Theatres of Space, Form and Colour: Constructivism and the Bauhaus (DRA2095)

StaffProfessor Cathy Turner - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • Introduce you to key concepts, histories and techniques associated with Russian Constructivism and Bauhaus theatre, with an emphasis on uses of space, form and colour
  • Develop abilities to create visual compositions, using simple materials
  • Consider the movement of figures in space, viewing the body as the source of line and rhythm
  • Connect theatre history to recent and contemporary practice
  • Develop an understanding of theatre design principles
  • Develop approaches to non-narrative theatre/dance
  • Develop an ability to analyse aesthetic concepts and their social significance

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge of Constructivist and Bauhaus theatre history
  • 2. Demonstrate an ability to work with space, form and colour in performance making
  • 3. Demonstrate understanding of compositional principles based on formal and visual exploration

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Develop the ability to relate to others in theatrical processes and performances; to work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and to initiate and sustain straightforward creative, analytic and interpretative work (within strict time limits) and basic technical competence.
  • 5. Develop confidence in the ability to contribute research to small groups in effective presentations and to evaluate visual evidence (and analyse, critique and manipulate complex material).
  • 6. Understand how to translate theory into practice.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Demonstrate group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback and to improve communication skills and analytic abilities in discussions.
  • 8. Express and communicate creative ideas and images; ability to initiate and sustain creative work, both group and solo.
  • 9. Develop personal research skills using personal initiative; to set personal objectives and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies,

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:

  • The module will begin with an introduction to Constructivism, establishing a physical vocabulary for use in performance.
  • It will move on to integrate this with stage constructions, experimenting with the idea of kiosk and agit-stand.
  • The middle weeks will focus on the German Bauhaus, reconstructing experiments with body, line, colour, light and objects. This may include an exploration of grids, lines and circles as a basis for movement; exploration of colour theory; creation of lightshows; creation of props and costumes from found materials and reconstruction and reinvention of Bauhaus Dances and Mechanical Ballets.
  • The final weeks will comprise work towards a performance integrating techniques and concepts learned during the module, transposing these into a contemporary context.

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 teaching662x 3-hour practical classes per week, comprising staff-led creative workshops, and including, as stimulus to practical work, one staff-led lecture presentation followed by discussion at the start of each week. If necessary, these hours could be redistributed to adapt to blended learning
Guided independent study234Staff-set student tasks including individual and group creative tasks, object making, performance creation and preparation for seminars and performance work.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation (in pairs10 minutes1,6,9Oral

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
Essay302000 words1,6,9Writen
Process into Performance70Contribution to ensemble performance of 45 minutes; selected Log Book material; preparation for and engagement in taught sessions1-4,7-8Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-9Referral/Deferral period
Process into PerformanceEssay (4000 words or equivalent if using audio-visual materials.)1-9Referral/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

Basic reading:

  • Braun, E. (1995). Meyerhold: A Revolution in Theatre. London, Methuen.
  • Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo (1961) [1924] ‘Theater, Circus, Variety’ in Theater of the Bauhaus, ed. Walter Gropius, trans. Arthur S. Wensinger, Middletown: Wesleyan University, 48-70
  • Molnár, Farkas (2002) [1925], ‘Life at the Bauhaus’ trans John Bátki. From Between Two Worlds: A Sourcebook of Central European Avant-Gardes, 1910-1930 (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press) and with photographs of costume parties, found at, accessed October 25, 2013.
  • Pitches, Jonathan (2018), Vsevolod Meyerhold, London, Routledge.
  • Schlemmer, Oskar (1996) [ca.1921] ‘Man and Art Figure’ in The Twentieth Century Performance Reader, Huxley, Michael and Witts, Noel, pp.359-371
  • Turner, Cathy (2015), Dramaturgy and Architecture: Theater, Utopia and the Built Environment, Chapters 3 and 4.

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Key words search

European theatre; Modernism; Performance art; Constructivism; Bauhaus; Design