Shakespeare Scene in Action (DRA3036)

StaffProfessor David Wiles - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This practical studio-based module aims to introduce the students to the dramaturgical structure of Shakespeare's plays. The focus is to recognize the scene is the dramatic unit of the play, and not the Act. The mode of learning involves a practical exploration of the structure of the scene in juxtaposition to other scenes in order to analyse the dramatic narrative of the play.

The module will offer students an opportunity to work in actorly and/or directorial role; to translate research findings into accessible performance outcomes; to evolve professional standard relationships with peers, audiences and collaborators.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. to understand and critically evaluate the structure and conduct of the scenic unit in Shakespeare's work.
  • 2. to conduct and critically review the rehearsal process with specific reference to 16/17C performance spaces.
  • 3. to acquire a knowledge of directorial and performance skills related to the performance of Elizabethan and Jacobean texts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. to work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and to initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work on theatrical processes and performances
  • 5. develop thoughtful creative processes, understanding of physicalisation in performance and the capacity to articulate that understanding in appropriate ways
  • 6. engage critically and analytically from different theoretic perspectives, to explore theoretical concerns through practice, and vice versa, and to synthesise findings in practical and written tasks

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback, and to improve communication skills and advanced analytic abilities in discussions
  • 8. Demonstrate the ability to think laterally and demonstrate originality in problem solving, to express and communicate creative ideas and images, and the ability to initiate and sustain creative work, both group and solo
  • 9. Develop advanced confidence in performance skills and public presentation, in a variety of situations and/or with a variety of audiences, both of dramatic practice and researched material
  • 10. Demonstrate the ability to collaborate in various groups and group sizes, to learn elements of teamwork and presentation, to negotiate and manage conflict when appropriate and to demonstrate leadership skills when appropriate

Syllabus plan

The subject is the interrogation of the Shakespearean scenic unit through critical practice. This is, by its nature, a developmental process. The plays employed will all represent useful examples from the canon and its generic arrangement as demonstrated in the First Folio of 1623. Due consideration will be given to Quarto texts where they exist.

Topics will include:

The actor/audience relationship in Elizabethan theatre.

The nature of character on the Elizabethan stage.

Speaking the text.                

Using the stage.

Rehearsal processes demanded by the production of whole scenic units for demonstration within the Department and to found audiences outside.

The preparation and practice of workshops. The specific texts chosen will vary from year to year in order to meet the requirements of the specific intake.

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 Activities66Lectures, staff led workshops and seminars, practical session, outside eye commentary on scene work, supervised rehearsal
Guided independent study33Self-directed group workshops and scenic preparation tasks
Guided independent study201Independent preparation for scenic work; group preparation for rehearsal; text and workshop preparation for in-class rehearsal and final performance

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Scenic workshop and rehearsal presentation20 minutes 1,2,3,4,7,9,10Verbal 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
Performance50Scenic tasks up to 1hour in totalallWritten feedback
Reflective portfolio503,000 words1,2,3,5,6,8,10Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PerformancePiece of written work related to intended performanceallReferred/deferred period
Reflective portfolioReflective portfolio1,2,3,5,6,8,10Referred/deferred period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

J.C.Bulman (ed.), (1997) Shakespeare, Theory and Performance, Taylor & Francis

B. Escolme, (2005) Talking to the Audience, Routledge.

E. Jones, (1990) Scenic Form in Shakespeare, Oxford University Press

J.L.Styan (1970) Shakespeare’s Stagecraft, Cambridge University Press.

D.Wiles, (2005) Shakespeare’s Clown: Actor and Text in the Elizabethan Playhouse, Cambridge University Press.

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Available as distance learning?


Origin date

February 2013

Key words search

Shakespeare, scene, performance, text