DRAM30100 Contemporary Theatre & Performance

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module explores contemporary theatre and performance in English, staged primarily in western contexts, including, Ireland, the UK, the U.S. and Europe. The module connects performance practices with their contemporaneous and historical contexts: political, aesthetic, theoretical, social, and cultural. By doing so, it aims to acquaint students with historical trends in theatre and performance, paying particular attention to the ways in which aesthetics and politics have been investigated through diverse practices of theatre-making. Watching live and mediated performances, students will conduct analyses of theatrical works and develop arguments about their meanings.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Engage with modern and postmodern theatre
Acquire vocabulary to deal with a range of contemporary performances
Experienced a range of different approaches to contemporary performance
Have explored responses to non-text based theatre

Indicative Module Content:

Indicative Only--Subject to Change
Class 1: Introduction: Modernisms, Postmoderism, Postcolonialism, and Identity politics
Class 2: End of Master Narratives: Samuel Beckett’s Endgame
Class 3: Pastiche, Parody, and Postmodern Politics: Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine
Class 4: Anti-representation: Peter Handke’s Offending the Audience
Class 5: Orientalism: David Hwang’s M. Butterfly
Class 6: Race and Representation: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Week 7: Performing the Archive: The Wooster Group’s Hamlet
Spring Recess
Week 8: Crisis, Hope and the Utopian Performative: debbie tucker green’s random
Week 9: Writing, History, and Death: Suzan-Lori Parks’s The Death of The Last Black Man in the Entire World
Week 10: The Death of Character/Postdramatic Theatre: Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis
Week 11: Memory, Trauma, Abstraction: The Brokentalkers’ Blue Boy
Week 12: TBA + Conclusions/Essay Prep

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Students will engage in peer and group work; close reading; lectures; critical writing; and performance analysis. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: End of semester essay. Students will write a end-of-term research essay. Week 12 n/a Graded No


Assignment: Mid-semester performance analysis. Students will attend or view online a theatrical performance and write a performance analysis based on the theoretical readings from the module Unspecified n/a Graded No


Attendance: Attendance and preparatory tasks: Students will submit preparatory tasks based on weekly readings. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
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?

Students will receive written feedback post-assessment and have opportunity for individual feedback.

Etchells, Tim, Certain Fragments: Contemporary Performance and Forced Entertainment. (London: Routledge, 1997).
Fischer-Lichte, Erika, The Show and the Gaze: A European Perspective, (Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, 1997)
Fortier, Mark Theory/Theatre; An Introduction (London: Routledge, 2002).
Fuchs, Elinor, The Death of Character: Perspectives on Theater after Modernism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, c1996).
Hutcheon, Linda, The Politics of Postmodernism, (London: Routledge, 1989)
Kaye, Nick, Postmodernism and Performance (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1994).
Lehmann, Hans Thies, transl. Karen Juers-Munby, Postdramatic Theatre, (London and New York: Routledge, 2006).
Lyotard, Jean-François, The Postmodern Condition: a report on knowledge (Manchester : Manchester University Press, 1984)
Zarrilli, Phillip, et all., Theatre Histories: An Introduction (London: Routledge, 2006).

Name Role
Arudhra Krishnaswamy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer