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TH251-15 Theatre and the Creative Industries

Department
Theatre and Performance Studies
Level
Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
David Coates
Credit value
15
Module duration
10 weeks
Assessment
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

TH251-15 Theatre and the Creative Industries

Module web page

Module aims

This module is delivered by Theatre and Performance Studies, in partnership with Warwick Arts Centre. It aims to give students a broad understanding of the theatre industry in the UK today, occasionally looking beyond to the wider eco-system of international theatre and performance festivals and international touring.

The module aims to introduce students to principles, practices and practicalities in running arts venues; conceiving programmes of work for venues or festivals; ‘making it’ as a new company or artist; marketing and audience development; commissioning and producing new work; funding the arts, the Arts Council and its priorities; and creative learning, education and outreach.

Through this module students will become familiar with a wide-range of venues, organisations, companies, artists and individuals working in the UK today, understanding what each is best-known for. Their understanding will be enhanced through a series of weekly assessed presentations presented by themselves and their peers. These presentations will also engage students with current issues within the industry, encouraging students to have their fingers on the pulse of trends and debates, such as: the future of the arts in Europe after Brexit; diversity and ‘relevance’; climate change and sustainability; and performing online and digital theatre.

Weekly sessions will be led by the convenor, often alongside industry professionals in-person or online, allowing students to understand each topic first-hand and to develop their professional network. These industry experts will include producers, directors, company managers, festival programmers and so on, enabling students to see the breadth of roles that make theatre happen and to open their eyes to possible career options within the industry. Thus, the module aims to help students to locate possible places for their future self within the industry’s ecology. Each industry professional will talk to students about their area of work, as well as setting in-class problem-based tasks, to provide an opportunity for students to try out authentic activities from the workplace.

The module aims to engage students with industry-focussed readings and conversations, such as in policy documents (Arts Council; Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), in venue and company strategies and annual reports, in industry news publications (The Stage and Arts Professional), through Devoted and Disgruntled, and on Twitter.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Week 1: The UK Theatre Ecology
Week 2: Warwick Arts Centre Case Studies: Front of House, Operations HR and Health and Safety, Technical Team, Marketing and Audience Development
Week 3: Programming
Week 4: Funding the Arts
Week 5: Producing
Week 6: Reading Week
Week 7: Creative Learning and Education: Belgrade Theatre
Week 8: Hot Topics in the Arts
Week 9: Making it as a Company, Artist or Actor
Week 10: Festivals

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the realities of working in various roles within the UK’s theatre industry.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of a wide range of venues, artists, companies and individuals working in the UK theatre industry.
  • Discuss and debate the industry’s current affairs and priorities.
  • Apply industry-specific vocabulary in verbal and written communication and differentiate this from the vocabulary of the academy.
  • Evaluate and develop their position in relation to the industry or specific areas of it.
  • Apply learning from the module to approach a range of industry-specific tasks logically and practically.
  • Use the skills and knowledge developed through the module to apply for a job within the industry.
Indicative reading list

Industry Publications:
Arts Professional
The Stage

Books:
Brindle, Meg and Constance DeVereaux (eds) (2015) The Arts Management Handbook: new directions for students and practitioners, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
Byrnes, William (2017 [2003]) Management and the Arts, Oxford: Focal.
Cochrane, Claire (2013) ‘Place-performance relationships within the English urban context: Coventry and the Belgrade Theatre’, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 33.3, 303-320.
DeVereaux, Constance (2018) Arts and Cultural Management: Sense and Sensibilities in the State of the Field, Routledge.
Harvie, Jen (2005) Staging the UK, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.
Lazzeretti, Luciana (ed.) (2013) Creative Industries and Innovations in Europe: concepts, measures and comparative case studies (London and New York: Routledge.
Pitts, Stephanie P. and Sarah M. Price (2019) Understanding Audience Engagement in the Contemporary Arts, Routledge.
Rhine, Anthony (2018) Theatre Management: Arts Leadership for the 21st Century, London: Palgrave.
Stevenson, David (ed.) (2019), Managing Organisational Success in the Arts, Routledge.
Todorovic, Milan, with Ali Bakir (2016) Rethinking Strategy for Creative Industries
Innovation and Interaction.

Book Series:
Research in Creative and Cultural Industries Management, Routledge.

