Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


1 Drama unit at 200 Level

Unit rationale, description and aim

Much contemporary theatre is a reworking of the narratives and troupes embedded in Renaissance texts and many plays are still performed with attention to historical accuracy or are adapted for a contemporary audience. 

During the European Renaissance there was a reinvigoration of interest in Classical learning and an explosion of literature and theatre. Canonical playwrights such as Shakespeare and Marlowe have captured the social, cultural and political landscape of the Renaissance in their plays.

The knowledges acquired in this unit are fundamental for all pedagogues and industry professionals. This unit will explore a variety of Renaissance theatre texts for their

socio-political content and provide students with a knowledge of Renaissance theatre conventions. The aim of this unit is to provide students with an advanced overview of Renaissance theatre conventions, playwrights and texts.

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 - demonstrate an advanced ability to critically analyse a variety of Renaissance plays for their cultural, historical and social contexts (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO2 - display sophisticated dramaturgical skills through advanced analysis of the stylistic and rhetorical conventions employed in Renaissance theatre (GA1, GA2,GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO3 - demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of Renaissance performance and stage conventions into a performance (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8).

Graduate attributes

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

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

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

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


Topics may include:

  • political and cultural influences embedded in Renaissance plays
  • Renaissance theatre conventions
  • the Renaissance audience
  • Renaissance playwrights such as: William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, John Milton, Thomas Middleton and Ben Jonson
  • staging and performance styles of the Renaissance
  • Renaissance Rhetoric: literary and oratory conventions
  • Historical Context of Renaissance Theatre

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

As a 300-level unit within the field of Drama, this unit allows students to demonstrate their expertise in the discipline. It provides opportunities to demonstrate skills and knowledge of the practices, languages, forms, materials, technologies and techniques in Drama. Students will have the opportunity to extend and polish the practical skills and discipline knowledge that they have acquired during their 200-level study of drama.

This unit embraces active learning strategies and is designed to provide students with an understanding of various acting theories and practices associated with Renaissance Theatre. Students will have the opportunity to engage and extend the practical skills and discipline knowledge that you have acquired during your drama studies.

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 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.

The study of Drama upholds the values and mission of ACU as demonstrated by incorporating the Principles of Human Flourishing within its curriculum. Drama 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, Drama both celebrates and 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.

This unit comprises 150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of study in the form of face-to-face classes (lectures and workshops) as well as rehearsals and performances. The balance of the hours becomes private study in which you are expected to engage with the online learning resources as well as further relevant resources that you identify independently.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessments have been designed to provide a variety of tasks to develop and measure the different learning outcomes of the unit. They have been structured to ensure that you are developing advanced knowledge and skills in the academic study of performance. Each drama unit extends your knowledge and skills in the discipline through the study of different genres, texts, theatrical periods and practitioners.

This is a 300-level drama unit and you are expected to demonstrate the capacity for self-motivated and independent learning in researching, critically analysing and communicating key issues in historical and contemporary drama and theatre.

The assessment detailed below is designed to suit either the multi-mode OR attendance mode of teaching.

The Research Task will ask students to demonstrate high level research skills supporting independent and further learning. The rationale for this task is to provide you with an opportunity to apply your research skills learnt over the course of the degree.

The Analytical Task will allow you to demonstrate advanced analytical and critically reflective abilities. You will demonstrate advanced textual analysis, focused on the stylistic and rhetorical conventions of dramatic texts and performances in the Renaissance era.

The Performative Task will allow you to demonstrate advanced knowledge of practical theories and strategies associated with moving an historical dramatic text from page to stage.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve an overall score of 50% or more. The schedule in both online and multi-mode provide scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to monitor their own progress, practice their skills and receive feedback.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Research Task

The purpose of this task is to provide an opportunity for students to rigorously

research a topic relevant to the Renaissance theatre.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8

Analytical Task

The purpose of this assessment is to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate core skills in the analysis of Renaissance

theatre texts.


LO1, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8

Performative Task

The purpose of this assessment is to demonstrate advanced knowledge of Renaissance play texts and an astute historical understanding of the performance conventions

using during this time.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

Booth, Stephen. Close Reading without Readings: Essays on Shakespeare and Others, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2015

Cheney, Patrick. The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe. Cambridge U P, 2004. Chernaik, Warren. The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare's History Plays. