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Space and Performance (Critical Practice II)


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Professor Fintan Walsh
  • Prerequisites: Performing Theatre Histories is a desirable but not an essential prerequisite. Where Performing Theatre Histories has not been taken, you should be able to demonstrate some experience of theatre practice.
  • Assessment: a 1000-word design exercise (10%), group presentation (25%), 1500-word critical reflection (15%) and 2500-word essay (50%)

Module description

Space and Performance explores the importance of space to drama, theatre and performance. In particular, it investigates how space is imagined or produced by an array of texts and performances, including dramatic literature, theatre stages, site-specific locations and non-theatre venues. The module is concerned with how drama, theatre and performance can depict or construct space, but also how space is produced by dramatic, theatrical and performative gestures and techniques. Some of the topics addressed include theatre architecture, scenography, urban space, ecological space, site-specific performance and digital theatre.

The module is taught via a weekly three-hour workshop that involves play reading, theatre and performance analysis, close reading and discussion of critical texts, and group work.

The module raises questions such as:

  • How is space represented in and produced by drama, theatre and performance?
  • How is the production of space related to broader political concerns such as identity, urban culture, economics, ecology etc.?
  • How is space both conceptual and material in art practice?
  • How have artists used drama, theatre and performance as a spatial practice to reflect upon society and to challenge and construct new identities and worlds?

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • identify and interrogate relationships between 'space' and 'theatre' as categories of practice and analysis
  • differentiate between a series of theatrical and artistic methodologies with a specific concern with space
  • apply techniques of analysis and documentation in your own work, and to the performance work of others
  • recognise and explore performance as both technique and outcome of research.