FT3CP-Contemporary Performance

Module Provider: Film, Theatre and TV
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Lib Taylor

Email: l.j.taylor@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The module will enable students to develop a sophisticated understanding of issues of live performance both in theatrical and non–theatrical spaces. Students will broaden their knowledge and experience of a range of practices which challenge and extend traditional conceptions of live theatre/performance and which connect to the diverse cultures in which performance occurs such as street protest and demonstration, art galleries and site specific spaces. Key debates will contexualise the performances conceptually, politically and culturally. Practical workshops will allow the students to experiment with developing innovative performances using strategies that synthesise theory and practice. There will be visits to relevant performances both in Reading and elsewhere and a number of workshops by performance practitioners to develop professional processes.

The module aims to encourage students to develop a sophisticated understanding of the cultural debates and critical theories which have informed the emergence of contemporary performance in the last 60 years, but with a particular focus on the last 10 years and performance scene now. Students will be introduced to the broad range of contexts in which performance and live art has developed and the variety of issues to which it has responded. The module will develop modes of analysis appropriate for examining live events and practices. It will encourage the development of independent research and presentation skills, including practice as research.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module it is expected that students will be able to:
• deploy modes of analysis appropriate for live, devised performances in a range of theatrical and non-theatrical contexts and locations;
• refer confidently to on a range of cultural, aesthetic and theoretical debates in order to consider the emergence of performance as an interdisciplinary artistic form;
• draw on relevant critical and theoretical material to develop sustained argument around key concepts such as performativity, the postdramatic and liveness;
• discuss models of performance practices and their significance for specific artistic, cultural and political contexts and for the history of performance;
• explore strategies of performance through practical experimentation and practice as research, and develop methodologies for documenting and evaluating live events and devised performance;
•understand how the institutions of arts practices (organisations, funding, professional structures) develop professional arts practices.

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 performance.

Outline content:
The module will examine the development of contemporary performance in the late twentieth and early twenty first century. Taking account of its history and its varying institutional locations, it will analyse the methodologies and processes that distinguish performance as a live event in a range of contexts and spaces. In particular, it will focus on its relationship to theatre as both a rejection of its traditions and a reconfiguration of the audience/performer relationship. It will consider the political and aesthetic aims and contexts of performance events, as well as the strategies of new modes of performance. The module will introduce theories for developing analysis and practice, including performativity, phenomenology, the postdramatic, theories of the body and issues of liveness and mediality. Significant modes of contemporary performance will be explored both practically and theoretically, such as happenings, street theatre, performance in the gallery, dance, site-specific performance, multimedia performance, East Asian theatre practices. The work of key practitioners such as Robert Wilson, Forced Entertainment, Robert Lepage, The Wooster group, Pina Bausch, Station House Opera, The Builders Association, dANTEORdIE, Marina Abramovic, Bob Flanagan, will be addressed, enhanced by visits to the performances of current work by new artists. Performance practitioners and artists will give workshops and explore issues of professional art practice.

Global context:
The module explores performance in an international context and refers to forms of practice and examples of work from across the world, including Europe, America and East Asia.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
A range of teaching styles will be used and may vary from week to week. Short lectures will be used to establish contexts and introduce issues for discussion and debate. Seminars will concentrate on discussion of theoretical material, critical approaches and close analysis of performances, live (where possible), on DVD and evoked through written description. Practical workshops will explore key methodologies and strategies. Seminars and workshops will require preparation in the form of screenings, critical reading and rehearsal. Practical presentations will be prepared by individuals or small groups for analysis and discussion. Students will make use of the Department’s Digital Performance Lab to prepare material for workshops and presentations. The module will include workshops by professional practitioners. There will a charge for approximately three performance visits, and, depending on availability, these may be local in London, in which case a travel cost will apply, but at least one of these visits will be in Reading.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 12
Practicals classes and workshops 12
Supervised time in studio/workshop 20
External visits 10
Guided independent study 146
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Report 20
Project output other than dissertation 30

Other information on summative assessment:
The assessment for the Contemporary Performance module will comprise of a 3000-word essay and a documented performance (the equivalent of a 3000 word essay).

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor 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: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    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.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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