module specification

SM5076 - Dramaturgy (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Dramaturgy
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 150
114 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Essay (1,500 words)
Coursework 60%   Portfolio
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
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.  You 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

SM4019, SM4010

Available for Study Abroad? YES


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 (LO1, 2, 3).

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 (LO4).
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 (LO5).

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.

Scheduled teaching provides the guidance and foundation to ensure that independent study is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks.

In-class activity makes use of varied student-centred approaches such as active, flipped and blended learning, so that a range of learning strategies is deployed, and individual learning styles are accommodated. Information is provided through a range of means and sources to minimise and remove barriers to successful progress through the module. The course team seeks to embed the University’s Education for Social Justice Framework in fostering learning that is enjoyable, accessible, relevant and that takes account of the social and cultural context and capital of its students.

Activities foster peer-to-peer community building and support for learning. Reflective learning is promoted through interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, receive 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 written reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-based learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal and career 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 you 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 (LO1, 3).  The formal essay provides an opportunity for you to gain an informed, evidence-based understanding of contemporary dramaturgical methods, and the influence of the dramaturg in developing new performance work.  This theoretical and contextual underpinning will enable you to become a more informed and effective practitioner.

2.  a portfolio consisting of dramaturgical responses designed to advance the development or reinterpretation of an existing performance work (identified by the tutor)
(LO 2, 4, 5).  The portfolio enables you to activate your learning through a practical dramaturgical exercise. The portfolio is informed by creative research and allows you to draw from the different skills you have gained to outline how you might approach a real-life dramaturgical project.