Accessibility statement

Why Theatre? - TFT00047C

« Back to module search

  • Department: Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Catherine Love-Smith
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module asks why we study theatre, and responds by considering the specific features and potentialities of plays and performances. You will be introduced to play and performance analysis through a focus on innovative productions and texts across a wide variety of forms, settings and contexts.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The module aims:

  • to introduce you to the possibilities and specificities of theatre through the analysis of plays and productions
  • to ask what differentiates theatre from other performing arts and to identify theatre’s distinctive features
  • to introduce you to ideas about the ways plays work and how performance makes meaning
  • to develop your communication skills and critical thinking

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you are expected to be able:

  • to understand what makes theatre distinctive
  • to analyse plays and productions
  • to offer a reasoned account of how plays and/or productions make meaning
  • to effectively communicate, present, and engage with ideas

Module content

The module will examine performances and playtexts that have been influential on or significant to both lecturing staff and students, using these as a point of departure to analyse the many ways in which theatre can make meaning. You will explore and analyse performances and texts across a wide variety of forms, settings and contexts, exploring how the artifice of the theatre allows it to work in very flexible ways. The module asks what brings us to a study of theatre and performance, and what sets theatre apart from other art and media. It explores the different possibilities open to theatre-makers and the ways they can treat plays and performances to achieve a wide range of ends.


Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

A formative analytical exercise will be embedded into the module; timing to be coordinated with the other modules running that semester.


Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive written feedback in line with standard University turnaround times.

Indicative reading

Counsell, C. and Wolf, L. Performance Analysis: An Introductory Coursebook

Fliotsos, A. (2011). Interpreting the play script : contemplation and analysis.

Grochala, S. (2017). The contemporary political play : rethinking dramaturgical structure.

Kiely, D. (2016). How to Read a Play: Script Analysis for Directors.

Rozik, E. (2018). Generating Theatre Meaning: A Theory and Methodology of Performance Analysis: A Theory & Methodology of Performance Analysis.

Wallis, M. (2018). Studying plays, fourth edition.

Plays and performances studied will vary from year to year.

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.