module specification

DN4016 - Objects for Theatre and Film (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Objects for Theatre and Film
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
186 hours Guided independent study
114 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Practical Examination 20%   Group practical project presentation (10 minutes)
Practical Examination 40%   Group practical project performance (15-20 minutes)
Coursework 40%   Project and evaluation portfolio (1,500-2,000words)
Running in 2019/20

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This is a year-long module that will introduce Theatre and Film Production Design students to an aesthetics of theatre and film practice through a range of small scale projects drawing on the craft-based activities of puppet and object theatre. They will learn craft-based skills that will be utilised and developed throughout their course of study and investigate and experiment with the use of puppets and found objects in regard to narrative, character and the conceptual practice of the ‘untransformed’ object; as a style and method of theatre making.  Complimented with sound and lighting workshops this will enable students to understand the process and practice of craft-based activities in theatre practice.

Through a series of seminars and workshops students will be introduced to the potential of conveying ideas through puppetry and object theatre.  They will be introduced to contemporary puppetry and object theatre through workshop and practical explorations of performance techniques and approaches; investigating and researching significant directors and theorists of puppetry and object theatre. Students will develop skills in sourcing, crafting, preparing, manipulating and animating puppets and objects in visual theatre practice and storytelling.

The work done on the module will be recorded, curated and evaluated in a Project and Evaluation portfolio that will be handed in at the end of the module as part of the assessment process.


• A series of seminars and workshops that reference 20th and 21st century artists who explored the experimental social and political value of puppets and performing objects.  LO1
• Students will investigate the connectivity between the historical and the contemporary through an exploration of a wide range of contemporary theatre makers and companies who specialise in puppetry and object theatre. LO2
• A variety of performance styles that reference a range of the following; hand, rod, shadow, string, body and object puppets, object manipulation, extended costume and on occasion, puppetry and media production where performance is made possible through technological mediation. LO2, LO3
• Investigate and demonstrate the role of the production designer with the performance. LO3, LO4
• A series of workshops in basic puppet making and performing skills that will develop into the preparation of a short performance in addition to an introduction to Installation and Time Based Art as studio practice in response to a set text. LO3, LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module students will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding:
LO1: source, craft and prepare puppets and objects for theatrical processes;

Cognitive intellectual abilities:
LO2: demonstrate practical performance skills of manipulating/animating puppets and objects in visual storytelling and visual art practice;

Transferable skills:
LO3: understand and demonstrate the role and function of the production designer to the performance;

Subject specific skills:
LO4: collaborate and work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work; apply craft based, library and IT skills in independent research activities and evidence this in the Project and Evaluation Portfolio.

Assessment strategy

Through a variety of assessment modes, students will be assessed on their autonomous and collaborative processes. The Project and Evaluation portfolio will assess the student’s competency in autonomous processes and the group presentation will assess their collaborative processes. 

Formative assessment will be set periodically over the course of the module and used to provide students with feedback on their performance and on how it can be improved and/or maintained. This will address different aspects of the syllabus and enable students to prepare material for their portfolio. Reflective practice by students sometimes contributes to formative assessment.
Group practical project presentation (10 minutes): 20%
Students will research, prepare, rehearse and present a 10-minute presentation.  The presentation will outline their vision for their project. The presentation should demonstrate the students’ ability to work collaboratively, undertake individual and group agreed research and presentation tasks using a variety of mediums (handouts, power point and audio visual aids).
Group practical project performance (15-20 minutes): 40%
Group performance, demonstrating the student’s application and development of ideas, puppet/object making/manipulation and performance skills. Marks will be calculated on an individual versus group basis.
Project and Evaluation portfolio: 40%
To include: set research tasks, lecture and class notes, selected images, project evaluation (1,500-2,000 words).
This can be submitted in a variety of formats including e-journal.


Bell, J. (2001) Puppets, Masks and Performing Objects, MIT Press
Bernier, M. and O’Hare, J. (eds.) (2005). Puppetry in Education and Therapy: Unlocking Doors to the Mind and Heart, AuthorHouse
Bicat, T. (2007) Puppets and Performing Objects: A Practical Guide, Crowood Press
Francis, P. (2012). Puppetry: a reader in theatre practice. Palgrave Macmillian
Gross, K. (2011) Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life, University of Chicago Press

Gross, K. (2011) Puppet an essay on uncanny life. University of Chicago Press.
Kara, R. (2011) Automata and Mimesis on the Stage of theatre history Basingstoke, Palgrave
Baudrillard, J., and Glaser, S. F. (2014) Simulacra and simulation. Univ. of Michigan Press.

The Centre of Research into  Objects and Puppets in Performance
Project Muse
Puppet Centre