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Unit information: Site-Specific and Immersive Performance in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Site-Specific and Immersive Performance
Unit code THTR30006
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Paul Clarke
Open unit status Not open

THTR10002 Production for Design and Performance


DRAM10028 Production Skills for Performance I (or equivalent Health and Safety training)



School/department Department of Theatre
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Site-specific and immersive performance strategies are increasingly prevalent in contemporary theatre. In this unit students will encounter forms of site-specific performance, such as environmental responses to landscape; community-focused urban interventions; and the staging of existing plays within found spaces. Students will develop an understanding of the role of space and place with regard to performance, which will inform their engagement with site-specific and immersive performance practices beyond traditional indoors theatre venues. These can range from medieval theatres in the round and heritage sites to contemporary installations and flash mobs. Students will further consider the ways in which bodies, in solo and group forms, can produce new meanings from sites. In this unit, site-specificity will be addressed through a combination of historical, theoretical, and practical approaches, such as ecofeminist criticism and heritage interpretation.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will have:

1) developed in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of place, body, and space and how these inform site-specific and immersive performance

2) developed detailed understanding of the key theoretical and theatrical concerns in both current and contemporaneous criticism of performance environments

3) applied and evaluated a range of approaches to the viewing and interpreting of site-specific and immersive events, and explored their practical implications in public

4) acquired advanced knowledge of a range of site-specific and immersive performative techniques and understanding of their practical application

5) demonstrated the advanced ability to analyse and evaluate site-specific and immersive performance both in terms of their own practice and the practice of others

6) conceptualised and performed a collaborative group project in response to understanding of a site or set of immersive principles

Teaching details

Weekly 2-hour Seminars; Weekly 3-hour Workshops; a 30-hour intensive period culminating in a performance

Assessment Details

One 2500 word essay (40%) ILO 1 - 3

Group performance of no more than 20 minutes, for an individual mark, which may be grouped if appropriate (40%) ILO 3, 4, 6

Individual viva interrogating the performance activity (20%) ILO 3 – 6

Reading and References

Mike Pearson & Michael Shanks (2001) Theatre/Archaeology. New York: Routledge

Susan Bennett & Mary Polito, eds. (2014) Performing Environments: Site Specificity in Medieval and Early Modern English Drama. London: Palgrave

Guillermo Gomez-Peña & Roberto Sifuentes (2011) Exercises for Rebel Artists: Radical Performance Pedagogy. New York: Routledge

Fiona Wilkie (2002) “Mapping the Terrain: A Survey of Site-Specific Performance.” New Theatre Quarterly 18.2: 140-160

Andrea Olsen (2002) Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide. Middlebury: Middlebury Books

Michel De Certeau (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press

Henri Lefebvre (1992) The Production of Space. London: Wiley-Blackwell