaturgy from, for example, Eugene Scribe's 'well-made play', through Modernist experiments such as those of Vsevolod Meyerhold or Bertolt Brecht to the cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary dramaturgies of devised and post-dramatic performance
  • Perspectives on the role of the dramaturg in script-based and devised production, drawing on, for example,  the work of Luckhurst and Turner and Behrndt
  • Perspectives on the role of the director, as appropriate to the range of texts, themes and stimuli provided in a given year. These might include the approaches of Joan Littlewood, Peter Hall, Robert Lepage, Simon McBurney or Katie Mitchell
  • Investigation of principles of theatre design in relation to genre and mode of performance and to the creation of visual and sound-based meaning and effect
  • Perspectives on the role of the performer in relation to genre, dramaturgical approach and methodology
  • Case studies of relevant performances and/or practitioners
  • Developing aims, planning approaches and deciding on methods in an ensemble context
  • Creating and presenting a 'pitch' for a potential theatre production. This could be devised, script-based or a mixture of the two. It can also be interdisciplinary.

Teaching and learning strategy

This module is delivered through a variety of lecture-presentations, seminar discussions and workshops. Lectures are designed to introduce students to key concepts, theories and approaches and may include the presentation of relevant examples of performance and production. Seminars enable students to consolidate their understanding of the concepts and theories presented, while workshops introduce them to different practice-based approaches and methodologies and allow them to experiment with ways in which these might help them to develop their own ideas. Professional practitioners of various production roles may be invited to deliver lecture-presentations and/or workshops, in which they can offer concrete examples of how their own modes of working and their approaches to rehearsal and performance relate to their dramaturgical aims. Independent study becomes increasingly important within this module as students form groups, choose roles, share ideas and consolidate production aims.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 8 x 2hr lecture-seminars 16
Scheduled learning and teaching 8 x 2hr practical workshops 16
Scheduled learning and teaching 6 x 2hr supervised groupwork sessions 12
Guided independent study Group-based independent work 156
Guided independent study Individual independent study 100
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment is through: an individual research essay of 2500 - 3000 words worth 60%, and a group-based production pitch (15 minutes) worth 40%. The essay requires students to engage in depth and detail with concepts and theories related to dramaturgy and/or a specific production role in the context of the script, theme or mode of practice they have chosen. The production pitch draws on this individual research, utilising it in a group-based context which requires students to communicate effectively with each other in agreeing their production aims and objectives and to articulate these clearly in a form based on professional theatre practice.

Formative assessments include a dramaturgical critique of a professional production to be completed by mid-teaching block and an in-class practice pitch several sessions before the summative one where students gain feedback from staff and from each other. 

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
The ability to identify and critique relationships between form, structure and meaning in performance in the context of a specific dramaturgical perspective (KS: Research and Information Literacy) Formatively in dramaturgical critique; summatively in research essay
The ability to articulate their understanding of a given production role in relation to relevant production contexts and methodologies (KS: Communication, Research and Information Literacy) Formatively in dramaturgical critique; summatively in research essay
The ability to recognise and interrogate links between processes of historical, contextual and methodological research and effective theatre production (Research and Information Literacy) Formatively in dramaturgical critique; summatively in research essay
The ability to contribute effectively to the formation of a production team based around shared dramaturgical aims (KS: Interpersonal, Management and leadership) Formatively in practice pitch; summatively in production pitch
The ability to present those aims and the methods by which they intend to achieve them in the context of a group-based 'pitch' for a theatre production (KS: Communication) Formatively in practice pitch; summatively in production pitch

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Essay 60
PRC Group-based production pitch 40
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

Luckhurst, M. (2008) Dramaturgy: a Revolution in Theatre. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Turner, C. and Behrndt, S K. (2008) Dramaturgy and Performance. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan

Bibliography recommended reading

Recommended reading will vary depending on each students' choice of performance mode and genre and their choice of role, thus the selection of texts below below is merely a suggestion of some potentially useful texts

Alfreds, M. (2007) Different Every Night: Rehearsal and Performance Techniques for Actors and Directors. London, Nick Hern Books

Harvie, J. and Lavender, A. (2010) Making Contemporary Theatre: international rehearsal processes. Manchester, Manchester University Press

Larmann, R. (2007) Stage Design. Cologne, daab

Lehmann, H-T. (2006) Postdramatic Theatre. London, Routledge

Mermikides, A. and Smart, J. (2010) Devising in Process. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan

Mitchell, K. (2008) The Director's Craft: a Handbook for the Theatre. London, Routledge

Whitmore, J. (1996) Directing Postmodern Theatre: shaping Signification in Performance. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press

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