module specification

SM5076 - Dramaturgy (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Dramaturgy
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 150
111 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Essay (1,500 words)
Coursework 60%   Portfolio (2,000 words)
Running in 2021/22
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 role of the dramaturg. Through the module there will be an attempt to define and analyse the practice of dramaturgy with regard to a wide range of performance practices ranging from traditional playwriting to post-dramatic forms. Dramaturgy encompasses a broad range of applications, providing support to an evolving artistic work at all stages of its development.  Students will learn to provide constructive input from the earliest seed of an idea to the final documentation of a performed work.

This module aims to:
• explore the role and function of the dramaturg in the context of international performance: examining writers, directors and companies by studying their innovative (post) dramatic dramaturgies, scenographies, uses of text and acting and performance styles;

• discuss selected performance examples with reference to the disciplines utilised and the kinds of connections between them;

• investigate new forms in relation to the performances’ thematic and political concerns as well as the artistic context from which they emerge.

• undertake practical work in the role of dramaturg with a selected particular emphasis.

Prior learning requirements

Pass and completion (120 credits) of previous level)


The module will consist of lecture and 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 be divided into units that reflect these developmental stages. 

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 and discourse the art and practice of dramaturgy.

Learning Outcomes LO 1 - 5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Sessions will consist of tutor- and student-led practical and theoretical seminars. Students will engage in research, evaluation of observations and practical experience of watching and leading activities. This will include practice and research for the assessment points in the module and also to create original work to form the subject of dramaturgical processes.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module the students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding:
LO1  demonstrate a theoretical and/or practical understanding of the role and functions of the dramaturg with reference to significant international companies and artists, theatre and performance practices and trends;

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities:
LO2  analyse selected performance examples in terms such as their use of space, text, images, media and/or audience engagement;

Transferable Skills:
LO3  discuss selected performance examples with respect to historical, social and political contexts and debates that inform them;

Subject Specific Skills:
LO4  apply new understandings in practical application;
LO5  undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

Assessment strategy

This module has a pass on aggregate requirement.

Coursework consists of:
1. a formal essay addressing the role of the dramaturg in contemporary performance (40%);

2.  a portfolio consisting of dramaturgical responses designed to advance the development or reinterpretation of an existing performance work (identified by the tutor)


Trencsenyi, K. & Proehl, G. (2015) Dramaturgy in the Making, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama

Aston, E. & Savona, G. (1991) Theatre as Sign-System: A Semiotics of Text and Performance, Routledge
Bicât, T. &d Baldwin, C. (2002) Devised and Collaborative Theatre: A Practical Guide, Crawford Press
Cardullo, B. (1995) What is Dramaturgy?, Peter Lang
Carlson, M. (1993) Theories of the Theatre. A Historical and Critical Survey, from the Greeks to the Present, Cornell University Press
Edgar, D. (1999) State of Play: Playwrights on Playwriting, Faber and Faber
Luckhurst, M. (2006) Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre, Cambridge University Press
Pavis, P. (2012) Contemporary Mise en Scène : Staging Theatre Today, 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. & Behrndt, S. (2008) Dramaturgy and Performance, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Zatlin, P. (2005) Theatrical Translation and Film Adaptation: A Practitioner’s View, Multilingual Matters

On-line resources:
The Dramaturg’s Network
The Routledge Performance Archive