Theatre Studies

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Theatre Studies.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

CREW210: Writing for the stage

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: We expect students who wish to take this module to have done some form of creative writing previously.

Course Description

Course Outline:

The module aims to enable students to write for the theatre and develop their awareness of the processes by which a written script makes its way to performance. Students will be taught through weekly seminars/creative writing workshops in which they will explore the effects that different staging approaches and performance strategies have on their scripts. There will be a performance showcase in which students will be actively involved; the showcase will allow students to reflect upon their work in the light of audience feedback. Over the course of the module, they will develop their own writing styles and gain an awareness of the professional requirements of playwriting.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Show understanding of dramatic structure, language and staging approaches, and apply this knowledge to their own playwriting.
  • Show understanding of the transformative processes that occur in the development of written work for performance on stage, and will be able to analyse their own work in this context.
  • To create their own scripts for performance.

Outline Syllabus

Key Texts

Ayckbourn, A., 2002. The Crafty Art of Playmaking. London: Faber and Faber.

Grace, F. and Bayley, C., 2016. Playwriting: A Writers’ and Artists’ Companion. London: Bloomsbury

Johnstone, K., 1979. Impro: Improvisation and the theatre. London: Faber and Faber.

Sierz, A., 2011. Rewriting the Nation: British Theatre Today. London: Methuen Drama.

Recommended texts

Brook, P., 1968. The Empty Stage. London: Penguin.

Yorke, J., 2013. Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them. London: Penguin.

Recommended plays

Ahmed, N., 2012. Mustafa. London: Nick Hern Books.

Agbaje, B., 2007. Gone Too Far! London: Methuen Drama.

Beckett, S., 1956. Waiting for Godot. London: Faber and Faber.

Churchill, C., 2006. Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? London: Methuen Drama.

Kane, S., 2011. Blasted. London: Methuen Drama.

Khan-Din, A., 1997. East is East. London: Nick Hern Books.

Keatley, C., 1988. My mother said I never should. London: Methuen Drama

Kushner, T., 2013. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. New York: Theatre Communications Group

Washburn, A., 2014. Mr Burns, a post-electric play. London: Oberon Books.

Wertenbaker, T., 1990. Our Country’s Good. London: Methuen Drama.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

Students will write a 3500 word play script (approximately 20 pages) and a 1500 word essay reflecting on the writing, rehearsal and performance process.

LICA180: Introduction to Theatre Studies

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course
  • Also Available: Michaelmas Term Only
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year - 10 Semester Credits
    • Michaelmas Term Only - 5 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year - 20 ECTS
    • Michaelmas Term Only - 10 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Tutor's permission needed to take this course.

Course Description

During the first term, the module focuses on the historically changing ways in which Western drama and theatre have represented the human subject. Students will be introduced to a variety of different forms and genres of drama and theatre, including early modern, Shakespearean tragedy, modern and modernist Naturalist theatre, Epic theatre and Artaudian theatre, to postmodern/postdramatic playwriting and theatre. They will study an exemplary range of play scripts and performance theories, with particular emphasis on the relationships between form, meaning, ideology, and cultural and historical contexts.

During the second term, students will be introduced to different genres of contemporary theatre, dance and performance. By studying a variety of recent performances, either recorded or live (drawing on the current Nuffield the programme), students will analyse important aspects of performance practice. These will include the analysis of different contemporary modes of acting/performing, forms of audience engagement, uses of space and sites and processes and forms of dance and physical theatre. In the latter half of the second term, groups of students will begin to develop their own devised practical performances, which be assessed in the summer term.

Educational Aims

Introduction to Theatre Studies looks at key practitioners of theatre, dance and performance from the seventeenth century to the present day. The module combines theoretical and practical explorations and culminates in students producing their own devised performances in relation to the material studied. The course intends to provide students with an introduction to the subject discipline of Theatre Studies. To achieve this, the course aims to:

  • Introduce some of the major theatrical movements that are understood to have affected the contemporary performance scene
  • raise issues about the range of approaches to the production, analysis and reception of performance which have developed in Western theatre since the Renaissance
  • equip students with a knowledge of different approaches to the analysis and production of performance
  • introduce basic practical skills in the analysis and rehearsal of theatre scripts
  • introduce basic practical skills in devising performances
  • refer to major theatrical theories of performance, and interdisciplinary theories relevant to the analysis of performance
  • encourage the vigorous practice of theory and the rigorous theorisation of practice

Outline Syllabus

Michaelmas Term:

