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Unit information: Contemporary British Theatre in 2015/16

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Unit name Contemporary British Theatre
Unit code DRAM30053
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Jones
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of Theatre
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will explore a range of contemporary theatre practices, with a focus on British theatre, new writing and the approaches of contemporary directors. Playwrights include, e.g. Barker, Churchill, Kane, Crimp, Marber, Ravenhill, Stoppard, Hare, Greig, Butterworth, Kelly, Lavery, Blythe, Stephens, Kirkwood, Prebble, Eldridge. Directors include, e.g. Mitchell, Warner, Stafford-Clark, Goold, Doran, Featherstone, McBurney, Barrett, Etchells. The unit may also examine the revival of plays from earlier periods, such as 19th century Naturalism or Shakespeare and other early-modern playwrights. It will 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, cultural and political issues relevant to current theatre practices.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have:

(1) in-depth knowledge of key contemporary UK writers and directors, of the British theatre scene and its place in the broader field of cultural production;

(2) the ability to read play texts closely and to analyse them using advanced understanding of critical, historical, political and theoretical frameworks;

(3) carried out sustained research, planned and effectively collaborated on a group presentation;

(4) organised critical ideas, contextual information and individual interpretations into an insightful argument, expressed articulately in a longer piece of writing.

Teaching Information

10 x 1hr Lectures; 10 x 2hr seminars; group presentations.

Assessment Information

(1) 3,000-word essay (60%) ILO 1, 2, 4

(2) seminar presentation (in small groups; 20 minutes), for a group mark (20%) ILO 1-3

(3) write-up (20%) (individual; 1500 words) (20%) ILO 1-3

The write-up enables individual students to re-present their group presentation in writing, to expand and reflect critically on the seminar. It should include a set of questions for discussion and a bibliography.

Reading and References

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.

Lane, David (2010) Contemporary British Drama, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Mideke, Martin, Schnierer, Peter Paul, and Sierz, Aleks (2011) The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary British Playwrights, London: Methuen Drama.

Rebellato, Dan, ed. (2013) Modern British Playwriting: 2000-2009: Voices, Documents, New Interpretations (Decades of Modern British Playwriting), London: Methuen Drama.

Sierz, Aleks (2011) Rewriting the Nation: British Theatre Today, London: Methuen.