Divison of Humanities
Department of English Language and Literature
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Theatre Studies
Minor in Theatre Studies (with effect from AY2007-08)
What is it about
The programme, established in 1992, is the first degree-conferring programme in Theatre Studies in Singapore. Its theoretical and practical modules seek to:
- develop a comprehensive understanding of theatre practices in different forms and cultures, and of important critical approaches to the study of theatre;
- provide students with practical experience of the theatre in operation both as a framework to theoretical understanding and as a means of developing relevant performance and production skills; and
- train students in undertaking research in the field of theatre studies.
Theatre Studies examines the practical and theoretical aspects of theatre, in both Eastern and Western traditions. Students gain practical experience in theatre through theatre productions and from attachments to professional theatre companies.
In the foundational module, students are introduced to tools of dramatic and performance analysis such as semiotics, dramaturgy and contemporary theories of performance. This is complemented by practical work in stage space, design, technical production, acting and directing. Subsequently, students majoring in Theatre Studies select modules from amongst four main groups:
(2) Topics in Theatre;
(3) Theory and Practice; and
(4) Performance and Cultural Studies.
Survey modules train students to make connections across broad historical or cultural areas of theatre. Topics in Theatre provide modules in more specialized topics such as Singapore English-Language Theatre, and Theatre and Post-modernism. Theory and Practice modules integrate critical study and practical work, for instance in Acting Theory and Practice. Performance and Cultural Studies modules examine the mode of theatre in cross-disciplinary studies, comparing different mediums of performance, and exploring performativity in cultural practices.
The Department of English Language and Literature offers its students majoring in Theatre Studies a variety of special programmes including internships on TS3245 Professional Theatre Internship; collaborations with writers on the NUS-FASS and The Old Parliament House (TOPH) Writing Fellowship; a developing creative writing track; and, first-hand experience staging a production on TS3103 Play Production.
Arts 3 and Arts 4 Theatre Studies majors reading TS3245 Professional Theatre Internship have the opportunity to intern with a theatre company or arts organization in areas such as stagecraft, stage production, event planning, theatre in education, research and administration. Selection is competitive, and is based on interviews and portfolios. Through research papers, regular reports, and a final presentation, students will learn to integrate theoretical knowledge with theatre practice, while honing their teamwork and problem-solving skills.
The NUS-FASS and The Old Parliament House (TOPH) Writing Fellowship
A first for Singapore, this Fellowship was listed as one of the arts scene's top 10 important developments in 2004. It seeks to nurture and stimulate creative writing by supporting emerging writers as they develop a substantial work, and generating critical discussion through a variety of public programmes. The first recipient of the Fellowship, playwright Huzir Sulaiman, currently teaches EN2271 Introduction to Playwriting (see creative writing below).
The Department is planning to develop a Creative Writing track with three strands - poetry writing, playwriting and prose writing - and modules within each strand at levels 2000 to 4000 (introductory, intermediate and advanced). The first module to be offered, EN2271 Introduction to Playwriting , introduces techniques and genres of playwriting, equipping students with the resources needed to write for the contemporary stage.
TS3103 Play Production
As the graduation production of the Theatre Studies Programme, this module represents the culmination of a student's training in theatre. The production project provides the graduating cohort with the collaborative experience of mounting a professional theatre production as a company. Working under the guidance of a different guest director each year, students develop creative and practical skills in the various aspects of the production process as actors, stage designers, and production and marketing teams.
Graduates in Theatre Studies are well-trained for a variety of arts and media careers, such as journalism, arts design, planning and practice, but they also have the potential to enter a wide range of professions extending from teaching and research to the diplomatic service. Graduates in Theatre Studies are in heavy demand in a variety of theatre-related openings with such organizations as MediaCorp, MICA, NAC, and the Esplanade.