This module provides you with a grounding in the development of the Western Theatre, and approaches to studying and analysing theatre movements and events in their specific cultural contexts. It includes a survey of Western Theatre practice from Ancient Greece to the present day, and an introduction to key concepts in Interculturalism (Patrice Pavis) and Theatre Anthropology (Eugenio Barba).
You deepen your knowledge of three areas of work on the module through essays, prepared in the Autumn and Spring Terms, and a research project presented at the end of the Summer Term.
Ancient Greek and Roman theatres
An examination of the rise and development of the theatre in the context of religious, social and political life in Ancient Greece; the development of the Ancient Roman theatre from Greek practices.
Medieval religious theatre
An examination of British and continental theatres focussing on the influence of the church, for example the Miracle Plays, the Mystery Plays, and early Allegorical works. This unit also introduces the approach of Eugenio Barba (theatre anthropology) as a way of describing and understanding the theatre event.
A study of the key features and the development of the Commedia tradition.
Renaissance theatre: playhouses
A study of key practitioners (eg Shakespeare, Molière, Calderon de la Barca, Corneille, Lope de Vega), in the period 1570 – 1700, focussing on the development of dedicated public and private theatre-spaces in England, France, and Spain, and the opera-houses of Italy.
18th- and 19th-century European theatres: manners and models
A study of the developing theatres of England, France, Italy, and Germany which catered to polite society and a cultural elite. Includes a study of the development of Opera and Ballet, of the Well-Made Play, and of the rapidly changing relationship between performance space, playwright, and spectator.
18th- and 19th-century European theatres: popular forms
A study of the broad range of performance forms accessible to audiences of working people in the period, with an emphasis on travelling shows, puppetry, circus, Music Hall and Vaudeville. This unit also introduces Interculturalism (with specific reference to Pavis) and its applicability to the movement and adaptation of practices and ideas between different cultural groups in a society.
An examination of the blossoming of Theatrical Realism in the late 19th century, with particular attention to Ibsen, Chekhov, Shaw, and Strindberg; and the returns to Realism in theatre practice throughout the 20th century (e.g. John Osborne, Arthur Miller, Langston Hughes).
Avant-Garde theatres of the 20th century
A study of key practitioners working outside Realist traditions, for example, Artaud, Cocteau, Wedekind, Kaiser, Pirandello, Beckett, Ionesco, Weiss, etc.
Post-war theatre 1: the director
An examination of key directors from the period 1950 – present (e.g. Bertolt Brecht, Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkine, Jerzy Grotowski, Jacques Le Coq, Peter Hall, Peter Sellars, etc) to understand the role of the director in shaping the contemporary theatre.
Post-war theatre 2: the performer
An examination of key performers and performance-led companies from the period 1950 – present (e.g. Olivier and Barrault, Complicite, DV8 Physical Theatre, Joint Stock, Pina Bausch, etc) to understand the role of the performer in shaping the contemporary theatre.
This module includes training and preparation in Voice, Singing, and Movement. You are introduced to the safe and healthy development and use of the voice and body in performance; to the creative and interpretative applications of different techniques and capacities of the voice and body; and to vocabularies relevant to vocal and movement work.
The skills module offers you the opportunity to encounter and master basic performance skills which underpins your work as performers and creators of work in the rest of the degree. Together with the Study Skills module, it is a foundation, preparing you for the final two years of the course.
Warm-up and preparation techniques
This unit teaches and practises a range of sound techniques for preparing the body and voice for performance or class work.
Anatomy and physiology for the performer
Offers an overview of the basic science underlying movement and vocal production.
The development of your vocal capability, with attention to fitness, breathing, and clarity; and a study of the ways in which the speaking voice may be used creatively in performance.
The development of your singing voice, allied to vocal skills (above). Exploration of individual singing range and introduction to ensemble and harmony skills and basic music theory. Development of individual singing warm-ups.
Development of your fitness, balance, and body-awareness, and a study of the creative use of movement in performance.
This module includes an overview of some of the uses of music in Western and non-Western performance forms; workshops in music-making and use of the singing voice as part of performance in two or three selected forms; and a staff-led group practical performance assessment in a chosen musical form. The emphasis is on the development and deployment of your own musical skills, rather than on collaboration with musicians.
Western musical performance
May include an examination of opera, music hall, choral performance, the Broadway musical, etc. Study is through both lectures and workshop sessions.
Asian musical performance
May include study of, for example, Gamelan, Kabuki, Noh, Kathakali, Chinese Opera, etc. Study is through both lectures and workshop sessions.
African or South American musical performance
May include the study of, for example, African drumming, Samba, Calypso, etc. Study is through both lectures and workshop sessions.
A group practical project, led by a tutor, which allows you to develop, select, and apply musical elements in a specific performance form.