Undergraduate Curriculum: Final Year Units

Single Honours students should take 120 credits from the units offered, below. Joint Honours students should take 60 credits. You should be aware that if you did not take the first year optional Production Skills for Performance and Production Skills for Film, you may not receive your first choice options in the second and final years.

Mandatory

Independent Study 2 (60 credits)

Single Honours student will either produce 1) a 10,000-word extended essay & 20-minute performance/15-minute screenwork + viva or 2) a 20-minute performance/15-minute screenwork + viva & Industrial Placement + 5,000-word critical analysis. Students will be expected to refine their ability to gather and assimilate information, to synthesise these appropriately, to engage in sophisticated critique, evaluation and practice. There will be an emphasis on independent learning, self-directed study, research and practical skills.

Optional

Extended Essay (20 credits)

Where this option is chosen, in the first teaching block Joint Honours students will write a 7,500-word essay on a topic of their choice, under close supervision.

Independent Study 1 (20 credits)

Where this option is chosen, in the second teaching block Joint Honours students may produce either a 7,500-word extended essay OR Industrial Placement + 3,500-word critical analysis OR 10-minute practical presentation + 3,500-word critical analysis. Students will be expected to refine their ability to gather and assimilate information, to synthesise these appropriately, to engage in sophisticated critique, evaluation and practice. There will be an emphasis on independent learning, self-directed study, research and practical skills.

Contemporary Hollywood Cinema

This seminar-based unit will examine key trends, changes and aspects of Hollywood film over the past decade. This will include the exploration of contemporary genres and narrative forms, such as the comic book film and the mind-game film; the impact of new technologies and aesthetic approaches; and key elements of contemporary Hollywood, such as stardom and media convergence. This will be situated within wider contexts of Hollywood’s history (particularly the impact of New Hollywood in the 1970s and the rise of the blockbuster film) and Hollywood’s relation to world cinema. The unit will also explore broader theoretical ways of understanding contemporary cinema, such as its relation to modernity/postmodernity, globalization and the place of film in contemporary media culture. You will produce an essay + student presentation + write-up, or equivalent.

Key Readings

Bordwell, D. (2006) The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Buckland, W. (2009) Puzzle Films: Complex Storytelling in Contemporary Cinema, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Buktaman, S. (2003) Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century, Durham: Duke University Press.

Jameson, F. (1991) Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Durham: Duke University Press.

Jenkins, H. (2006) Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, New York: New York University Press.

Contemporary Theatre

This seminar-based unit will explore a range of theatre practices which focus on contemporary playwrighting, such as Barker, Churchill, Kane, Marber, Ravenhill, Stoppard or the approaches of contemporary directors, such as Eyre, Mitchell, Nunn, Sellars, Stein, Warner, to the revival of plays from earlier periods, such as 19th century Naturalism or Shakespeare and other early-modern playwrights. It will also investigate appropriate critical, historical and theoretical frameworks through which to analyse and reflect on the creative strategies used by directors and playwrights, as well as aesthetic and socio-cultural issues relevant to current theatre practices. The unit will develop further creative and practical production skills and understanding, as well as students’ abilities to reflect critically on their own creative practice. You will produce an essay + student presentation + write-up, or equivalent.

Key Readings

Barker, Howard (1993) Arguments for a Theatre, Manchester:  Manchester University Press.

Craig, Sandy ed. (1980) Dramas and Deconstructions: Alternative Theatre in Britain, Ambergate: Amber Lane Press.

Delgado, Maria M. and Rebellato, Dan (2010) Contemporary European Theatre Directors. Abingdon: Routledge.

Eyre, Richard (2001) Changing stages: a view of British theatre in the twentieth century, London: Bloomsbury.

Fleming, John (2001) Stoppard's theatre: finding order amid chaos, Austin: University of Texas Press.

Mitchell, Katie (2008) The Director's Craft: A handbook for the theatre, London: Routledge.

Digital Filmmaking

This unit explores digital video as a mode of production, and digital cinema as an audio-visual form. It focuses on the changes in production practice and film style that have occurred in tandem with the technological changes of the last fifteen years, exploring a range of uses of and responses to recent technologies in modes of production including fiction, documentary, and experimental film and video. The unit encourages you to engage critically with digital technologies, and to incorporate the use of digital video into their intellectual and creative lives. It also aims to familiarise you with a range of digital film-making techniques, and to develop your practical skills in areas including camerawork, sound recording, directing, producing, production design/art direction, and post-production. You will be assessed on preparation & participation in class; preparation & execution of technical production role; presentation/performance; and critical analysis.

Key Readings

Billups, S. (2008) Digital Moviemaking 3.0. Los Angeles: Michael Wiese Productions

Ondaatje, M. and Murch, W. (2002) The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing. London: Bloomsbury

Mulvey, L. (2006) Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image. London: Reaktion

Rodowick, D.N. 2007. The Virtual Life of FIlm. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Willis, H. (2005) New Digital Cinema: Reinventing the Moving Image. London: Wallflower.

Devised Performance

This unit will explore a range of contemporary performance practices which do not use an already existing play text as their starting point, and investigate appropriate critical, historical and theoretical frameworks within which to analyse key examples as well as the students’ own practice. It will investigate devising strategies, which include text-based improvisation, physical or systems theatre, the use of multi-media, and found or verbatim texts. It will also explore the work of key practitioners, such as Pina Bausch, DV8, Forced Entertainment, Goat Island, Robert Wilson, the Wooster Group. The unit will also develop further creative and practical production skills and understanding towards the making of an original piece of devised theatre. You will undertake a 60-hour intensive production period that results in a performance in the Wickham Theatre. You will also submit a critical analysis of their work on the unit. You will be assessed on preparation & participation in class; preparation & execution of technical production role; presentation/performance; and critical analysis.

Key Readings

Bottoms, Stephen and Goulish, Matthew (eds.) (2007) Small acts of repair: performance, ecology, and Goat Island, London: Routledge.

Callery, Dymphna (2001) Through the body: a practical guide to physical theatre, New York: Routledge.

Etchells, Tim (1999) Certain fragments: contemporary performance and Forced Entertainment, London: Routledge.

Graham, Scott (2009) The Frantic Assembly book of devising theatre, London: Routledge.

Heddon, Deirdre (2006) Devising performance: a critical history, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Oddey, Alison (1994) Devising theatre: a practical and theoretical handbook, London: Routledge.