Faculty of Arts


Contemporary Drama

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for ENGLISH 332.


This course examines English-language plays written since the 1960s, focusing on the social, political, historical and gender aspects as well as the idea of exile, trauma, myth, memory and emotion. We will explore theatre in the UK, Ireland, the USA and New Zealand, considering the relationship between dramatic form, intellectual debate and cultural conditions, as reflected in the plays. We will also investigate how a set of important cultural discourses in contemporary society has influenced themes in dramatic texts especially in relation to identity and community formation.

This course combines 1-hour lectures and 2-hour studio workshop sessions, which include group scene presentations, play-readings and viewing theatrical videos, followed by discussion.

By the end of the course you will be expected to have –

  • knowledge of several major trends in contemporary British, Irish, American and New Zealand theatre and of the work of historically significant playwrights
  • ability to analyse dramatic texts both as literature and as texts for performance
  • ability to develop coherent arguments in essays

Availability 2018

Not taught in 2018


Coordinator(s) Dr Rina Kim


All of the play-texts are very short.

Samuel Beckett, All That Fall and Krapp’s Last Tape^

Edward Bond, Saved from Magazine Edition Plays and Players (London: Dec. 1965) - available online

Steven Berkoff, Metamorphosis in The Trial, Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony (London: Amber Lane Press, 1988)

Caryl Churchill, Top Girls*

Terry Johnson, Hysteria*

Sarah Kane, Blasted*

Conor McPherson, The Weir^

Marina Carr, By the Bog of Cats…^

Tony Kushner, Angels in America I: Millennium Approaches (Nick Hern Books)

Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis, Indian Ink: The Trilogy (Victoria University Press)

* in Modern Drama: Plays of the 80s and 90s (Methuen Drama)

in Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama, 2nd edition, ed. by John P. Harrington (W.W. Norton & Company, 2008)


Coursework + exam


ENGLISH 332: 15.0 points


30 points at Stage II in English or Drama 

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