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COL @ The Lyceum: An Introduction to Theatre (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

What does it take to be a civic theatre in 21st Century Scotland? This course offers the opportunity to explore the workings of one of Scotland's leading building-based producing theatres. Through a mixture of lectures, talks, tours and practical workshops, students will learn about modern theatre programming and production.

Please note, this course takes place at the Lyceum Theatre.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


Content of Course

1. General introduction to the Theatre

Overview of different types of theatre models, i.e. producing, receiving, touring; roles and responsibilities of those who work in/for a theatre; life-cycle of a show from conception to final night.

2. Seasons

Why and how plays are chosen, how does an Artistic Director program a season? Gender balance considerations of cast and creatives, political and social aims. Students will be asked to review previous seasons, and consider why each play was chosen.

3. Set, Lighting and Costume

Introduction to the roles of set, lighting and costume designer, introduction to design terminology, techniques, tools etc. As a piece of formative assessment, students will have the opportunity to develop their own mood board for a play which should include a consideration of the colour palette, style of furniture, lighting, and costume.

4. Marketing / Communications / Audience development

Role and responsibilities of the marketing and communications team - how do they create a design brief? Students will compare and contrast the marketing of the same play in different venues and engage in discussion relating to audience demographics. As a piece of formative assessment, students will have the opportunity to write a marketing design brief or a press release, for a show.

5. Warehouse visit

Students will tour the theatre's set design and costume warehouse and gain insight in to the creative and practical methods and techniques relating to set, prop, and costume design and manufacture.

6. Backstage tour

Students will experience a backstage tour of the Lyceum building and discuss the building's history. Students will be asked to discuss the building in relation to the practical staging of plays, such as the challenges a proscenium arch presents when staging modern plays.

7. The approach of Director

An overview of a director's role, and methods such as naturalistic/non-naturalistic; discussion of key historic figures of theatre including playwrights and directors; exploration of different types of theatre staging (e.g. proscenium arch, in the round, thrust, and site specific). Students will read closely selected scenes from plays and discuss, from a director's point of view, the setting and staging considerations.

8. Creative Learning

Overview and discussion about the role and importance of outreach and engagement. Students will explore ideas for engaging new audiences and consider the barriers to theatre attendance. As a formative assessment, students will be given the opportunity to design the brief for a creative learning event.

9. Stage Management

Introduction to stage directions, how to create a 'prompt book' and consideration of its purpose; an examination of the role of stage management throughout the process; overview of props sourcing.

Teaching method(s)

Students will learn in a supportive, small group setting, and care will be taken to ensure all students are encouraged to participate actively. Students will be expected to take part in lectures, group activities and practical workshops throughout the course. Attainment of the learning outcomes will be evident through participation in the workshops and class discussions and, if working towards credit, will be evidenced in the final assessment. Lectures, talks, and practical workshops.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be bale to:

  • Demonstrate awareness of the considerations, decisions, and challenges associated with the artistic direction and programming of a working theatre;

  • Analyse and respond creatively to scripts, theatre practices and methodologies, constructing and communicating arguments using recognised terminology both orally and in writing;

  • Compare, contrast explore a range of production skills by considering aspects such as set design, costume, marketing, staging and casting when creating a show.

  • Collate and present ideas clearly and creatively.


Core Readings

  • Performance and Civic Engagement / edited by Ananda Breed, Tim Prentki. Ananda Breed; Tim Prentki, Cham: Springer International Publishing: Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan; 2018

  • Theatre, Performance and Change / edited by Stephani Etheridge Woodson, Tamara Underiner. Etheridge Woodson; Tamara Underiner, Cham: Springer International Publishing: Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan; 2018

  • The twentieth-century performance reader / edited by Michael Huxley and Noel Witts. Michael Huxley 1949-; Noel Witts 1937-, London: Routledge; 2002

  • Shakespeare and Conceptual Blending Cognition, Creativity, Criticism / by Michael Booth. Michael. Booth, Cham: Springer International Publishing: Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan; 2017

  • Anti-War Theatre After Brecht Dialectical Aesthetics in the Twenty-First Century / by Lara Stevens. Lara. Stevens SpringerLink (Online service), London Palgrave Macmillan UK; 2016

  • Empathy as Dialogue in Theatre and Performance / by Lindsay B. Cummings. Lindsay B. Cummings SpringerLink (Online service), London: Palgrave Macmillan UK; 2016


10 credit courses have one assessment. Normally, the assessment is a 2000 word essay, worth 100% of the total mark, submitted by week 12. To pass, students must achieve a minimum of 40%. There are a small number of exceptions to this model which are identified in the Studying for Credit Guide.

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.