Contextual Studies

The details
East 15 Acting School
Southend Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
31 March 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA W412 Acting and Fight Performance

Module description

This unit is designed to present students with an overview of theatre history; you will examine the roots and traditions of British theatre history and consider the effects of key European influences on the development to Theatre and Drama in this nation. The module will explore questions such as "what is theatre?"; it is designed to introduce forms of theatre not frequently recognised in today's practice.

You will be introduced to general and subject specific methodologies of research, bibliographical techniques, and methods of referencing and use of IT for research in the arts and humanities. You will learn what is required in terms of research for written assignments and practical presentations / productions. You will develop research and writing skills that will be applicable to both academic work and professional communications. In addition, you will develop research literacy and an appropriate writing style.

As you will continue your overview of performance text and context, you will examine the progress of British theatre history and the effects of key European influences on the development to theatre and drama in this country. You will continue to conduct background research and will be pushed to think laterally, by exploring theatre from a point of view that you may not have previously encountered. Throughout the unit you will be developing critical and reflective abilities, both in oral and written communication.

In the third term you will be looking at some of the major theatrical developments of the 17th/ 18th / 19th centuries. This course will create a strong grounding for 20th Century Performance Practice, which is taught in the second year. Further, you will be encouraged to call upon your performance skills when sharing and presenting information to your peers.

Module aims

- To challenge preconceptions about forms of theatre
- To widen knowledge of the history of theatre and how theatre reflects its times
- To explore different periods, styles and presentations of performance
- To give a sense of the social, philosophical and cultural roots of theatre
- To introduce protocols and paradigms of research
- To develop writing or presentation and research skills
- To widen knowledge of the human body and the ways in which it can move
- To develop a working knowledge of how best to nurture and train the body
- To develop understanding of the effects that injury and violence have on the body
To provide students with knowledge and understanding of:
- Professional safety standards
- Potential causes of danger

Module learning outcomes

- Demonstrate knowledge of the changing nature of theatre and performance through the ages
- Select, critically analyse & apply appropriate techniques to given research situations
- Ability to evaluate a text with sensitivity to the social historical context
- Ability to organise and communicate relevant information in written form or oral presentations
- Understand, and be able to construct systems of referencing
- Demonstrate ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Devise and evaluate fitness programmes to support specific physical requirements
- Demonstrate understanding of the health & safety strategy necessary to promote fitness and well-being.
- Understand the functions of the body’s systems
- Understand what effects, both beneficial and harmful, actions have on the body
- Understand and apply knowledge in a dramatic context

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, seminars and discussion.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Performance Text and Context    40% 
Coursework   Health and Safety    20% 
Coursework   Safety Concepts Essay     
Practical   Anatomy and Physiology    40% 
Written Exam  Choreography     

Additional coursework information

Performance Text and Context (Terms One, Two and Three) (weighting 40%) Students are expected to participate in class discussions and: - 1 presentation or participation in an organised debate (30%) - Personal Record of Analysis and Reflection (70%) Anatomy and Physiology (Terms One, Two and Three) (weighting 40%) - Students will be assessed continuously through demonstrations of their understanding of the subject via group presentations, written submissions or performance-based tasks each term. You will receive a mark each term Health and Safety (Terms One and Three) (weighting 20%) - Students will submit one Health & Safety document per term. The tutor will deliver the nature of the required assignments. Each submission is equally weighted.

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
Mr Gordon Kemp, email: gkemp@essex.ac.uk.
Gordon Kemp, and staff
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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