Skip to main content

Unit information: Performance Contexts in 2020/21

Unit name Performance Contexts
Unit code THTR10003
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Jones
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Theatre
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit introduces students to methods of contextualizing given theatrical performances, from considering theatre production as industry, to historically and place-specific questions of cultural, political and aesthetic context. These cultural and contextual frameworks are tested through focusing specifically on revivals, revisions and restagings, addressing issues by means of a central question: what is at stake when a performance from then and there, whether two years or two hundred years ago, is performed here and now? The course will include an introduction to the Theatre Collection and to using performance archives for historical research around a past production. Students will also be introduced to the local theatre culture and the city itself as a context.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will

(1) be able to demonstrate a knowledge and a critical understanding of historical/cultural and theoretical/aesthetic contexts in which performances occur;

(2) be able to evaluate various historical/cultural factors and how they function in analyzing performances for research and/or production;

(3) be able to apply contextual information appropriately in discussions, written and practical outputs.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous seminar discussions and workshops. Additional screenings, museum visits, archive workshops and theatre performances, where possible and appropriate, will be used to enhance students' engagement with a range of performance contexts.

Assessment Details

Formative: Contextual case study of historical performance. Summative: Individual digital pitch for restaging a performance (100%)

Reading and References

Teresa Brayshaw and Noel Witts, eds. (2013) The Twentieth Century Performance Studies Reader, 3rd Edition.

Marvin Carlson (1993) Theories of the Theatre: A Historical and Critical Introduction.

Elinor Fuchs (2004) “EF’s Visit to a Small Planet: Some Questions to Ask a Play” Theater 34.2, 4-9.

Daniel Gerauld, ed. (2000) Theatre, Theory, Theatre.

“Reading Drama, Imagining Theater” (2009) in The Norton Anthology of Drama: Nineteenth Century to the Present, Gainor, Garner, Puchner (eds.), 81-85.

Janelle Reinelt and Joseph Roach (2006) Critical Theory and Performance: Revised and Enlarged Edition.