  • Week 1: Introduction to the Course
  • Week 2: The Creation of the Modern Subject: Shakespeare's Hamlet
  • Week 3: The Gendered Subject: Representations of Hamlet and Ophelia in Hamlet productions
  • Week 4: Representing the Human Subject in a Scientific Age: Naturalism and Realism, Chekov's Cherry Orchard
  • Week 5: Realist Performance: Stanislavski's approach to actor training
  • Week 6: Performing the Socially Constructed Subject: The Aesthetics and Politics of Epic Theatre, Brechts The Good Person of Szechwan
  • Week 7: Non-representational Theatre: Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty
  • Week 8: The Subject in a Postmodern Context: Heiner Müller's Hamletmachine
  • Week 9: Writing the Perfect Essay: Tips and Pointers
  • Week 10: The Fragmented Subject in Postdramatic Theatre: Martin Crimps Attempts on her Life

 Lent Term:

  • Week 11: Modes of Performance in Devised Theatre
  • Week 12: Uses of Space in Devised Theatre
  • Week 13: Modes of Audience Engagement in Devised Theatre
  • Week 14: Devising Dance and Physical Theatre
  • Week 15: Media in Devised Theatre
  • Week 16: Practical Project explained and groups set up
  • Week 17: Groups working on Practical Project with supervisors
  • Week 18: Groups working on Practical Project with supervisors
  • Week 19: Group Presentations of Performance Concepts with Performed excerpts
  • Week 20: Exam Revision, Feedback on Presentations and Production Meetings

Summer Term:

  • Week 21: Groups work on Practical Projects, Exam Revision
  • Week 22: Groups work on Practical Projects, Exam Revision
  • Week 23: Groups work on Practical Projects
  • Week 24: Groups work on Practical Projects
  • Week 25: Assessed Performances of Practical Projects

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay: 20%
  • Presentation: 10%
  • Practical Exam: 30%
  • Written Exam: 40%

LICA200: Critical Reflections

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Secure background in twentieth century art history with a good understanding of the major movements and their aims. This course can only be taken in the Michaelmas term.

Course Description

This course aims to develop analytical and critical skills in the study of contemporary artworks (buildings, installations, paintings, sculptures; documentaries and films; sound works, scores and musical performances; and dance works, plays and theatre performances) specifically relevant to the Art discipline. Students develop appreciation, knowledge and understanding of key theoretical concepts common to the analysis of all contemporary artworks from a variety of disciplines and forms.

Educational Aims

This module aims to:

  • develop analytical and critical skills in the study of contemporary artworks (buildings, installations, paintings, sculptures; documentaries and films; sound works, scores and musical performances; and dance works,plays and theatre performances) relevant to each students specific subject discipline (Art, Film, Music,Theatre)
  • make students aware of analytical and critical skills specific to other subject disciplines
  • develop appreciation, knowledge and understanding of key theoretical concepts common to the analysis of all contemporary artworks from all artistic disciplines and forms.

Outline Syllabus

This course provides an introduction to critical theory in the arts and its application to aesthetics and art. The first term concentrates on 'structures' in artworks and the second on 'identities'. The structure of the course is six three-week blocks, following an introductory lecture:

  • Block 1. Form and Structure- Composition  the Pleasures of Form: The lectures and workshops in this block will look at how we describe and analyse works of art, especially inrelation to different art forms, and how different disciplines can learn from each other. Students are also introduced to the main developments in aesthetics, from Plato to Kant and onto various kinds of formalism and contemporary means of analysing artworks.
  • Block 2. Semiotics and Authorship - the art work as a sign system that critiques authorial authority: The lectures and workshops in this block look at the idea of the artwork as a system of signification, using the principles of semiology (i.e. the science of signs). Originally applied to linguistics and anthropology, semiology offers a powerful set of tools with which to understand and engage with works of art in everydiscipline from the visual arts to music to dance and performance. More recently it has also come to inform the work of practitioners in all fields. No attempt to understand the debates and issues in contemporary arts can take place without a basic grasp of this area.
  • Block 3. Phenomenology and Spectatorship - Structures of lived experience: The lectures and workshops in this block celebrate and consider the lived experience that artists and audiences have of an artwork, and in particular places bodily experience at the heart of the ways in which artworks attempt to understand the world. The sessions ask: what is the relationship between the viewer or listener who experiences an artwork and the artwork itself? What is the relation between intuition and concept? Is it possible to reflect on the prereflective sensations that a listener or viewer has of an artwork asit unfolds through time in the gallery, performance space or concert hall? The sessions test methods by which it is possible to describe how an artwork might distil the essential qualities of its source material, how it is possible to describe the viewers or listeners consciousness of that artwork, and the hidden meanings which are disclosed through both processes of description.
  • Block 4. Sexuality and Gender - Feminism, Queer Theory and the Deconstruction of Gender and Sexuality: Among the more pressing questions asked by theorists in relation to art is how our experience of artworks, whether as producer or consumer, is inflected by gender and sexuality. Some of the most powerful analyses of art have been motivated by such questions. The lectures and workshops in this block will introduce students to the basic concepts underlying those analyses as well as some of the ways they have been mobilised in relation to art and culture.
  • Block 5. Race and Ethnicity - the arts in a post-colonial and multi-racial society: Questions of race and ethnicity, like those of gender and sexuality, have also become a means by which some of the presumptions underlying the arts have been questioned and deconstructed, especially as a reaction to the dominance of white, western cultural ideals. The lectures and workshops in this block engage with some of the principle debates and ideas in this area, especially as they relate to art and culture.
  • Block 6. Class and Society - Marxist, Post-Marxist and other materialist critiques of art works: No attempt to understand contemporary culture and the arts can take place without engaging with the workand influence of Karl Marx. Though originally concerned mainly with questions of economics and politics, Marxs ideas have been employed in powerful ways as means of understanding the relation between art and broader social structures and relations. The lectures and workshops in this block introduce the most relevant concepts of Marxism and looks at some of the ways in which they have been used in relation to the arts.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

