Credit points


Campus offering

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10 cp from 100-level units in Drama

Unit rationale, description and aim

Theatre educators and practitioners require knowledge of a variety of actor-training methods used to prepare a performer's body and voice for production across a wide range of theatre styles and audience contexts. This unit introduces the student to the theories and practices employed to train a performer's body and voice. Students will have the opportunity to explore and apply theorized approaches to physical performance work such as the neutral mask, movement theorists, phonetics and pure speech. This unit will allow students to experiment with theories of the body and voice through practical application. The aim of this unit is to provide students with knowledge associated with physical actor training by drawing upon a variety of historical and contemporary theories and philosophies that privilege physicality and expressivity.

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 - Communicate clearly in written form to identify and describe a range of historical and contemporary practitioners, philosophies and approaches to physical and vocal training for performance (GA7, GA8, GA9)

LO2  - Demonstrate independent strategies for the creation of effective and expressive use of the body and voice while participating constructively in a collaborative performance environment (GA5, GA7, GA10)

LO3 - Recognise and express characteristics and habits of the performer’s body (GA5, GA7).

Graduate attributes

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

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:

  • Components of physical and vocal training for actors
  • The theory and practice of neutrality and the neutral mask in performance
  • Different movement theories and practitioners
  • Pure speech and speech production
  • Phonetics
  • Genres that privilege physical acting such as: comedy, commedia dell’arte, and the musical. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit embraces active learning strategies and is designed to provide students with an understanding of various acting theories and practices associated with body and voice. Students will have the opportunity to engage and extend the practical skills and discipline knowledge that they have acquired during your 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 body and voice in the context of theatre production. Formal lectures will present key theories and model research and analysis skills appropriate for the study of body and voice in the discipline of drama. 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 the actor’s body and voice in performance portrays the dignity of the human person and acts out 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.

The Research Task will build on information literacy and academic communication skills developed in 100 level units. This task requires students to recognise and identify important practical acting theories and discuss how they are manifest in specific performance genres. This task will allow students to continue to develop a critical approach to drama that is informed by research. 

The Body and Voice Workbook will use active learning strategies to provide students with the tools to analyse and reflect critically on the theories relevant to body and voice in dramatic production. To prepare students for this assessment as well as the Performative task that follows, they will participate in engaged learning strategies in interactive workshops which are designed to support their applications of learned theories.

The Performative Task requires students to demonstrate their knowledge of practical theories associated with the training of an actor’s body and voice. Students will demonstrate their ability to employ practical actor training in the development of a collaborative production. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Research Task

The purpose of this assessment is to allow students to demonstrate their ability to research and synthesise information relating to issues associated with physical theatre: body and voice



GA7, GA8, GA9

Body and Voice Workbook

The purpose of this assignment is to allow students to demonstrate proficiency in a range of practical theories associated with the actor’s body and the voice. 


LO2, LO3

GA5, GA7, 


The purpose of this assessment is to allow students to practically demonstrate the skills and theories associated with the actor’s body and voice on stage



GA5, GA7, GA10

Representative texts and references

Adrian, Barbara. Actor Training the Laban Way: An Integrated Approach to Voice, Speech, and Movement. Allworth Press, 2008. 

Arrighi, Gillian. The Neutral Mask: Its Origins and its Applications to the Creative Processes of the Actor. VDM Verlag, 2010.

Benninger, Michael S., et al. The Performer's Voice. Second ed., Plural Publishing, 2016. 

Jones, Gai, and Rose, Holly. The Student Actor Prepares: Acting for Life, Intellect, 2014.

Lecoq, J. The Moving Body: Teaching Creative Theatre. Methuen, 2002.

McCaw, Dick. Training the Actor's Body: A Guide. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2008.

Marshall, L. The Body Speaks: Performance and Physical Expression. Methuen, 2008

Newlove, J and Dalby, J. Laban for All. Nick Hern, 2004.

Snow, J. Movement Training for Actors. Bloomsbury Pub, 2012.

Wiles, D. Mask and Performance in Greek Tragedy: From Ancient Festival to Modern Experimentation.Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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