Modernist Drama in Contemporary Theatre (DRA2092)

StaffDr Adrian Curtin - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims:

  • to introduce you to modernism in general, and to modernist drama, in particular
  • to help you to situate modernist plays in their historical contexts
  • to examine how and why contemporary dramatists and theatre-makers re-present modernist plays
  • to enable you to use scholarly writing to interpret dramatic texts and theatrical performances

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Identify and explain salient features of modernist drama and contemporary re-workings thereof
  • 2. Outline a hypothetical re-working of a modernist play that is artistically nuanced, socially conscious, and historically mindful
  • 3. Analyse, in written form, a contemporary re-working of a modernist play, using critical theory and historiography

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Contribute research to small groups in effective presentations, to evaluate evidence and analyse, critique and manipulate complex material
  • 5. Apply library and IT skills in independent additional research

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Develop personal research skills using personal initiative; to set personal objectives and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies
  • 7. Develop group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback and to improve communication skills and analytic abilities in discussions

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • modernism
  • theatrical modernism
  • theories of adaptation, particularly as they relate to drama and theatre
  • critical theory and its application to the analysis of drama and theatre
  • modernist drama
  • contemporary theatre
  • postmodernism

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching33Seminar activities and tutorials
Guided independent study99Preparation for seminars
Guided independent study57Preparation for presentation
Guided independent study111Essay preparation and writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation plan1000 words1-2, 4-5, 7Written and oral
Essay plan1000 words1, 3, 5-6Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Continuous assessment 10Engagement in seminars over the course of the term 1, 6Written
Group presentation4015 minutes per student1-2, 4-5, 7Written
Essay503000 words1, 3, 5-6written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Continuous assessmentRe[peat study/mitigation1-6N/a
Group presentationIndividual presentation1,2,5,6Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay1,2,5,6Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Babbage, Frances. Adaptation in Contemporary Theatre: Performing Literature. London: Bloomsbury, 2017.
  • Berghaus, Günter. Theatre, Performance, and the Historical Avant-Garde. New York: Palgrave, 2010.
  • Brodie, Geraldine, and Emma Cole. Adapting Translation for the Stage. London: Taylor & Francis, 2017.
  • Brooker, Peter et al., eds. The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms. Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Friedman, Susan Stanford. Planetary Modernisms: Provocations on Modernity across Time. Columbia University Press, 2015.
  • Gale, Maggie B., and John F. Deeney, eds. The Routledge Drama Anthology and Sourcebook: From Modernism to Contemporary Performance. London: Routledge, 2012.
  • Johnston, Kirsty. Disability Theatre and Modern Drama: Recasting Modernism. London: Bloomsbury, 2016.
  • Laera, Margherita, ed. Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat. London: Bloomsbury, 2014.
  • Lindgren, Allana, and Stephen Ross, eds. The Modernist World. London: Routledge, 2015.
  • Puchner, Martin. Stage Fright: Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2002.
  • Reilly, Kara, ed. Contemporary Approaches to Adaptation in Theatre. London: Palgrave, 2018.
  • Shepherd-Barr, Kirsten. Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Warden, Claire. Modernist and Avant-Garde Performance: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.
  • Wollaeger, Mark, and Matt Eatough, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Global Modernisms. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Worthen, William B. Print and the Poetics of Modern Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Zinman, Toby. Replay: Classic Modern Drama Reimagined. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Modernism, drama, contemporary theatre, adaptation