DRA1016 - Performance Analysis

2022/3 Module description

StaffProfessor Heike Roms - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module description

This module will introduce you to the analysis of live and recorded performance, an essential skill in theatre studies. Each week we will be investigating a key analytical question that can be asked of theatre and performance (eg. ‘how does theatre create meaning?’, ‘how does an audience experience a performance?’, ‘for whose benefit is theatre made?’). And we will introduce the theoretical approaches and methods that allow you to develop answers to these questions, from semiotics to feminism, postcolonialism to queer theory, covering some of the key debates in theatre studies.

By the end of this module, you will be able to critically analyse a variety of theatrical and performance practices, and their relationship to different cultural, economic, social and political contexts, using a range of analytical tools.

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • Introduce you to key methods of theatre studies
  • Explore ways of analysing performance
  • Examine the nature and place of performance within culture
  • Introduce you to key theoretical and analytical approaches to theatre studies

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Utilise a range of critical and analytical approaches to performance and theatre studies
  • 2. Employ and evaluate a range of performance analysis methodologies

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Utilise basic research tools effectively and develop academic writing skills appropriate to performance and theatre studies, demonstrating basic library and IT skills in independent additional research, including research utilising audio-visual documentation of performance work
  • 4. Contribute confidently to research in small groups in effective presentations and to analyse and critique key scholarly texts in theatre and performance studies

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Demonstrate basic personal research skills, and identify and evaluate personal learning strategies, at a basic level
  • 6. Demonstrate confidence in communication skills and simple analytic abilities in discussions
  • 7. Demonstrate self-management, undertake basic problem solving and critical analysis, and learn to value your own and others' ideas and beliefs
  • 8. Collaborate in various groups and group sizes and develop confidence in aspects of teamwork and presentation

Syllabus plan

The module looks at ways of approaching theatre as an art form and a cultural practice. The module will introduce you to different ways of talking and thinking about performance in the light of contemporary theoretical and analytical approaches.

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 teaching16.5Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching16.5Seminars
Guided independent study267Independent study: assigned weekly readings and viewings, preparation for lectures and seminars, weekly responses to designated discussion topics, follow-up work after taught sessions, assessment preparation, research and writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Semiotic Analysis writing exercise300-400 words1-3, 5, 7Formative feedback within seminars
Essay plan (essay 2)250-300 words1-3, 5, 7Formative feedback within seminars
Mini guided discussion task5 minutes1-2, 4, 6, 8Formative feedback within seminars

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
Continuous assessment (including seminar participation and guided discussion task)20Continuous1-2, 4-8Written feedback
Essay 1301500 words1-5, 7Written feedback
Essay 2502000 words1-5, 7Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Continuous assessmentMitigation or repeat study1-2,4-8N/a
Essay 1Essay 1 (on a different topic)1-5, 7Referral/Deferral period
Essay 2Essay 2 (on a different topic)1-5, 7Referral/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

Basic reading:

  • Aston, Elaine and George Savona (1991) Theatre as Sign-system: A Semiotics of Text and Performance, London: Routledge.
  • Balme, Christopher B. (2008) The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Campbell, Patrick (ed.) (1995) Analysing Performance; a critical reader, Manchester: Manchester University Press. 
  • Counsell, Colin and Wolf, Laurie (2001) Performance Analysis. An Introductory Handbook. London: Routledge.
  • Davis, Tracy C. (ed.) (2008) The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Elam, Keir (1980) The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. London: Routledge. Greetham.
  • Fortier, Mark (2016) Theory/Theatre: An Introduction, 3rd edition; London and New York: Routledge.
  • Martin, Jacqueline and Sauter, Willmar (1995) Understanding theatre : performance analysis in theory and practice. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
  • Pavis, Patrice (1998) Dictionary of the Theatre: Terms, Concepts, and Analysis, Toronto and Buffalo, University of Toronto Press.
  • Pavis, Patrice (2003) Analyzing performance: theatre, dance, and film, transl. David Williams, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Pickering, Kenneth (2005) Key Concepts in Drama and Performance (Palgrave Key Concepts), Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Schecher, Richard (2002) Performance Studies. An Introduction. London: Routledge.
  • Warburton, Nigel (2007) The Basics of Essay Writing, London: Routledge
  • Additional reading material provided on the Electronic Learning Environment

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

Performance analysis, contexts, theatre, performance, drama

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