University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE The Performing Arts in the Mediterranean

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT School of Performing Arts

DESCRIPTION The study-unit introduces students to the performing arts in the Mediterranean. The unit will seek a balance between (i) a synoptic approach, where lecturers will tackle one recurring aspect of the performing arts (e.g. the political dimension), and (ii) specific historical and/or contemporary case-studies (e.g. the actor in Ancient Greece). In this way students will be exposed both to the diversity of the performing arts but also to recurring principles and practices, on levels that oscillate between national and personal identities. The performing arts tackled are those of theatre, dance, and music. Specific lectures will look into such material as:

• Contextualisation issues: the performing arts' responses to socio-cultural changes;
• The performer: work approaches and status;
• The political dimension of the performing arts;
• Amateur theatre in Malta;
• Oral Musical Traditions;
• Dance and Identity.

These and other areas of investigation will be covered in: (a) lectures, where the main theoretical and practical frameworks of study as well as content are introduced; (b) seminars, for which students will prepare a text that will serve as the basis for class discussion; (c) presentations, which students will give, on a topic that will be agreed upon with the course coordinator.

This study-unit will be open for performing arts graduates as the Mediterranean regional aspect will be tackled in more detail than at undergraduate level and there will also be various aspects which were not covered in the undergraduate course.

Study-unit Aims:

• To explore a number of performing arts examples in the Mediterranean (theatre, music, dance);
• To outline a number of recurring practices and commonalities in the case-studies discussed;
• To highlight the role of the Mediterranean as an instigator of the performing arts;
• To train students to adopt multi-disciplinary approaches in their research by integrating historical as well as contemporary case-studies.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• analyse, in writing, discussion, and presentation, a number of case-studies from the fields of theatre, dance, and music;
• situate these case-studies within their socio, political, and cultural contexts to discuss how they impinge on and are impinged upon by their surroundings;
• draw parallels and identify recurring practices between different examples of the performing arts;
• identify functions attributed to the performing arts (e.g. functions pertinent to the cultural industries/tourism).

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

• adopt a critical and analytic approach to the material covered;
• engage in synoptic study;
• carry out research using the appropriate research methodologies;
• demonstrate skills in teamwork;
• demonstrate communication and presentational skills in writing, debate, and peer presentations.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

A number of texts will be agreed upon with the course coordinator, for students to work on in preparation of their seminars and presentations. These will vary according to class composition and interests.


P. B. Zarrilli, B. McConachie, G.J. Williams, C.F. Sorgenfrei, Theatre Histories: An Introduction (Parts of) (New York and London: Routledge, 2010)
P.V. Bohlman, Philip V. and M. S. Keller (eds.), Musical Anthropology in Mediterranean Cultures: Interpretation, Performance, Identity (Bologna: CLUEB, 2009)
Matteo, The Language of Spanish Dance: A Dictionary and Reference Manual (New Jersey: Princeton, 2003)


E. Fischer-Lichte, History of European Drama and Theatre, trans. J. Riley (Parts of) (London: Routledge, 2002)
R. Schechner, Performance Theory (London: Routledge, 2008)
P. Ciantar, ‘The Process of Musical Translation: Composing a Maltese Festa Band March from Libyan Ma’lūf Music’, Ethnomusicology, 2013, 57(1): 1-33.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation (40 Minutes) No 40%
Assignment Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Brandon Shaw
Stefan Aquilina (Co-ord.)
Philip Ciantar
Vicki Ann Cremona
Mario Frendo
John Galea
Lucia Piquero Alvarez
Malaika Sarco Thomas

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
Student Representatives on Board of Studies
Theatre Studies, Music Studies and Dance Studies
Study-units on offer for Erasmus Students - 2017-2018

Please find the list of study-units for Erasmus Students for academic year 2017-2018

Optional Study-units on offer 2017-2018

Please find the list of Optional study-units for the the School of Performing Arts for academic year 2017-2018


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