First-year theatre modules: TAPIC – OurWarwick

First-year theatre modules: TAPIC

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Rosanna Holmes | Theatre and Performance Studies Contact Rosanna

This blog will give you a rundown of the first year TAPIC module; what to expect, how to approach the seminars/assignments, and what I personally thought of it. Theatre and Performance in Context (TAPIC) is a compulsory module for first year theatre students, and it basically does what it says on the tin. It’s all about examining the history behind theatrical performances and considering how they would have been received. I know this sounds like the “context” section of A level drama, but at uni, you’ll go even deeper. You’ll look at how artistic movements, marginalised communities and trailblazing individuals have influenced the discipline of Theatre and Performance studies in not just traditional theatres, but in everyday behaviours and attitudes. Performance studies was never something I had studied independently before uni. It takes a more sociological position because it examines how humans “perform” in everyday life, how we celebrate, how we collaborate, how we demonstrate power.

Looking back at all the things I studied in the first year, I’d say TAPIC was my favourite module. For me, it was a good blend of independent critical theory and open group discussion. It covers race, gender, sexuality, class, colonialism and how all these contributes to the creation of art. I love how it blended pop-culture with more obscure things; for example we compared RuPaul’s Drag Race and Madonna to New York ball culture and Paris is Burning. 


The preparation for TAPIC seminars is a blend of reading and viewing. Normally, we had to watch one or two performances (production recordings, short films, documentaries), read a play or a few chapters from online books, and watch a lecture (which are normally around 40 minutes). When you get to the seminars, it’s a mixture of small group and large group discussion (for us there were 10-15 students per seminar), and this is a chance to share your ideas and ask questions. An hour and a half feels like ages, but trust me it will whizz by when you start to feel more comfortable around your coursemates. 


For the essays, we were always given a choice of questions that were each based on one of our seminars, so that we would have a starting point and notes to refer to, but also the freedom of choice. Essentially, you don’t have to worry about grasping every concept or fully engaging with everything; you write about what interests you. I wrote essays about symbolism, the musical Fiddler on the Roof, and the late legend and icon Helen McCrory. There is also a creative assignment where we had to make an academic poster. It’s a research project which you can present in an artistic way, so it’s a good blend between academia and art. Again, this was something I’d never done before, but we were allowed to do the project on whatever we wanted!

The feedback I received was incredibly helpful. You’ve got to remember that you’re not gonna start off perfect, and all the lecturers want to see you improve. My academic writing improved so much over the year; this was due to how open and welcoming the seminars were. 


Don’t be afraid to contribute! If the reading or lecture gave you an idea, you should always suggest it in the seminars. The more you talk, the more other people will be comfortable to talk in those first few awkward seminars. Similarly, if you’re struggling with the work, reach out to your coursemates! The chances are that if you’re having trouble, someone else will be too. Lastly, TAPIC is quite material-heavy, and it can sometimes be quite challenging. So make sure you leave enough time for the reading. After having time off school, it’s gonna take a while to get in the right headspace, so give yourself at least a few days to complete the reading.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Rosanna Holmes | Theatre and Performance Studies Contact Rosanna

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