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Unit information: Performance Histories in 2021/22

Unit name Performance Histories
Unit code THTR20010
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Eleanor Rycroft
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Theatre
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

In Year 2 core units develop the approaches introduced in Year 1 and expand contextual frameworks. In this unit students are introduced to histories of performance, contextualised by the key theories that have informed the production of these histories. Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Introduction to histories of performance
  • Medieval Performance
  • Early Modern Drama
  • 19th Century Theatre
  • Modernism and the Avant-Garde
  • 20th Century Realism

In this unit, students are expected to develop their analytical and creative skills and their ability to structure their work and present it coherently. The unit will enable students to make links between and be aware of comparative historical frameworks for the analysis of performance forms and contexts. It will develop and extend students’ critical and historical awareness and knowledge of a broad range of issues and problems encountered in performance practice.

  • To develop and extend students’ awareness and knowledge of a range of key historical issues in performance;
  • To develop students’ abilities in applying historical methodologies to textual analysis and performance practice;
  • To provide a contextual historical framework as an extension of formal skills of textual analysis acquired in Year 1;
  • To develop and extend students’ awareness and knowledge of a range of historically contextualised key critical-theoretical issues in performance;
  • By offering a series of contrasting and complementary ‘case studies’ that demonstrate a variety of performance responses to generic, historic and national conditions, introduce new research and presentation skills that critically engage with primary texts and secondary sources, employing web-based and archival resources.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate their acquisition of a detailed knowledge of particular key issues of performance practice and their key critical, historical and theoretical contexts;
  2. deploy historical approaches to understanding performance practices;
  3. evidence an awareness and understanding of different historic conditions, traditions and experiences which have impacted on the form, development and reception of performance;
  4. evidence an awareness and understanding of different critical-theoretical conditions, traditions and experiences which have impacted on the form, development and reception of performance;
  5. demonstrate research and presentation skills in essays and discursive forums that critically engage with a wide range of primary and secondary resources.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, recorded dialogues, written activities supported by discussion boards, worksheets and self-directed exercises, and online seminar sessions.

Assessment Information

Summative Assessments:

2000-word essay (50%) ILOs 1-5

20 minute group presentation (50%) ILOs 1, 2, 5


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. THTR20010).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.