Verbatim Theatre and Contemporary Scene Study

The details
East 15 Acting School
Southend Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
08 April 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA W496 Acting and Community Engagement

Module description

This first year acting module provides students with the challenge of researching real life events through a dramatic format and through creating short scenes.

With their Director students may work on a piece of already scripted verbatim theatre or my develop their own piece using materials such as transcripts, newspaper articles, testimonials, interviews which are edited, arranged or recontextualised to form a dramatic presentation, in which actors take on the characters of the real individual whose words are being used.

Students will also work in groups to study scenes from a contemporary play, learning how to divide a scene into units of action, how to discover actions of a character and use the text to discover information – about the play, its themes and characters. You will workshop scenes in your groups, applying your learning from the early part of the course. By the end of this block of work you will be able to find a character's through line and recreate work achieved during the rehearsal process.

Module aims

The module aims to provide students with opportunities to:

1. Work on material that demands truthful and in-depth investigation
2. Apply detailed and accurate research methods
3. Analyse text
4. Explore verbatim text
5. Put acting methods and theory to use in acting a piece of text.
6. Influence another character and be influenced in duologue

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module you will be able to demonstrate: understanding of:

1. Professional potential: range, focus, presence in verbatim theatre and contemporary scenes
2. Commitment: energy, positive attitude, personal contribution to the group
3. Creative inventiveness: fresh responses, spontaneity in a range of experiences taken from real life and from texts
4. Flexibility & sensitivity to change: responsiveness to others and to direction in verbatim theatre and contemporary scenes
5. Ensemble acting: adaptability, generosity, awareness of relationships
6. Objective self-assessment: awareness of own strengths and weaknesses as an actor, ability to accept criticism and act upon it
7. Research skills: in-depth interviews, objective observation, selection of appropriate material, accurate documentation.

Module information

Module Content:
Applying research and imagination to create the world of the play
Character analysis
Character relationships
Understanding characters' objectives, intentions and actions
Breaking down plays into 'units of action'
Finding a character's through line
Understanding the context of a play
Rehearsal processes
Recreating rehearsed work
Documentary theatre
Verbatim theatre processes and ethics
Voice into Text - applying principles of voice production to work on text.

Learning and teaching methods

Students work with tutors in group practical classes. Learning also takes place in workshops and rehearsals. Verbal formative feedback and tutor feedback in written reports Improvisation and group discussion.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Practical   Continuous Assessment    100% 

Additional coursework information

Continuous assessment through observation of contribution to class work through improvisation and group discussion and key exercises/ showings.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Ainslie Masterton, email: amast@essex.ac.uk.
Ainslie Masterton
East 15 Acting School Gateway Building Elmer Approach Southend-on-Sea SS1 1LW



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
East 15 Acting School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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