Women and Performance in Britain, 1700-1928

Drama and Theatre Arts, School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies

College of Arts and Law


Code 22835

Level of study Second Year

Credit value 20

Semester 1

Pre-requisite modules You must have completed at least one year of appropriate study in this discipline.

Module description

This module will examine women’s theatre activity from the eighteenth century to the awarding of the vote to all adult women in the UK in 1928 (that is, before the second wave of feminism of the post-WWII period). The module will pose the question: what happens to when we approach British theatre history with women’s work (as writers and performers) at the centre of our investigation? We will research answers to this question, through a focus on women’s writing for the theatre as playwrights, theatre critics and aesthetic theorists, and accounts of women’s theatrical practice as performers, directors, and managers.

The module will look at selected women theatre practitioners as both working professionals, and artists who transgress ideological models of femininity. The module will offer a selection of feminist theoretical approaches to the study of women’s work in theatre and performance, including approaches through queer theory, the study of visual culture and feminist visual theory, and a commitment to the revision of canonical theatre history. Wherever possible, set reading will focus on autobiographical writings by the named women, plus contemporary critical comment, and an analysis of the iconography of visual culture around the theatre.

Teaching and learning methods