DRAM10030 Theatre Matters

Academic Year 2024/2025

Theatre Matters is an introductory module, offering a number of starting points for the study of drama, theatre and performance at university level. The first and most important starting point is the title of the module, which is framed as a question: does theatre matter? In a world of community technology and social media, how can an ancient artform such as theatre, based on shared presence not only survive, but make a difference? How can theatre matter?

This module invites you to consider these questions by engaging with the rich cultures of theatre and performance in contemporary Dublin. Through a combination of lectures, small group teaching, and field trips, you will learn about working roles in the theatre, and consider the significance of collaborative work in staging a live theatrical event. You will think about the challenges that both artists and audiences face in creating, accessing and interpreting performances. Throughout, you will develop your skills in discussion and written analysis of live performance, and gain insight into current debates on the artistic, and cultural functions of theatre in a changing world.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

- Gain a broad understanding of the cultural contexts for theatre across cultures and in Ireland
- Define and identify key creative roles in making theatre, including the role of the audience
- Distinguish and evaluate key contributions in collaborative work
- Begin to critique the theatrical event, and the cultural and artistic roles of theatre and performance
- Experience and test selected skills in making theatre

Indicative Module Content:

The module has two parts:

PART 1 focuses on key creative principles in the study of theatre, including the role of the spectator, the significance of the collaborative ensemble, the stage space, and questions around how live theatrical events are recorded and remembered.

PART 2 examines how these principles work in practice, through focusing on theatrical activity taking place in Dublin now (this may include the work of venues - such as The Abbey or Project Arts Centre - theatre-makers themselves, or those who support their work through funding, promotion, and/or other production-focused or backstage roles). Students will engage in independent research and have opportunities to encounter people who work in the theatre industry.

Throughout, students will develop their skills in performance analysis attending at least one live performance, and engaging in small group discussion of recordings and documents of performances.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning




Small Group




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures and small group seminars.

Talks from selected visiting artists/professionals, and field trips to theatre venues.

Independent research on Dublin-based theatre makers and venues.

Attendance at a live theatre performance.

Supported writing and discussion tasks leading to a written critical analysis of a live performance. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment(Including Essay): Mid-Term Performance Analysis: short written analysis of a live performance.
Week 8 Graded No


Participation in Learning Activities: Engagement with weekly lecture topics, set readings, and class discussions evidenced by short written responses and/or quizzes submitted online. Week 12 Graded No


Exam (Online): Written analysis in response to questions about case studies, applying critical frameworks encountered in the module readings. End of trimester
2 hr(s)
Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be given by week 10. End of term exam feedback will be offered in the post-assessment period.

Allain, Paul, and Jen Harvie. The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance. Routledge, 2014.

Balme, Christopher B. The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008.

Bleeker, Maaike, Adrian Kear, Joe Kelleher and Heike Roms, editors. Thinking Through Theatre. Bloomsbury, 2019.

Freshwater, Helen. Theatre & Audience. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

Grene, Nicholas, and Chris Morash. The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016.

Holdsworth, Nadine. Theatre & Nation. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Jordan, Eamonn, and Eric Weitz.. The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Pilkington, Lionel. Theatre & Ireland. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

Sedgman, Kirtsty. The Reasonable Audience, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Walsh, Fintan. That was Us: Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance. Oberon Books, 2013.
Name Role
Dr Emma Bennett Lecturer / Co-Lecturer