5 Books to Read for Drama and Performance

To have a definite reading list for the Drama and Performance course isn’t easy.

The Drama and Performance course at University of Worcester is very unique due to the diverse range of modules you can choose to do.

Modules vary from singing, dance and physical theatre to staging plays, production and meaning and contemporary TV drama!

Below I’ve chosen a select few that I feel apply to the mandatory modules as well as some of the optional ones…

  1. Leach, R., (2008) Theatre Studies: the basics Routledge, Oxfordshire

    This is a definite must read for any drama course.

    It covers performance, text, history, acting, directing and the audience. Though it doesn’t go into huge specifics, it is what it says on the cover ‘The Basics.’

    It gives nice overviews of each section backed up with practitioners and playwrights some of which you may come across on the drama course here at Worcester!


  1. Callery, D. (2001) ‘Through the Body: A Practical Guide to Physical Theatre.’ Nick Hern Books, London.

    Through the Body by Dymphna Callery is a book which has come up a lot over the last two years, though this is because of the physical theater and dance modules I chose to do in my second year as well as the devising module I did in first year.

    It’s a good book to understand how our bodies create performance and how we can rely on body language and movement rather than words to create and produce theatre.

    In physical theatre there ‘is a greater emphasis on exploiting the power of suggestion; environments and worlds are created onstage by actors and design elements provoke the imaginations of the spectators…’ (Callery, 2001:p5).


  1. Auslander, P. (2008) Theory for Performance Studies: A Student’s Guide, London, Taylor & Francis.

    This book by Philip Auslander isn’t necessarily an easy read, but it’s definitely an interesting one. A lot of the modules on the drama course at Worcester require theory to back up the practical assessment and the written assessment requires this theory.

    Therefore, this book is always good to have a look at when you want to relate a performance ideology to a theory or theorist.


  1. Milling, J., (2005) Devising Theatre: a critical history Palgrave Macmillan, USA.

    The Drama and Performance course requires a lot of devising.

    For each module you do you’ll be required to create a performance based on the theory and techniques you have learnt throughout the module.

    This book is great for a starting place if you’re struggling on how to start a devised piece.


  1. Bogart, A., (2005) TheViewpoints Book: a practical guide to viewpoints and composition Nick Hern Books, London

    The Viewpoints Books by Anne Bogart is a great book to help with the composing of physical performances, be it devised movement, physical theatre or dance.

    It gives improvisation exercises to help structure devising and playing with ideas by giving rules to movement improvisation.