module specification

SM6015 - Performance Research and Development (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Performance Research and Development
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 35%   R&D Presentation 1
Group Presentation 35%   R&D Presentation 2
Coursework 30%   Portfolio
Running in 2023/24

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

Module summary

Performance Research & Development is a module designed to complement SM6P10 Festival Showcase. It enables students to undertake intensive research and development (R&D) projects leading to the sharing of two consecutive works-in-progress: draft performances presented for feedback to an invited audience. The notion of R&D is a vital aspect of the professional industry, increasingly required by funding bodies and an integral part of producing venues’ programmes. Students will work collaboratively, to tight deadlines, in accordance with the creative guidelines provided by the tutor. This will develop their ability to create rapidly within given briefs, encompassing such approaches as adapting existing dramatic texts and devising new material from stimuli.  Students will engage self- and peer-evaluation skills throughout the module.

Prior learning requirements

Completion and pass (120 credits) of previous level.


For both R&D works in progress, students will form small production companies and will undertake all their work in these groups. Students will be encouraged to both contribute to the ensemble and take a specialist role(s) within their group.

Performance Research & Development will provide a structure for students to:

• undertake and communicate to an audience their own research of concept/text for their piece: LO3

• devise and/or realise text-based material for their piece: LO1, LO2

• rehearse that material to professional standards and to perform it in front of a public audience: LO1, LO2, LO4

• record and reflect on the research and development process. LO3, LO5

Practical work will be assessed on both process and outcomes but not specifically performance.

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 to 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.

This module will be taught through practical and theoretical approaches.  These include:

practical workshops
self-directed learning
independent completion of tasks in small groups
guided learning through observation and feedback

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

1) undertake both established and experimental creative strategies in the creation of theatre;

2) make practical theatre work collaboratively, within strict deadlines;

3) research, record and present ideas, concepts and practice in a clear, engaging and complex way, suitable for the professional industry;

4) structure a process and liaise with external bodies and individuals in order to meet deadlines;

5) evaluate the work as part of the portfolio.

Assessment strategy

Assessment will be both practical and written:

1) two group R&D presentations, created under a tutor-led theme or premise; these may be based, respectively, on existent play-texts or open devising themes;

2) a written portfolio, documenting their creative journey and evaluating the two R&D presentations.


There is no core text for this module.

Bicat, T.  (2012) Costume and Design for Devised and Physical Theatre, The Crowood Press
Bleeker, M. (2011)  Visuality in the Theatre: The Locus of Looking, Palgrave Macmillan
Collins, J. and Nisbet, A. (2010) Theatre and Performance Design: A Reader in Scenography, Routledge
Dean, P. (2002) Production Management: Making Shows Happen - A Practical Guide, The Crowood Press
Fenton, R. and Neal, L. (2005) The Turning World: Stories from the London International Festival of Theatre, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Hamilton, J. (2007) The Art of Theatre (New Directions in Aesthetics), Wiley Blackwell
Knowles, R. (2004) Reading the Material Theatre (Theatre and Performance Theory), CUP
McAuley, G. (2000) Space in Performance: Making Meaning in the Theatre (Theater: Theory/Text/Performance), University of Michigan
Mudford, P. (2001) Making Theatre: From Text to Performance, Continuum International Publishing
Murray, S. and Keefe, J. (2007) Physical Theatres: A Critical Introduction, Routledge
Pitches, J. and Popat, S. (2011) (eds) Performance Perspectives: A Critical Introduction, Routledge
Seabright, J. (2010) So You Want to be a Theatre Producer, Nick Hern Books