Popular Performance - DR594

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 30 (15) DR O Double







Students' learning will be organised around research-based performance projects. These will be
based on detailed examinations of particular popular performance genres (for example, variety theatre, slapstick, cabaret, pantomime, radio comedy). Initially, students develop relevant performance skills, which might include, for example, addressing an audience, developing a stage persona, dance, singing, and/or simple acrobatics. In addition to this, they will be set weekly research tasks relevant to the particular genre they are studying. These tasks will lead towards a research essay, which will typically relate to the piece they go on to perform in the final assessed show. They will work independently on devising and rehearsing material related to both the research and the skills acquired in workshops, testing this material in front of an audience made up of other students on the module in their weekly all student practical session. Subsequently, they will develop their material to create a show in the style of the assigned popular performance genre, which will be performed to a public audience.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Contact Hours: 53
Private Study Hours: 247
Total Study hours: 300


Theatre Trips

Method of assessment

100% Coursework: Practical Performance (60%); Research Essay (40%)

Indicative reading

• Appignanesi, Lisa, The Cabaret, New Haven, Conn. & London: Yale University Press, 2004
• Barker, C., ‘The “Image” in Show Business’, Theatre Quarterly, Vol. VIII, No. 29, Spring 1978, pp.7-11
• Davis, Jim (ed.), Victorian Pantomime, Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2010
• Double, O., Britain Had Talent: A History of Variety Theatre, Basingstoke ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2012
• Foster, Andy and Furst, Steve, Radio Comedy 1938-1968, London: Virgin, 1996
• Jelavich, Peter, Berlin Cabaret, Cambridge, Mass. ; London : Harvard University Press, 1993
• Staveacre, Tony, Slapstick: The Illustrated Story of Knockabout Comedy, London:Angus & Robertson, 1987
• Taylor, Millie, British Pantomime Performance, Bristol: Intellect, 2007
• Took, Barry, Laughter in the Air (Revised Edition), London: Robson Books, 1981
• Wilmut, R., Kindly Leave the Stage! The Story of Variety, 1919-1960, London: Methuen, 1985
• Wright, John, Why Is that so Funny? A Practical Exploration of Physical Comedy, Nick Hern Books, 2006

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you will be able to:
- Demonstrate a range of performance, writing/devising, and production skills appropriate to the particular form of popular performance on which the project is focused
- Create a performance within the idiom of the particular form, based on research
- Analyse the particular form, drawing out some of the wider issues relating to popular performance
- Demonstrate working knowledge of the particular form, and evidence of research skills

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