Modern Theatre and the London Stage
Course outline and outcomes
This course examines some of the key playwrights and movements of late nineteenth-century and twentieth-century theatre in Britain and Europe. It aims to develop critical understanding of major plays, many of which have had an important influence on both European and American drama.
The study of theatre as performance will be emphasised throughout the course and full use will be made of suitable productions as they occur on the London stage. Previous students have been to a range of London productions, from Ancient Greek drama, to plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as more modern playwrights, including those writing today.
Each classroom session will involve a variety of teaching methods, including workshops and videos, with an emphasis on group discussions and readings, and student activities: students will be asked to prepare short presentations for particular sessions.
We will look at the different crafts which are involved in each production, and, after theatre visits, examine the way in which directing, acting, sets, costumes, lighting, sound and other elements contribute to the overall success of each performance. In addition to the productions, a backstage tour of the National Theatre and a visit to the Theatre and Performance Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum will be arranged where possible.
By end of the course, students will have:
- Gained an understanding of the history of modern European and British theatre.
- Engaged with a range of major modern European and British plays and playwrights.
- Enhanced their understanding of how plays work in performance and of the processes of theatrical production.
- Surveyed a range of critical perspectives related to modern European and British theatre.
- Developed their ability to think and write critically about plays and performances.
Coursework and assessment
|Assessed component||Basic requirements||Weighting||Deadline|
|Essay||2000-2500 words||60%||Week 10|
|Two questions, one of which will be a compulsory exercise||40%||Week 14|
There are also four compulsory theatre trips which take place in the evening. These change each semester and are informed by what is showing in London at the time.
Students need to attend all classes and performances. Please remember that your grades can be affected by your attendance.
Texts of the plays being studied that semester and critical reading in support of those plays.