Drama, Theatre and Performance BA

Drama, Theatre and Performance

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
W400
Start date:
September 2018

Pursue your interests in theatre and performance.

Through a distinctive combination of practice and theory, this degree allows you to examine theatre’s historical, political and cultural contexts. You'll discover how theatre has impacted on society and encourages new modes of thinking.

Alongside this, you’ll develop skills in theatre-making and performance analysis, using our versatile facilities including the recently opened, state-of-the-art Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts on campus.

Choosing Sussex – John Giannini, Drama, Theatre and Performance BA

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.   

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.       

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

Subjects

The BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma would normally be in Performing Arts.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.   

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.   

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.       

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.0.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1,H2,H2,H3,H3.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole- Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Selection workshopYes
Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • Ranked in the top 5 in the UK for Drama Studies (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
  • 96% for overall satisfaction (National Student Survey 2016).
  • Ranked 9th in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014 REF) and in the top 100 in the world for English (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016).

Course information

How will I study?

You learn how to approach theatre as a way of thinking. You develop key critical and creative methods for making theatre and discussing performance. By engaging with a range of histories, contexts and theories – from Ancient Greece to the present day – you discover how drama has been shaped as an art form.

You learn through a combination of seminars and practical workshops. Assessment is through a series of written projects, essays, and small-group practical presentations. 

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

You look at developments and debates in contemporary theatre, performance and composition. You investigate international companies and experimental approaches to making work. You consider how critical theory might offer productive lenses through which to view theatre making.

There is also a focus on 20th-century plays, studying the historical and cultural shift from modern to postmodern drama. In addition, you can choose to explore writing for theatre, or investigate practical methods of directing and composition.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period in any country or optional placement in the USA. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

Your final year offers options linked to issues and perspectives in contemporary performance, based on faculty research interests. You also develop a full-scale performance project, directed by a member of staff and realised to professional standards.

In your final term, you are given the chance to pursue your own interests in a dissertation, a piece of performance and/or a professional placement.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

The work students do here isn’t simply about putting on plays, but scrutinising the ways theatre is thought about and made – from classic plays to experimental performances.Dr Jason Price
Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Theatre and Performance

Fees

Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. Note that your fees, once they’re set, may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you'll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You'll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Recent graduates from our School have started jobs as:

  • writer, Artrocker Magazine
  • production assistant, Smoke & Mirrors
  • producer, Dragonfly.

(Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

Through regular theatre trips and workshops with specialist faculty and professional artists, you study the cutting edge of contemporary theatre practice. Recent workshops have been conducted by, among others, Complicite, Reckless Sleepers, and Michael Attenborough.

You’ll develop practical careers skills in critical assessment, written communication, independent thinking and problem-solving. Our graduates have set up their own theatre companies and established themselves as professional directors and performers.

You can also go on to further study, or pursue a career in:

  • media, film and journalism
  • publishing, libraries and education.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

“Sussex has taken me on a journey that includes teaching Drama in Budapest, and working as a film researcher.” Rosa SaundersDrama Studies graduate 

Career ambitions – John Giannini, Drama, Theatre and Performance BA

Theories and Contexts of Drama

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module will introduce you to a range of key concepts and contexts that have been used to think critically and theoretically about drama, theatre and performance. Indeed the distinction between these three terms will be the starting point of the module. By presenting a range of philosophical, theoretical and conceptual categories for thinking about art in its historical and aesthetic contexts the module will allow you to engage with fundamental debates around the nature, purpose and function of drama reflecting on the various social, cultural, aesthetic and ideological ways of thinking about the medium.

The module will deal both with generic concepts such as mimesis and representation as well as more specific cultural and artistic categories such as `modernity', `realism/naturalism' and the `avant-garde'. At the same time, it will contextualise these concepts and movements philosophically and historically by linking the work of theatre theorists with wider movements and historical developments such as the exploration of modernity in the context of the avant-garde, existentialism and absurdism or postmodernity in relation to liveness, the ephemeral and performance art.

The overall aim of the module is to promote a series of lateral connections between drama, theatrical movements and concepts and wider social, cultural, historical and philosophical currents.

