British Theatre Studies and Performance

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
By exploring a specific topic or topics, students will build on their already acquired knowledge and appreciation of theatre, dramatic literature, and performance in different cultural, historical, and interdisciplinary contexts.
They will be able to apply an eclectic range of critical tools, which they have selected from the overview of critical tools presented at B.A. Level, to explore specific texts as well as carrying out creative work in complex situations. In teacher-led seminars, they will study a small number of plays, exploring their potential in performance, by writing critiques and carrying out work in small groups (student-led), during which scenes from the plays are acted out and tested in performance. Under the guidance of teachers, students will also research, write and perform their own work in different settings, such as a theatre, a prison or a botanical garden. In many cases, students will be supervised by specialists in the Humanities but also specialists in biology and plant sciences, or other sciences according to the project at hand.
Students will learn about theatre translation theory and acquire practical translation tools. They will put this newly acquired theory into practice by translating fragments of plays, whether individually or in small groups, sometimes with the support of specialists and theatre practitioners. Their translations will be tested by professional actors whenever possible.
Students will be encouraged to produce portfolios, on their chosen subject, so developing an ability to carry out independent research. These portfolios, made up of written texts, audio and video materials, will reflect the students' growing competence not just as drama and theatre specialists but also in the area of digital humanities.
Through their participation in seminars and workshops, students will become steadily more aware of their social and ethical responsibilities as they understand better the possible roles of theatre studies specialists, writers, theatre critics and theatre makers in creating a society with strong ethical values marked by inclusion and sustainability.
Expected learning outcomes
Equipped with a knowledge of the trends in drama and theatre through the centuries and the acquistion of a large number of critical tools, students will be capable of selecting specific periods and areas of drama and theatre in order to carry out in depth research on their chosen topics. In fact they will know how to apply their selected kit of critical tools to delve deep into complexity and produce insightful criticism and creative, innovative portfolios.
Due to their exposure to teachers from different disciplines, they will be able to communicate their research findings to specialist audiences in both the Humanities and Sciences. Their work in different settings will make them adaptable and able to take on new challenges with self confidence, whether they go on to write a doctorate dissertation or embark on a career in their chosen sector.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
At the beginning of the course, a Microsoft Teams channel will be available, where classes will take place. To enter the team, please use the following code: 9zpevmg.
Course syllabus
The course title is : Contemporary Tempests in British Drama and Theatre (40/60 hours, 6/9 CFU)

Unit A: Shakespeare's The Tempest: migration and the environment.
Unit B: contemporary plays, with a focus on migration and multiculturalism.
Unit C: Translating British Drama for the Italian stage

Students from Languages and Literatures, Italian studies and Erasmus students may enroll on the course. If students require 6 cfu, they should study Units A and B. If students require 9 cfu, they should study the entire programme. The validity of the programme expires in February 2022.

British theatre and drama is well known for tackling contemporary issues, thanks to the innovative staging of classical plays, their reworking, and new writing. It is not surprising, then, that two topics central in today's world - the climate and environmental emergency and migration - are on the frontline to varying degrees and in different ways. In Module A we will explore Shakespeare's The Tempest, where these two subjects intertwine. We will examine the critical history of The Tempest, focusing particularly on recent critical studies which underscore its significance for our understanding not just of colonialism but also our meeting with Otherness. We will also see how the play takes on new meanings when performed in site specific settings, such as prisons and gardens. Particularly garden settings help us understand the play's relevance regarding the climate emergency. We will test this out by studying the play and by performing some rehearsed readings of scenes in a natural environment. Module B focuses on several plays that delve into the multicultural and multiethnic aspects of contemporary society, many of which underscore radical shifts in the creative process and the ever-changing function of theatre in today's world. We will be asking how these plays can create a greater awareness of and sensitivity towards multicultural issues. Module C is devoted to the translation of British drama for the Italian stage and concentrates on some of the plays in the first two modules as well as plays onstage in Milan this autumn. This module will deal with the basics of theatre translation studies and invite you to make your own annotated translation of a scene from one of the plays in the programme. Whenever you can, you should see these plays onstage, as indicated below.

Unit A
Shakespeare's The Tempest: migration and the environment
Shakespeare, William, The Tempest, eds., Virginia Mason Vaughan and Aldan T. Vaughan, Arden edition, 2011.
Shakespeare, William, La tempesta, trans. by Agostino Lombardo, with a video recording of Giorgio Strehler's production of La tempesta, Donzelli Editori, 2007,

Critical Works
Cristina Cavecchi, "Brave New World, The Tempest in Italian Prisons", special issue Will Forever Young Shakespeare and Contemporary Culture, Altre Modernità, 11, 2017, online.
Angela Ronchi, "Walking with Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet's Garden" in Shakespeare, our Personal Trainer, Cambridge Scholars, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, eds., Margaret Rose, Cristina Paravano, Roberta Situlin, 2018.
M. Rose and Cristina Paravano, "Why Shakespeare, our Personal Trainer?", Introduction, Shakespeare, our Personal Trainer, ibid.
Margaret Rose, "Gardens in Shakespeare's Day and in the 21st Century. Do we really need them?" in Shakespeare, our Personal Trainer, ibid.
Further critical works will be indicated at the beginning of the course

