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Performing Environments


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Professor Fintan Walsh
  • Assessment: a 1500-word creative response (40%) and 3500-word essay (60%)

Module description

This module explores how dramatic writing and theatrical production addresses environmental issues, focusing on landscape, climate, sustainability, conflict and the natural world. In particular, it investigates how environmental issues are represented in dramatic texts and staged in theatre, or intervened in directly via site-specific and socially-engaged performance. Teaching involves a consideration of twentieth- and twenty-first-century plays and their adaptations, as well as contemporary performance practices.

The module is taught via a weekly three-hour workshop that involves play reading, theatre viewing/attendance, close reading and discussion of critical texts, and group work. It raises questions such as:

  • How have environmental issues been represented by drama, theatre and performance throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries?
  • How do drama, theatre and performance intervene in urgent environmental debates?
  • What is theatre’s role in raising questions or offering solutions to environmental challenges?

Indicative syllabus

  • Theatre, activism and the environment
  • Writing space and place
  • Designing environments
  • Feeling places
  • Ecological performance
  • Staging conflict
  • Performing landscapes
  • Staging the natural world
  • Theatrical ecosystems
  • Sustainability and cultural industries

Learning objectives

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

  • identify the relationship between 'theatre' and 'environment' as categories of inquiry and creative practice
  • understand how drama, theatre and performance intervene in environmental issues and debates
  • apply ideas and techniques from the arts and humanities to develop theatre's response to environmental challenges.