Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

12 week-semester or equivalent in intensive block mode including lectures, performance workshops, performances, screenings, play readings and web-enhanced learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

It is essential for dramatic artists, whether teachers or practitioners, to be able to identify and interpret key dramatic texts for live performance and production. In this introductory unit, students will identify the dramatic languages and other elements of key texts and practice skills in basic textual analysis that are critical to coherent dramatic interpretation through performance. Building on developing textual knowledge, students will explore essential knowledge and skills in performance techniques relevant to front of stage and backstage production. Students will apply this textual, theoretical and practical knowledge to a collaborative creative performance that demonstrates the interpretive process of creating meaning in live performance. The aim of this unit is to provide students with foundational skills in drama that will assist them to produce live performance informed by their developing skills in textual analysis.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Critically read and interpret plays in terms of their performance potential (GA4, GA6)

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written form to identify and discuss relevant scholarly texts demonstrating developing knowledge of dramatic languages and analytical production (GA4, GA9)

LO3 - Demonstrate foundational and collaborative skills in the creation, structuring and presentation of a small-scale performancepractices (GA1, GA5)

LO4 - Demonstrate and apply introductory, analytical production skills and dramatic languages (GA4, GA6).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics may include:

  • various performance styles such as: improvisation; role play; and character formation
  • dramatic languages and the elements of drama in theatre making
  • dramatic style and form
  • the analysis of performance text(s)
  • the play in performance
  • semiotics 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit embraces active learning strategies and is designed to provide students with a foundational knowledge of the academic discipline of drama. Students will have the opportunity to build their practical skills and discipline knowledge. 

A range of learning and teaching strategies are incorporated into this unit to run in either attendance or multi-mode offerings. In attendance mode, all classes will be face to face including formal lectures, performance workshops, performances and seminars. In multi-mode offerings lectures may be delivered online and will be followed by face-to-face performance workshops, performances and seminars. Online learning resources, guided readings, and discussions enhance the learning resources. The performance workshops and seminar classes are designed to produce interactive learning with discussion, practical experimentation actor training theories, study of play texts and associated performance styles. Formal lectures and seminars will be used to model Drama research techniques, analytical methods and communication strategies. Online learning, guided reading, and discussions support the development of skills which are fundamental to drama such as the close reading of plays, the ability to identify relevant secondary sources, and the capacity to enhance creative, critical and reflective thinking.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessments have been designed to provide students with a variety of tasks by which they are able to demonstrate achievement of the different learning outcomes of the unit. This is achieved through a study of those key areas that are essential for drama including: performance and production; theatre history and theory; and textual and performance analysis. 

In the textual task, students will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge of key plays and their skills in interpreting meaning as it is constructed through the genre of drama over a range of theatrical periods. The written assessment requires students to build on their developing knowledge of key concepts and principles in the discipline of drama by identifying and discussing primary and secondary texts relevant to dramatic languages and production in an academic essay. This assessment focuses on the development of critical academic skills of information literacy, citation and discursive writing that support further study. The performance and report requires students to employ a practical application of the knowledge and skills developed over the unit through a collaborative and interpretive performance task. Students will create, produce and perform and then discuss in a written report, a small-scale dramatic performance. The assessments are structured to ensure that students are able to acquire fundamental knowledge and skills in the academic study of performance sufficient to study further in 200-level units.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Textual Task

To allow the students to demonstrate core interpretative skills.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA6, GA9

Written Task

To engage students in the identification and discussion of relevant scholarly texts demonstrating their developing knowledge of  dramatic languages and analytical production, citation, and discursive writing.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA6, GA9

Performance and Report 

To demonstrate core skills in the creation and reflection/written discussion of a performance.



LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9

Representative texts and references

Brockett, Oscar, and Ball, Robert. The Essential Theatre. Thomson Wasworth, 2015.

Gainor, J. Ellen, Garner Jr., Stanton B. and Puchner, Martin (eds). The Norton Anthology of Drama. Vols 1 and 2. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2014.

Leach, Robert. Theatre Studies: The Basics. Routledge, 2013.

Mangan, Michael., et al. Staging Ageing : Theatre, Performance and the Narrative of Decline. 2013.

Merlin, Bella. Acting: The Basics. Routledge, 2010.

Radosavljević, Duška. Theatre-Making Interplay Between Text and Performance in the 21st Century. 2013

“Theatre Historiography”. The Routledge Introduction to Theatre and Performance Studies. Routledge, 2014.

Wilson, Edwin and Goldfarb, Alvin. Theater The Lively Art. McGraw-Hill, 2012.

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