Expressionism in Visual Theatre, Physical Theatre and in Text

The details
East 15 Acting School
East15 (Loughton) Campus
Autumn & Spring
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 26 March 2021
24 January 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA W441 Acting and Contemporary Theatre

Module description

This module constitutes Part I of the two-part actor training in the second year in which the emphasis progresses from the foundation training of first year to examine a range of contemporary theatre styles and forms. You will continue to develop your performance skills through the practice of acting, devising, writing and script analysis.

Opportunities will be provided to experiment with expressionism in text, music and visual art, European contemporary physical theatre, commedia dell'arte, the theatrical clown, post-modern and non-traditional text structure, tragedy, objects and puppetry.

Students are assessed on their contribution and participation during the rehearsal process and performance of projects. Projects in the first part of the module are shown in studio-based performance to audiences drawn mainly to invited audiences of staff and students, progressing to a theatre-based Music and Theatre showing at the end of the module. Self-created work, rather than scripted or directed work, is introduced as the module progresses.

Module aims

The module aims to encourage students to:

1. Experiment with different approaches to performance
2. Work in styles which are not naturalistic yet linear
3. Work in styles which are larger than life
3. Begin to find and develop a personal artistic vision
4. Further develop performance and ensemble skills
5. Learn how to work independently and as a group
6. Adopt safe production practices.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will develop:

1. Textual comprehension (understanding and interpreting language, plot and characters) specifically of expressionism in text, unconventionally-structured texts.
2. Skills integration (ability to utilize all disciplines within the context of the play/project) focusing on specific and highly stylised performance forms.
3. Commitment in preparation and performance of devised and actor-lead work
4. Ensemble acting (generous participation in and contribution to all stages of work and an awareness of the relationship between them) as required
5. Flexibility and sensitivity to change (ability to share, initiate and accept ideas and directions)
6. Objective self-assessment (as an actor and within the project)
7. Creativity (inventive responses to demands and opportunities)
8. Achievement of the aims of the projects
9. Professional potential (creative realisation, discipline, extending range, application, focus, presence and personal confidence)

Module information

Theatre as a Medium of Expression
The work of this module is focussed on introducing you to theatre as a form of artistic expression, using devising and improvising techniques as well as experimenting with writing, structure and behavioural dynamics.

Expressionism - Visual Theatre Project
Using visual art as a starting point, students will devise a piece of work with a practitioner working in the area of new dance and visual expressionism theatre. Emphasis will be on observation and students will start by visiting galleries, buildings and busy streets as research. You will learn how to stage a piece of work starting from a blank page, how to share creative ideas and work as an ensemble. Preparation and rehearsal takes place over four weeks, culminating in an assessed studio-based performance in Week 6 of Term One.

Expressionism in Text and Theatre of the Absurd
Lead by a director, students will stage a production of an unconventionally-structured text, for example works of Beckett, Ionesco, Pirandello, Jarry. This part of the module encourages you to develop the ability to follow and stage an existing text imaginatively. You will learn skills of text interpretation and widen your familiarity with the expressive possibilities of the written word. You will begin the work of responding to the demands of a director. Work on this project lasts for five weeks. There is an assessed studio-based performance in Week 11 of Term One.

At the end of Term One students will work in groups for a short intensive period developing their own self-created pieces. Under the supervision of the Head of Course they will decide on style, content, method of presentation and division of roles within the piece eg writer, director, actor, choreographer, designer, composer etc. As a group they will take all the decisions necessary to give a final assessed presentation. You will become familiar with and learn how to overcome obstacles to the creative process by putting together a piece of theatre under pressure of time and resource. You will use devising, improvisation and story-telling skills.

Physical Theatre Techniques & Performance Styles
The work of Term Two is an intensive period of study in techniques and performance styles used in European physical theatre. You will undertake short blocks of work on:
The Fool
Music & Theatre

The module will conclude with a Music and Theatre performance in Week 5 to an invited audience which will introduce you to the experience of performing in a theatre environment in an external venue, e.g. the fully-equipped theatre at nearby Chigwell School.

Technical Studies
An integral part of this module is an introduction to the basic technicalities of production - stage management, design, set construction, lighting, sound, props, costume and equipment. Tutors from the School's Technical Department will, through a series of practical classes and technical 'surgeries', encourage students to develop an understanding of how technical resources are applied to audience requirements, of how to research, source and make use of technical resources and of how to adapt to a variety of performance environments safely and creatively, related to their practical projects through the year. Assessment of Technical Studies is continuous through observation of class work and its realisation in projects.

Learning and teaching methods

Students work in small group practical classes Learning also takes place in presentations, workshops and supervised and unsupervised rehearsals and studio-based performances Independent study and research Oral formative assessment and tutor feedback is given in a group session.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Continuous Assessment     

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Uri Roodner, email: uroodn@essex.ac.uk.
Uri Roodner and guest tutors



External examiner

Ms Joyce Henderson
Joyce Henderson
Freelance Theatre Maker
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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