DRA3094 - Theatre Dissertation

2021/2 Module description

StaffDr Katie Beswick - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesDRA1004, DRA1012
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module description

The concept of theatre dissertation lies at the heart of the pedagogical principles espoused by the Drama Department at the University of Exeter. We observe the necessity for placing theory and practice in dynamic dialogue. This independent research module invites you to critically explore an area of theatre or performance practice and produce a detailed scholarly essay on your chosen subject within the field of theatre and performance studies. You will be guided through a series of group research activities before delineating their own research topic. You will then work one-to-one with your tutor to develop an 8000 word research essay. Writing a sustained investigative scholarly essay will further your dynamic understanding of the interrelationship between theory and practice, between thinking and doing.

Incoming international students welcome, subject to taking all 120 credits in Drama at level 3.  In addition to drama, theatre, and performance students, this module will engage the interest of students from English literature, history, philosophy, and politics.

Module aims

This module aims to allow you to:

  • Critically reflect on a research topic of their own design
  • Delineate an area of independent research in consultation with your tutor and peers
  • Complete an in-depth piece of intellectual research in any area of theatre and performance
  • Engage in a scholarly investigation of theatrical practice

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Engage with a focussed topic over a sustained period, developing writing skills and approaches to analysis
  • 2. Develop advanced analytical skills and the confidence to approach complex and challenging materials

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Engage critically and analytically from different theoretical perspectives to explore performance practice through theoretical concerns, and to synthesise findings in written tasks.
  • 4. Apply a wide range of library and IT skills in detailed independent research
  • 5. To work independently and within seminar groups to refine research skills, and to assess and apply feedback to develop ability to write and think about performance in complex ways

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Develop advanced personal research skills using personal initiative; to set personal objectives that are linked to a sense of challenge and extending boundaries and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies that are self-critical as much as self-reflective
  • 7. Develop group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback, and to improve communication skills and advanced analytic abilities in discussions
  • 8. Plan and execute a complex written project in a limited timeframe

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction to advanced level research and development of writing skills to a high level
  • You will be guided through a range of research and writing tasks in large groups, smaller groups, and independently with their tutor
  • Preparatory lectures to support you starting early in developing their projects
  • Detailed individual presentations, peer feedback, and one-to-one tutorials
  • You will have completed a plan and a short piece of draft material before the Term 2 vacation and received tailored feedback from your tutor on this work
  • You will submit your 8000 word projects following the Term 2 break
  • You can expect a wide range of teaching and detailed feedback throughout the module. The emphasis is, however, on independent learning and research

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10.5Seminar activities
Scheduled Learning and Teaching9Writing enrichment workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Tutorials
Guided Independent Study100Reading research and prep for annotated bibliography
Guided Independent Study178.5Research and writing of essay

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation20 minutes1-9Oral feedback from tutor
Draft materialUp to 1000 words1-9Oral feedback from tutor

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Annotated bibliography25A bibliography, containing between 10-15 relevant academic sources (books, book chapters, journal articles) including 1 source on methodology and 3 monographs. Each entry annotated by between 100-300 words to demonstrate student engagement with, and understanding of material, maximum of 3500 words.1, 3-5, 7Written feedback from tutor
Essay 758000 words (or equivalent)1-9Oral and written feedback in tutorials and on drafts and written feedback on final submission

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Annotated bibliographyAnnotated bibliography as above1, 3-5, 7Referral/Deferral period
Essay Essay 1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

In conjunction with the tutor you will devise a personal reading and research programme.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Drama, praxis, theatre, performance, research, independent

Important please note

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the module descriptors for the Online Module Selection process, please be aware that on rare occasions it may be necessary to remove proposed modules for reasons beyond our control. In addition, there are still some new modules going through the accreditation process. These will be offered in due course by the relevant discipline.

All modules displayed below have been approved by the approval process but may require further minor amendments before the commencement of teaching.

We are committed to providing an outstanding education and high quality teaching. You can find out details of your modules and any potential changes on these pages. If you are a returning student, joining after the first year or a postgraduate student details of your module changes will be provided in August. Find out more about the overall teaching and learning approach on your course, and please be aware that this information may supersede the specified teaching and learning activities within individual modules.

Foreign Language Centre modules 2020/21

Term 1 module codes listed above ending with C, i.e. FLF1115C, are only available to outbound students who are away in Term 2. Students studying all year must select the standard module across both Term 1 and 2.