Theatre & Performance

5th – 17th August 2024






This two-week course provides a challenging, dynamic and diverse introduction to contemporary British and Irish theatre with a global impact. The course takes place in Edinburgh, giving students the chance to study theatre and performance in Scotland’s beautiful capital city, while the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe take place. Students benefit from lectures by established academics and daily seminars for discussion of dramatic texts, alongside a series of practical workshops offered by Playwrights’ Studio Scotland – Scotland’s only dedicated, independent development organisation for playwrights. Students also have the opportunity to attend events, including Festival shows and readings from leading contemporary theatre practitioners.

The Theatre and Performance course offers:

  • Daily seminars: SUISS tutors lead small group seminars on dramatic texts and interpretive strategies
  • Workshops: Prominent academics, theatre practitioners, and critics lead interactive workshops in areas of drama theory and practice
  • Lectures: Students attend select Scottish Literature lectures to gain additional perspectives in critical analysis of dramatic texts
  • Panel discussion: As part of the Edinburgh International Festival, a discussion is held between leading playwrights and directors on topics relevant to contemporary theatre
  • Festival performances: Students attend three shows at the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe Festival as a group, as well as having the opportunity to see additional performances in their free time


Reading List

Students are strongly advised to read as many of the texts as possible before arriving in Edinburgh, as time is limited once the programme is underway. The seminars and lectures are pitched at a high level, and teaching staff are advised that all students will be familiar with the texts in advance.

Core texts for the Summer School, on which the tuition will be based, are listed below.

Essential primary reading/viewing (in alphabetical order): 

Jo Clifford, The Gospel According to Jesus Queen of Heaven (2016)*
Brian Friel, Translations (1980)
David Greig, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (2013)
Tankia Gupta, A Doll’s House (adapted by) (2021)
Kieran Hurley,  Mouthpiece (2018)
Nicola McCartney, Lifeboat (2020)
John McGrath, The Cheviot, The Stag, and the Black, Black Oil (1981)
Gregory Burke, Black Watch (2010)
Rona Munro, James IV: Queen of the Fight (2022)
May Sumbwanyambe, Enough of Him (2022)

Further primary reading/viewing:*

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House (1879)
Sarah Kane, Blasted (1995)
Rona Munro, The James Plays (2016)
Edwin Morgan, Gilgamesh (2005)
debbie tucker green, hang (2015)

Further secondary reading:**
Vicky Angelaki (Ed.), Contemporary British Theatre: Breaking New Ground
Alain Badiou, Rhapsody for the Theatre
Christopher Balme, The Theatrical Public Sphere

Biet, Christian and Christophe Triau. What is Theatre? (Routledge, 2019)
Mark Brown, Modernism and Scottish Theatre since 1969: A Revolution on Stage
Mark Fortier, Theory/Theatre: An Introduction
John McGrath, A Good Night Out. Popular Theatre: Audience, Class and Form
Trish Reid, Theatre & Scotland
Simon Shepherd, Theatre, Body and Pleasure

*Available as PDF

**NB: Students are not required to purchase or read texts listed in ‘further reading/viewing’. However, if you are interested in complementary material, these texts will expand your knowledge and discussion of the essential reading list. All of the further reading is available to loan from the University of Edinburgh library or the SUISS library.

For more information on the course, see our Sample Theatre Performance Syllabus .