Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Interdisciplinary Theories of Performance

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT School of Performing Arts

DESCRIPTION The study-unit suggests an interdisciplinary approach to the application of theory in the study of performance. It does so by synthesizing concepts and principles emerging from the disciplines of theatre, dance, and music. Common grounds between the three disciplines are identified and discussed, framed around the following points:

- definitions of performance;
- composition;
- reception;
- applications of theories.

Through a series of lectures, seminars, and presentations students will extend their perception of performance as a contemporary cultural phenomenon, and problematise issues related to interdisciplinarity, performativity, and analysis.

Study-Unit Aims:

The overarching aim of the study-unit is to introduce students to an interdisciplinary understanding of performance, one that questions the boundaries between theatre, dance, and music. Rather than considering the unique specificities of their discipline, students will be encouraged to look at shared and recurrent performance concepts. These concepts include theories about how performance is composed, received and possibly analysed. The study-unit thus aims to familiarise students with the tools necessary for a theoretical engagement with performance.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- use contemporary theories of performance, such as those developed by Richard Schechner, Susan Leigh Foster, Claire Bishop;
- identify and differentiate between different approaches to interdisciplinarity;
- conceptualize about performance in an interdisciplinary manner;
- understand apply processes related to the composition of performance, and the various components (sound, space, text, body, movement, spectatorship) that facilitate this composition;
- inculcate broad understandings knowledge of a range of concepts as methodologies for constructing performance knowledge in both theory and practice.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- use theoretical concepts as a methodological approach to facilitate interdisciplinarity;
- establish links between theory and practice;
- write and debate about performance in an informed manner;
- demonstrate communication and presentational skills in writing, debate, and peer presentations;
- demonstrate group skills by devising and presenting a joint-presentation.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Aquilina, Stefan and Malaika Sarco-Thomas (eds.) (2018). Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives (Malta: Malta University Press).
- Pitches, Jonathan and Sita Popat (eds.) (2011). Performance Perspectives (Hampshire: Palgrave).
- Schechner, Richard (2002). Performance Studies: An Introduction (London: Routledge).

Supplementary Readings:

- Bishop, Claire (2012). Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (London: Verso).
- Born, Georgina (2005). ‘On Musical Mediation: Ontology, Technology, and Creativity’. Twentieth-Century Music, 2.1, pp. 7–36.
- Giersdorf, Jens Rrichard and Wong, Yutian (Eds.) (2019). The Routledge Dance Studies Reader, Third Edition. (London: Routledge).
- Manning, Susan, Ross, Janice, and Schneider, Rebecca (Eds.) (2020) Futures of Dance Studies. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press).


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 50%
Presentation (20 Minutes) SEM1 No 50%

Stefan Aquilina (Co-ord.)
Deborah Williams

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.