Unit B
Contemporary plays with a focus on migration and multiculturalism
Churchill, Caryl, Top Girls, any edition.
Kureishi, Hanif, Borderline in Plays One, London, Faber and Faber, 1999
Kwei Armah, Kwame, Let There Be Love, London, Methuen, 2003
Moorthy, Rani, A Handful of Henna (unpublished)
Poet, Frances, Adam, London, Nick Hern, 2017
Tucker Green, Debbie, Dirty Butterfly in Plays One, London, Nick Hern, 2018

Critical works
Davis, Geoffrey and Fuchs, Anne (eds.) Staging New Britain: Aspects of Black And South Asian British Theatre Practice. Dramaturgies, Texts, Cultures and Performances, Peter Lang, Zurich, 2006.
King, Barnaby "Landscapes of Arts and Fiction: Asian Theatre Arts in Britain" New Theatre Quarterly 16 (1), 2000.
Ley, Graham, "Theatre of Migration and the Search for a Multicultural Aesthetics: Twenty Years of Tara Arts", New Theatre Quarterly 13 (2), 1997.
Rebellato, Dan (ed.), Modern British Playwriting (2000 -2009), Bloomsbury, London, 2013.
Verma, J. "The Generations of the Diaspora and Multiculturalism in Britain", New Theatre Quarterly 25 (3), 2009

Unit C
Translating British Drama for the Italian Stage
Armah, Kwame Kwei, Let there be Love, trans. Cristina Marinetti and M. Rose (unpublished, available on Ariel)
Bennett, Alan, The Telegramme in Talking Heads, BBC Books, London, 2007. Il Telegramma, trans Maria Grazia Cini, Adelphi, Milano.
Hamilton, Godfrey, Road Move, trans. by Gian Maria Cervo (onstage at the Teatro Elfo Puccini19 -29 November). Details about the Italian translation will be provided at the beginning of the module.
Marber, Patrick, The Red Lion. Faber and Faber, London, 2015. Details about the Italian translation will be provided at the beginning of the module.
Moorthy, Rani, Handful of Henna (See Ariel website). Una manciata di henna, trans., C. Marinetti and M. Rose, Ledizioni, Milan, 2017.

Critical works:
Aaltonen, Sirkku, Time-Sharing on Stage. Drama Translation in Theatre and Society, Multilingual Matters, Clevedon, 2000.
Upton, C.A., Moving Target: Theatre Translation and Cultural Relocations, St. Jerome, Manchester, 2000.

If you are able, go and see the following plays onstage in theatres in Milan: Road Movie, Teatro dell'Elfo (19 to 29 November) and Patrick Marber, The Red Lion, 21 October to 3 November, Piccolo Teatro. Il telegramma, 22 October - 8 November, Teatro dell'Elfo.

Syllabus for non attending students:

Further reading for students who do not attend the course:
Edgar, David, How Plays Work, London, Nick Hern, 2003
Elam, Keir, The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama, London, Routledge,, 2002.
Melchiori, Giorgio, Shakespeare. Genesi e struttura delle opere, Bari, Laterza, 1994 (Introduction and the chapter, "Il mondo classico" pp. 511-556).
Prerequisites for admission
The course is taught in English, and the bibliography and teaching materials are almost entirely in English, so students need a good knowledge of the language. In order to attend the course, students should have attended one of the following courses: Storia del Teatro Inglese LT, another History of Theatre Course, the Beni Culturali course, or be Erasmus or International students. If you are interested in the course, but do not have the above mentioned qualification, you should discuss your specific case with the teacher, to evaluate the possibility of you attending the programme.
Teaching methods
Lectures and seminars will alternate during the semester. Seminars consist in students reading aloud and performing scenes from the plays in the programme as well as writing a critique of a chosen play they have seen on stage. Students also watch video materials and attend theatre performances. They are invited to comment critically on the videos and write a review of a show they have seen. Students also carry out individual projects and work in small groups. Unit C requires students to prepare a multi-media portfolio on the Italian translation of one of the authors in the module.
Teaching Resources
The Ariel website will provide further information as the course progresses and details of any programme changes. The final programme will be available on the Ariel website at the end of the course ( For Prof. Margaret Rose's office hours, see 'Chi e Dove' on Unimi webpage. Placements are available in theatres in Milan and in the UK. For further information, contact Prof. C. Cavecchi (
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is an oral one, during which the teacher asks questions. As well as general questions on the historical, social, cultural background of the authors and plays in the programme, there are also questions on the specific playtexts. Each exam varies in length according to the number of modules the student requires. The exam is in English, but for module C, some Italian is used seeing that the module pivots on theatre translation studies and the Italian translation of some British plays. The questions aim to assess whther the candidate is able to contextualise the plays in the specific historical, social and cultural background to which they belong, as well as assessing the student's ability to critically evaluate the plays in the programme. Qustions aim to evaluate the student's ability to deploy critical terms and to engage with the critical works in the programme. She or he should also be able to give a personal opinion on authors and works in the programme. If she or he has produced a portfolio (module C) or written a review about a performance they attended, these will be discussed and contribute to the final assessment. The various questions and disuccion are all part of the evaluation. The final mark (30 e lode maximum and 18 minimum, a pass) may be accepted or rejected by the student. If a student rejects the mark, her or his exam will be registered as ' ritirato'.
Incoming international and Erasmus students are asked to contact the teacher as soon as possible. Disabled students students and those with learning difficulties should discuss the exam with the teachers, together with the appropriate University Office, DSA.
Unità didattica A
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unità didattica B
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unità didattica C
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)