module specification

SM4011 - Objects and Theatre (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Objects and Theatre
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   Process
Coursework 40%   Project and Evaluation Portfolio (1,500-2,000 words)
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This is a year-long module that will introduce students of Theatre and Performance Practice to an aesthetics of theatre 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.    Complemented 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 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, LO3

• 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. LO1, 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 aesthetics in regard to theatre making and performance. LO3, LO1

• 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. LO4

The latter half of the module will be an introduction to installation and time-based art as studio practice

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 completion of this 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: apply library and IT skills in independent research activities; articulating ideas and communicating information comprehensively in visual, physical, oral and textual forms;

Subject specific skills
LO4: collaborate and work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work.

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 a 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 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.

Process: 60%
Students are continuously assessed on this module, with their assessment referencing key events within the term, including seminars, student presentations and collaborative projects. Together with their creative and collaborative skills, process is also evaluated in terms of professionalism, engagement, progress, ability to integrate feedback, attendance and punctuality.

Project and Evaluation Portfolio: 40%
To include: set research tasks, lecture and class notes, selected images, Project and Evaluation Portfolio (1,500-2,000 words). This can be submitted in a variety of formats including e-journal.


Core Text:
Beacham, R. C. (ed) (1993) Adolphe Appia, Texts on Theatre, Routledge
Roose-Evans, J. (1989) Experimental Theatre from Stanislavski to Peter Brook, Routledge
Walton, J. M.  (ed.) (1983) Craig on Theatre, Methuen

Other Texts:
Bell, J. (ed.) (2001) Puppets, Masks and Performing Objects, TDR Books
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, The Crowood Press
Brown, R. (2010) Sound: A Reader in Theatre Practice, Palgrave Macmillan
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. (translated by Glaser, S.) (1981) Simulacra and Simulation (The Body in Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism), The University of Michigan Press 1994
Francis, P. (2011) Puppetry: A Reader in Theatre Practice (Readings in Theatre Practice), Palgrave Macmillan
Jurkowski, H. (2013) Aspects of Puppet Theatre, Palgrave Macmillan
Moran, N. (2017) The Right Light: Interviews with Contemporary Lighting Designers, Palgrave
Palmer, S. (2013) Light: A Reader in Theatre Practice, Palgrave Macmillan
Posner, D., Orenstein, C. and Bell, J. (eds) (2015) The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance, Routledge

The Centre of Research into Objects and Puppets in Performance
Puppet Centre
Puppeteers UK
Union Internationale de la Marionette
Puppet Guild

Electronic Databases:
Project Muse

Social Media Sources