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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Time and Space of Performance (ENLI11176)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course is an exploration of how meaning is generated in live performance and then read by the spectator. The course has a primary, but not exclusive, focus on live theatre and the relationship between written and performance text(s). Classes are a series of guest masterclasses and staff-led seminars in an approach which is a confluence of practical, phenomenological and theoretical exploration of current theory and practice. There will be four guest master classes by leading UK theatre industry professionals.
Course description The course investigates the processes by which a play text becomes a performance text, how meaning is generated and read in theatrical performance, and what sorts of critical and theoretical modes might be helpful in writing critically about performance. It will develop students' knowledge of the modes, genres and technical constituents of dramatic performance, with specific regard to a number of the key movements, theories and practices that have shaped modern and contemporary performance. By the end of the course students should be able to analyze the constituents of a dramatic performance and reflect upon the critical accounts of performance theory produced by others and themselves.

Topics to be covered in seminars may include: the semiotics of live performance; audience reception theory; theories of representation of gender, class, race and sexuality in live performance; aspects of live performance such as set, sound and lighting design, the role of the director and/or actor; advance signs and signals of performance; the body and voice in performance; historical modes and conventions of live performance.

The course is assessed by two pieces of written work: one essay to be completed during term-time and one to be written during the exam period. Preparation for seminars will take the form of a combination of workshops, autonomous learning group tasks and individual readings of the theoretical texts and prerecording performances, along with directed secondary reading. Seminars themselves will involve practical exercises, group discussion, and reporting back on preparatory individual/ALG work.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Students will be expected to attend at least five performances at Edinburgh theatres during the semester. These are essential as they will be discussed and referred to in depth during the Performance Analysis seminars. Some visits will be group visits and the costs of tickets for these will be covered by additional programme costs. For others, students will be expected to purchase themselves. The minimal reading list for this course reduces book costs allowing for theatre tickets to be purchased. A list of the performances will be provided at the beginning of the course.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) A portfolio submission comprising of the following two pieces of work to be submitted:

a) A 2,500 word performance analysis essay of a current production happening in Edinburgh.
b) A 2,000 word design or directing proposal: this will be based on one of a choice of scenes taken from a range of classical and contemporary theatre texts; students will be asked to research and imagine the scenes into a mise-en-scene for performance, arguing their case based on a close reading of the texts, and through proposed manipulation of the sign systems of theatre explored through the course such as dramaturgical choices, set, props, costume, actors vocal and physical gestures, arrangement of actors within the stage space, lighting design, sound and music.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop a knowledge of the semiotics of live performance and how to manipulate those sign systems in the making of text for performance.
  2. Further explore issues relating to the making and reading of live performance through an experiential rather than abstracted series of workshops/ seminars
  3. Have knowledge of a range of first rate theatre practitioners and their methods for the making of live performance through a series of master classes
  4. Develop a deeper understanding of and enhance their critical skills to write about theatre as a live event taking place in real space and real time
Reading List
Aston E, Theatre as Sign-System': a Semiotics of Text and Performance / Elaine Aston, George Savona. (George Savona ed, Routledge 1991)
Leach R, Theatre Studies': the Basics / Robert Leach. (Routledge 2008)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Nicola McCartney
Tel: (0131 6)50 3629
Course secretaryMs June Cahongo
Tel: (0131 6)50 3620
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