LICA274: Introduction to Sound

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms Only
  • US Credits: 4 US Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits

Course Description

This module designed to cover a focused area of sound studies and enable students to take sound as a component of a single major or joint degree in LICA.  The course will be offered to students LICA-wide because it has an important role to play in dance/theatre, film and fine art.  Students are asked to engage with the coalescing body of discourse engaging with sound across many disciplines. This module seeks to provide students with knowledge of the production and theory of sound art across multiple disciplines; it will include an introduction to the history and development of sound art practice and theory, including sound within the disciplines of dance, theatre, fine art, film and music (electro acoustic sound and performance). 

Educational Aims

The aim of this course is for the students to develop a conceptual and contextual understanding of sound arts in practice and in theory.  A part of the process of understanding sound is the practice of listening.  The module will look at practical techniques to the art of listening, exploring the soundscape and documenting sound using a series of methods such as deep listening, sound walking and recording. (The soundscape is any environment, which contains sound-includes the natural world, cinema, theatres and gallery spaces). They will apply this knowledge of sound and sounding to an awareness of the role of sound in media spaces such as film and theatre.

Outline Syllabus

Each week the class is broken in to two hours, one hour seminar and one hour practice. The practice element will include, outdoor recording, sound walking and sound mapping, deep listening techniques, sound editing, live performance-vocal and digital. Week 8 will include the screening of film material. Each week will incorporate the learning of a new audio technique, a technical and non technical one.

Topics covered will normally include:

 Soundwalking and recording the soundscape as practice: A practice of walking and documenting different sound environments through various means, from field notes to audio recording.

Deep listening as practice:A practice of learning to listen through a series of workshops developed by the Deep Listening organisation, these workshops are intended to heighten awareness of sound, silence and sounding.

Building piezo microphones:Contact or piezo microphones are a strong component of creating sounding objects and building new instruments. They introduce the student to the concept of sound as a material with basic structural properties that may be manipulated.

Use of distribution technologies such as radio, Internet, and others: they will explore presence (the voicing body) and absence (the disembodied voice); voices of authority; uses of text -- communication, propaganda, seduction, translation, misinformation, poeticization, interruption, etc.; language as a malleable material; simulacra and appropriation; scales of transmission (broadcast and narrowcast).

Live performance, improvisation, and audio installation: This class will focus on the ambiguous relationship of the body as an agent of meaning and control in live audio visual art.

 The age of technology: the impact of recording on listening: This class will explore the history of audio technologies and the impact this has had on mediated performances, electroacoustic music and digital processes including live coding and audio editing.

Audio cultures and sound design: This class examines how listening, despite its obvious physiological basis, is a practice inflected by cultural, historical, sociological and contextual factors. We will examine the writings of Leppert, Drobnyck and Feld. We will also examine how this has shaped acoustic architecture-Blesser and Salter.

Film and sound art: This class examines (briefly) the changes in cinematic sound since the invention of sound for film, working from the text of Michel Chion's Film, A Sound Art.

Soundscape studies and the art of listening: This class will examine the work of acoustic ecologist Murray Schafer, it will explore sound mapping, sound ecologies and noise. The class will be theory and practice based.

The soundscape of the stage: This class explores sound for theatre, including sound design, performance and the stage.

