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THEA454 Special Topic: Theatre from Science

Exploring the relationship between theatre and science, with specific reference to new and emerging trends and developments. This paper contains a significant practice-led component and presumes no prior experience in science.

Theatre and the sciences have had a centuries-long association; plays have been written about scientists and scientific ideas, and performances with science at their core have been enjoyed for generations. The newly emergent field of Theatre and Science sees theatre and performance engage with scientific ideas and stories in a range of fresh ways that bring science closer to communities, and that create innovative artistic responses to scientific ideas.

Paper title Special Topic: Theatre from Science
Paper code THEA454
Subject Theatre Studies
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Full Year (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,409.28
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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72 300-level THEA points
(i) Admission to THEA 454 requires Departmental Permission. Students wishing to apply for this paper must contact Theatre Studies to complete an application form and to arrange an interview. (ii) With approval from the Programme Co-ordinator, the normal prerequisite may be waived for students with an equivalent level of knowledge. To do this, apply for Special Permission at the 'Review and Submit' stage of your application.

Students need a background in Theatre Studies and an interest in creating theatre that is relevant and accessible.

Contact until January 19th 2023 and after January 19th 2023.

Teaching staff

Associate Professor Hilary Halba as well as a range of guest teachers.

Paper Structure

Theatre From Science has a strong practical focus, supported by seminar-style classes where ideas and concepts are discussed and analysed.


Shepherd-Barr, Kirsten (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Theatre and Science. Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, New Delhi, Singapore: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

There will also be readings drawn from journals and from online.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Teamwork, Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • Develop an understanding of the range of contemporary and historical plays and performances that have their roots in science (graduate attributes: global perspective, critical thinking, research);
  • Develop and demonstrate an understanding of multiple and diverse ways in which the sciences have informed both subject and form in theatre (graduate attributes: global perspective, critical thinking, research, communication);
  • Demonstrate an understanding of key theories and practical approaches pertinent to this field of performance (graduate attributes: critical thinking, research, communication);
  • Transfer theoretical concepts into a performance (graduate attributes: lifelong learning, critical thinking, self-motivation, teamwork, communication);
  • Begin to develop and implement an individual practice-led approach to creating theatre from science (graduate attributes: critical thinking, lifelong learning, self-motivation, teamwork, research, communication).

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 15:00-16:50 28-33
Tuesday 14:00-15:50 9-14, 16, 18-22
Thursday 10:00-11:50 9-14, 16-22
Friday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36