DRAM40030 Issues and Perspectives in Drama and Performance

Academic Year 2023/2024

The aim of this module is to examine and critique key movements, practitioners, processes and theoretical texts that have shaped our understanding of contemporary theatre and performance in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The module comprises two clusters, and each deals with a focused theme: (1) Interrogating the Power of Representation, (2) Interculturalism and Postmodern Theatre and Performances.

1. Interrogating the Power of Representation: explores playwrights' and practitioners' negotiation with the machinery of representation. How does subjectivity, identity, and “character” function on stage and off? How are individuals and their gender, cultures and the oppressed defined in theatre practices in terms of power, class, agency and resistance?

2. Interculturalism and Postmodern Theatre and Performance: examines foundational and ongoing developments in European and North American theatre writing and practices.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

 Be equipped to engage with sophisticated theoretical frameworks as they relate to drama and performance, and identify these in a range of theatrical writing and practice in contemporary theatre
 Explore and critique twentieth century and contemporary analyses of the aims and the limits of representation in performance
 Test key ideas in the history of theatre and performance in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through practice
 Discriminate between modes of contemporary theatre and performance practice, and trace lines of influence.

Indicative Module Content:

The Module changes each year depending on what is on stage and what guest practitioners are available.
Below is an indication of what was previously taught.

Seminar 1 11:45-12:30 Introduction to Module (EJ)

Seminar 2 13:30-15:00 Artaud The Theatre & Its Double (PH)
Required Reading: From Artaud, Antonin. Theatre and Its Double, please read: “On the Balinese Theater,” “No More Masterpieces,” “The Theater and Cruelty,” and “Theater of Cruelty (first manifesto)”
PDF of the book available here: http://katarze.mysteria.cz/artaud/theatre_its_double.pdf

Week Two: 1 Feb

Seminar 1: 10.30-12: The Death of Character & Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea (PH)
Required Reading: Ibsen’s The Lady From the Sea, and Elinor Fuchs, The Death of Character, Introduction and Chap. 3, pp. 1-18; 36-51, Elin Diamond, Unmaking Mimesis, Part 1, pp. 3-38

Seminar 2: 13:30- 15:00 Theatre, Subaltern and Post-Colonialism (EJ)
Text: Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman
Further Reading: From Loomba, Ania, Colonialism/ Postcolonialism, (London and New York: Routledge, 1998)

Week Three: 8 Feb

Seminar 1: 10.30-12:00 Theatre, Materialism and Class- (EJ)
Text: Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck
Further Reading: Introduction to Michael Pierse’s, Writing Ireland's Working Class Dublin After O'Casey

Seminar 2: 13:30- 15:00 Intermedial Performance: Marie Bressard, Jimmy (PH)
Required Reading: Marie Bressard, Jimmy; Peter M, Boenisch, ‘coMEDIA electronica: Performing Intermediality in Contemporary Theatre’; Michael Darroch, "Digital Multivocality and Embodied Language in Theatrical Space"; J. Paul Halferty, “The Actor as Sound Cyborg: An Interview with Marie Brassard.”

Week Four: 15 Feb

Seminar 1: 10.30-12:00 Neo-liberalism and the dilemmas of Theatre (EJ)
Text: Linda, Penelope Skinner and other readings TBC
Further Reading: David Harvey, etc

Seminar 2: 13:30- 15:00 THESIS WRITING PH

Week Five: 22 Feb

Seminar 1: 10.30 - -12:30 Brecht and Boal: Theatre of the Oppressed (MH)
Required Reading: Howard Files on Blackboard

Seminar 2: 13:30- 15:30 Brecht and Boal: Theatre of the Oppressed (MH)
Required Reading: Howard Files on Blackboard

Week Six: 1 March

Seminar 1 10.30 - -12:30 Realism and its Evolution (AT)
Readings TBC
Seminar 2: 13:30- 15:00 TBC

Week Seven: 8 March

Seminar 1 10.30 - -12:30 Peter Brook (Mary Kelly Borgata)
Seminar 2: 13:30- 15:00 Peter Brook (Mary Kelly Borgata)
Suggested Reading for March Seminar on Peter Brook
Any of the following, The Empty Space- Peter Brook, Peter Brook Threads of Time- A Memoir
The Open Circle Peter Brook’s Theatre Environments-Andrew Todd and Jean-Guy Leclat
The Quality of Mercy Reflections on Shakespeare-Peter Brook
The Invisible Actor-Yoshi Oida/Lorna Marshall
Peter Brook A Biography-Michael Kustow

You Tube, The Mahabharta, King Lear, Hamlet

RESEARCH SEMINAR 15:15 Deirdre Kinahan (Playwright)

(Reading Weeks)

Week Eight: 29 March

Seminar 1: 10.30 - -12:30 Intercultural Theatre (EJ)

Required Reading: Jacqueline Lo, Helen Gilbert, ‘Toward a Topography of Cross-Cultural Theatre Praxis’, TDR: The Drama Review, Volume 46, Number 3 (T 175), Fall 2002, pp. 31-53

Seminar 2: 13:30- 15:00 RESEARCH SEMINAR: Feidlim Cannon (Broken Talkers)

Week Nine: 5 Apr

Seminar 1: 10.30 - -12:30 Postdramatic Theatre
Text: Martin Crimp’s Attempts on her life (EJ)
Read: Lehmann, Hans-Thies, Postdramatic Theatre, translated and with an introduction by Karen Jürs-Munby (London: Routledge, 2006)

