Performance and Nation A

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Performance and Nation A

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Module Provider: Film, Theatre and TV
    Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
    Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
    Non-modular pre-requisites:
    Modules excluded:
    Module version for: 2014/5
    Module Convenor: Prof Anna McMullan
    Summary module description:
    Performance and Nation will explore plays and productions from a range of national contexts (case studies might include British and Irish contexts, for example), from the late nineteenth century to the contemporary moment. The specific historical and national contexts may vary from year to year. The module will develop skills of close textual and performance analysis, along with an understanding of the shifting local, national and global contexts that have informed particular playwrights, theatre makers and theatre cultures. Where appropriate, the module may also investigate these relationships as expressed and explored in television drama.
    This module aims to develop students' understanding of the local, national and global contexts of twentieth and twenty first theatre practices, and of the ways in which theatre practice may be related to historical, social and cultural contexts; and to enhance skills of critical analysis, informed by appropriate critical frameworks, of both play scripts and theatre performances.
    Assessable learning outcomes:
    By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to:
    ? demonstrate in written assignments a critical understanding of a range of different theatre practices from particular national contexts, such as Britain and Ireland.
    ? relate the specific practices of theatre writing and theatrical production within a particular national context to both national and transnational traditions or histories of representation, and to local, national and international conditions of theatrical production.
    ? relate play texts and theatrical practices to wider national, social, cultural and political movements (e.g. feminism);
    ? analyse the complex relationships between individual play texts/productions and the wider theatrical movements, forms and genres, to which they have been connected;
    ? make informed use of interpretative frameworks introduced or extended in the module (e.g. concepts of ideology) in the analysis of texts, practices and productions;
    ? identify some of the main relationships between theatre practices and the institutional contexts in which they occur;
    ? demonstrate skills of performance analysis, through detailed consideration of both live and recorded productions.
    Additional outcomes:
    The module plays a significant role in the continuing development of other skills and competencies which are central to the course. It is expected that the level of skills and competencies achieved in the following will be appropriate to the level of study: oral communication and argument in group situations; deployment of research using printed and electronic resources; critical analysis and coherent argument; undertaking self-directed, independent work; presentation of written work using IT; identifying and addressing problems in the analysis of theatre.
    Outline content:
    Taking the British and Irish national contexts case study by way of example, the course will begin with a consideration of the late nineteenth century popular theatre such as melodrama, a theatrical a form that crosses Anglo-Irish boundaries and which includes some early Irish nationalist plays. It will analyse the rise of Irish cultural nationalism and the impact of Anglo-Irish writers such as Wilde and Shaw on the British theatre scene. It will look at the response of British dramatists such as Galsworthy and Granville-Barker to the work of Ibsen and the theatre as a tool of social conscience. Other key playwrights from each context will include: Yeats, Synge, Coward, O?Casey, Teresa Deevy, Brian Friel, Howard Brenton, Tom Murphy, Marina Carr, Martin McDonagh, Sarah Kane and Mark Ravenhill; theatre companies (the Abbey theatre, Druid; the English Stage Company; the National Theatre), and directors. Other national contexts which form case studies might include North America, Poland, and China.
    Global context:
    Though focusing on British and Irish national theatres, the context of national theatres is addressed more widely. Issues of globalisation are addressed directly through discussions of Irish diasporic theatres and the globalisation of cultural production.
    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    The normal teaching pattern will consist of one lecture and an hour and a half seminar per week. Visits to performances will be an important part of the module, and will inform lectures and seminar discussion, as well as reading plays. Where relevant, film and television screenings will be arranged. There is a cost for approx one theatre trip per term (approx 3 in total).
    Contact hours:
    Autumn Spring
    Lectures 8 6
    Seminars 12 9
    Supervised time in studio/workshop 16 12
    External visits 10 10
    Guided independent study 70 47
    Total hours by term 116.00 84.00
    Total hours for module 200.00
    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Method Percentage
    Written assignment including essay 100
    Other information on summative assessment:
    Students will write two essays of 3,000 words, one in Autumn and one in the Spring Term.
    Formative assessment methods:
    Penalties for late submission:
    The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
    where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
    where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
    The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.
    Length of examination:
    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall
    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resubmission of failed coursework.
    Last updated: 8 October 2014

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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