Theories and Contexts of Drama (Q3256)

15 credits, Level 4

Autumn teaching

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.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.