Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

12 week-semester or equivalent in intensive block mode and may include rehearsals, lectures, workshops, performances, screenings 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. As an introductory unit Drama's Greatest Hits introduces students to significant periods of theatre history. Students will study play texts from a number of different theatrical genres and demonstrate an understanding of how the dramatic text may reach its performance potential. To provide students with the fundamental skills required in drama, there will be a focus on how the performance space, the actor, and the play change to create particular performance styles and dramatic genres. The main aim of this unit is to help students to engage in the reading of plays from a range of historical periods and geographical locations and to develop an understanding of how these plays might be used in a performance context.

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 - Describe the historical and cultural contextualisations of a play (GA3, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Critically read primary and secondary sources and communicate clearly in written form to assess plays from different genres (GA3, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Demonstrate a practical understanding of the nexus between the written text and a live performance (GA3, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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:

  • A variety of different theatre periods and genres
  • A consideration of how the historical context of plays may inform their performance including consideration of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and world Indigenous contexts and cultures
  • The cultural and social understanding of dramatic texts and their performance 
  • Theoretical understandings of the theatre 
  • Actor training theories, play texts and associated performance styles
  • Ethical conundrums brought to life on the stage in key dramatic texts and performances

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. 

This unit will be taught through face-to-face classes and/or through some mixed mode teaching. You 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 theatre production. 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 you are able to experiment with the practical aspects of this course and engage with other learners. These workshops will encourage you to engage with actor training theories, play texts and the associated performance styles. A range of learning and teaching strategies are incorporated into this unit including formal lectures, performance workshops, performances, seminars, online learning resources, guided readings, and discussions. The classes will permit interactive learning with discussions and practical experimentation being the primary focus. Practical workshops will be used to encourage students to engage with actor training theories, play texts and the associated performance styles. Formal lectures and seminars will be used to model research techniques and analytical methods, as well as communication strategies which are appropriate for the study of drama. 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.

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 some of the most famous plays have contributed to, or challenged, society and our understanding and interpretation of the world around us. The unit promotes a critical evaluation of the structures of society and encourages students to focus on pondering 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. 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 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 students’ 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 you have 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

The purpose of this assessment is to provide students with the ability to reflect on dramatic language through close reading.


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Written Task

The purpose of this assessment requires students  to develop formal skills in reading, writing, and citing key sources in the discipline of drama.


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Performance and Report

The purpose of this assessment is to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in the creation, structuring and presentation of a small performance.



GA3, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Bennett, Michael Y. Narrating the Past through Theatre: Four Crucial Texts. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Casey, Maryrose. Creating Frames: Contemporary Indigenous Theatre 1967-1990. University of Queensland Press, 2004.

Cochrane, Claire, and Robinson, Jo. Theatre History and Historiography: Ethics, Evidence and Truth. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2016.

Figueira, Dorothy, and Maufort, Marc. Theatres in the Round: Multi-ethnic, Indigenous, and Intertextual Dialogues in Drama. Vol. 28. PIE Peter Lang, 2011.

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.

Osborne, Elizabeth A., and Woodworth, Christine. Working in the Wings : New Perspectives on Theatre History and Labor. 2015.

Turner, Cathy and Synne Behrndt. Dramaturgy and Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Wiles, David, and Dymkowski, Christine. The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History. Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Willis, Mick and Simon Shepherd. Studying Plays. Bloomsbury Academic, 2010.

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

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