Person, Place, Belief, Identity, Performance (DRA2074)

StaffDr Sarah Goldingay - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Pre-requisitesDRA1004 Acting and Not Acting
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to interrogate 'self' and 'narrative' and their use in contemporary performance practices. We will examine potential relationships between artist, spectator and the experiences that make us who we are. Exploring the strategies available to the autobiographical performer, we will consider a range of models for performance including, for example, verbatim performance, visual/object driven narrative, autoethnography, autobiography, performance poetry, reflexive writing, and site-specific approaches. Alongside the practical explorations and integrated with them we will consider the discourse around ethnographic research methods and its relationship to the performance-making process. This module aims to give participants opportunities to extend their practical, intellectual and creative abilities through integrated research and practice.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Identify, understand, critically evaluate and use autoethnographic and autobiographic theory from a range of disciplines to make autobiographical performance.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 2. Relate to others in theatrical processes and performances; to work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and to initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work within strict time limits and basic technical competence.
  • 3. Engage critically and analytically with physical discipline; the development of thoughtful creative processes and understanding of physicalization in performance.
  • 4. Explore theoretical concerns through practice, and vice versa, and to synthesize findings in practical and written tasks. The ability to interpret research into physical practice and vice versa.
  • 5. Utilize research tools effectively and to translate theory into practice.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Express and communicate creative ideas and images; ability to initiate and sustain creative work, both group and solo.
  • 7. Develop personal research skills using personal initiative; to set personal objectives and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies.
  • 8. Develop confidence in performance skills and public presentation, both of dramatic practice and researched material.
  • 9. Develop group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback and to improve communication skills and analytic abilities in discussions.

Syllabus plan

The first part of the module will involve studio sessions devoted to developing a toolkit of practical approaches with which to make autobiographic work, a suitable performance structure, and the development of relevant communication and collaboration skills. Practical approaches to making small-scale, autobiographical performance interventions may include verbatim performance, visual/object driven narrative, autoethnography, autobiography, performance poetry, reflexive writing, site-specific

Alongside this, structured group seminars will facilitate the development of research around autobiographical and autoethnographical approaches.

During the middle weeks of the module, in the studio and with individual tutorial support, students will develop a small-scale individual performance. Students will keep a reflexive journal as part of their development process towards a final, assessed practical performance. Staff and peer feedback on evolving work is an integral part of the development process, and this phase will culminate with the presentation of self-directed works by the participants.

The final staff-led phase of the module will comprise critical feedback relating to the final practical work and preparation for the contextual analysis of, and critically reflection on, the autobiographic practices and processes encountered during the module.

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 Teaching Activities66Weekly staff-led sessions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities33Weekly group-led independent sessions
Guided independent study201Preparation/private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short report to full group on practical performance5-10 minutesallVerbal feedback
Journal500 words per week1,3,4,5,7,8,9Verbal feedback

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
Practical performance50Usually 15 minutesallWritten and verbal feedback
Contextual analysis (essay)502,000 words1,3,4,5,7,8,9Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Practical performancePiece of written work – 2,000 words1,3,4,5,7,8,9Referred/deferred period
Contextual analysis (essay)Contextual analysis (essay)1,3,4,5,7,8,9Referred/deferred period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Coverley, Merlin (2010) Psychogeography

Denzin, Norman and Yvonna Lincoln (eds) (2005) The SAGE handbook of qualitative research: performance ethnography (3rd ed.) SAGE: Thousand Oaks, CA

Denzin, Norman (2003) Performance ethnography: critical pedagogy and the politics of culture SAGE: London.

Forsyth, Alison and Chris Megson (eds) Get Real: Documentary theatre past and present

Harding, James and Cindy Rosenthal (eds) The Rise of Performance Studies: Rethinking Schechner’s broad spectrum.

Heddon, Deirdre (2007) Autobiography in Performance: Performing Selves

Martin, Carol (2010) Dramaturgy of the real on the World Stage Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mock Roberta (ed) (2013) Walking, Writing and Performance Bristol: Intellect.

Pink, Sarah (2007) Doing visual ethnography: images, media and representation in research London: SAGE

Kemal, Salim and Ivan Gaskell (eds) (1999) Performancce and Authenticity in the Arts Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Apples and Snakes (2014) Performance Poetry Guide

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Key words search

Performance, autobiography, autoethnography, identity