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Here is National Theatre’s production of Jane Eyre directed by Sally Cookson. If you prefer to watch it on another device, you can find this production on DRAMA ONLINE.

LINK (Links to an external site.) here.

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Theatre Production Critique: After having watched National Theatre’s production of Jane Eyre directed by Sally Cookson, use the Theatre Report information provided to write a critique.

  • Success tip* Make an appointment with The Writing Center to go over your paper for a grade bump**http://www.moorparkcollege.edu/departments/student-services/the-teaching-and-learning-center/writing-center (Links to an external site.)
  • No late assignments are accepted.
  • 3-pages — give a paragraph or or so as needed.
  • Include a works cited page, or use of works cited footnotes/endnotes, or in-text citations
  • Images from the production that bring attention to your point of views are encouraged!

Learning Objective 3: Critically analyze dramatic literature and performances. Course Learning Outcome: will observe theatrical performances in an informed and critical manner and able to identify the central idea, performance elements and technical enhancements. Due dates are enforced online and no late quiz submissions are accepted.

Course Learning Outcome: will observe theatrical performances in an informed and critical manner and able to identify the central idea, performance elements and technical enhancements.

Theater Report/Critique


  • Begin with a statement that draws in the reader, (commonly known as a ) (Examples: A quote of dramatic dialogue or an impressive technical effect.)
  • Report is not a plot synopsis of the play, but an analytical paper that reports your observations on a specific production.
  • Be sure to cite the venue of theatrical performance, the name and author of the play and the date you attended it in your introduction.
  • If you are using other sources in addition to the performance, be sure to include a works cited page. This is a measure to prevent accidental plagiarism.
  • Thesis Statement: Your intro should include a thesis. A thesis is an encompassing statement that identifies the main idea of your paper, usually outlining the 3-4 main points to be discussed. The thesis statement should tie together the major ideas you have put forth in your introduction and is usually placed at the end of the introduction paragraph.

Body Paragraphs:

  • Essay should contain three to four (depending on the number of points outlined in your thesis statement) body paragraphs each outlining one main point.
  • Each point should have two to four sub-points with evidence / specific examples from the performance that support your idea/point. These are your observations on specific elements of the production and are the most important part in making an essay yours. They are the “why” behind your essay.
  • You don’t have to like a production or its elements, but you must be able to articulate “why” something did or did not work for you.

Below is a possible example of the Body of a paper with the following thesis statement: “’Dracula’ was a highly entertaining production that explored the central idea of man’s eternal struggle with his passions through the use of elaborate technical enhancements (costumes, scenery, lights, sounds, etc) and dynamic performances.”

Body Paragraph 1: Your first body paragraph should be about the central ideas of the performance.

  • Why was the play written? What was the author’s motivation for writing the play?
  • What are the themes of the play? (not the plot!)
  • How does the author and director use imagery in the writing and on stage and what kind of symbolism is used to convey a message to the audience?

Body Paragraph 2: Your second paragraph should cover the technical aspects of the play.

  • Include lighting, scene design, costuming, makeup, and/or any other technical aspects of the play.
  • Much is communicated in a play using technical aspects; analyze what technical aspects the director/designers and the various technical departments used and more importantly why you believe they used these techniques and if they worked, or not, to enhance or otherwise take away from the production.

Body Paragraph 3: In your third body paragraph you should analyze the performances of the actors.

  • Consider the acting, the blocking, monologues, and any other specific performance related examples.
  • Give very specific examples and be sure to explain what exactly the actors did to catch your eye (vocal variety, physical intensity, emotional range, etc).
  • This paragraph runs the highest risk of being “plot” driven instead of analytical of the acting so be sure to stay focused on the what specifically made a good or non-effective performance and not the “what happened next”.


  • Your conclusion should both revisit and wrap up your essay.
  • Your thesis should be restated along with each of your main
  • Use different wording to avoid sounding repetitive.
  • Close your paragraph with a statement that offers a point to your whole essay, possibly referring back to your “hook.”


The complete essay will contain:

  • A clear thesis statement clearly expressed
  • Developed (Substantial) paragraphs
  • Topic sentences and Transitions for each body paragraph
  • Specific observations from the play for each point
  • Analysis and Synthesis of each observation being made
  • A conclusion that unifies the essay
  • Images from the production that exemplify your ideas and points are encouraged!

*Below is an outline guide to assist you in writing your critique.

It’s not to be turned in. It’s to help you organize your ideas into an outline before writing your paper.*

Once you have watched the play on which you will be reporting, you will create an informal outline as follows (note that you may have as many body supporting sections [subtopics/points] as is needed to support your thesis):

Keywords for Report:

Thesis Points: (1)_______________________ (2)__________________________

(3)_______________________ (4 or more)___________________

  1. Thesis Statement: ________________________________________________________



Key elements:

  1. Hook (something to grab attention)________________________________________
  2. Personal observation____________________________________________________
  3. Thesis Statement (insert as last line of the introduction)
  1. Central Idea:_______________________________________________________________

Supporting details

(Add additional supporting details if needed)

III. Technical Observations:______________________________________________________

Supporting ideas:

  1. Performance Observations:__________________________________________________

Supporting ideas:

Any further sub-topics (points) continue same pattern on additional sheet.

  1. Conclusion: (personal thoughts/lessons learned from play/production):

Key elements:

  1. Thesis Statement (insert as first line of the Conclusion)
  2. Personal observation____________________________________________________
  3. Reference to initial Hook_________________________________________________