Seminar 2: 13:30- 15:00 Documentary and Verbatim Theatres: Politics and Ethics (PH)
Required Reading: Andrew Kushnir, The Middle Place (Library: on reserve in short-term loan)
Mary Luckhurst, “Verbatim Theatre, Media Relations and Ethics,” in Holdsworth, Nadine, and Mary Luckhurst, A concise companion to contemporary British and Irish drama. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.
David Hare, “Mere fact, mere fiction.” The Guardian, London: 17 April 2010. (BB)

Week Ten: 12 Apr

Seminar 1: 10:30- 12:00 Site Specific Performance- Anu Productions The Boys of Foley Street* (SH)
Reference: ANU Productions, ‘The Boys of Foley Street’ in Contemporary Irish Plays ed. by Patrick Lonergan (London: Bloomsbury Methuen, 2015)
Shonagh Hill, ‘Feeling Out of Place: The “affective dissonance” of the postfeminist spectator in The Boys of Foley Street’, in Performance, Feminism, and Affect in Neoliberal Times, ed. by Elin Diamond, Denise Varney and Candice Amich (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

Seminar 2: 13:30- 15:00 Bodies/Genders/Technologies (PH)
Required Reading: Arsenault, Nina. The Silicone Diaries

Arsenault, Nina. "A Manifesto of Living Self-Portraiture (Identity, Transformation, and Performance)." Canadian Theatre Review, vol. 150, 2012., pp. 64-69.
Stone, Sandy. “The Empire Strikes Back: A Postranssexual Manifesto.” The Transgender Studies Reader, eds. Susan Stryker, et.al. Routledge, London, 2006.

15:30-16:00 Module Review and Assessments

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module is seminar based and sometimes practice in orientation. Essays, Precis, reviews and performance analysis are part of the repetoire of assessment.
Students much have engaged with the prescribed readings prior to class. 
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 In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: Contribution Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: A portfolio of Precis Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: Essay (3.5 k words) Coursework (End of 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, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students are given individual feedback on Precis drafts. Feedback on essays is available once the assessment window closes.


Auslander, Philip, From acting to performance: essays in modernism and postmodernism (London : Routledge, 1997)

*Boal, Augusto, Theatre of the Oppressed, translated Charles A. & Maria-Odilia Leal McBride (London: Pluto Press, 1979)
------ The rainbow of desire: the Boal method of theatre and therapy (London: Routledge, 1995)

Peter M, Boenisch, ‘coMEDIA electronica: Performing Intermediality in Contemporary Theatre’

Bogart, Anne, A Director Prepares: seven essays on art and theatre (London: Routledge, 2001)

Bogart, Anne and Tina Landau, The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2005)

*Brook, Peter, Evoking (and forgetting) Shakespeare, London: Nick Hern, 2002)
------ A theatrical casebook compiled by David Williams (London: Methuen, 1988)

Butler, Judith, Bodies that matter: on the discursive limits of "sex" (London; New York: Routledge, 1993)

*Diamond, Elin, Unmaking mimesis: essays on feminism and theatre (London: Routledge, 1997)

Dolan, Jill, Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theater (Michigan, University of Michigan Press, 2005).
*Finney, Gail, Women in modern drama: Freud, feminism and European theater at the turn of the century (New York: Cornell U.P., 1991)

Fischer-Lichte, Erika, The Show and the Gaze (Iowa City: U. of Iowa Press, 1997)

*Fuchs, Elinor, The Death of Character (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1996).

*Grotowski, Jerzy, Towards a Poor Theatre edited by Eugenio Barba, (London: Eyre Methuen, 1976)

Hutcheon, Linda, ‘Feminism and Postmodernism’

*Kobialka, Michal, A Journey Through Other Spaces: Essays and Manifestos 1944-1990: Tadeusz Kantor (Berkeley: University of California, 1993)

*Lehmann, Hans-Thies, Postdramatic Theatre, translated and with an introduction by Karen Jürs-Munby (London: Routledge, 2006)

*Lo, Jacqueline & Helen Gilbert, ‘Toward a Topography of Cross-Cultural Theatre Praxis’, TDR: The Drama Review, Volume 46, Number 3 (T 175), Fall 2002, pp. 31-53

*Loomba, Ania, Colonialism/ Postcolonialism, (London and New York: Routledge, 1998)

*Leotard, Jean François, The Postmodern Condition (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984)

*Miklaszewski, Krzysztof, Encounters with Tadeusz Kantor (London: Routledge, 2005)

Mitter, Shomit, Systems of Rehearsal: Stanislavsky, Brecht, Grotowski and Brook
(London: Routledge, 1992)

Pavis, Patrice, editor, The Intercultural performance reader (London: Routledge, 1996)

------- Theatre at the crossroads of culture/ translated by Loren Kruger (London: Routledge, 1992)

*Phelan, Peggy, Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (London: Routledge, 1993)

Plesniarowicz, Krzysztof, The dead memory machine: Tadeusz Kantor's Theatre of Death, translated by William Brand (Aberystwyth: Black Mountain Press, 2004)

A Postmodern Reader, ed. by Joseph Natoli and Linda Hutcheon,

Skinner, Penelope, Linda, (London: Faber and Faber, 2015)

Solomon, Elisa, Re-Dressing the Canon: Essays on Theater and Gender (London: Routledge, 1997)

*Willliams, David, Peter Brook and the Mahabharata: critical perspectives (London: Routledge, 1991)
Name Role
Dr Finola Cronin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Paul Halferty Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Shonagh Hill Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mrs Mary Howard Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Ashley Taggart Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Jeanne Tiehen Lecturer / Co-Lecturer