This compulsory MA/Postgraduate Diploma in Acting module begins with a brief introduction to various theories of character creation. The focus is on contemporary theatre practice within a historical context. Students will examine a range of theories developed by contemporary theatre practitioners. The work of the module is designed to reinforce the importance of research and to establish effective research techniques appropriate for practice-led actor training at postgraduate level.

Term One
The work of this term establishes and reinforces the importance of research at postgraduate level. You will work on establishing appropriate research techniques involving source and secondary material through a practical exercise inspired by an actual text, and group tutorials every second week. You will use research to examine the history of performance and will be given opportunities to experience reading and critically analysing plays, key theatre texts, and the structure of argument. You will gain an understanding of a range of the theories of key 20th Century practitioners.

Term Two
In the second term Contextual Studies will concentrate on contemporary theatre. You will continue exploring contemporary theatre theories and practices after Stanislavski. You will also be encouraged to reflect on your course experiences and training thus far, and to prepare yourself for the professional and cultural challenges before you in the "real" world. You will be encouraged to read about and to discuss new ideas and will be guided towards discussing and writing about your personal view of the issues and practices you may wish to pursue in your professional career. On a more formal abstract and academic level, you will be guided towards writing effectively and critical analysis of and about your ideas through a process supported by research using books, periodicals, interviews and other relevant source material.

In Week Two of the second term you will submit a 3,000 word essay on a topic set by the tutor that is intended to reflect your understanding of some aspect of the theoretical and practical work explored.

Term Three
All students will present a Personal Development Portfolio to accompany their final performance project (EA403). This is a critical and analytical reflection on the process of research and rehearsal leading to the final performance, supported by relevant background documentation where appropriate.