Thinking Through Theatre

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Thinking Through Theatre will introduce you to a range of analytical, critical and practical issues and approaches that have an impact on how theatre is thought about and constructed. The module will broaden your understanding of what theatre is and how it can be made. In seminars you will discuss some of the important key terms, debates and ideas that inform and delimit theatre-making as a political, social and ideological arena of aesthetic practice. In parallel workshops you will explore and extend those ideas practically. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to develop a critical attitude to viewing, experiencing and making theatre and will be introduced to skills and techniques for developing socially responsible studio practices. Alongside seminars and workshops you will attend performances (inside and outside of class), which will inform weekly discussions. By working collaboratively to think through issues and develop material throughout the term you will gain relevant critical and practical skills necessary for working together effectively and generously for the duration of your degree.

The module aims to embed a fundamental idea that permeates the rest of the degree as a whole: that theatre 'thinks', that it processes concepts and issues in a way in which essays, for example, do not. Over the the course of the module you will be introduced to the different ways in which theatre 'thinks' about the world and the means it has at its disposal for effecting this.

Reading and Staging Theatre Texts

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module will introduce you to approaches to reading and staging theatre texts taken from a range of historical periods.The module will interrogate the structure of dramatic texts, their cultural and historical frame and question the impact of performance and its material conditions on the chosen works. Furthermore it will introduce you to practical techniques for translating a text from page to stage.

Weekly seminars will explore the issues, historical and cultural contexts of these plays while accompanying workshops will focus on exploring the status of the text in relation to performance asking whether it is a blueprint, a set of instructions, a springboard or a resource for performance. In workshops you will also explore different staging practices from original practices to the stylised, from radical, postmodern approaches to ones that draw on the techniques of theatre practitioners such as Brecht, Bogart and Stanislavsky.

The module will help you to understand how you may prepare a text for performance and how practical approaches to the text bring new ways of understanding its composition, form and meaning. The overall aim is to broaden the your understanding of the complexity of the text's relationship with performance and encourage you to think about practice as a form of embodied theory: experiential, critical, evolving and dynamic.

Theatre and Performance Analysis

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to a variety of ways through which you might understand and analyse theatre and performance with an emphasis on the particularities of the two (as opposed to film or television). It draws attention to the difficulties involved in the process and in doing so and asks what can be achieved through analysis and for whose benefit analysis might be undertaken. How we analyse performance is dependent on a number of important factors such as the differences between experiencing a piece live, watching a recording or reconstructing work through reviews and other documents. The ways we receive a performance can also be fundamentally influenced by other important contexts (where and when both the performance and the analysis take place, for example) and these have to be built into our understanding of the work under discussion. The theatrical event is made up of performers and spectators yet the latter can often be ignored. This module will ask questions of the audience too. Who makes up a theatre audience? What might be expected of it? How might that affect theatre-makers themselves? You will also be introduced to questions surrounding theatre documentation, of how something as ephemeral as live performance might be preserved and to what ends.

Primarily the module aims to equip you with both tools and sensitivities that will help you respond confidently and eloquently to (live) theatrical events. You will develop a critical vocabulary that will allow you to consider different types of theatre and performance through exposure to a varied selection of screenings and live productions. In addition you will acquire skills that will allow you to critically engage with your own creative output over the course of the degree as a whole.

 

Approaches to Contemporary Performance

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module will introduce you to a range of approaches that have developed in contemporary performance practice since the post-war period and considers some of the issues and challenges these new approaches raise. In particular, we will pay attention to the opportunities afforded by theatre and theatricality in an increasingly uncertain world where destabilization has become a motif and way of life, and where intermediality and cross-disciplinarity have become habitual in the approach to making/performing theatre. We will consider how this is reflected in a range of approaches to performance. Through readings and discussion focused on a number of groups and artists who will be used as case studies, we will investigate the ways theatre performance has responded to and accommodated (or else resisted) certain cultural, social, ideological and artistic shifts.

Throughout the term, you will engage with issues that arise in contemporary stagecraft on a practical and theoretical level. Seminars and workshops will be informed by a range of contexts and theoretical positions, and we will compare and contrast the working practices and productions of specific internationally acclaimed groups and artists from the late 70s to the present day, from the US, Britain and Europe.

Your understanding of contemporary performance will develop through a combination of reading, researching and attending performances. You will discuss and workshop a range of issues, methods and approaches relevant to the module. Topics will include new strategies in composition and devising; the treatment of character (acting, non-acting, performing); "decentering" and development of the non-linear or "multiplicity" plot; the role of the spectator/audience; task and process; durational vs. fictional time; collaborative methodologies; the use of "off-stage" and low-fi aesthetic strategies.

