Performing Lives: Theory, Practice & Writing of Auto/biographical Theatre - DR610

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Spring 6 30 (15) MS J Thompson checkmark-circle


This module explores critical and creative approaches to working with real lives in performance. You will examine how auto/biographical and documentary material is used and manipulated to construct identity in and through performance. You will question the concept of the 'true story' and explore the ethics and practicalities of using the personal in performance. You will also work creatively to produce a practical project on auto/biographical theatre. In this module you will work with a range of dramatic material and forms, studying, for example, play texts, performance art, verbatim and documentary theatre. You will also engage with a range of theoretical approaches and perspectives.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 44 (minimum)
Private study hours: 256
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Essay (2500 words) (40%)
Performance Project (60%)

Indicative reading

Canton, U (2011), Biographical Theatre: Re-presenting Real People, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke
Donnell, A & Polkey, P (eds). (2000) Representing Lives. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke
Gale, MB & Gardner, V Eds) (2004) Autobiography and Identity: women, theatre and performance
Haedicke, S et al (eds) (2009) Political Performances. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke
Heddon, D (2007) Autobiography in Performance: Performing Selves. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke
Hammond W & Steward D. (2008) Verbatim Verbatim: Contemporary Documentary Theatre. Oberon Books: London
Martin, Carol. (2013) Theatre of the Real. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Mock, R (ed) ((2009) Walking, Writing and Performance, Intellect, Bristol
Pendzik, S et al (eds) (2016) The Self in Performance, Palgrave, Basingstoke

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

- Demonstrate knowledge of the theatrical forms and conventions within which selected autobiographical performance texts are operating
- Create performances using auto/biographical and documentary material
- Critically evaluate arguments, approaches, and methodologies relating to auto/biographical performance.
- Demonstrate understanding of the relations between autobiographical theories and performance practice
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the ethics of working creatively with personal material


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.