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Congratulations on securing your place at Brunel

We’re looking forward to meeting you - either in person or online - and introducing you to life at Brunel. To help us get started, we’ve put together a short activity and some further information to help you prepare for your course - including a snapshot of the topics you’ll cover and useful resources. If you have any questions please email Gavin.Thatcher@brunel.ac.uk.

Your pre-arrival activity

We’d like you to complete a short activity before you join us. We can discuss your answers in one of your first personal tutor sessions. Your work will not be officially assessed however it will allow your tutor to get to know you better.

We have created a digital space where you can meet other members of your cohort and engage with the summer task together. You can access the activities here.

We also advise you to take a look at the information below. Completing wider reading and getting familar with what you'll be learning, will help prepare you for academic life at Brunel.

Sample coursework questions

  1. What do you think about the tension Mark Fortier describes ‘between language based theory and the non-verbal aspects of theatre’ on page 12? What can theory add to our understanding of Theatre? What perspectives might be helpful in analysing performances that you have seen and making a case that it was meaningful or significant?
  2. What is ‘semiotics’ and how can this type of theoretical framework be used as a tool for analysing theatre and performance? See Chapter 1 
  3. What kind of theatre or performances are you drawn to? Traditional theatre where the ‘authorship’ is heavily determined by a playwright? Productions that have been radically adapted by a singular director? Collective ensemble work where work is devised and ‘authored’ by a group? Why?
  4. How do Roland Barthes’ ideas regarding the role of an author’s intent (or lack thereof) apply to how performance can be interpreted by spectators? How does this change how the meaning or importance of performance is determined or debated? Does meaning always rely on what the writer, director, designers, or performers intended? If not, what does this open up for performance analysis? See pages 19-27
  5. Choose a performance you have viewed virtually and consider representations of gender in light of Fortier’s section on feminism. Does the production offer a critique to stereotypes or traditional societal views? Does it perpetuate limited understandings of a particular issue of gender, or does it point to ways of how people and/or society can be potentially transformed? 
  6. In the current COVID-19 crisis, what role can theatre and performance play and where can it be located? Online? Outdoors? In theatres that are modified for social distancing? What examples have you seen? Is theatre and performance being redefined in ways that might shape the future? What is your vision or suggestion as we move forward?

Reading list 

  • Fortier, Mark. (2016) Theory/Theatre: An Introduction. 3rd ed. London: Routledge.*

* Available electronically from Brunel Library after registration is completed. We recommend you purchase the book to take in-text notes, place post-its, etc. The Brunel Library electronic version is great for keyword searches. There is also a Kindle edition.