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10cp from 100-level units in Drama

Unit rationale, description and aim

Understanding the way that performance can be used to express cultural concerns is critical for theatre educators and practitioners. Theatre narratives are often constructed to reflect some of humanity's deepest anxieties: human extinction, government conspiracy, and war and conflict. Theatre history has dealt with these anxieties in different ways, for example Renaissance Theatre voiced an apocalyptic fear alongside a distrust of government. More recently, postmodern theatre has been shaped by the events of the cold war and demonstrates a fear of immanent apocalyptic rupture offering us a skeptical and suspicious view of the world. Other modern and contemporary texts ask us to question reality itself. In this unit students will conduct research and employ advanced skills in textual analysis to assess the philosophical-basis and social function or value of plays driven by human anxiety. The aim of this unit is to extend students' knowledge of theatre and provide them with an advanced understanding of a variety of play texts which offer representations of human conflict and anxiety.

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 - Analyse specific texts for their social concerns through close reading (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written form using key theoretical terms to discuss the mimetic relationship between social issues and staged performance (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO3 - Identify the philosophical content and social anxieties inherent in performance narratives (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8).

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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 


Topics may include:

  • Research on modern and postmodern theatrical styles
  • Focus on the historical developments in theatre and society 
  • Texts from specific periods in theatre history such as: Postmodernism; Apocalyptic Drama; Contemporary Theatre; Plays of conflict (personal or world conflict); Cold War and Conspiracies; Plays that lack narrative closure; Theatricalism; Feminism and GLBTQI theatre.

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. 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 and/or online. 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. 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 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 arts functions within society as well as how plays and performances might contribute to our understanding and interpretation of the world around us. With its focus on analysing and performing plays, as well as its fundamental interest in critiquing theatre history, this unit interprets the contributions of plays and performance to human culture. The discipline promotes a critical evaluation of the structures of society and encourages students to focus on pondering the dignity of the human person and the moral and ethical conundrums brought to life on the stage on some of humanity’s deepest anxieties in the 20thand 21st centuries: human extinction, government conspiracy, and war and conflict.

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 Reflective Task will involve active learning strategies that require you  to analyse and reflect critically on the texts studied. Students will participate in engaged learning strategies in workshops which are designed to further their critical engagement with texts through close reading. Students will participate constructively in collaborative discussions about the social context of specific plays. 

The Theoretical Task requires students to demonstrate your knowledge of the nexus between theatre and society, identifying how this relates to the theoretical approaches and techniques used by playwrights. Through this task students should be able to articulate a critical stance on theatre and its rhetoric. 

The Research Task will build on information literacy and academic communication skills developed in 100 level units. The rationale for this task is to provide students with an opportunity to recognise and identify important ideas and concepts that relate to theatre. This task will allow students to continue to develop a critical approach to drama that is informed by research. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Reflective Task

The purpose of this assessment is to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of texts, theories and philosophies studied on the course by engaging in critical reflection.



GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Theoretical Task

The purpose of this assessment is to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of key theoretical terms and their application to specific texts.


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Research Task

The purpose of this assessment is to give students the opportunity to conduct careful, critical research into specific issues associated with the texts, genres or theatre history studied in this unit. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Al-Badri, Hussein. Tony Kushner's Postmodern Theatre: A Study of Political Discourse. Cambridge Scholar’s Publishing, 2014.

Brodman, Barbara., and Doan, James E.. Apocalyptic Chic: Visions of the Apocalypse and Post-Apocalypse in Literature and Visual Arts. 2017.

Curtin, Adrian. Avant-garde Theatre Sound: Staging Sonic Modernity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

D'Cruz, Glenn. Teaching Postdramatic Theatre: Anxieties, Aporias and Disclosures. Palgrave McMillian, 2018.

Dolan, Jill. Utopia in Performance. University of Michigan Press, 2010.

Homan, Sidney. Playing Offstage: The Theater as a Presence or Factor in the Real World. 2017.

Ovadija, Mladen. Dramaturgy of Sound in the Avant-Garde and Postdramatic Theatre. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013

O'Connor, Jacqueline. Law and Sexuality in Tennessee Williams's America. 2016.

Varney, Denise, et al. Theatre and Performance in the Asia-Pacific: Regional Modernities in the Global Era. Springer, 2013.

Zubeck, Jacqueline A. Don DeLillo after the Millennium: Currents and Currencies. 2017.

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