University of the West of England


(Revised October 2005)

Code: UATPG3-40-M Title: Assistant Director – Theatre Version: 3

Level: M UWE credit rating: 40 ECTS credit rating: 20

Module type: Professional Practice

Owning Faculty: FCA/ BOVTS Field: Acting

Valid from: February 2008 Discontinued from:

Contributes towards: Postgraduate Diploma in Drama Directing

MA Drama Directing

Pre-requisites: none

Co-requisites: none

Excluded combinations: none

Learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students will be expected to be able to:

    • assist the director of a production in all aspects of planning, casting and scheduling a public presentation together with acting as liaison with all other creative contributants including stage management, design, costume, props, carpentry, lighting, sound, special effects, marketing/publicity, production management/budgetary control and to facilitate the smooth running of rehearsals and performances;

    • conduct rehearsals alongside or in the absence of the director;

    • observe, monitor and give appropriate notes on all public performances in the absence of the director;

    • liaise with the stage manager and appropriate heads of department regarding the need for additional rehearsal, technical adjustments or changes;

    • manage a production team under the supervision of the director;

Syllabus outline:

The module begins with attendance at performance and technical classes introducing the students to the relevant vocabularies and disciplines of the wide range of skills and knowledge necessary to theatre production.

In liaison with the tutor, the student will then become the designated assistant director on a public production. The tutor and/or director will brief the student on the concept of the production and involve the student in all discussions and decision-making processes including meetings and briefings with the departments responsible for design, costume, stage management, lighting design, sound design, props, carpentry and publicity.

The student will conduct rehearsals alongside and in the absence of the director and be made responsible for selected scenes.

The student will liaise with all other departments at the instigation of or in the absence of the director and will be actively involved in all final lighting, technical and dress rehearsals leading to the first performance.

The student will then monitor all public performances on behalf of the director, reporting any problems to the director or, as appropriate, devising solutions.

It is expected that the student will take full advantage of the ‘producing house’ environment in which all performance and technical skills are being taught and exercised to work closely with actors at all stages of their training and to strive to improve his/her knowledge, skill and understanding in all departments.

Teaching and learning methods:

The syllabus for this module is delivered through a variety of teaching methods, including individual tutorials, practical workshops and classes, and self-driven research, action, reflection and evaluation.

Tutor-led subject classes are given during the earliest weeks of term to allow time for full exploration of responsibilities. The main body of the module will be delivered through practical attachment to the designated director in all aspects of realising the production in a public theatre. At key points individual tutorials take place. These are which are reflective and developmental in nature promoting self-evaluation and action planning.

Reading Strategy:

Students are encouraged to become familiar with the subject area, and texts specific to the module, through reading lists and reference material provided in the course handbook. Lists are updated annually to maintain currency and relevance. Each department holds texts and reference material, as well as the general access provided to the Schools library and access to the Internet. The specifically vocational nature of training and study, combined with the project based nature of learning on the course, may require that students are guided to reading and research material in the first instance by the module leader.

NB: BOVTS students do not have access to UWE Libraries and UWE OnLine'

Indicative sources:

The following list is offered to provide validation panels/accrediting bodies with an indication of the type and level of information students may be expected to consult. As such, its currency may wane during the life span of the module specification. However, as indicated above, CURRENT advice on readings will be available via other more frequently updated mechanisms.

The appropriate play text and background research material

P. Brook The Empty Space (Pelican, London 1972)

P. Brook The Shifting Point (Methuen, London 1988)

P. Brook There Are No Secrets (Methuen, London 1993)

P. Hall Diaries (Hamish Hamilton, London 1983)

L. Strasberg (Bloomsbury, NY 1988)

K. Stanislavsky (Methuen, London 1980)

J. Barton Playing Shakespeare (Methuen, London 1984)

J. Willett ed Brecht On Theatre (Methuen, London 1964)

M. Stafford-Clark Letters To George (Nick Hern Books, London 1989)

J. Grotowski Towards A Poor Theatre (Methuen, London 1969)

R. Eyre National Service, a diary of a decade) (Bloomsbury, London 2003)

Plus any texts from the English Dramatic Repertoire


This is a Professional Practice Module.

Assessment outcome: Pass / Fail


First Assessment Opportunity

Component A

Assistant Director - Theatre

Assessment of the process and execution of the role of assistant director on a public theatre production.

In assessing this module, judgements relate back to the learning outcomes but specific attention will be paid to the process elements of the work. In particular a full understanding of their role, conduct and rehearsal etiquette, combined with the ability to take responsibility and work sensitively with others is a key aspect of the judgements to be made.

Frequent contact with the director of the production ensures that the student has a professional theatre mentor. As such the director will provide the main source of evidence and judgements on the student’s talent, conduct and ability.

Assessment Strategy

Conducted through tutorials at specific points in the process by the head of course or designated tutor. The results of these tutorials combined with feedback from other staff involved with the production (specifically the director of the production) will allow a cumulative judgement to be made at the end of the module.

Second Assessment Opportunity (further attendance at taught classes is required)


SECOND (OR SUBSEQUENT) ATTEMPT: Attendance at taught classes is required.


Specification confirmed by …………………………………………………Date ……………………………

(Associate Dean/Programme Director)

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