Staging The Text (DRA2067)

StaffDr Kara Reilly - Lecturer
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to give you the opportunity to engage in depth with the works of a particular playwright or period of dramatic writing through studying historical concepts and dramaturgical approaches and by staging selected excerpts independently and in small groups. For example, you might be introduced to selections from any of the following: Ancient Greek Drama; Restoration Drama; Shakespeare; Molière, Corneille and Racine; Goethe, Schiller and Kleist; Ibsen; Beckett; 20th Century Irish writers; 1980s British Drama; Postdramatic Texts. The module will familiarise you with a range of strategies to address the transformation from page to stage, both conceptually and practically and in a range of roles as directors, actors, facilitators, collaborators and dramaturgs. To an extent, you may also engage in questions of design (costume, set, sound, light).

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand, reflect on and practically explore different approaches to staging text of a playwright or group of playwrights
  • 2. Engage in close dramaturgical analysis and creative conceptualization of text-based theatre practice
  • 3. Explore and negotiate different roles in the process of transforming, adapting and interpreting a dramatic text for the stage

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Relate to others in theatrical processes and performances; work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work within strict time limits and basic technical competence
  • 5. Utilise research tools effectively and translate theory into practice
  • 6. Engage critically and analytically with physical discipline; develop thoughtful creative processes and understanding of physicality in performance

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback and improve communication skills and analytic abilities in discussions
  • 8. Express and communicate creative ideas and images; develop the ability to initiate and sustain creative work, both group and solo
  • 9. Collaborate in various groups and group sizes; learn elements of teamwork and presentation

Syllabus plan

Weeks 1-5

  • At least 5 lectures on script analysis and key skills for understanding dramatic texts, introduction, historical context, approaches to the writer(s) in question
  • Technical introduction and basic training
  • Small group workshops, discussions and forum presentations on a range of approaches to staging the text.

Week 6

  • Reading Week

Week 7

  • Group Pitch Week

Weeks 8-11

  • Independent Rehearsals (60 minutes supervision)

Week 12

  • Final Performance

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching30A combination of staff-led lectures, seminar/workshops, and surpervised rehearsals that will include analysis, tasks and discussion in seminars
Guided independent study230Rehearsal and preparation for performance
Guided independent study40Reading and individual preparation for final examination and individual viva

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group performance5030 minutesallwritten feedback
A group pitch for play2510 minutesallwritten feedback
Individual Process blog25ongoingallwritten feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group performancePiece of written workallReferral/deferral period
A pitch for a playIndividual pitchallReferral/deferral period
Individual Process BlogPiece of written reflective work 1,000 wordsallReferral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Barba, Eugenio (2009). On Directing: Burning the House. New York, Routledge.

Bogart, Anne (2001). A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre. London, Routledge.

Bradby, David (1988)Directors' theatre. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Edgar, David (2008) How plays work : the theory and practice of playwriting. London: Hern, 2008

Fuchs, Eleanor (2004). "EF's Visit to a Small Planet: Some Questions to Ask a Play." Theater 34(2): 5-9.

Lennard, John (2002) The drama handbook: a guide to reading plays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Luckhurst, Mary (2006) Dramaturgy: a revolution in theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Meisel, Martin(2007) How plays work: reading and performance. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Merlin, Bella (2010) Acting: the basics. London: Routledge.

Pfister, Manfred (1991) The Theory and Analysis of Drama. Cambridge: CUP.

Turner, Cathy and Synne Behrndt (2008) Dramaturgy and performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Waters, Steve (2010). The Secret Life of Plays. London, Nick Hern Books.

Specific reading for each year’s playwright(s) will be indicated via ELE before the start of the module.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Exeter Digital Archive

Available as distance learning?


Key words search

dramaturgy, staging, theatre