Your continued participation and punctuality is key to the success of the module (especially since the module relies on group work) and you will be expected to rehearse and prepare (readings for discussion, seminar and performance presentations) outside of class time. The module culminates in a group presentation in which short pieces that have been collectively devised will be performed. These draw upon strategies, methods, ideas and materials covered by the module. This will take place in week 10 in order to allow ample time for you to work on your essay for this module, due in week 12.

Critical Theory and Performance

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

Critical Theory and Performance introduces you to a number of significant critical frameworks that have emerged since the 19th century, which have come to shape our understanding of culture, politics and society, placing particular emphasis on what they illuminate about the study of theatre. You are encourage to think about and apply theoretical positions to the related fields of drama, theatre and performance and to consider what these reveal about the ways in which performances are produced, performed and read by audiences, as well as the broader social and political implications of these activities. Through seminar discussions and presentations you will extrapolate and apply the critical ideas in which they are introduced to a diverse range of performative materials. Potential topics covered on the module include: 

  • Marxism/Materialist theory
  • Theories of ideology
  • Post-structuralism and deconstruction
  • Performativity
  • Feminism
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Postcolonialism

The module seeks to enable you to become more comfortable reading and applying theory and to develop a sharper critical attitude towards the study of theatre and performance.

 

American Drama

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Modern and Postmodern Drama

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will be taught as a series of seminars exploring the shift from naturalism to modernist and postmodernist theatre from the late 19th to the 21st century. It examines a number of plays that address important issues of modernity (and postmodernity), both in their form and content. We will look at the contribution and response of drama to social and cultural debates around the role of art, gender and sexuality, the family, the state and the nation. You will study a different play each week, give a short presentation in one of the seminars and engage fully in the discussion of all the texts.

Performance: Directing and Composition

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module introduces you to a range of historically situated practices, approaches and methods that have become established (to greater and lesser degrees) and are commonly applied in directing and composing performance today. Through seminar, focused dialogue, presentations and collaborative workshops you will focus upon a number of distinctive styles and approaches to making theatre works that have dominated and shaped the development of performance-making and theatre production since the middle of the 20th century to the present day. You will investigate methods and strategies (visual, critical, written, practical) through case-studies of a range of productions and/or directors and theatre-makers in order to gain a deeper understanding of some of the concerns that determine and shape contemporary practice. You will be encouraged to evaluate how such approaches have both advanced and constrained the way we think about directing and composition (collaboration versus director-led work, for example) and the implications facing theatre-makers and writers in the current cultural climate.

From the most traditional plays that take place in main stream theatres to outdoor, immersive spectacles, small installation works and interdisciplinary performances, from plays to newly-devised versions of classical works to the generation of new material by ensembles from initial idea and workshop through to production, the aim of Directing and Composition is to help deepen both your knowledge in this area of study as well as your creative practice.

Performing Practices

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Writing for Theatre

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you focus on writing for theatre from critical, creative and performative perspectives.

You explore the work of contemporary playwrights, practitioners and performance companies from a number of critical and practical perspectives, through texts, AV material and interaction with practitioners in the field.

You examine the process and techniques by which writing is generated for theatre, through critical analysis via close readings, workshop experimentation (writing exercises and guided practical workshop activities) and creative writing developed on the page and via performance.

You think critically about the creative process, and apply those skills to your own writing for performance.

You use a range of methods to generate your own performative writing, which you then workshop and present in a final rehearsed reading/performance context.

Final Year Performance Project

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you will take part in the development of an original full-scale production.

You select a literary text to base the production on and then:  

  • analyse the chosen texts or materials  
  • undertake research into issues relating to the production
  • investigate performance materials
  • locate appropriate performance modes and compositional strategies for the work
  • acquire necessary design, stagecraft and technical skills to help realize aesthetic goals
  • perform in the final production in front of an audience.

Throughout the module, you are expected to document and analyse your own and the group's processes and feed this back into the process of developing the performance.

Issues and Perspectives in Contemporary Performance

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module enables you to deepen your understanding of performance as a way of thinking and the implications of theory for performance. You will engage with three distinct fields of study that address, explore and interrogate important aspects of contemporary performance. The module is taught in three distinct three-week sections, one for each field of study. They are diverse topics that will expand your understanding of issues and questions relevant to contemporary practices in and/or theoretical approaches to theatre, theatre-making and performance. The module will expose you to perspectives and ideas at a more advanced-level and engage you with areas of staff research specialism. Due to the concentrated nature of the three-week sessions, teaching will focus on particular examples taken from the field of study under discussion that will, in turn, expose larger issues and questions. We will negotiate fields of study that address ethical, political, social and aesthetic issues surrounding ongoing debates in modern and contemporary theatre.

