Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


10 cp from 100-level units in Drama

Unit rationale, description and aim

Being able to build a self-devised performance is a vital skill for a performer or director looking to work with a collaborative contemporary performing group. Devised performance allows communities to use theatre techniques to tell their stories and promote social cohesion and advocate for social change where required. By learning how to develop self-devised theatre experiences, students will have an opportunity to show a deep understanding of the human condition. This collaborative process of theatre development will provide opportunities for inclusive experiences with an emphasis on diversity and equity. This unit focuses on the process of collaborating to create a performance and students will participate in a range of performance and production roles as we make theatre together. Students will be involved in the selection of material and the development of an appropriate style for the performance. This will include research, preparation and creative development that will be integral to the performance. The main aim of the unit will be to devise a performance using a collaborative process.

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 - Show a critical and ethical awareness of the practical and theoretical processes of group-devised theatre (GA1, GA5, GA7)

LO2 - Apply research and direction in the development of a collaborative performance (GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Contribute to the development of a performance as a creative collaborator and critically evaluate it (GA1, GA5, GA7, GA10).

Graduate attributes

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

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics may include:

  • The development and creation of a collaborative performance piece 
  • Script writing and development
  • The relationship between director and performer 
  • The role of the stage manager and other technical roles   
  • The rehearsal process 
  • Workshopping an idea into a performance 
  • Practical and technical preparation for public presentation.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit embraces active learning strategies and is designed to provide students with an understanding of various methods of devising theatre for a live audience. Students will have the opportunity to engage and extend the practical skills and discipline knowledge that they have acquired during their introductory study of drama.

This unit will be taught through face-to-face classes and/or through some mixed mode teaching. Students may attend lectures face-to-face and/or by accessing online recordings in order to ensure broad and ongoing access for all students to the key concepts and principles relevant to devising theatre. Formal lectures will present key theories and model research and appropriate analytical skills. Online learning materials will include guided readings and synchronous and/or asynchronous discussions of key primary and secondary texts. Workshops will be face-to-face so that students are able to experiment with the practical aspects of this course and engage with other learners. These workshops will encourage students to engage with actor training theories, play texts, and the associated performance styles.

The study of drama upholds the values and mission of ACU as demonstrated by incorporating the Principles of Human Flourishing within its curriculum. This unit is concerned with how devising theatre and aspects of theatre production contribute to our understanding and interpretation of the world around us and encourages students to focus on the responsibility of the designers and producers of plays to consider the dignity of the human person and the moral and ethical conundrums brought to life on the stage.

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. They have been structured to ensure that students are developing increasingly advanced skills in the academic study of performance. Each drama unit extends the students’ knowledge and skills of the discipline through the study of different genres, texts, theatrical periods and practitioners. From this developing base of knowledge students hone their academic application to the study of drama through purpose-built assessment tasks

This is an advanced Drama unit and students will be expected to start showing a high degree of self-motivation to support their learning within it. The assessment in this unit is designed to help students to develop research skills as well as their analytical and communication skills. Students will have the opportunity to explore self-devised performance techniques. 

The Research Task will build on introductory research skills taught at 100 level. This task requires students to undertake advanced level research that may be used in a subsequent self-devised performance event. 

The Performance will use engaged learning strategies to enable students to embrace group work activities. Students will need to demonstrate a working knowledge of performance skills that are appropriate for the creation of a self-devised theatre production. Students will be required to participate constructively in a collaborative performance and also begin to show independent strategies for the creation of a dramatic performance. 

The Evaluative Task requires students to demonstrate how to use theories related to theatre performance and production to critique a self-devised performance or script. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Research Task

The key purpose of the Research task is for students to conduct research that will become the basis for a self-devised theatre performance and to communicate this research effectively to others.



GA9, GA10


Students will actively participate in a self-devised theatre performance based on their research in assessment one.


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA5, GA7, GA9, GA10

Evaluative Task

The key purpose of the written Evaluative task is to allow students to link relevant theories and practices to their evaluation of self-devised performance texts.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA5, GA7, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Brown, Paul, et al. Verbatim: Staging Memory & Community. Currency Press, 2010.

Doble, Alex Rowan. “Without The Other: An Interrogation of the Ethics, Devising, and Performance of Contemporary Autobiographical Theatre”. 2015.

Govan, Emma, et al. Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices. Routledge, 2007. 

Heddon, Deirdre and Milling, Jane. Devising Performance: A Critical History. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Janke, Terri. Writing up Indigenous Research: Authorship, Copyright and Indigenous Knowledge Systems. Terri Janke, 2009.

Mermikides, Alex and Smart, Jackie, eds. Devising in Process. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

O'Brien, Nick. Theatre in Practice: A Student's Handbook. Routledge, 2013.

Schechner, Richard. Performance Studies: an Introduction. Routledge, 2017.

Graham, Scott., and Steven. Hoggett. The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre. 2nd ed., Taylor and Francis, 2014.

Woodson, Stephani Etheridge, and Underiner, Tamara. Theatre, Performance and Change. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.


Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs