Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Reflection on Feedback From Module Two

The feedback from Module Two was quite positive and I am happy that I am investigating the right subject in the right way for my intended future professional practice.

The feedback indicated that my inquiry plan was "well structured" and said that the initial research was good, but additional research questions were suggested in order to relate my research directly to my intended future practice in dramaturgy. This is something I have already considered and will continue to think about as I compile my research.

"...when working as a Production Dramaturg it is very often on new productions or adaptations that they are called in to assist." Fortunately I have since had the opportunity to work in a production role (although not as a dramaturg) on a couple of new productions, and have taken on a role within the Literary Department for the theatre, where I am directly involved in reading, viewing and assessing new plays and productions.

The feedback suggested allowing enough time in the planning to "...develop the implications of impact from your work in Module Three" which I have recently begun planning for through the use of GANTT charts, as suggested in the handbook for Module Three.

It was indicated that my proposed inquiry tools may be a little "all encompassing" however since beginning the planning for the research, time constraints (both my own and of others!) have meant that I have had to be a lot more concise with my interviews, so hopefully this will mean that my findings will be more focussed.

The literature I identified as part of Module Two was considered relevant, so I hope that the newly identified literature is equally appropriate. I am sure it will be useful for my continuing research as many of the books and articles have been identified through the 'Further Reading' sections of the original literature.

Regarding the ethics of my inquiry, I have been advised to "...continue to discuss and monitor this" and suggested approaching the theatre itself for any information that has already been gathered regarding audience feedback, stating that "...finding usable datasets is also valuable..." However, as previously mentioned, elements of my inquiry are changing slightly, which may mean that as the research continues, this part of my proposal may no longer be needed. I am hoping to focus more now on the dramaturgical elements of the inquiry as opposed to the reactionary elements (as I had originally intended to do.)

The feedback suggests that I now "...look at what [I] hope to accomplish, and define and focus this..." I have also begun to conduct the interviews with those identified at the theatre as being relevant to my inquiry topic - this is where I cam up against the time constraints of others, however while I was planning the interviews I identified several more participants than I originally required, so despite several of them being unable to take part, I am still able to gain feedback from more people than I originally planned for!

Overall I am pleased with the feedback and felt it was very constructive (and quite complimentary!), and I am confident in beginning Module Three. I have been advised to continue blogging, keeping my journal, contributing to SIG's, and engaging with peers both on the course and within my community of practice (which, thanks to the theatre, has grown significantly since beginning Module One!)

Monday, 21 September 2015

Literature Review: The Theatre Makers - David Chadderton

The Theatre Makers: How Seven Great Artists Shaped the Modern Theatre - David Chadderton. Published by Studymates. Kindle Edition

·         Who is the author/authors/publishers of the text?
Author: David Chadderton
Publisher: Studymates

·         When was the text written?
It is copyrighted in 2013

·         Where was the text written/produced?
Chadderton is based in Manchester. The publisher is based in Abergele.

Who is the intended audience for the text?
Theatre practitioners, researchers, teachers and facilitators.

·         What are the authors’/publishers intentions in relation to the reader?
“… to bring the practice and theory back together using practical examples to aid understanding of the theoretical principles.”

·         What is the writers’/publishers’ own position in relation to the subject being written about?
Chadderton holds a theatre Masters degree, and is Head Of Education for a youth arts company in Manchester. He is also an editor and broadcaster on the subject of theatre and works in various capacities across the country advising and lecturing on theatre.

·         What assumptions are the authors/publishers making, and how does this text invite the reader to share them?
The author makes no assumptions on behalf of the reader, beyond an interest in theatre practice. I feel as though the text is aimed mainly at Drama teachers and facilitators, however it is accessible and interesting.

·         What is the style of writing of the text, and how does this influence the reading?
The style of writing is informal and informative. It is written relatively simply but goes into more detail on occasion, and this allows for an easy read and quick, if not in-depth, understanding and assimilation of the information.

Highlighting notes 

I used this text in order to investigate and consolidate information found in other literature sources, as, during my reading I have come across numerous references to theatre practitioners who have influenced, and continue to influence, the theatre of today. I found this book extremely useful in aiding my understanding of the core theories of several of these practitioners, and the bibliography has provided me with further reading material if needed.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Literature Review: Theatre In Crisis? - Maria M. Delgado & Caridad Svich

'Theatre In Crisis? Performance Menifestos for a New Century.' Edited by Maria M. Delgado & Caridad Svich. Published by Manchester University Press, 2002

·         Who is the author/authors/publishers of the text?
There are several authors of the various manifestos throughout the book, however the credited editors are Maria M. Delgado and Caridad Svich.

Published by Manchester University Press.

·         When was the text written?
The various manifestos have been compiled over the last years of the 20th Century and the earliest of the 21st: the book in its present form was first published in 2002

·         Where was the text written/produced? Published by Manchester University Press

Maria M. Delgado is a Reader in Drama and Theatre Arts at Queen Mary University, London

Caridad Svich is an international theatre practitioner and is a member of New Dramatists in New York.

·         Who is the intended audience for the text?
“…those people who practice theatre to have a dialogue with those who think and write about it… The books in this series are aimed at students, scholars, practitioners and theatre-visiting readers.”

·         What are the authors’/publishers intentions in relation to the reader?
         “… [to] encourage reassessments of periods, companies and figures in twentieth-century and twenty-first-century theatre history, and provoke and take up discussions of cultural strategies and legacies that recognise the heterogeneity of performance studies. ”

·         What is the writers’/publishers’ own position in relation to the subject being written about?
Maria M. Delgado is an editor of plays, has edited Contemporary Theatre Review, and co-edited several publications for Manchester University Press on the subject of theatre. “She is the author of numerous articles on contemporary theatre practice and a translator of dramatists… [and] A fellow of the Royal Society of Arts…”

“Caridad Svich is a playwright-songwriter-translator.” She has worked in theatre across several continents and “her work has been seen at theatres in Britain, Belgium and Canada. She has taught playwrighting… [and] is the co-editor of…” several contemporary theatre anthologies, magazines and compilations.

·         What assumptions are the authors/publishers making, and how does this text invite the reader to share them? The fact that the book is published by Manchester University Press indicates that this is aimed at a more intellectual level than the casual theatre observer. The articles and manifestos cover several different styles, points of view and cultural influences, leading to no one assumption or conclusion, but a rounded investigation of the various implications of theatre and its practice across society.

·         What is the style of writing of the text, and how does this influence the reading?
The writing is very academic, pitched at the level of serious students or investigative research. The reading is quite in-depth and requires a level of serious focus. However, due to the large amount of relatively short manifestos or articles, it was easy to read in lots of short bursts.

Making Notes!

Despite this book being published outside of the specific time period I am focussing on, it is useful for me to gain an insight into the thoughts and theories that were emerging prior to the decade I am looking at. This book has enabled me to understand different points of view from different practitioners across theatre (including directors, performers, and critics) and allowed me to think about the subject I am investigating from other angles.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Literature Review: New Performance/New Writing - John Freeman

'New Performance/New Writing' by John Freeman. Published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2007

·         Who is the author/publisher of the text?
John Freeman – published by Palgrave Macmillan

·         When was the text written?

·         Where was the text written/produced?
“Freeman is Senior Tutor for the School of Arts at Brunel University…”

Palgrave Macmillan is based in Hampshire, UK

·         Who is the intended audience for the text?
“…those wishing to explore… innovative approaches to writing for performance.”

·         What are the authors’/publishers intentions in relation to the reader?
          “… [to] provide both practical and theoretical support for drama and performance students…”

·         What is the writers’/publishers’ own position in relation to the subject being written about?
“Freeman… has written extensively on contemporary performance and new theatre writing, with recent articles published in the Guardian, Contemporary Theatre Review, and the Journal of Higher Education. He is the author of Tracing the Footprints and the former editor of Performance Practice.

“Palgrave Macmillan is a global academic publisher, serving learning and scholarship in higher education and the professional world.” (www.palgrave.com)

·         What assumptions are the authors/publishers making, and how does this text invite the reader to share them?
The backgrounds of both the writer and the publisher lead the reader to assume the book is targeted at those who have a deep interest and understanding of theatre and contemporary performance practice.

The book itself does not lead to any assumptions or conclusions; it is an investigation into modern styles of performance and theatrical presentation, taking into account movements in art and technology, and even politics, to explore how performance is influenced by, and can influence, society.

·         What is the style of writing of the text, and how does this influence the reading?

The writing is very academic and often uses obscure words and references, although case studies are featured throughout and shed some light on the main body of text.

I found it quite difficult to read in parts, due to the constant references, quotes, and occasional forays into other subject areas such as psychology (when discussing the surrealist movement), however the writer is obviously very passionate about his subject and this translated well.

This book has provided me with a deeper understanding of the background to contemporary performance and theatre; the case studies and bibliography have given me ideas for further reading and investigation into theatre theories, and has clarified, for me, some of the thinking about current theatre practice.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Looking Ahead To Module Three

It's getting closer to the start of 'term'; I've been looking through the UniHub site, and I have also downloaded the Module Handbook and Reader Seven in preparation.

My initial reaction to reading through the two documents was one of feeling overwhelmed by how much there seemed to be to do and consider! However I have taken the time to read through them both again, making notes as I go, and I have realised it's actually not as scary as I thought it might be to being with!

Over the Summer I haven't blogged very much, and I have to admit I thought I'd find it difficult to get back my focus. I have, however, been keeping my Journal, and, reading back through it, realised I've been thinking about my research more than I initially assumed I had!


Extracts from my Journal

I took the advice in the Reader and looked up GANTT Charts as a way of planning my time and my schedule. I found this resource very helpful in working out how to compile my own; https://theresearchwhisperer.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/gantt-chart/

I tried to use a resource called 'Smartsheet', which is an online Gantt chart creator; however I found it incredibly complicated and elected to make my own using Microsoft Excel in the end!

My basic Gantt Chart!

Due to the topic of my inquiry, I had to start the interview and research phase quite early in order to make sure that the productions I was using for the case study matched the parameters of my investigation. I have also given myself extra time outside of the research phase (consolidate interview information) in case of any obstacles to gathering all of the interviews during the time I have allocated myself.

I have already begun gathering literature, working on the basis that I set during Module Two (Literature Review). However now I have decided on the direction of my inquiry I have started locating sources that are directly relevant to New Theatre and New Writing, along with theories on theatre and its practice. I'm keeping a bibliography as I go, so I don't forget any of the sources that I have used, even if I don't end up directly referencing them in my Critical Review. Over the next couple of weeks I will blog my Literature Reviews, using the guidelines in the Reader.

Some of the books I have read/am reading!

Over the next couple of days I will look back at the feedback from Module Two, using my knowledge of the direction I will be taking throughout Module Three.

I'm getting myself back into 'uni' mode, and I'm excited to really get stuck in now! Maybe it's the change in seasons, with it being September, I'm really ready to go Back To School!