module specification

SM5058 - Dramaturgy (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Dramaturgy
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Report (1,500 - 2,000 words)
Coursework 60%   Essay (2,000 - 3,000)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

Dramaturgy is a semester long module designed to examine and explore the complicated role of the dramaturg. Through the module there will be an attempt to define, analyse and the practice dramaturgy with regard to a wide range of theatre practices (including dance theatre, installation and site responsive work). The role of dramaturg will be considered in an International context as an individual who builds bridges: between theory and practice; between the director, the performers and the text/script, choreographer/playwright; between artistic intention and the realities of budget; between a theatre, its productions and the audience.

Module aims

This course aims to:
• Explore the role and function of the dramaturg in the context of International performance culture: examining writers, directors and companies by studying their innovative (post) dramatic dramaturgies, scenographies, uses of text and acting/performance styles,
• Discuss selected performance examples with reference to the disciplines utilised and the kinds of connections between them,
• Investigate the new artistic forms in relation to the performances’ thematic and political concerns with issues such as the lasting memory of the Second World War, globalisation and late Capitalism, increasing mediatisation, immigration, the ‘war on terror’ and ecological concerns,
• Undertake practical work in the role of dramaturg with a selected particular emphasis.


The module will consist of lecture/seminar sessions and practical sessions in an attempt to discern the theory and working practice of a dramaturg in today’s theatre. Dramaturgy encompasses a broad range of applications, providing support to an evolving performance production at any given stage, from the earliest seed of an idea through to the final documentation of the finished work. The module will have 4 components: Dramaturgy: Towards a definition, Exploring Dramaturgy, International Dramaturgies and Dramaturgy Today.  The students will see theatre/dance and art installations for taxonomy of the working practice of dramaturgs and explore the theoretical context of such work.  There will also be an opportunity to create work within the supportive framework of the University and apply/discuss/discourse the art/practice of dramaturgy.

Learning and teaching

Tutor and student led practical and theoretical seminars. Theoretical research, evaluation of observations and practical experience watching and leading activities. Students will have to rehearse, practice and research for the assessment points in the module and also to create the work to be evaluated under an appreciation of dramaturgy.

Workshops/seminars 3 hours weekly
Formal contact time 45 hours
Preparation for practical project sessions 45 hours
Assessment related independent learning 60 hours
Total 150 hours

Learning outcomes

On completing the module the students will be able to:
• demonstrate a theoretical and/or practical understanding of the role and functions of the dramaturg with reference to significant International companies/artists, theatre and performance practices and trends,
• analyse selected performance examples in terms such as their use of space, text, images, media and/or audience engagement,
• discuss selected performance examples with respect to historical, social and political contexts and debates that inform them,
• apply new understandings in practical application,
• undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

Assessment strategy

This module has a pass on aggregate requirement
Coursework consists of:

1 -  An evaluative report responding to the success or failures of the student-led experimentations with the theory and practice of Dramaturgy.  This will be a short academic paper attempting to begin a process towards Practice as Research as a methodology. 40%

2 - This assessment will be a formal essay on given titles from the tutor.  The essay will address the many facets of Dramaturgy explored on the module and will have reference to the socio, cultural and political relevance of the dramaturgy – either historically or contemporaneously  60%


Aston, E. Savona, G. 1991. Theatre as Sign-System: A Semiotics of Text and Performance  London: Routledge
Bicât, T. and Baldwin, C. 2002. Devised and Collaborative Theatre: A Practical Guide, Ramsbury: Crawford Press
Cardullo, B. 1995. What is Dramaturgy?  New York: Peter Lang
Carlson, M. 1993. Theories of the Theatre. A Historical and Critical Survey, from the Greeks to the Present, Ithaca: Cornell University Press
Edgar, D. 1999. State of Play: Playwrights on Playwrighting  London: Faber and Faber
Luckhurst, M. 2006. Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Pavis, P. 2012. Contemporary Mise en Scène : Staging Theatre Today, Oxon : Routledge
Radosavljevic, D. 2013. The Contemporary Ensemble: Interviews with Theatre-Makers Routledge
Radosavljevic, D. 2013.  Theatre-Making: Interplay Between Text and Performance in the 21st Century Palgrave
Turner, C. and Behrndt, S. 2008. Dramaturgy and Performance, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Zatlin, P. 2005 Theatrical Translation and Film Adaptation: A Practitioner’s View, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters

On-line resources:
The Dramaturg’s Network

The Routledge Performance Archive