Debating Dramaturgy 2: Where is Dramaturgy? THEATRE5028

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

Debating Dramaturgy 2 is a critical and, where appropriate, practical exploration of production dramaturgy and dramaturgical practices in the contemporary period. It will discuss the influence of current critical approaches as well as aesthetic and artistic concepts on dramaturgy and dramaturgical practices, and will include applied and practical work with professional dramaturges with whom students will explore the various dimensions of contemporary dramaturgical work.


The course runs through semester 2 of the academic year and consists of two phases: 3 x 2 hour seminar sessions; and, 7 x 3 hour workshop sessions, which may involve professional practitioners.  There will also be 6 hours of lectures/talks from academic staff and visiting speakers.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College Level


One 'Research Trail' around the practice undertaken throughout the course. (50%)


The Research Trail relates to students' practice on the course and to further investigations they have made on the subject of contemporary dramaturgy. The document should be between 15 and 20 pages (A4 or equivalent) in length, and approximately 2500 words. Each student will agree a research question (or questions) with the tutor to guide and steer the Research Trail.


The Research Trail is a project which invites students to find ways of representing clearly - but with imagination and flair - the often messy process of undertaking research. It is an opportunity to investigate and collect information - or to signpost where such information might be found - around the chosen question and theme. The Research Trail also allows opportunities for the student to offer critical reflection on the material being presented or signed. As each student discusses and negotiates his/her Research Trail questions with the tutor further and specific guidance will be offered.


As a document it is unlikely to look like a conventional essay, but will contain found texts and sources (quotes, images, references etc) and students' own critical and reflexive thoughts, observations and ideas. As it is a 'trail' it must indicate a sense of journey and development, starting with an initial question(s). It is likely to be structured around different forms and registers of writing from the theoretical/analytical through personal observation to the 'poetic' and experimental.


It must contain evidence of theoretical and historical engagement with your subject matter and should, wherever possible, cite examples of performance and theatre practice. It should also embrace wider cultural references beyond the fields of theatre and performance. It must be presented with clarity (ideally typed/word processed) and the reader must be given a clear enough sense of how to navigate through what is produced. It must contain both a bibliography and a contents page. All found material must be fully referenced in the normal way. The Research Trail is a kind of detailed 'map' for a much bigger and more ambitious project students might - theoretically - undertake in the future. It is likely to contain many more questions than answers. It will exercise students' imagination as well as more grounded research, reading and analytical skills.



Planning, delivery and reflection upon a 30 minute workshop (taught with one other student) for the rest of the class cohort. (50%)

Course Aims

■ The course aims to:

■ develop and expand students' understanding of dramaturgical ideas and practices in the contemporary period;

■ explore the role of the dramaturge - and where appropriate the role of the playwright and/or the theatre critic - in a range of contemporary theatre making contexts - including Scotland - with reference to a critical literature and, as appropriate, works by and on professional practitioners; and,

■ investigate the critical writing in both academic and journalistic contexts regarding contemporary dramaturgy.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

■ On the successful completion of this course students should be able to:

■ demonstrate a critical knowledge and understanding of the changing role and the work of a dramaturge, and as appropriate the playwright and the theatre critic today;

■ demonstrate an understanding of the role of the contemporary dramaturge in the rehearsal room and in script and composition development;

■ demonstrate an ability to move effectively between practical and theoretical analysis of all forms of the play text and of contemporary textual practices; and,

■ demonstrate an ability to write critically and analytically about the processes and the impacts of current dramaturgical practices and debates.

■ demonstrate through practice an ability to compose and conduct a short workshop (with fellow students) which engages critically with dramaturgical strategies.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.