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Unit information: Art and Theatre in 2016/17

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Unit name Art and Theatre
Unit code HART30047
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Alexandra Hoare
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit explores the interrelationship between the visual arts and theatre, with the opportunity for students to explore the topic from a variety of perspectives and across a range of cultures and historical periods. The unit makes significant use of the rich archive of resources held by the Theatre Collection at the University of Bristol, and incorporates a curated display (the nature and extent of which varies each year, dependent upon availability of exhibition space and resources) to be assembled by students on a theme chosen in collaboration with Theatre Collection faculty. This display will ideally be interconnected with the subjects students will research for the two written assignments required for the unit assessment.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1) demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of a broad range of issues pertaining to the interrelationship between artistic and theatrical histories and traditions;

2) reflect critically on the subjects of art and theatre, and the relationship between the two;

3) evaluate and synthesise both primary and secondary visual source materials (particularly as reflected in the Theatre Collection);

4) demonstrate enhanced ability to deploy key skills for curatorial practice (e.g. selecting material, working collaboratively on presentation texts or catalogue entries, etc).

Teaching details

One 2 hour seminar and one 1 hour seminar per week (with some sessions being delivered on site in the Theatre Collection)

Assessment Details

Formative assessment:

Participation in a ‘curatorial’ activity

Summative assessment:

1) a short written assignment of 1,000 words linked to the formative 'curatorial' activity (30%) [ILOs 1-4]

2) a research essay of 2,500 words (70%) [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

Caroline van Eck and Stijn Bussels, Theatricality in early modern art and architecture (special edition of Art History, 2011)

Paula Orrell, ed., Marina Abramovic and the Future of Performance Art (Prestel, 2010)

Sarah Hibberd, ed., Art, Theatre and Opera in Paris, 1750-1850: exchanges and tensions (Ashgate, 2014)

Sarah R. Cohen, “Body as ‘Character’ in Early Eighteenth-Century French Art and Performance,” The Art Bulletin 78:3 (1996): 454-466

Genevieve Warwick, Bernini: Art as Theatre (Yale, 2012)

Kenneth Richards and Laura Richards, The Commedia dell’Arte: A Documentary History (Blackwell, 1990)