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Thinking Through Theatre-Making - TFT00060M

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  • Department: Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Karen Quigley
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

We understand that, as new MA students, you come from a wide range of undergraduate courses, and with very different levels of practical experience in theatre. Therefore, this intensive Autumn Term module, which will run from Week 2 to Week 5 inclusive, is designed to lay the theoretical and practical foundations for your studies with us, and to push your existing skill-set further. It will focus on developing research skills appropriate to a postgraduate level of study, including traditional scholarly disciplines for written work as well as specific skills for practice-as/by/based-research. The logic behind this short, intensive module is to bring the diverse cohort quickly to a shared understanding and shared vocabulary so that you can begin more advanced work together later in the term.

Thus, the module will explore a range of analytical and practical skills that will be useful to you in your study of theatre and performance. We will work in the studio and in the seminar room in order to develop your understanding of what research is and does, and how it can be conceived of practically as well as theoretically. We will analyse live theatre productions and dramatic text, alongside contextual historical and theoretical material. Using discussion, practical experimentation, spectatorship, analysis and independent work as methodologies for learning, this module will lay the foundations for the rest of your MA studies, and will equip you for the exciting challenges ahead.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

- to introduce you to fundamental analytical and practical skills

- to develop the collaborative, mutually supportive, pro-active, qualities indispensable to all successful theatrical practice

- to explore key theorists/practitioners, their practice and philosophies, to develop your practice-as/by/based-research

- to research and practically experiment with different ways of making

- to develop advanced skills in textual interpretation, both analytically and practically

- to develop your ability to analyse live theatre performance and playtexts with an alert sense of the distinctive tasks scripts from different periods are designed to perform, as well as the implications of these differences for our analysis of the scripts

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will be expected to:

- have acquired some of the skills of theatre making: the ability work collaboratively, in a generous, inventive, and pro-active manner

- have gained a new understanding of the work of key theorists/practitioners and be able to use this work to inform your own rehearsal room work

- have experimented with analysing the impact of different material and cultural circumstances upon the scripts produced within and for them, and to use this knowledge to inform your own practice

- have gained experience of the ways in which core training and rehearsal/production practice can be enhanced by intelligent absorption and application of training methods and rehearsal techniques

- have developed your ability to critically analyse your own work and the work of others, such as via live performances and through the analysis of scripts


Task Length % of module mark
Written portfolio
N/A 50
Studio-based assessment
N/A 50

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

This module is assessed via a practical task and a written task. The practical task is assessed in Week 6 of Autumn Term, and the written task is submitted in Week 1 of the Spring Term.

Practical Task (50%)

A short (5-10 minutes), studio-based assessment, where you can select one of the following options:

  1. Respond to a negotiated research question using practice-based methodologies;

  2. Present an extract of text using a particular approach negotiated with module tutors;

  3. Conduct a short group practical workshop on a particular theme/topic, which has been negotiated with module tutors;

  4. Present a fragment of a rehearsal process which is engaged in a particular approach to directing/dramaturgy/performance, negotiated with module tutors.

You are thus able to approach their practical assessment from a number of perspectives, building on or inspired by the module teaching and your own interests/abilities.

Formative Assessment

Verbal feedback from peers and tutors on in-class practical tasks will be available throughout the module, enabling you to develop and enhance your practical work as you work towards the assessment.

Written Task (50%)

A 4000 word task, writing in response to a research question and in dialogue with a piece of live performance.


Task Length % of module mark
Portfolio of written work
N/A 50
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation on an area explored in term
N/A 50

Module feedback

Students will receive written feedback on their summative work within the 20-working day University feedback policy, and will receive written feedback on their formative work within 20 working days or sooner, with an option of an individual follow-up meeting if any aspect of the feedback is unclear to the student or if more guidance on interpreting the feedback is requested. For this module formative feedback will be given on practical work in class.

Indicative reading

Baz Kershaw and Helen Nicholson: Research Methods in Theatre and Performance

More to follow.

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.