Course Instructor Days Times Room
ENGL4890 TEAGUE, FRANCES T 2 :00 PM 0325

Topics Title
Libraries and Performance

Libraries and Performance

ENGL 4890/ENGL 6890 or THEA 4700/THEA 6700

     This course is what the student makes it.  Use it to learn a skill for your education, to prepare a project for a potential employer, or to explore a passion. I teach you basic research techniques for humanities and arts, work with you to develop a research project, and help you carry it out. The course is split-level because I welcome both undergraduate and graduate students. It is both a Theatre and an English course, because students do research into performing texts and the process of performance. Students from English, Theatre, Music, and Grady College have taken the course.

       Performance covers a lot of territory, so a student can work with media (television or films), performances of music, plays, or adaptations. A student’s project can be to develop background for a production or to answer an academic research question or to prepare a portfolio of teaching materials or to design an exhibit or . . .  whatever you wish to do. We meet and work in the Russell Special Collections Library, so you get to handle rare books, manuscripts, and Peabody entries.


Description and Organization:

This course was the first class offered in UGA’s new special collections library, working with rare materials connected with plays, and it had enough success that you now get to benefit from what we have learned in previous years. You will learn about the basic work of being a dramaturg (a literary researcher focused on performance) and about the special materials that UGA owns.

            If you have ever wanted to do research on the background of a script/screenplay or on past productions, this course will teach you how. We’ll also be talking about how a production company develops new work, how to prepare educational materials for the general public, and how to make a library work for you. You’ll carry out a series of scavenger hunts to learn the tools, as well as reading about the work that a dramaturg does. (This introduction to research tools for Libraries and Theatre will take up about a third of the class.)

            In the second third of the class (the “ooo and ahhh” weeks), we’ll get our hands on rare materials and produce background books for real productions. The special materials we’ll see include manuscript materials by such figures as dramatist Tennessee Williams, the 19th-century actress Fanny Kemble, and the character actor Charles Coburn. We can also see original design work and archival posters for major Broadway productions. Finally, we will have access to the incredible riches of the Peabody Awards. In addition, you’ll be exercising your skills and creating background books for the plays that the Department of Theatre and Film Studies plans to present next year. Your other big assignment in this section of the course will be preparing and revising an independent research project proposal for this class.

            The final third is devoted to you: you’ll develop an independent project and present it to the class with plenty of guidance and assistance. If you want to develop a one-woman show based on Fanny Kemble’s remarkable story, write an essay about the changes that Tennessee Williams made to a script, examine how a small touring company was the basis for a successful Hollywood career, or investigate the making of Sesame Street or Gone with the Wind, you’re in the right place.