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Political Theatres - TFT00004I

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  • Department: Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. David Barnett
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module summary

This module explores traditions of political theatre in different cultures and at different historical moments. Explorations are through practical workshops and seminar discussion.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

The purpose of the module is:

Subject content

  • to examine ways in which political issues have been expressed through theatre in the 20th and 21st centuries;
  • to analyse the choices made by politically engaged playwrights and theatre practitioners in creating and staging performances;

Academic and graduate skills

  • to synthesise information from primary and secondary sources and convey it clearly both verbally and in writing;
  • to develop students’ ability to formulate and defend an argument;
  • to work as a team with a diverse group of peers;
  • to consider and incorporate critique from tutors and peers;
  • to engage with the philosophical, ideological and aesthetic ideas behind political theatre;
  • to consider how students might apply these skills in the Political Theatre Project in term 6.

Module learning outcomes

Students will have achieved the following:

Subject content

  • an appreciation of a variety of approaches to political theatre from both an intellectual and a practical standpoint;
  • in-depth knowledge, via detailed case studies, of the interplay between theatre and politics in various cultures in the history of political theatre;

Academic and graduate skills

  • an improved ability to take notes on complex source material and present that information to tutors and peers;
  • improved academic essay writing (formulating arguments and supporting them with evidence);
  • experience in working productively with a diverse group of peers
  • ability to learn from critique and use it to improve students’ intellectual and practical work.
  • experience in translating scripts into performance in ways that consider the political meanings of the actors’, directors’ and designers’ choices;
  • ability to develop an argument regarding the political impact of a script and to support that argument with evidence.

Module content

To support students in this 100% assessment via essay, the formative is designed to support directly their writing of the summative, and the convenor will also be holding essay planning tutorials to ensure that students receive feedback on their plans.


Task Length % of module mark
3000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
3000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive formative feedback on short essays to prepare them for the summative assessment.

With written summative assessments we aim to provide written feedback within the 20 working day return period specified by the university.

Indicative reading

Texts will include works such as:

Brian Friel, Translations

debbie tucker green, Truth and Reconciliation

Moira Buffini, Welcome to Thebes

Heiner Müller, The Hamletmachine

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.