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

Postgraduate Course: Directions in European Theatre (ENLI11246)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores a range of approaches to contemporary European theatre directing. Starting with influential models of practice represented by Katie Mitchell and Ariane Mnouchkine, these leading directors will be considered along with several of their related contemporaries, tracing major currents in contemporary theatre practice. The aim of the course is to critically engage with trends, movement and ideas in European theatre; developing the critical tools necessary to 'read' theatre from a director's perspective. Examining a range of performance texts, from Greek tragedy and Shakespeare through to contemporary drama, the course will critically assess the concept of the 'directors' theatre'. It examines the potential of the director as auteur and the challenges of understanding this work within the broader context of collaborative theatre practices.
Course description Each week of this seminar-based course will explore the principles, techniques and performances of a key European theatre director. Along with Mitchell and Mnouchkine (essential practitioners for this course, who will always be included to represent key trends in contemporary theatre practice), this may also include directors such as Tim Etchells, Yvonne Brewster, Romeo Castellucci, Simon McBurney and Thomas Ostermeier. The selection of directors represents a range of styles and socio-cultural contexts. An important strand of this course will be to problematise the canon, identifying and researching directors who may work outside the mainstream theatre industry, reformulating and reimagining European theatre from alternative positions. This work speaks to the idea of Europe in different ways, and given the contested status and function of this international construct, questions of European identity will be explored. This is a label that has been explicitly rejected by some of the practitioners on this course, and interrogated or embraced by others. The aim to combine critical and creative approaches, as reflected in the occasional use of practical exercises and teaching methods in the delivery of the classes. The course will also be supported by occasional screenings of key directors' work throughout the semester, which all students will be strongly encouraged to attend. Students will work in groups to research and present their work on specific directors throughout the course, culminating in an individual essay exploring the work of at least two directors working in the dynamic context of contemporary Europe.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding of a range of contemporary European approaches to directing as they are applied to a range of dramatic texts.
  2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of current debates on practices and theories of the nature and form of theatre in a European context.
  3. Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge of key practitioners who have influenced modern European theatre directing and performance and critically assess their relationship to existing theatrical conventions.
  4. Apply knowledge, skills and understanding in adapting and designing working methods for analysing directing practice, requiring autonomy and initiative in self-management and collaborative working skills, problem solving, and critical analysis.
Reading List
Key text:

Delgado, Maria; and Rebellato, Dan, Contemporary European Theatre Directors, Oxon: Routledge, 2010.


Boenisch, Peter (ed.), The Theatre of Thomas Ostermeier, London: Routledge, 2016.

Bradby, David; and Williams, David, Directors' Theatre, Macmillan International Higher Education, 1988.

Etchells, Tim, Certain Fragments, London: Routledge, 1999.

Miller, Judith, Ariane Mnouchkine, Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2007.

Mitchell, Katie, The Director's Craft: A Handbook for the Theatre, Oxon: Routledge, 2009.

Semenowicz, Dorota, The Theatre of Romeo Castellucci and Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016


Fowler, Benjamin, ed., The Theatre of Katie Mitchell, Abingdon: Routledge, 2018.

Hager, Philip; and Zaroulia, Marilena, Performances of Capitalism, Crises and Resistance: Inside/Outside Europe, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Harvie, Jen, Staging the UK, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005.

Innes, Christopher; and Shevtsova, Maria, The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Directing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Kelleher, Joe; and Ridout, Nicholas, Contemporary Theatres in Europe: A Critical Companion, Oxon: Routledge, 2006.

Shevtsova, Maria; and Shomit, Mitter (eds.), Fifty Key Theatre Directors, Oxon: Routledge, 2005.

Williams, David (ed.), Collaborative Theatre: The Théâtre du Soleil Sourcebook, London: Routledge, 1999.

Further reading:

Boenisch, Peter, Directing Scenes and Senses: The Thinking of the Regie, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015.

Dymkowski, Christine; and Carson, Christie (eds.), Shakespeare in Stages: New Theatre Histories, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Gaskill, William, Words Into Action: Finding the Life of the Play. London: Nick Hern, 2010.

Pavis, Patrice, Contemporary Mise en Scène: Staging Theatre Today, London: Routledge, 2012.

Radosavljevi, Duska, Theatre-Making: Interplay Between Text and Performance in the Twenty-first Century, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Shepherd, Simon, Direction, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Sidiropoulou, Avra, Authoring Performance: The Director in Contemporary Theatre, London: Palgrave, 2011.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students undertaking this course will develop the following personal and professional skills:

- generic cognitive skills including critical analysis and evaluation of creative processes and cultural texts.
- communication skills developed through working with groups on research tasks, which may include use of IT programmes to communicate findings.
- skills in independent research, requiring autonomy in assessing, evaluating and utilising a wide range of information; as well as accountability and working with others on group tasks on a weekly basis.
Course organiserDr David Overend
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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