Practical Essay (DRA3061)

StaffDr Evelyn O'Malley - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to allow you to:

  • Draw together the experience of theatre-making gained through the degree programme;
  • Work in a group (usually of 5-7) in the complex logistics of mounting a culminating presentation, that is likely to take the form of a performance;
  • Guide an individual and collaborative process of creative work, and to contribute to the creative work of your peers.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Collaborate with others to produce an original piece of researched performance
  • 2. Articulate appropriate research questions and working methodologies in a mid-process presentation and an abstract presented to staff in advance of the performance
  • 3. Utilise practical, creative and organisational skills in bringing work to performance
  • 4. Analyse and evaluate the creative process with an appropriate critical distance

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Work effectively with others to initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work within strict time limits
  • 6. Engage creatively, critically and analytically from different theoretic perspectives, to explore theoretical concerns through practice, and vice versa, and to synthesise findings in practical tasks

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop group co-operation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback, and to improve communication skills and advanced 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. Collaborate to learn elements of teamwork and presentation, and to negotiate and manage conflict when appropriate, to think laterally and demonstrate originality in problem solving, and to demonstrate leadership skills when appropriate

Syllabus plan

This module is the culminating practical element of a full-time Drama student's work over the three-year programme. It is an invitation to create collaboratively an original work for performance/presentation. To some extent, it replicates the processes of professional theatre groups whilst allowing students to build on their previous experience.

Six sessions with tutors take place during the process, at which the students present and discuss their work. Additional support/feedback is available from peer 'buddy' groups. In addition, each group is expected to:

  • Provide regular reports to a supervisor
  • Participate in a peer assessment exercise
  • Give a short, mid-module progress report  
  • Submit a group portfolio documenting their work, with an accompanying abstract (comprising a set of research questions and working methodologies)

Individual fifteen-minute vivas are conducted after the final performances, at which each student is expected to reflect on, analyse and evaluate the creative process with an appropriate critical distance. 

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 Teaching and Learning 4Initial seminars
Scheduled Teaching and Learning 4Formative Presentations and Group meeting
Scheduled Teaching and Learning 6Supervisions
Scheduled Teaching and Learning 3Performance
Scheduled Teaching and Learning 1Viva
Guided Independent Study200Research and preparation for performance
Guided Independent Study10Buddy group support
Guided Independent Study72Group protfolio: documentation and preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short mid-term group report5-10 minutes2-3,5-7,9Oral feedback
Group abstract500-750 words approx2,6Oral feedback
Regular group reports to supervisorShort oral/written reports allied to supervisory meetings2-3,5-9Oral 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
Process into performance 70A process-into-performance mark will also include continuous assessment, evaluation of a group portfolio and peer assessment. 1-3,5-9Written feedback
Viva3015 minutes1-9Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PerformancePortfolio, using materials from research and devising process (5000 words or equivalent if using audio-visual materials)1-3 ,5- 9Referral/Deferral period
VivaViva1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

 Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

In conjunction with the supervisor, each student devises a personal reading and research programme.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date

October 2011

Last revision date


Key words search

drama, practical essay, performance, contextual practice, relational, devising