Contextual Studies

The details
East 15 Acting School
Southend Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
08 April 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA W496 Acting and Community Engagement

Module description

This is a full-year module for students on the BA Hons Acting and Community Theatre course. The module explores the development of ideas of interactive and participatory forms of theatre, 'popular theatre', including theories of carnival, spectacle and community empowerment, and learning theory and its application to community development. Students will also explore theories of representation including semiotics.

You will critically analyse performances, lectures and classes you have attended, drawing on appropriate technical and theoretical vocabulary. You will learn to locate performance practice within a social and cultural framework.

Module aims

To offer students the opportunity to:
1. Understand the wider historical and contemporary context of ‘community theatre’ in the UK and Europe
2. Explore debates about empowerment, participation, subversion and spectacle in relation to both formal and everyday performance practices
3. Develop an understanding of the forms of ‘popular theatre’ and the theory of carnival and traditions of outdoor spectacle
4. Develop a conceptual framework in which to consider performance practice in community settings
5. Develop a critical vocabulary with which to describe and discuss the relationship of performance to audience and community contexts

Module learning outcomes

Students’ ability to:
1. Locate performance practice within a social and cultural framework
2. Write critically and analytically about performances that they have attended, drawing on appropriate technical and theoretical vocabulary
3. Analyse and explore live performance using semiotic analysis and a variety of other analytical frames of reference
4. Read and debate theoretical texts, developing skills in research, textual analysis, information gathering and critical debate
5. Articulate an understanding of how to assess success in teaching and learning through the arts
6. Make use of appropriate skills and theory to devise a workshop and assess whether the intended learning outcomes have been achieved.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Lecture/ seminars, independent study, readings, screenings. Students receive written evaluations for presentations, essays and for their ‘Red Book’.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Critical Essay     
Coursework   Personal Record     
Practical   Presentation     

Additional coursework information

The module is assessed through three elements and the final mark is the unweighted average of the three constituent grades:- 1. Critical Essay 2. Presentation 3. Personal Record

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 Zois Pigadas, email: zpigadas@essex.ac.uk.
For further information please email zpigadas



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 311 hours, 28 (9%) hours available to students:
283 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


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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