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Unit information: Early Modern Theatre Practice in 2015/16

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Unit name Early Modern Theatre Practice
Unit code DRAM30054
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Eleanor Rycroft
Open unit status Not open

DRAM10028 Production Skills for Performance I



School/department Department of Theatre
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Students will encounter a range of performance texts and contexts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in a unit which emphasises modes of staging and early modern performative practices. The students will develop an advanced understanding of indoors and outdoors performances: commercial amphitheatres such as The Globe, private playhouses such as The Blackfriars, as well as aristocratic forms of theatre such as dining hall drama, pageants, royal entries and court masques. In the second half of the unit they will focus on texts and performance skills, including early modern rehearsal and acting techniques; uses of space in the early modern drama; and the production of gender, race, and class on the stage. By the end of the unit, students will have a detailed understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of early modern theatre, as well as advanced knowledge of early modern practices of playing including verse-speaking, stagecraft, costume, make-up, music, and clowning.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will have:

1) developed in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of early modern playing contexts and how these inform playwrighting of the period

2) developed detailed understanding of the key theoretical and theatrical concerns in both current and contemporaneous criticism of the early modern drama

3) the ability to apply and evaluate a range of approaches to the reading and interpreting early modern playtexts, and explored their practical implications on-stage

4) acquired advanced knowledge of a range of early modern performative techniques and understanding of their practical application

5) demonstrated the advanced ability to analyse and evaluate early modern performance both in terms of their own practice and the practice of others

6) the ability to conceptualise and perform a collaborative group project based on an early modern playtext, and developed sophisticated skills in acting and/or dramaturgy and/or directing

Teaching Information

9 X 2-hour seminars

9 x 3-hour workshops

a 30 hour intensive production period culminating in a group performance

Assessment Information

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

Group performance of 10-20 minutes, for an individual mark (40%) ILO 3, 4, 6

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

Reading and References

John Barton (1984), Playing Shakespeare, London: Methuen

Cicely Berry (2001), Text in Action, London: Random House

Dympna Callaghan (2000), Shakespeare Without Women, London: Routledge

Simon Palfrey and Tiffany Stern (2007), Shakespeare in Parts, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Tanya Pollard (2003), Shakespeare’s Theatre: A Sourcebook, Oxford: Blackwell

Martin White (1998), Renaissance Drama in Action, London: Routledge