FT3EP-Ensemble Practice

Module Provider: Film, Theatre and TV
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn and Spring (Double presentation)
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Ms Lucy Tyler

Email: l.s.tyler@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module will enable students to develop a sophisticated understanding of ensemble practice in theatre making. By analysing the work and processes of ensemble theatre makers, students will develop a coherent understanding of this approach to creating performance, exploring key issues surrounding ensemble practice within the wider context of the theatre industry. Students will explore the archetype of the ensemble and key principles surrounding its practice, including why theatre makers might choose to work in this way and through what methodological approaches. Students will then go on to examine general and specific working practices of ensemble theatre makers, such as conceptual and creative collaboration, rehearsal room and performance processes. With an emphasis on analysing the working models of integrated ensemble and devising companies, students will be encouraged to extend their knowledge of craft, technical, performance and creative skills in core areas of ensemble practice.

This module aims to extend students’ understanding of integrated theatre making processes and offer them an opportunity to improve their understanding of the ensemble approach. Through a series of case studies focusing on the methodological approach of ensemble theatre makers, students will develop an enhanced awareness of co-creation and how ensemble practice might be deployed further in their own practical work. With a strong theoretical underpinning exploring crucial political principles of the ensemble, such as power structures, students will be encouraged to develop new analytical skills in assessing and understanding these working methods. The module aims to extend students’ theatre-making skills, supporting the development of the practical project in FT3APP and further preparing students for future careers.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module it is expected that students will be able to:
•Understand the principles and methodologies of ensemble practice;
•apply or analyse these skills in practice;
•draw on relevant aesthetic debates in order to delineate and appreciate diverse devising practices and ensemble processes;
•demarcate specific modes of production in their own practical work;
•explore strategies specifically relating to their own devised practice.

Additional outcomes:
This module plays a significant role in the continuing development of students’ practical skills in theatre making, which are central to the course. It is expected that as well as developing skills relating specifically to practical, technical and creative skills in the theatre making process, students will develop additional skills appropriate to the level of study. Such skills include additional development of research, process and rehearsal room practice, oral communication in the creative context; communication, debate and decision making, and critical analysis skills, coherent argument and presentation in written work. There is an emphasis here on undertaking self-directed, independent work in the production of a devised piece.

Outline content:
With special emphasis on building a strong platform in understanding ensemble practices, students will be encouraged to extend their knowledge of co-creation and total theatre making. A variety of theatrical case studies will inform an understanding of the historic and contemporary applications in devising and ensemble processes, while an emphasis on design within the devising process will extend students’ ability to devise without prescribed space, or script, and to consider further the function of meaning making through an ensemble method. As well as contextualising current practices in ensemble, practical workshops will allow the students to hone technical skills in relation to this practice, while having the opportunity to examine the way these skill sets work together in the making of meaning of a play. Over the course of the module, the students will encounter an array of diverse approaches to ensemble, focussing on analysing methodology and evaluate its outcome in performance. In the first part of the module, students will extend their expertise in total theatre work, exploring action, movement and voice in the ensemble setting, and the role of embodiment in ensemble work. In the second phase of the module students will concentrate on finessing their production techniques in the areas of scenography and design, production lighting, sound and stage management – focussing on the dynamic interplay between body, space and time in ensemble performance. In the final stage of this module, students will focus on directing, dramaturgy, creative production, marketing and commission negotiation in relation to the ensemble company. Throughout this process, students will gain a shared understanding of aesthetic relationships in the ensemble process. The content of the module will inform the student’s own development in theatre making and will culminate toward an assessed portfolio of practical design concepts and the development of their own practice in a performance or written essay on ensemble making.

Global context:
This module focuses predominantly on developing skill-sets pertaining to the production of devised performance in the British theatrical context, but will contextualise these practices within an international context of theatre, and make specific comparative analyses with design and devised practice from across the world, including Europe and America.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
A range of teaching styles will be deployed in order to introduce students to new understanding of technical areas of theatre production. Workshops will be used to established contexts and introduce themes and issues for constructive debate. Classes will be hands-on and often take the form of studio or technical work. Seminars will focus on case studies that offer comprehensive methodological examples of ensemble processes. A range of critical approaches will be used in order to examine these practices and performances. Critical analysis of both live and recorded performances will inform discussions of approaches and practices and, where possible, critical observation of rehearsal room process will be undertaken.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 10
Practicals classes and workshops 8
Supervised time in studio/workshop 20
External visits 10
Guided independent study 152
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 24
Portfolio 40
Project output other than dissertation 36

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment 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: 20 April 2018


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