DRAM30200 Queer Theatre & Performance

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module will introduce students to a wide range of lesbian, bisexual, gay, trans*, 2-spirit, and queer (LGBT2Q) theatre and performance. Students will engage with critical theory, play texts, various genres of performance, and some film and video to interrogate what LGBT2Q theatre and performance are and how they have developed in the English-speaking world. Looking at texts from the 1960s to the present, the changing status of LGBT2Q identities and queer performance practices will be examined in relation to the local context of their production and in relation to the international character of queer discourses. Special attention will be paid to the intersections of sexual identity and race, class, gender and nation.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

- Students will be conversant in a variety of critical theories that concern gender, sexuality, and race, including, queer theories and queer methods of critique, feminisms, critical race, and trans* theories
- Students will be conversant with a wide variety of LGBT2Q performances and dramaturgies
- Students will have developed a vocabulary to discuss various forms of identity and their intersectionality
- Students will have developed their academic writing skills

Indicative Module Content:

Class Schedule:

(Subject to change)

Week 1: Introduction To Module: What is Queer Theatre and Performance?

Cluster One: Recent History -- A Queer Moment

Week 2: Queer Theories, Trans* Theories, Politics, and Performances

Required Reading:

Amin, Kadji. “Geneologies of Queer Theory.” The Cambridge Companion to Queer Studies, edited by Siobhan B. Somerville, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2020, pp. 17-29.

Stryker, Susan. “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage.” GLQ 1 June 1994; 1 (3): 237–254.

Keegan, Cáel M. “Trans Studies, or How to Do Things with Trans*”. The Cambridge Companion to Queer Studies, edited by Siobhan Somerville, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2020, pp. 79-92

Recommended: Annamarie Jagose, “Queer.” Queer Theory: An Introduction. New York: New York University Press, 1996, pp. 72-100. (the whole book is useful)

E. Patrick Johnson, “Queer Theory.” The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies, edited by Tracy C. Davis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008, pp. 166-81.

Stryker, Susan. Transgender History. Seal Press, Berkeley, CA, 2008.

Week 3: Dragging at the Margins

Required Reading:
Gilbert, Sky. “Drag Queens on Trial: A Courtroom Melodrama.” Painted, Tainted, Sainted: Four Plays, edited by Robert Wallace. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 1996.

Sontag, Susan, "Notes on 'Camp'". Against interpretation and other essays. London: Penguin, 2009, pp.275-92.

Meyer, Moe. “Reclaiming the Discourse of Camp”. The Routledge Reader in Gender and Performance, edited by Lizbeth Goodman, et al. Taylor & Francis Group, 1998, pp. 255-8

Brooks, Peter. The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama, and the Mode of Excess. Yale University Press, 1995.

Butler, Judith. "Gender Imitation and Insubordination." The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader Edited by Henry Abelove, et. al. Routledge, New York, 1993, pp. 307-20.

Stone, Sandy. “The Empire Strikes Back: A Postranssexual Manifesto.” The Transgender Studies Reader, eds. Susan Stryker, et.al. Routledge, London, 2006.

Week 4: Reclaiming Histories

Required Reading:

Emma Donoghue, I Know My Own Heart

Maria Kurdi, “Lesbian Versions of the Female Biography Play: Emma Donoghue’s I Know My Own Heart and Ladies and Gentlemen.” Deviant Acts: Essays on Queer Performance, edited by David Cregan. Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2009, pp. 37-54.

Heddon, Deirdre. “ Introduction” and “Politics (of Self): The Subject of Autobiography)”. Autobiography and Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, pp.1-20.

Recommended: Emma Donoghue, “A Tale of Two Annies.” Butch/Femme: Inside Lesbian Gender, edited by Sally Munt, London: Cassell, 1998.

Halberstam, Judith. "An Introduction to Female Masculinity." Female Masculinity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998. 1-43. Excerpts

Case, Sue-Ellen. “Toward a Butch-Femme Aesthetic.” The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader , edited by Henry Abelove, Michèle Aina Barale and David M. Halperin, 294– 306. New York; London: Routledge, 1993.

Week 5: Performing Community: Race, Class, and Gender

Watch: Livingston, Jenny. Paris is Burning 78 Mins. (Available on Netflix)

hooks, bell. "Is Paris Burning?" Black Looks: Race and Representation, South End Press, 1992, pp. 145-156.
Butler, Judith. "Gender Is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion." Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex", Routledge, 1993, pp. 121-140.

Week 6: Gender Outlaw


Bornstein, Kate. Hidden: A Gender. Youtube, uploaded by MrCheekyDavid, 16 May 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFD8NpA3hec.

Bornstein, Kate. “Which Outlaws?: Or, Who was that Masked Man?”; “Gender Terror, Gender Rage”; “Queer Life/Queer Theatre”. Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us. Vintage Book: New York, 1994, pp. 55-70; pp. 71-85; 147-68.

Anderson, Alecia D., et al. "“Your Picture Looks the Same as My Picture”: An Examination of Passing in Transgender Communities." Gender Issues, vol. 37, no. 1, 2020, pp. 44-60.

Cluster Two: Recent Theatrical Interventions

Week 7: “Indigequeer”

With the exception of 2 Spirit Introductory Special $19.99 (which we will watch in class), all of Thirza Cutland’s films are available on her website: https://www.thirzacuthand.com/videos/

Scudeler, Jane. “Queer Indigenous Studies, or Thirza Cutland’s Indigequeer Film”. The Cambridge Companion to Queer Studies, edited by Siobhan Somerville, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2020, pp. 79-92

Week 8: The Legacies of Radical Queer Fairies: Taylor Mac

Mac, Taylor. The Young Ladies Of. Unpublished. 2007.
Mac, Taylo. The Fre. Unpublished. 2019.
Edgecomb, Sean F. "The Ridiculous Performance of Taylor Mac." Theatre Journal, vol. 64, no. 4, 2012, pp. 549-563.
Recommended: Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms. Methuen, 1985.

Week 9: Rights, Marriage, Coupling, Politics, Normativities

Conroy, Amy . I Heart Alice Heart I (Sound recording link posted to Blackboard)
Conroy, Amy. I Heart Alice Heart I. In This is just this. It isn't real. It's money: The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Irish Plays, edited by Thomas Conway. London: Oberon Books, 2012. 185-219.

Stephenson, Jennifer. “Introduction.” Performing Autobiography: Contemporary Canadian Drama, University of Toronto Press, 2013, pp. 3-22.

Anne Mullhall, Republic of Love (Available online at https://bullybloggers.wordpress.com/)

Week 10: Trans Self-Knowledge, Visibility and Embodiment

Drake, Sunny. “No Strings (Attached).” Q2Q: Queer Canadian Performance Texts. Edited by Peter Dickinson, et. al. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2018.

Green, Jamison. “Look! No, Don’t!: The Visibility Dilemma for Transsexual Men.” The Transgender Studies Reader, eds. Susan Stryker, et.al. Routledge, London, 2006, pp. 499-508.

Cromwell, Jason. “Queering the Binaries: Transsituated Identities, Bodies, and Sexualities.” The Transgender Studies Reader, eds. Susan Stryker, et.al. Routledge, London, 2006, pp. 509-20.

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, short lectures, critical writing, and student presentations. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Queer Theatre & Performance (DRAM30190)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Students will submit reading points on weekly readings. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Group Project: Students will complete a summary and presentation of an academic article OR present a concept for staging the performance of a play. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: Final research essay 2500-3000 words. End of trimester MCQ n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive written and verbal feedback on assessments.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Thurs 15:00 - 16:50