Assessment Proportions

Practical: 60%

Essay: 40%

LICA275: Sound Synthesis and Design

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS.
  • Pre-requisites: There are no fixed pre-requisites but students must be comfortable in using technical computer software and in using basic mathematics. The work involved is somewhat like computer programming. If you have no prior experience of this kind of work you might find the module difficult.

Course Description

The module provides an introduction to sound synthesis and design by computer. Students learn about the digital representation and manipulation of sound, and the properties of natural sounds. Techniques of sound synthesis are studied both from a practical perspective--how to use the techniques to produce a particular sonic result--and from a theoretical perspective--how digital signals are generated and processed to produce the result. The software used (all ‘free software’) is principally Pure Data (Pd) though students are also introduced to other software for sound synthesis and may use this if they prefer.

Educational Aims

The aim of this module is for students to develop the skill and understanding to allow them to create sounds for use in particular circumstances. Ideally, by the end of the course a student will be able to synthesise a sound which is described to them, or which they can imagine, in a way which enables it to be controlled effectively. Specifically, students will learn to:

  • develop programming practice for the purposes of sound synthesis and design,

  • recognise and identify by ear essential components of qualities of sound,

  • select and apply an appropriate audio synthesis or processing algorithm to produce a particular sound property,

  • assess the success of a particular sound-processing result.

Outline Syllabus

The course is taught in weekly one-hour lectures plus two-hour practicals. The curriculum covers a number of synthesis techniques, including additive, subtractive, modulation and granular synthesis. It also provides an introduction to sound spatialisation, to the synthesis of vocal sounds, to synthesising sound through the modelling of physical processes, and to data sonification. In the early part of the term, the practicals consist of exercises to deepen understanding of the concepts and techniques presented in the lectures. In the latter part of the term, the practicals provide advice and support in the development of students’ portfolios for assessment.

Assessment Proportions

Portfolio consisting of synthesised sounds, source software and commentary: 100%

LICA281: Theatre Practice

  • Terms Taught: Summer Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisites.

Course Description

The aim of this course is for students to work collectively (i.e. in manageably-sized groups) so as to produce a performance piece, which, while original, will nevertheless relate to material covered in the second year as a whole. Students will be supported by a supervisor, allocated by the course convenor, who will provide critical comments on the process. Supervision will usually be fifteen hours per project. The length of the piece will vary according to group numbers and the art form and genre of performance.

Educational Aims

The module enables students to work collectively (i.e. in manageably-sized groups) on a high-quality production project which, while original, must relate to practices and theories covered on other second year modules. The production can be of a play or can be devised, and can be in any media (e.g. an installation, art event, or film are all acceptable). Under the guidance of the module convenor, students are divided into project groups of around 6 students, and each project group is supported by one supervisor, allocated by the course convenor, who will provide critical feedback and guidance intermittently throughout the process. Supervision will usually be for a total of fifteen hours per project. The length of the practical work that is submitted for examination will vary according to group numbers and the art form that is chosen, and must be negotiated with the supervisor and agreed with the module convenor. As a rough guide, a group of six producing a play might aim for a 30 minute performance, a similar size group producing a devised performance might aim for twenty minutes, a group producing a film might aim for 5 minutes.

Students are expected to originate, design, manage, rehearse and produce an original performance. This entails the systematic and sustained development of specific skills (e.g. in movement, voice, lighting, etc.) essential to the project; individual research and experimentation; group collaboration and the designation of specific tasks within the group; the ability to choose, edit, frame and develop suitable material for performance; the ability to negotiate scenic elements of performance (set, lighting, technology, space, costume, etc.); the organization of rehearsals (arranging times and booking spaces); liaising with the module convenor on a number of matters, such as the work-in-progress, dress rehearsals and actual performances; liaising with the supervisor in order to schedule her/his presence at rehearsals; and contacting LICA administrative staff to arrange extra rehearsals, and Live at LICA staff to arrange technical support and the get-in to and get-out from the final performance space (this may be in the Nuffield or elsewhere). The project will culminate in a dress rehearsal, a preview for an invited audience, and, finally, a public performance and a viva voce examination which will be marked by two examiners. During the viva voice each group will be asked to describe their process, evaluate their critical and aesthetic choices, and explain how those choices relate to other second year modules.

Your mark will be the average of a group mark and an individual mark based on your individual contribution to that piece. To determine both marks the examiners will apply explicit assessment criteria and take into consideration the group's statement of intent as expressed in an assessment pro forma submitted immediately before the assessed performance.

Outline Syllabus

  • Week 1  Meeting with the Convenor and Group Meetings: Initial Stages
  • Week 2  Group Meeting: with Convenor to monitor group formation and the submission of draft pro-forma's. Individual groups will then discuss projects with the course Convenor
  • Week 3            Individual group sessions: completion and handing in of Project Pro-Forma One; Allocation of  Supervisors
  • Week 4            Work on projects                  
  • Week 5
  • Week 6            Presentation of Work in Progress 1
  • Week 7           
  • Week 8            Presentation of Work in Progress 2/Dress rehearsals
  • Week 9            Performances + viva + handing in (finalized) pro-forma
  • Week 10          Feedback meeting

The work-in-progress showings are for your benefit and should be a minimum of  20 mins in  the first one and be a version of the complete performance in second one). This usually takes place with supervisors and convenor. While both these presentations are not assessed the work achieved is very important in gauging how the work is progressing and may inform the supervisor's account presented to the examiners.

Assessment Proportions

  • Presentation: 100%

LICA282: British Theatre & The State of the Nation (1945-2000)

  • Terms Taught: Michalemas Term Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisite.

Course Description

This module focuses on British theatre in the second part of the twentieth century, approached through the conceptualising lens of the state of the nation. It works chronologically, decade by decade, to provide an overview of a shifting theatrical landscape in relation to changing social, cultural and political contexts.

This module aims to: introduce a decade-by-decade overview of British theatre from 1945 to 2000 by presenting key playwrights and plays; introduce readings of the works which embrace an understanding of both dramatic form and content; situate the works socially and politically by adopting the state of the nation as a critical lens through which to view this period in British theatre; locate plays and playwrights studied within the shifting contexts of the theatre profession.

Educational Aims

This module focuses on British theatre in the second part of the twentieth century, approached through the conceptualising lens of the state of the nation. It works chronologically, decade by decade, to provide an overview of a shifting theatrical landscape in relation to changing social, cultural and political contexts.

The module aims to:

  • Introduce a decade-by-decade overview of British theatre from 1945 to 2000 by presenting key playwrights and plays.
  • Introduce readings of the works which embrace an understanding of both dramatic form and content.
  • Situate the works socially and politically by adopting the state of the nation as a critical lens through which to view this period in British theatre.
  • Locate plays and playwrights studied within the shifting contexts of the theatre profession.

Outline Syllabus

This module focuses on British theatre in the second part of the twentieth century, approached through the conceptualising lens of the state of the nation. It works chronologically, decade by decade, to provide an overview of a shifting theatrical landscape in relation to changing social, cultural and political contexts.

 An indicative list of topics and plays includes:

  • Post-War Idealism: J.B. PriestlyAn Inspector Calls(1946)
  • Angry Young Men in Fifties Britain: John OsborneLook Back in Anger(1956)
  • 'Saving' Theatre from the Censor: Edward BondSaved(1965)
  • Writing the Nation Post-'68: David HareKnuckle(1974)
  • Enter Thatcher: Caryl Churchill,Top Girls(1982)
  • Englands in Pieces: Jim CartwrightRoad(1986)
  • Cool Britannia?: Mark RavenhillShopping  Fucking(1996)
  • Global Terror  the Undoing of Nation: Caryl ChurchillFar Away(2000)

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Groupwork: 40%
  • Other: 10%

LICA285: Performing the Avant-Garde

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisite.

Course Description

This module focuses on the historical avant-garde from an interdisciplinary perspective, exploring how the avant-garde directly engaged with the disciplines of performance, fine art, film, design and sound in creating its diverse practices. Key movements and key examples from each of the selected movements (Futurism, Dada, Surrealism) will be discussed and explored through lectures, seminars and workshops.

Through the course, students will be introduced to the historical and social contexts that informed the avant-garde. Students will also engage in the aesthetic and political dynamics of the chosen movements. Central to the students understanding of the avant-garde will be an engagement in how different notions of reality are configured across the movements and how each, through a radical approach to interdisciplinarity, attempted to reconfigure notions of reality, society and the supposed division between art and life.

Educational Aims

This module focuses on the historical avant-garde from an interdisciplinary perspective, exploring how the avant-garde directly engaged with the disciplines of performance, fine art, film, design and sound in creating its diverse practices. Key movements and key examples from each of the selected movements (Futurism, Dada, Surrealism) will be discussed and explored through lectures, seminars and workshops. Through the course, students will be introduced to the historical and social contexts that informed the avant-garde. Students will also engage in the aesthetic and political dynamics of the chosen movements. Central to the students understanding of the avant-garde will be an engagement in how different notions of reality are configured across the movements and how each, through a radical approach to interdisciplinarity, attempted to reconfigure notions of reality, society and the supposed division between art and life.

