OverviewThis module will introduce first year students to ideas of theatre and performance as sites of citizenship, through exploration of contemporary, popular forms such as music gigs, performance poetry and comedy. Students will learn to identify and analyse key features and techniques present in popular performance forms, and to relate performances to their commercial, cultural and political contexts. This will include understanding of how 'DIY'/commercialist principles of production shape the work, and discourses that position performances as fun/difficult, legitimate/illegitimate and as high/low culture. They will explore how popular performances interact with the politics of government, identity and taste, and will be introduced to key concepts and debates on the usefulness of popular entertainment in shaping citizenship and public opinion. Students will be encouraged to reflect upon the forms of popular culture which they themselves enjoy, exploring the extent to which these shape their own attitudes and behaviours, and will create pop-up performances which demonstrate this awareness. By the end of the module, students will have acquired a foundational understanding of: popular performance as a genre; performance as reflection of its cultural and political contexts; the extent to which performances implicate their creators and audiences as citizens.
This module appears in:
Total contact hours: 44
Private study hours: 256
Total study hours: 300
Method of assessment
Essay (2000 words) (40%)
Presentation (60 %).
Ainsworth, Adam, Oliver Double and Louise Peacock, eds. [Forthcoming, April 2017], Popular Performance, London: Bloomsbury.
Price, Jason (2016), Modern Popular Theatre, Houndmills, Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Schechter, Joel (2003), Popular Theatre: A Sourcebook, London & New York: Routledge.
Quirk, Sophie (2015), Why Stand-up Matters: How Comedians Manipulate and Influence, London: Bloomsbury.
Street, John, Sanna Inthorn and Martin Scott (2016), From Entertainment to Citizenship: Politics and Popular Culture, Manchester University Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre (2011 ), 'The Forms of Capital', in Cultural Theory: An Anthology (ed. Imre Szeman & Timothy Kaposy), Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp.81-93.
Williams, Raymond (1989), ‘Culture is Ordinary’ in Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism (ed. Robin Gale), London & New York: Verso, pp.3-18.
Understand definitions of popular performance, and confidently navigate tensions between them;
Identify and analyse, at an introductory level, key features and techniques present in popular performance forms;
Understand debates on the enjoyment of popular culture as an expression of, or potential detriment to, social citizenship;
Understand politics as encompassing government, identity and taste;
Identify both overt and implicit ideologies at work in performance made by both themselves and others;
Reflect upon their own political and cultural attitudes, and show awareness of how these shape their preferences and creative choices.