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IE925-30 Drama & Theatre Studies in Theory & Practice

Education Studies
Taught Postgraduate Level
Module leader
Jennifer Kitchen
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The new revised MA in Drama and Theatre Education offers teachers in both primary and secondary phases of education a rigorous and relevant course of training and academic study in the theory and practice of drama and theatre education. The course is flexibly designed to respond to and develop the professional needs of both home and overseas students. The course is built upon the research and teaching strengths of the course team who have a national and international reputation for their publications and teaching in the field of drama and theatre education.

Drama and Theatre Studies in Theory and Practice is an introductory module which focuses on drama and theatre as means of artistic communication. How does drama/theatre communicate its meanings? How do we read a wide range of performance genres? What are the alternative historical and avant-garde connections between communicating in theatre and in drama education? The module explores, through study and practice, the use of signs and symbols in theatre and drama and semiotic and anthropological approaches to drama as a cultural system.

Module aims
  • To consider a range of historical and contemporary theoretical and practical perspectives that will inform the teaching of drama and theatre studies in schools and colleges
  • To identify methodologies of performance analysis which are inclusive of a wide range of cultural and historical traditions in drama and theatre
  • To critically examine contemporary approaches to the teaching of drama and theatre studies in schools and colleges with a particular emphasis on post-colonial and multicultural perspectives
  • To enhance and renew students' existing practical and theoretical knowledge of drama and theatre.
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.

Introduction; definitions of performance and theatre
Practical activities to introduce the module, participants and the field of theatre and performance semiotics; analysis of performance genres and a consideration of field theory as it relates to defining theatre

Theatre semiotics 1
An introduction to structuralist and post-structuralist semiotic theories and concepts with particular reference to the work of the Prague School, Martin Esslin, Patrice Pavis, Umberto Eco, Richard Schechner

Theatre semiotics 2
Opportunity for the comparative use of different semiotic methodologies in relation to theatre, film and televisual texts. The avant-garde tradition and the influence of anthropology in understanding social and artistic intentions

The Private/Literary And Oral/Communal Aesthetic Traditions And Their Social Class Associations
An examination of the different histories and social functions of the two aesthetic traditions. A consideration of basic conceptual distinctions between realism and non-realism and presentational and representational modes of performance

The Elements of Theatre And Their Uses
A practical investigation of the elements and conditions of theatre and a consideration of the boundaries between social and aesthetic modes of performance

Reading texts for Performance 1
Representational theatre
A practical exploration of strategies for realising realist and representational texts in performance; Stanislavski's legacy and technique.

Reading texts for Performance 1
Presentational theatre
A practical exploration of strategies for realising non-realist and presentational texts in performance; Brecht's legacy and technique.

Teaching Dramatic Literacy
Identifying appropriate histories, codes, vocabulary within a model of progression; evaluating approaches to teaching dramatic literacy. Developing practical approaches to teaching dramatic literacy at different ages and for different levels of ability

Practical Applications 1
Workshop explorations which combine the teaching of theatre history and codes within a participatory and experiential drama mode

Seminar Discussions and Evaluations

Learning outcomes

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

  • Be able to draw on social anthropological studies of performance and the work of key practitioners and theorists as a means of locating Drama Education within an inter-cultural and multi-disciplinary view of the aesthetics of Theatre
  • Be able to examine the history of theatre and the extent to which its selective tradition ignores marginalised and dominated cultural traditions
  • Demonstrate subject knowledge of drama and theatre studies and design approaches to teaching drama and theatre studies in their own working context.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work and plan with others
  • Demonstrate verbal, physical and written communications skills
  • Develop a view of both classroom activity and drama activity as 'text-types' which communicate messages and signs relating to the social and cultural perceptions of those involved; consideration and analysis of the use of sign by teachers and learners in dramatic improvisation
  • Use in their own work key concepts and theories drawn from social and aesthetic semiotics and performance theory in order to provide a language and methodology for discussing performance activity
  • Develop and make use of an understanding of the complexity and density of sign systems employed in constructing and receiving performance texts and the history and cultural contexts of the sign and signing systems used in drama and theatre
Indicative reading list

