African Theatre Module: Exciting, Challenging & Imaginative
In this post I’m going to tell you a bit about one of the modules I studied last term – Theatre in the African Context – to give you an insight into the huge variety of modules on offer as part of Warwick’s Theatre and Performance Studies course.
I chose this module because I’m really interested in how theatre around the world is shaped by the different cultures and political regimes. I’d never really had the opportunity to study African theatre before so was excited to branch out and explore an area of theatre that I wasn’t familiar with.
Each week we focused on a different African country, looking at several plays and how they were connected to its specific historical and political context. The module explored a really wide range of themes such as identity, gender, religion and ritual which meant we were able to approach the plays from many different angles. We also studied a rich variety of plays, from 20th century texts by Wole Soyinka and Ama Ata Aidoo to more recent plays such as Niqabi Ninja by Warwick graduate Sara Shaarawi.
Theatre in the African Context is a theory-based module (the assessment breakdown is currently 50% essay, 50% written exam) but most seminars involved a practical exercise to help us get a better understanding of the texts. We also got to work on some creative writing as part of a workshop with playwright JC Niala. This made the module feel really varied and allowed us to engage with the plays in a way that was creative and fun.
Whilst I was initially nervous about studying a subject area I was so unfamiliar with, I found that learning something new was really rewarding and boosted my confidence as I could see how I gradually became more able to approach challenging material. Yvette Hutchinson taught with so much passion and really made the content engaging and accessible, giving us an invaluable insight into the world of each play. Taking this module really broadened my understanding of how theatre can be used to explore and challenge ideas of identity and different interpretations of history, and I’m excited to develop my knowledge of African theatre in the future.
There are so many theoretical and practical modules to choose from in your second and third year both within the department and externally, so branch out, challenge yourself and spark your passion for something new!