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Contemporary Approaches to Theatre-Making - TFT00062M

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  • Department: Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Tom Cantrell
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module introduces you to a small number of recent and contemporary theatre-makers with a view to expanding your theatrical ‘vocabularies’ of how stagework can be conceptualized and realized. The aim is to develop your appreciation of specific ideas and approaches, and to make these available to you as directors and performers. You will also develop research skills as you will be required to investigate the practitioners, their methods and their productions. Indicative examples: Ariane Mnouchkine, Katie Mitchell, William Gaskill, Dario Fo.


This module will be closely aligned with the ‘Practical Project’ module in that the practitioners selected for study will help students approach the themes and/or forms that inform its brief.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20 to Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

The aims of the module are:


- to introduce key theoretical issues in modern direction and performance and to explore them via practical explorations of, and experiments with, contrasting styles or modes of practice 

- to explore the work of leading contemporary theatre makers alongside the approaches of key historical figures in the development of stagework

- to generate a dialogue between theoretical and practical investigation of approaches to theatre making

- to explore through group performance presentation and via an essay at the end of the module, the theoretical and practical implications of specific theatre making practices

Module learning outcomes

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


- demonstrate, both practically and in written work, an intelligent absorption, engagement with and application of training methods developed by some key figures of twentieth and twenty-first century practice

- have developed advanced collaborative skills through the focus on small group work and the development of ensemble theatre-making

- evidence an informed understanding of key contemporary and historical theatre-makers

-have conducted detailed research into a particular theatre-maker and to evidence advanced analytical skills such as careful study of theoretical positions and practical application of a particular set of ideas about stagecraft.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 50
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Group presentation
N/A 50

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Assessment comprises a practical (25%) and written component (75%):


  1. An essay (3000 words) on one of the practitioners under discussion in the first half of the module (Week 1 Spring Term).
  2. A fifteen-minute small group presentation, demonstrating your knowledge of a chosen practitioner and his/her/their approaches to making theatre (Week 5 Spring Term)


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 50
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Group presentation
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. On this module, formative feedback will be given in teaching sessions for practical work towards the assessment.

Indicative reading

Behan, Tom (2000) Dario Fo : revolutionary theatre, London: Pluto Press

Gaskill, William (1988) A sense of direction, London ; Boston : Faber

Mitchell, Katie (2009) The director's craft: a handbook for the theatre, London : Routledge

Miller, Judith (2018) Ariane Mnouchkine (Routledge Performance Practitioners) London: Routledge

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.