School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies

TH326 Dramaturgy

Nina: Your play’s hard to act, there are no living people in it.
Treplev: Living people! We should show life neither as it is nor as it ought to be, but as we see it in our dreams.
Nina: There’s not much action, it’s just a lot of speeches. I think a play really needs a love interest. (Chekhov, The Seagull)

Chekhov’s characters poignantly argue about key aspects of dramaturgy: form, content, action and character. How do we transform a play on the page into a script for the stage? How do we shape a story for live performance through a range of theatrical languages including words, movement, sound, site, imagery and multi-media?

In this practice-based module, you will explore how dramaturgy helps theatre practitioners answer these questions of form, content, action and character and interrogate the connection between the script (in the broadest sense of the term). You will learn and experience what a dramaturg does primarily through creative practice using writing, research, art, and imagination as you develop storyboards, image boards, rhythm analyses, actors’ packets, programme essays, study guides, and background research presented in written text, images, music, and more. You will interrogate the connection between the script (in the broadest sense of the term) and the live performance(s) and will explore different methods of performance analysis of both written plays and non-text-based performance forms that can result in various possible interpretations and page-to-stage approaches. You will work on various dramaturgical techniques in and out of class that will receive oral feedback in class and are structured to be preparation for the practice-based portfolio entries.

“The goal of dramaturgy is to resolve the antipathy between the intellectual and the practical in theatre, fusing the two into an organic whole.”

Leon Katz, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale University and former Production Dramaturg at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, California


Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

Susan Haedicke
Office: F04B
Office Hours: Tuesday 12-1pm and by appointment

Class Times:
Tuesday 14.00 - 17.00 (G55)

Practice-based portfolio: 60%
Project-based assessment: 40%

Further Info
Reading List
Exam timetable
Assessment Deadlines
Assessment Criteria/Titles
Attendance List