Aston, E. & Savona, G. (1992). Theatre as Sign System. Routledge: London
Barba, E. & Savarese, N. (1992). Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology: The Secret Art of the Performer, Routledge; London.
Barthes, R. (1977) Image, Music and Text Fontana: London. (esp. Death of the Author)
Bharucha, R. (1990) Theatre and the World Routledge; London
Boal, A. (1995) The Rainbow of Desire Routledge; London
Braun, E. (1982) The Director and the Stage Methuen; London
Brecht, B. (1930) The Epic Theatre is The Modern Theatre in Willetts, J. (1978)
Brecht, B. (1948) A Short Organum For The Theatre in Willetts, J. (1978)
Brook, P. (1972) The Empty Space Penguin; Harmondsworth
Brook, P. (1987) The Shifting Point Methuen; London
Esslin, M. The Field of Drama London; Methuen (1987)
Drain, R. (1995) (Ed) Twentieth Century Theatre: A Sourcebook Routledge; London
Elam, K. (1980) The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama Routledge; London - page 60
Geertz, C. (1983). ‘Arts as a cultural system’ in Local Knowledge, Fontana;
Huxley, M. & Witts, N. (eds.) (1996) Twentieth Century Performance Reader Routledge; London
Innes, C. (1993) Avant Garde Theatre 1882-1992 Routledge; London
Kershaw, B. (1992) the Politics of Performance Routledge; London
Langer, S. (1953) Feeling and Form Scribner’s; New York
Neelands, J & Dobson, W. (2000) Theatre Directions Hodder; London
Neelands, J. & Dobson, W. (2000) Drama and Theatre Studies Hodder; London
Schechner, R. (2001) An Introduction to Performance Studie, Routledge; London
Turner, V. (1982). From Ritual to Theatre, PAJ Publications; New York

View reading list on Talis Aspire


This module aims to draw out the interconnections, synergies and made between and across education studies, the fields of drama, theatre and performance studies.

Subject specific skills

Students should demonstrate a critical understanding of: • the relevance of 'play' and 'participation' in the fields of drama, theatre and performance studies • key theoretical underpinnings of drama, theatre and performance studies, specifically in relation to drama education • the relationship between twentieth and twenty-first century theatrical innovations and the development of drama and theatre pedagogies.
Students should be able to - • constructively critique key concepts and draw connections between the field of drama theatre, and performance and education.

Transferable skills
  • Active listening • Analysis and decision making • Communication skills • Complex problem solving • Confidence • Coordinating with others • Creativity • Critical thinking • Emotional intelligence • Initiative and also follow instructions • Intellectual ability • International cultural awareness • Interpersonal and communication • Judgement and decision making • Literacy • Management of learning • Motivation, tenacity, commitment • Negotiation through collaborative learning • Passion • Performance skills • Presentation skills • Planning and organisational skills • Positive attitudes to work • Problem solving • Quality Control • Reasoning • Self-management/resilience • Collaborative/Team working

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 10 sessions of 3 hours (10%)
Practical classes 1 session of 5 hours (2%)
Private study 265 hours (88%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

Independent study hours include background reading, completing reading/other tasks in preparation for timetabled teaching sessions, undertaking research using the library resources, follow-up reading work, working on individual and group projects, the completion of formative and summative assignments, revision.


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
tbc 100%
Feedback on assessment

Assignment feedback sheet through Tabula


This module is Core optional for:

  • TIEA-X30C Postgraduate Taught Drama and Theatre Education
    • Year 1 of X3C2 Drama and Theatre Education by Dissertation
    • Year 1 of X3C3 Drama and Theatre Education by Portfolio Route

This module is Optional for:

  • TIEA-X31L Postgraduate Taught Educational Innovation
    • Year 1 of XL03 Educational Innovation with Specialism in Business
    • Year 1 of XL05 Educational Innovation with Specialism in Drama
    • Year 1 of XL06 Educational Innovation with Specialism in English
    • Year 1 of XL08 Educational Innovation with Specialism in History
    • Year 2 of XL04 Educational Innovation with Specialism in Childhood
    • Year 2 of XL05 Educational Innovation with Specialism in Drama
    • Year 2 of XL12 Educational Innovation with Specialism in Foreign Language Teaching
    • Year 2 of XL08 Educational Innovation with Specialism in History
    • Year 2 of XL09 Educational Innovation with Specialism in Leadership
    • Year 3 of XL04 Educational Innovation with Specialism in Childhood
    • Year 3 of XL05 Educational Innovation with Specialism in Drama
    • Year 3 of XL08 Educational Innovation with Specialism in History
    • Year 5 of X31L Educational Innovation
    • Year 5 of X31L Educational Innovation
  • TIEA-X31M Postgraduate Taught Educational Leadership and Management
    • Year 1 of X3M3 Educational Leadership and Management by Professional Route (SSAT)
    • Year 1 of X3M5 Educational Leadership and Management by Professional Route (School Networks)
    • Year 1 of X3M4 Educational Leadership and Management by Professional Route (UCST)