Performing Lives: Theory & Practice of Autobiographical Theatre - DR610

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
6 30 (15)







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:

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 84
Private study hours: 216
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Essay (3000-3500 words) (40%)
Performance Project (40%)
Seminar Presentation (20%)

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

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