This module specifically aims to:

  • Introduce an interdisciplinary overview of European and American avant-garde performance from 1890 - 1960 through the study of key practitioners and movements.
  • Introduce key theoretical readings of the movements and practitioners who are situated within the historical avant-garde.
  • To investigate paradigms of avant-garde practice through workshops and seminars.
  • To contextualise the political and social impact of avant-garde practice across Europe and the USA.

Outline Syllabus

Introducing the avant-garde through the work of Jarry and Rimbaud, the first part of the module considers a number of different themes, including:

  • The new technologies in Futurism (Marinetti, Balla, Boirst),
  • The politics of nihilism and use of chance in Dada (Cabaret Voltaire, Ball, Tzara, Hennings, Baader, Arp,Schwitters),
  • The evocation of dreams and the unconscious in Surrealism (Breton).

The second part of the module considers

  • Surrealism in Art, Theatre and Film (Artaud, Appolinaire, Clair, Dali, Bunuel),
  • Avant-Garde Text (Blast and Becket),
  • Avant-Garde of the 1950s (Lettrism and The Situationist International) and today.

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay: 50%
  • Practical Group Workshop : 50%

LICA372: Sound as Practice

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 US Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: A course equivalent to LICA274 (Introduction to Sound) or permission from the tutor

Course Description

This course is for students who wish to start to specialise in sound as part of their core creative practice. The course will include discussions (seminar style sessions), practical assignments and sound workshops. The students will start to develop self directed projects, while the practical parts of the course will offer students opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts.  This module aims to develop skills from LICA274 'Introduction to Sound' to enable the students to engage with subject experts, developing attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in an increasingly multi-disciplinary society. 

All students will specialise in a chosen area such as recording, sound design, composition, performance, sound art etc., and will produce over the term, a portfolio of sound works.  LICA's unique approach to interdisciplinarity and practice as research means that the students will have opportunities to collaborate with students in the departments of theatre and film, as well as fine art.

The module aims to enable students to relate their work to the general body of knowledge within the area of sound studies. They will develop an informed awareness of the production processes needed to work as sound practitioners in various fields. They will also examine key theories, theorists and practitioners in a range of sound related fields, including acoustic ecology, soundscape studies, the senses and society and sound within sociology, media and communications

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • situate their practice in the broad field of sonic arts and design - such as instrument building, sound design for installation, performance, visual media
  • critically engage with theories of sound and the increasing emergence of sound within a variety of fields including ecology, sociology, media and communications theory and sound art research,
  • produce work within the context of the history, practices and concerns of the sonic arts and of the major theoretical, philosophical and aesthetic issues in the media arts.
  • develop skills in the use of industry standard audio technology and facilities, expanding their potential as creative practitioners.
  • and produce sound works for broadcast media, installation and online spaces.
  • explore hybrid creative arts practices for example, using sound across different disciplines from theatre to film and fine art.
  • develop theoretical and conceptual projects that consider sound outside of a musical context.
  • explore a variety of audio techniques, expanding their potential as creative practitioners.

Outline Syllabus

This module takes a practice-based approach to the study of sound, with every second week involving a discussion on sound art and/or a group performance/design installation presentation, and every other week a practical session which will include listening/editing/recording/performing/building workshops.

We also aim to have visiting guest lecturers over the course of the term. 

The discussions weeks (five two hour sessions) will involve a continued examination of the themes covered in LICA274 (introduction to Sound). However, the approach will be more focused, with an emphasis on practice, with the students examining the different methods and concepts to be considered for the production of works of sound for different fields - sounds for image based works (projections, films, video pieces, dance/performance), sound for fine art (installation, exhibition, video art or transmission art, i.e. radio and web based work). 

Topics covered in the workshops will typically include:

  • The history of sound art as practice and multi-disciplinary approaches in sound art: acoustic ecology-phonography-sound and society, cultural studies and media studies
  • Aurality and audition in the performance space: architecture acoustics, perception and the body.
  • Phenomenology and the senses: an interrogation of Don Ihde, Edmund Husserl, John Lutterbie and Schafer.
  • Computational sound practice with a focus on mobile technologies and field recording.

The practice part of the syllabus will take place every other week over two hours and may typically include:

  • Contact microphone building and live installation
  • Acoustic ecology-sound mapping-the soundscape
  • Sound and space-using different spaces and speakers to work with space
  • Live performance using mobile technologies
  • Perception and spatialisation workshop

The students will create two works of sound over the 10 weeks, the first for sound in installation/design for performance/film/dance etc., presented in a digital format, which will be followed by individual presentations of these pieces in week 6.

