module specification

SM4010 - Devising (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Devising
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
186 hours Guided independent study
114 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 30%   Process and Seminar presentation
Coursework 30%   Essay
Group Presentation 40%   Process and Performance presentation
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

This module aims to expose students to the skills and strategies necessary for devising performance. Students will engage in practical exploration and debate the content and forms of individual and group devised contemporary theatre practice. Through this they will work with improvisation techniques in the development of original interdisciplinary material towards the creation of ensemble devised performance. Students will negotiate and analyse the process of collaboration towards building knowledge and ability in working inclusively, discursively and proactively in diverse collaborative environments.


At the beginning of the module students will receive an outline of the Devising module programme explaining the aims and key outcomes to be achieved in relation to the practitioners and strategies to be explored. The syllabus will include:

• seminars instructing students in methods for devising original ensemble performance work; LO1, LO4

• independent and collaborative projects culminating in presentations; LO2, LO3

• workshops to experiment with established techniques and genres; LO1, LO2

• critical reflection and analysis of strategies employed and their effectiveness in a range of contexts. LO3, LO4

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.

Scheduled supportive teaching using a range of delivery methods ensures students build confident efficiency in sustained study addressing the syllabus and learning outcomes of the module.

The module and course utilise the university’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and formative feedback points.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to:

Cognitive intellectual abilities

1) participate practically and discursively in the creation and critical evaluation of collaborative, interdisciplinary performance making;

Knowledge and understanding

2) understand and evaluate the impact and influence of some key practitioners and their work in the context of the practice of contemporary devised performance;

Subject specific skills

3) develop a working knowledge and understanding of the principles of devising through individual and group improvisation and devising practice;

Transferable skills

4) undertake independent research activities; evolving and articulating ideas and communicating information through a range of physical, performative, oral and textual forms.

Assessment strategy

• Students will be assessed through a range of tasks that enable them to creatively respond to the module content. Assessment and feedback practices are informed by reflection, consideration of professional practice, and subject-specific and educational scholarship.
• Staff and students engage in dialogue to promote a shared understanding of the basis on which academic judgements are made.
• The volume, timing and nature of assessment enable students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes.
• Feedback on assessment is timely, constructive and developmental.


Textbooks: Core
Keefe, J. and Murray, S. (2007) Physical Theatres, A Critical Reader, London : Routledge  [online]
Murray, S. and Keefe, J. (2007) Physical Theatres: a critical introduction, London : Routledge  [online]

Graham, S. and Hoggett, S. (2009) The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre, London : Routledge

Textbooks: Other

Bicat, T. and Baldwin, C. (2002)  Devised and Collaborative Theatre: A Practical Guide, Wiltshire: Crowood Press
Claid, E. (2006) Yes, No, Maybe: Seductive Ambiguity in Dance, Oxon : Routledge

Copeland, R (2004) Merce Cunningham, The modernizing of modern dance, London: Routledge

Dixon, L. (2003) Playacting, London : Methuen 
Etchells, T. (1999) Certain Fragments: Contemporary Performance and Forced Entertainment, London : Routledge 
Heddon, D. and Milling, J. (2005) Devising Performance: A Critical History, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan  [online]

Johnstone, K. (1999) Impro for Storytellers: Theatresports and the Art of Making Things Happen, Abingdon: Faber and Faber; New Edition

Johnstone, C. (1998) House of games : making theatre from everyday life, London : Nick Hern

Tufnell, M. and Crickmay, C. (1993) Body, space, image, London: Dance Books