Voice Theatres (DRA3091)

StaffDr Konstantinos Thomaidis - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesDRA 2067: Staging the Text
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module is designed for students with an interest in voice as a central aspect of performance making. It aims to develop your skills in recording, manipulating, listening to and devising ‘around’ voice. By the end of the term, you will have developed a collaborative piece of voice theatre, gained experience in reflecting on your practice through a blog, and been introduced to interdisciplinary approaches to voice drawn from sound studies, fine art, poetry, philosophy and performance. The module is open to all students in the BA Drama, BA English and Drama and the BA Art History and Visual Culture & Drama.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Situate your creative practice within a specific lineage of voice-based performance.
  • 2. Create a collaborative piece of voice-based theatre using advanced techniques in voice-sensitive dramaturgy and devising.
  • 3. Critically evaluate your performance practice using theoretical approaches to voice.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. 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 to solve a number of specific technical problems and apply that understanding to performance work.
  • 5. Utilise research tools effectively and to translate theory into practice
  • 6. Demonstrate the ability to contribute research to small groups in effective presentations, to evaluate visual evidence and to develop advanced confidence in the ability to analyse, critique and manipulate complex material.

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 analytic abilities in discussions.
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. Develop advanced personal research skills using personal initiative; to set personal objectives that are linked to a sense of challenge and extending boundaries and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies that are self-critical as much as self-reflective.

Syllabus plan

This module will be taught through a combination of lectures and workshops. For each session, you will do preparatory reading and watch recordings of performances that we will discuss in class. During studio sessions, you will be introduced to specific techniques and practices and develop your own approach to voice-based devising through small-group tasks, for which you will receive peer and staff feedback. You will also blog about your devising process.


Here is an indication of how the module may be structured:


Weeks 1-4: Contextual lectures and workshops

Week 5: Group presentations (formative assessment)

Weeks 7-11: Group devising

Week 12: Summative assessment (assessed group 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 & Teaching activities66Studio practice and lectures: a combination of staff-led lectures, devising tasks, feedback and discussion.
Guided independent study33Self-directed sessions to work on small group presentations and devising tasks set in lectures and workshops.
Guided independent study201Reading and individual preparation for lectures and group rehearsals

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Blog500 words1, 3, 5, 6, 9Staff written
Group presentation20 minutes1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8Peer and staff verbal

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 minutes1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9Written
Blog503,000 words1, 3, 5, 6, 9Written

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 work related to intended performance, plus additional critical analysis of professional archive performance (3,000 words total)1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9Referred/deferred period
BlogEssay (3,000 words)1, 3, 5, 6, 9Referred/deferred period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Barthes, R. (1977), Image-Music-Text, trans. S. Heath, London: Fontana Press.

Brown, R. (2010), Sound: A Reader in Theatre Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cavarero, A. (2005), For More than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression, trans. P.A. Kottman, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Chion, M. (1999), The Voice in Cinema, trans. C. Gorbman, New York: Columbia University Press.

Connor, S. (2014), Beyond Words: Sobs, Hums, Stutters and Other Vocalizations, London: Reaktion.

Curtin, A. (2014), Avant-Garde Theatre Sound: Staging Sonic Modernity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Doane, M.A. (1980), The voice in cinema: the articulation of body and space, Yale French Studies, 60: 33-50.

Dolar, M. (2006), A Voice and Nothing More, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Grotowski, J. (2002), Towards a Poor Theatre, New York and Oxon: Routledge.

Karpf, A. (2007), The Human Voice: The Story of a Remarkable Talent, London: Bloomsbury.

Kreiman, J. and Sidtis, D. (2011), Foundations of Voice Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Voice Production and Perception, Boston: Wiley-Blackwell.

Linklater, K. (2006), Freeing the Natural Voice: Imagery and Art in the Practice of Voice and Language, London: Nick Hern Books.

Macpherson, B. & Thomaidis, K. (eds) (2015), Journal of Intredisciplinary Voice Studies, Intellect: http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=248/view,page=2/

Neumark, N., Gibson, R., and van Leeuwen, T. (eds) (2010) Voice: Vocal Aesthetics in Digital Arts and Media, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rebstock, M. & Roesner, D. (eds.) 2012. Composed Theatre: Aesthetics, Practices, Processes. Bristol, UK & Chicago, USA: Intellect.

Roesner, D. (2014). Musicality in Theatre: Music as Model, Method and Metaphor in Theatre-Making. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

Thomaidis, K. & Macpherson, B. (eds) (2015), Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience, London and New York: Routledge.

Thomaidis, K. (2017) Theatre & Voice. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Young, M. (2015) Singing the Body Electric. London and New York: Routledge/Ashgate.

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Key words search

voice, sound, vocality, headphones, installation, devising