The second piece is for live radio broadcast and is open in style, but may be a radio play, abstract sound piece, monologue, story etc. The students will participate in creating a live arts show on Bailrigg FM presenting these sound pieces.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  100%

LICA383: The Popular, the Political and the Avant-Garde

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisite.

Course Description

This course aims to introduce students to a selection of contemporary forms of popular performance and to examine the implications of the aesthetic overlap and cross fertilisation between these forms and modes of contemporary performance usually defined as political, avant-garde or experimental. This will be achieved by means of case studies that might include Stand-up, Musical Theatre, New Circus and Fairground attractions.

Educational Aims

The case studies will be explored with reference to the historical development of these forms and in relation to their development within the context of the contemporary social climate and that of changes in media and technology. These examples will be explored through recent theories of spectatorship and to issues such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class and globalisation. Students will have the opportunity to explore aspects of these forms through practical workshops and self-directed presentations.

Outline Syllabus

The module will cover a wide range of topics, including

  • The sensational ontology of performance and the politics of spectatorship (from Orlan to Lady Gaga);
  • Fairground attractions and immersive theatre (e.g. Pasaje de Terror, Marisa Carnesky,Punchdrunk, Adrian Howells);
  • The Musical (e.g. Rent to Mamma Mia, and from Wicked to Rajni Shah’s Glorious);
  • New Burlesque (e.g. Annie Sprinkle to Dita Von Teese, Ursula Martinez and The Chippendales);
  • New Circus (Melbourne Women's Circus to Cirque de Soleil);
  • Stand-up (e.g. Joan Rivers to Andy Osho).  

One week will be given to poster presentations.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Poster Presentation: 20%
  • Reflective Report: 30%

LICA384: Contemporary European Postdramatic Theatre

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisite

Course Description

This course aims to explore important continental European writers, directors and companies by studying their innovative dramaturgies, scenographies, uses of no longer dramatic text, and new acting/performing styles with reference to the theoretical context of a performative turn since the late 1960s and the emergence of postdramatic theatre. These aesthetic forms are also discussed in relation to the performances thematic and political concerns with developments such as globalization and late capitalism, increasing mediatisation, (anti-)immigration, terrorism and the war on terror and ecological concerns, as well as to enduring memories of the WW2 and the history of European colonialism. Dramaturgical features such as choric speaking, simultaneity, repetition, detached acting, playful mimesis etc. will be explored theoretically as well as practically.

Educational Aims

Contemporary European theatre has been marked by a strong directors' theatre and the emergence of postdramatic forms of theatre. This course aims to explore important continental European writers, directors and companies by studying their innovative dramaturgies, scenographies, uses of no longer dramatic text, and new acting/performing styles with reference to the theoretical context of a performative turn since the late 1960s and the emergence of postdramatic theatre. These aesthetic forms are also analysed with respect to the way in which they engage with the political, in terms of developments such as globalization and late capitalism, mediatization, (anti-)immigration, terrorism and the war on terror, as well as with the enduring memories of the second World War and of a European history of colonialism.Dramaturgical features such as choric speaking, simultaneity, detached acting, playful mimesis,casting ofnon-performers in performanceetc. will be explored boththeoretically as well as practically.

Outline Syllabus

Starting with an introduction to the artistic, institutional and historical contexts of European theatre, and to the performative turn and the emergence of postdramatic theatre, the module explores a number of themes, including:

  • The questioning of theatricality in the work ofForced Entertainment;
  • The reconfiguring of tragedy in, for example,Needcompany'sSad Face/Happy Face trilogy andSocietas Raffaello Sanzio's Tragedia Endogenidia;
  • Postdramatic writing inMartin Crimp's Attempts on her Life and Fewer Emergencies andElfriede Jelinek's Princess Dramas;
  • The casting the audience as performers in Gob Squad's Kitchen and Revolution Now;
  • and the notion of'Experts of the Everyday' in Rimini Protocoll's Call Cutta in Box.

Time will also be given for the preparation of presentations and the assessment of those presentations.

Assessment Proportions

  • Practical presentation: 50%
  • Seen exam: 50%

LICA386: Contemporary Dance and the Visual Arts

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 US Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

The module has two purposes.  Firstly, it explores cutting-edge as well as tried and tested methods of improvising or choreographing movement from the practice and study of drawing, and, reciprocally, approaches to drawing that emerge from the experience of movement and the analysis of motion.  This is assessed through either a staff-supervised, student-led group choreographic project with documentation or, alternatively, a portfolio of drawings presented at the end of the module.

