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THEA221 Theatre: Ancient to Contemporary

A survey of international theatre from Ancient Theatre to Contemporary Performance. The conceptual, critical understanding of plays, productions, and the formal characteristics of different types of performance.

This paper introduces students to some of the most important movements, authors and styles of theatre from ancient times through to contemporary performance. We look at not just the content of works - what is said in them - but also form - how it is said. THEA 221 is a core second-year paper in Theatre Studies at the University of Otago.

Paper title Theatre: Ancient to Contemporary
Paper code THEA221
Subject Theatre Studies
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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THEA 122
Schedule C
Arts and Music

Teaching staff

Paper Co-ordinators:  Professor Stuart Young and Ryan Hartigan

Paper Structure

This subject is largely taught through lectures and seminars.

Further information on teaching arrangements is given in the course outline, which is updated annually.

Teaching Arrangements

Assessment is a combination of critical writing and oral presentations, with the options of a) performances of scenes and b) re-imagining and rewriting of classic texts.

Further information on assessments is given in the course outline, which is updated annually on the basis of student feedback and other changes.


Required Texts:

  • Beckett, Samuel, Waiting for Godot (Grove)
  • Bertolt, Mother Courage and Her Children, trans. Kushner (Methuen)
  • Chekhov, Anton, tbc
  • Euripides, The Bacchae in The Bacchae and Other Plays, trans. Davie (Penguin)
  • Ibsen, Henrik, Hedda Gabler in Plays Two, trans. Meyer (Methuen)
  • Kane, Sarah, Crave (Methuen)

Other texts may be prescribed, including supplementary texts for group projects.

Course outline

Please contact the School of Performing Arts for a copy of the most recent paper profile.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the subject will gain basic literacy in key theatrical authors, styles, forms, and terms, as well as skills in research, essay writing and communicating knowledge and ideas.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 9-14, 16, 18-22
Thursday 10:00-11:50 9-14, 16-22