The module deals with advanced material. Yet while the content of the module will develop your understanding of and relationships to contemporary theatre and performance, the methods through which the material have been processed will also form a part of the teaching, so that you will be introduced to varieties of research methodologies, as well. While you will be assessed on the material taught, you are encouraged to take up and develop particular aspects suggested by the module, in terms of subject matter and research approaches to subject matter, in the independent research project module in the following term.

Independent Research Project: Dissertation

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

You will independently develop an advanced and in-depth research project within a subject, topic or area of your own choice. The work you undertake should expand and deepen an area you have become interested in as a result of degree work already completed. There are two modes of research at this level: through practical or academic enquiry, that is, through the creation of a substantial practical presentation (up to 20-30 minutes long, individually or in pairs/groups dependent on student cohort and preference) or through an extended dissertation (6,000-7,000 words). This module offers the dissertation route.

All the work undertaken in the module will be supervised by an appropriate tutor (ie with relevant expertise in the chosen area). Research study skills seminars will take place in weeks one and three with the entire cohort. You will receive two hours total supervision (divided as they prefer, eg four half hour sessions). The first six weeks of the module are engaged with developing a research topic and plan in collaboration with the allocated supervisor, at the end of which you will submit a proposed 200-word abstract for the project and a suggested bibliography. In week seven you will give a presentation to the group outlining the independent research project. By week 10 you will be expected to submit up to 2,000 words of your final dissertation for informal feedback and to ensure progress. Final supervising sessions will take place in week 12. All final dissertations will be 6,000-7,000 words and will include an abstract, bibliography and any other resources referred to with appropriate appendices.

Independent Research Project: Practical

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module enables you to develop an advanced and in-depth research project independently and to define a subject, topic or area of your own choice for practical exploration. The work you undertake should expand and deepen an area they have become interested in as a result of degree work already completed. There are two modes of research at this level: through practical or academic enquiry, that is, through the creation of a substantial practical presentation of (up to 20-30 minutes long, individually, in pairs or in groups dependent on student cohort and preference) or through an extended dissertation (6,000-7,000 words). This module offers the practical route. If you are engaged in this work will be allocated a technical role in each other's projects.

All the work undertaken on the module is supervised by an appropriate tutor (ie with relevant expertise in the identified area). The first six weeks of the module are engaged with developing a research topic and plan in collaboration with the peer group and supervisor at the end of which you will submit a proposed 200-word abstract for the project and an appropriate bibliography/set of resources. In week seven you will give a presentation to the group outlining the independent research project. All practical work will be scheduled to be performed during weeks 11 and 12 and will be accompanied by an oral examination about the process and the critical concerns encountered in making and delivering the work.

Independent Research Project: Professional Work Experience

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

You will have the opportunity to complete a professional placement, that is, the chance to work independently with a local company or organisation in the field in the capacity of an internship. It is offered to students in the Single Honours programme only, who wish to take up the opportunity to develop skills and deepen their knowledge in an area of professional work within the creative and cultural industries. The primary aim of the placement is to introduce you to a professional working environment related to theatre and performance. In this context you can explore a possible future career while developing skills and gaining knowledge and experience alongside professional practitioners and arts administrators. It is recommended that if you take this option you consider an area of work that they might be interested in pursuing beyond your degree. It is helpful if this work progresses or builds upon your interests.

Placements in professional organisations include the following possibilities subject to availability each year (all have been approached and are in Brighton unless otherwise indicated): Nightingale Theatre, The Basement, Lighthouse, Brighton International Festival, Brighton Dome, Brighton Fringe, Theatre Royal, Blast Theory, DreamThinkSpeak, Live Art Development Agency (London), First Base Day Centre (homeless day centre, applied theatre) and Artsadmin (London). A number of specific theatre companies located in other cities in the UK may be able to offer placements and these can be discussed on an individual basis.

If you meet the academic requirements for this course you will normally be invited to a selection workshop. We use these workshops to assess your suitability for undertaking practical work during your degree and to see how you engage with learning in a workshop context.

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