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Independent Research Project in Theatre and Performance


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Assessment: Pathway 1: annotated bibliography and project outline (10%), performance project and critical reflection (10% and 30%) plus 4000-word research essay (50%). Pathway 2: annotated bibliography and project outline (10%) and 8000-word research essay (90%).

Module description

The Independent Research Project in Theatre and Performance (IRP) is undertaken in the final year. It might be understood as the culmination of your work at Birkbeck, as it offers you the opportunity to work, semi-autonomously, with the skills and knowledge that you have acquired here. There are two pathways:

Pathway 1

You apply your research and conceptual insight to the development of an individual performance project. Projects may include a set of designs for a chosen dramatic text, a 10-minute solo performance piece, a 10-minute facilitation of a workshop, an installation, or another form of project to be negotiated with the module convenor. You will also produce written documentation on your process and a research essay on the topic of your performance.

Pathway 2

You draw on your practice to develop a dissertation, but you do not present a performance project. You will develop your skills of analysis, structuring an argument, engaging with a range of research materials, planning a project and making a cogent and critical argument in writing.

You should expect to spend a minimum of 50 hours working on this project across the course of the year. You might like to chart your progress by keeping a logbook of hours worked, books consulted, major breakthroughs and problems.

    Learning objectives

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

    • identify appropriate topics for a piece of sustained research
    • define a research question
    • conduct an effective research process
    • write a dissertation-length project investigating the research question.