ED3BRD-Representations of disability in drama and the arts

Module Provider: Institute of Education
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Mr Simon Floodgate
Email: s.floodgate@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will enable students to explore concepts of disability within society in the context of drama and the arts. It will focus upon the understanding of issues around disability and its construction within society in terms of language and identity through engagement primarily in the medium of drama. It will study representations of disability within different art forms and how these representations provide further insight to disability. In addition, it will investigate notions of access to performance and reception of art for a range of disabilities. Students will deliver a presentation related to some aspect of access and/or aesthetics in relation to disability.


  • To familiarise students with key concepts and practice within the realms of disability theory and disability arts, in the particular context of drama and theatre

  • To critically debate discourses of disability and disability arts

  • To analyse ethical and moral considerations concerning disability and perceived learning needs via dramatic representations of disabled characters, performance of disability and other forms of artistic representation of disability.

  • To critically analyse the intentions, efficacy and impact of a range of artistic representations of disability.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Draw on key theoretical concepts to appraise critical discourses on disability and disability arts

  • Compare and contrast different practices employed in theatre for disabled audiences and by a range of professional disabled practitioners

  • Demonstrate an understanding of research relating to projects or theories in disability arts

  • Devise, prepare, rehearse and deliver an accessible presentation related to aspects of the module

  • Critically evaluate the impact of practical work and texts analyzed

Additional outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students should also be able to:

  • Study independently and collaboratively in order to  assimilate and communicate knowledge and ideas surrounding drama, the arts and disability within society;

  • Reflect critically on their own learning, experiences and contributions in and to drama, the arts and disability.

Outline content:

Initial sessions will contextualise key concepts around disability and disability arts.  Models of the construction of disability within society will be analysed.  Representations of disability will then be addressed through close study of dramatic texts such as The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams and Tribes by Nina Raine.  Professional practice studied is likely to include Graeae Theatre, Deafinitely Theatre and producti ons such as the National Theatre’s adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.  It is hoped that there would be one organised theatre visit to see some professional practice. 

Other sessions may include audio description in film, disability representation in literature and the visual arts. 

Students will explore societal issues of access to performance through appraisal of inclusive and integrated theatre, Sign Theatre, captioning, audio description and the recent innovation of relaxed performances.

Students will plan, prepare, rehearse and deliver a presentation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

A mixture of lectures, small group seminars and discussion groups. Students may require loose, comfortable clothing for some practical workshops.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 4
Seminars 6
Project Supervision 4
Practicals classes and workshops 6
External visits 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 44
    Wider reading (directed) 20
    Advance preparation for classes 25
    Preparation for presentations 40
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 10
    Essay preparation 22
Total hours by term 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Oral assessment and presentation 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Number and length of assignments and in-class tests, and if available, the submission date for each assignment (expressed as a week of a specific Term):

  • 1 x presentation – (+ accompanying written notes)

Formative assessment methods:

There will be the opportunity for formative feedback on the presentation, prior to delivery

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres 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 (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:


Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission during the summer resit period.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: 

2) Specialist equipment or materials: 

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 

4) Printing and binding: Minimal preparation costs for power point presentations – paper handouts

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: Study visit to theatre – likely cost of travel return trip to London; theatre ticket approx. £25 

Last updated: 25 October 2021


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