FT3TC-Theatres of Crisis

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: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Vicky Angelaki

Email: v.angelaki@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

The module examines pivotal contemporary plays and performance pieces produced post-2000 in a context of social, political, financial and environmental crisis. Mapping the field of modern-day playwriting and performance-making, the module explores how theatre has responded with urgency to the key issues impacting individuals and communities in our time, focusing on the work of influential artists and companies. In so doing, it historicises the contemporary moment by providing students with the critical, theoretical and analytical tools through which to approach pivotal contemporary developments and concerns and argue as to how these have been represented on British stages.


This module aims to give students an overview of contemporary theatre that engages with urgent and topical socio-political issues, specifically focusing on playwriting. Students will consider how contemporary theatremakers (playwrights, companies, directors working within institutional structures and beyond) have developed new forms or re-imagined existing ones to produce practice that actively advances critical dialogue and reflection in spectatorial communities nationally and internationally.  Students will address key questions such as a) what is the agency of the contemporary spectator; b) how can theatre encourage and implement social change; c) how can theatre stay urgent in the face of local and global challenges that can be summed up the term ‘crisis’, but which open up to a broad range of concerns springing from this dominant term; d) what is the role of textual and performance experimentation and internationalism in this process.  


Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module, it is expected that students will be able to:

- Demonstrate an understanding of the key critical debates in social and political theatre and performance;

- Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a range of ways that performance makers have explored concepts of crisis in text and performance; 

- Analyse and evaluate individual texts and performance pieces informed by relevant critical and theoretical perspectives;

- Relate their understanding of theatre and concepts of crisis to a range of other concepts introduced by the course, including identity, gender, globalization, alternative forms, authorship, ethics and responsibility, subjectivity and political agency.


Additional outcomes:

This module contributes to the development of other skills and competencies which are central to the course, including:

-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; 

-Identifying and addressing problems in the analysis of theatre and performance;

-Observe the shifting focus and forms of contemporary theatremaking in relation to political and social issues.


Outline content:

The module will contextualize, refer to and incorporate textual material relevant to emerging socio-political developments. Representative case studies will be examined on a weekly basis, enhanced through references to relevant critical and theoretical material. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Seminars, featuring both tutor- and student-led dialogue. The external visit will form the subject of detailed class discussion, and will be connected to the assessment. The cost of the visit will constitute of a theatre ticket (maximum £20) and a return ticket to London at most. Where possible, we will seek live streaming options locally. In years when no appropriate/applicable performance options are available, the visit will not go ahead and the additional hours will be allocated to a relevant screening where possible.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 18
Practicals classes and workshops 177
External visits 5
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Oral assessment and presentation 50

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Students will be encouraged to consult their module tutor throughout the module and especially when preparing for assessments.

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:


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Resubmission of failed coursework

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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