Journals:
Creative Industries Journal
Cultural Trends
International Journal of Cultural Policy
Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society
Journal of Arts Marketing (JAM) published by the Arts Marketing Association (www.a-m-a.co.uk/jam)
Sightline: Journal of Theatre Technology and Design

Websites:
Arts Council England:
https://www.artscouncil.org.uk
Arts Council of Northern Ireland:
http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding
Arts Council of Wales:
https://arts.wales
Arts Council England’s Research and Data Archive:
https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/guidance-and-resources/research-and-data
British Council (in particular, its recommendations for Brexit Britain):
https://www.britishcouncil.org/about-us/how-we-work/preparations-for-brexit
Creative Scotland:
https://www.creativescotland.com
Culture Declares:
https://www.culturedeclares.org
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Research:
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-digital-culture-media-sport/about/research#taking-part
What Next?
https://www.whatnextculture.co.uk

Other:
Julie’s Bicycle (2012) Energising Culture: a guide to future energy for cultural buildings, supported by Ecovenue, The Theatres Trust, European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England, https://www.juliesbicycle.com/
Theatre and Touring, Symposium Report, Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, 2018.
Producing, Presenting and Touring Handbook, Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, 2019.
Students may also be asked to watch shows in-person or online as part of the course, to demonstrate the work of certain companies or practitioners.
Devoted and Disgruntled Conversations and Reports: https://www.devotedanddisgruntled.com

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Research element

Both assessments include research elements. The first requires students to research either an event or issue within industry news or an industry case study. The second assignment requires students to carry out research for their own industry project.

Interdisciplinary

The module looks beyond the academic subject of theatre and performance studies to consider areas such as cultural policy, the economics and financing of the arts, and the practicalities of the theatre and creative industries today.

International

Although this module primarily focuses on theatre and the creative industries in the UK, some sessions will consider the international scene. The module will investigate the importance of international theatre festivals and international touring to the UK theatre industry, for example. The module may include sessions led by industry experts from overseas joining us online, who would likely expand on the context for the arts in their own nation.

Subject specific skills

Students will develop their ability to network within the industry. They will learn to communicate verbally and in writing using a vocabulary and form that is understood by the industry. Through practical tasks within the classroom, students will develop the skills required to programme work, to market theatre, to apply for arts funding, to work within a creative learning team, or to have a successful career as an artist, practitioner, theatre company or actor.

Transferable skills

Students will develop their presentation and verbal communication skills through their first assessment. Research skills will be developed through both assessment pieces. Project-management, organisation and written communication skills will be used to develop their second assessed piece. In class, students will demonstrate their verbal communication skills to contribute to discussions and debates and ask insightful questions to industry experts. Students will show that they are able to work as a team or perhaps to lead a team when given problem-based authentic tasks within class.

Study time

Type Required
Seminars 8 sessions of 3 hours (16%)
Tutorials 2 sessions of 15 minutes (0%)
External visits 1 session of 3 hours (2%)
Private study 60 hours 30 minutes (40%)
Assessment 62 hours (41%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

Throughout the module students will be expected to engage with industry publications. These will include weekly editions of The Stage and Arts Professional’s newsletter, as well as policy documents, annual reports, websites and marketing materials. Students will also be given reading to contextualise sessions, including articles and book chapters from the items listed here and beyond. Students will also be encouraged to see some of the theatre worked on or created by practitioners visiting the seminars. Private study and independent learning will be important for both assessments, as outlined below.

Costs

No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
In the News or In the Spotlight: A Case Study 40% 17 hours

Each student will work in a pair or small group to present for 10 minutes in-class on either a topic that is ‘In the News’ that is relevant to the module or an ‘In the Spotlight’ case study. The presentation should be delivered as if for a professional industry audience, which the students may wish to specify (for example, as if being presented to a room of programmers or funders).

‘In the News’ could relate to a story in the national or industry press about an issue or incident that has taken place recently or a significant announcement: a new show/ a new venue/ a new artistic director etc. The presentation should capture the issue at hand and refer to authoritative voices in the industry relating to that subject. Students should understand the issue, have a perspective on it and provide an industry context to it (such as the venue it relates to etc). Students should use the case study to present their own stance on the issue or incident and perhaps propose ways forward, if relevant.

‘In the Spotlight’ puts a spotlight on a recent show, an individual, or an organisation within the industry. Students should consider why they are spotlighting this and emphasise why they believe it’s important for their audience to know about this. Students should refer to industry texts – perhaps reviews or newspaper articles. Students should think about how whatever they have spotlighted influences the industry, their own practice or both.

Industry Project 60% 45 hours

Students should produce a personal project relating to an area of the industry that they would like to explore further. This could be a funding application, such as for a creative learning project; a concept or business plan for a new festival, venue or theatre company; an outline of a programme for a festival or a venue; a new strategy for Front of House and Operations for a venue; an application to be a part of a festival or City of Culture; a marketing campaign for a specific show; a national or international tour plan for a show; etc. This should be approximately 3500 words, or equivalent, as the format and mode of presentation might differ. Final year students will additionally provide a 300-word executive summary of the project.

Feedback on assessment

Written feedback for both assessments.

Courses

This module is Core for:

  • Year 2 of UTHA-W422 Undergraduate Theatre and Performance Studies (with Intercalated Year)

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 2 of UTHA-QW34 Undergraduate English and Theatre Studies
  • Year 2 of UTHA-W421 Undergraduate Theatre and Performance Studies