Faculty of Arts


Drama on Stage and Screen

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for ENGLISH 109.


In this course we examine the structures and conventions of drama on stage and screen. The texts selected cover a broad scope from Shakespeare to Hollywood classics to contemporary plays and films. We ask how these dramas tell their stories and explore what makes them original and effective; what are the "rules" of dramatic storytelling, and what happens when we break them? We also look at the differences between stage and screen through considering filmed adaptations of stage plays.

The course provides opportunities for creative engagement. Performance opportunities are available in tutorials and lectures. Additionally, for their main course assignment, students may opt for a creative project in the area of dramatic writing or video.  

Learning outcomes

By attending lectures and tutorials, and completing coursework and assessments to a passing level, by the the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Identify, describe and analyse the principles of drama
  • Compare and contrast the dramatic elements of stage and screen dramas
  • Compare and contrast different dramatic styles and genres
  • Employ the basic technical language of dramatic technique for stage and screen

View the course syllabus

Availability 2018

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Dr Emma Willis


Plays and films:

  • Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, The World of Extreme Happiness
  • Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Joan Littlewood, O What a Lovely War
  • William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Albert Belz, Awhi Tapu
  • Chinatown, dir. Roman Polanski
  • The Crying Game, dir, Neil Jordan
  • O What a Lovely War, dir. Richard Attenborough
  • Adaptation, dir. Spike Jonze
  • A Streetcar Named Desire dir. Elia Kazan
  • The Orator, dir. Tusi Tamasese

The play texts can be purchased from the University Bookshop. They can also be borrowed from the University Library or read in the short-loan collection. Some texts are available as e-books via the University of Auckland Library. The films are available to watch in the library.


Coursework plus exam

Class participation (10%)

1 in-lecture test (15%)

1,500 word essay OR creative project (options include playwriting, staging exercise, and video making) (25%)

2 hour exam, with 3 questions: 50% pre-announced question using 2 or more texts to address a thematic topic plus two 25% answers on individual texts (50%)


ENGLISH 109: 15.0 points

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