Secondly, the module involves scrutiny of exemplary twentieth and twenty-first century works in which choreographers have collaborated with visual artists.  These include dance works that have been explicitly created from painting; visual art works that have been derived from the study of motion; and multimedia works, including gallery-based live art events and installations, which interlace live or digitized choreographic and visual material.  This part of the module is assessed through an essay that students complete over the Michaelmas (Christmas) vacation.

Each taught session consists of a lecture and seminar followed by practical compositional exercises in movement and drawing.  In between sessions, students complete set reading, viewing and unassessed practical tasks.  By the end of the module, students will have expanded their experience and understanding of the possibilities of movement and drawing; gained an understanding of new approaches to visual and dance composition; and developed methods, skills and techniques in making work that will enrich, if not directly affect, their final degree shows. 

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will have:

  • an embodied understanding of cutting-edge as well as tried-and-tested methods of improvising or choreographing movement from the practice and study of drawing
  • an embodied understanding of cutting-edge as well as tried-and-tested approaches to drawing that emerge from the experience of movement and the analysis of motion.
  • gained an ability to analyse artistic works in which dance artists have collaborated with visual artists.
  • historical and theoretical perspectives of how choreography intersects with painting, sculpture and digital art.

Outline Syllabus

The module is in two parts.  In the first four weeks, students undertake practical training and compositional exercises in a number of practices and techniques that explore the reciprocity between moving and drawing.  This provides the basis for a creative project that runs in the second half of the module and leads to either a portfolio of drawings or a dance performance. 

Running in parallel with this creative project is a series of lectures on works for the stage, screen or gallery that either translate painting into dance, or else combine choreography with sculpture or digital art.  These lectures explore four themes: figuration, translation, juxtaposition, and illumination.

The following list of sessions and topics is indicative but may subsequently vary from year to year:

PART I: MOVING AND DRAWING: MAKING PROCESSES

  • Week 1.  Authentic Movement: from dancing to drawing 1.  Seminar and workshop on the active imagination and how drawing is produced from dancing and structured discussion in the Dance Movement Therapy of Janet Adler.  Also discussion and practical exploration of how to draw with prosthetic devices and the body itself as exemplified by the practices of Rebecca Horn, Yves Klein, Katrina Brown and Rosanna Irvine.
  • Week 2.  Perceptual Frames: from dancing to drawing 2.  Seminar and workshop on creating movement scores through the spatial practices and architectural drawing and graphic writing techniques of Trisha Brown, Nancy Stark Smith, Rosemary Butcher, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Ed Frith and Caroline Salem..
  • Week 3.  Choreutics: from drawing to dancing 1.  Seminar and workshop on how movement is analysed and designed through geometric drawing in the work of Rudolf Laban.
  • Week 4.  Improvisation Technologies: from drawing to dancing 2.  Seminar and workshop on how to improvise and choreograph from the multiple linear and curvilinear concepts of William Forsythe.

PART 2: CHOREOGRAPHY AS SCENOGRAPHY: KEY WORKS

  • Week 5: Figuration.  Lecture on human figure and scenic form in Vsevolod Meyerhold's Tarelkin's Death, Oscar Schlemmer's Bauhaus dances, Alwin Nikolais Tensile Involvement.  Supervised work towards practical assessments.
  • Week 6: Translation.  Lecture on painting as score in Lea Andersons The Featherstonehaughs Draw on the Sketch Books of Egon Schiele and Herman Diephuis Daprs J C.  Supervised work towards practical assessments.
  • Week 7: Juxtaposition.  Lecture on bodies and ready-mades, chance and collage in Atsuko Tanakas Stage Clothes, Allan Kaprow's 18 Happenings in 6 Parts, Judson Dance Theatres improvisations, Jerome Bel's nom donné par l'auteur, and La Ribot's 13 Pieces distinguées.   Supervised work towards practical assessments.
  • Week 8: Illumination.  Dance, light and film in Loie Fullers Serpentine Dance; Edward Gordon Craigs Dido and Aeneas; Lucinda Childs, Sol LeWitt and Philip Glass DANCE; Wayne McGregor, Mark Wallinger and Mark-Anthony Turnage's UNDANCE; Russell Maliphant and Michael Hulls Afterlight, and Rosemary Butchers After Kaprow.  Supervised work towards practical assessments.
  • Week 9: Practical assessment.
  • Week 10: Module debrief and essay preparation.

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay:  50%
  • Practical:  50%