Contextual Studies

The details
East 15 Acting School
East15 (Loughton) Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
02 March 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA W41012 Acting,
MFA W41020 Acting

Module description

This compulsory MA/Postgraduate Diploma in Acting module begins with a brief introduction to various theories of character creation. The focus is on contemporary theatre practice within a historical context. Students will examine a range of theories developed by contemporary theatre practitioners. The work of the module is designed to reinforce the importance of research and to establish effective research techniques appropriate for practice-led actor training at postgraduate level.

Module aims

Term One
The work of this term establishes and reinforces the importance of research at postgraduate level. You will work on establishing appropriate research techniques involving source and secondary material through a practical exercise inspired by an actual text, and group tutorials every second week. You will use research to examine the history of performance and will be given opportunities to experience reading and critically analysing plays, key theatre texts, and the structure of argument. You will gain an understanding of a range of the theories of key 20th Century practitioners.

Term Two
In the second term Contextual Studies will concentrate on contemporary theatre. You will continue exploring contemporary theatre theories and practices after Stanislavski. You will also be encouraged to reflect on your course experiences and training thus far, and to prepare yourself for the professional and cultural challenges before you in the “real” world. You will be encouraged to read about and to discuss new ideas and will be guided towards discussing and writing about your personal view of the issues and practices you may wish to pursue in your professional career. On a more formal abstract and academic level, you will be guided towards writing effectively and critical analysis of and about your ideas through a process supported by research using books, periodicals, interviews and other relevant source material. You will produce a number of written exercises throughout the year, which reflect your personal understanding of some aspect of the theoretical and practical work explored.

Term Three
All students will present a Personal Record of Analysis and Reflection to accompany their final performance project (EA403). This is a critical and analytical reflection on the process of research and rehearsal leading to the final performance, supported by relevant background documentation where appropriate.

- To reflect on the training process and preparation for the professional theatre
- To apply academic rigor in research processes to project work
- To begin to research an area of personal interest in some depth

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to demonstrate:
- Clear and appropriate process to develop the idea
- Evidence of analytical/critical process
- Evidence of sufficient and appropriate research
- Integration of research and practice
- Validity of methodology to subject

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Practical Assessment, Lectures, Seminars, Independent Study, Tutorials, Research, Screenings, Personal Development Journal


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   Essay     
Coursework   Red Book     

Additional coursework information

In the second term you will submit a 3,000 word essay on a topic set by the tutor that is intended to reflect your understanding of some aspect of the theoretical and practical work explored.

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.
Zois Pigadas
For further information please email zpigadas



External examiner

Prof Anthony Dean
University of Winchester
Emeritus Professor
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
East 15 Acting School

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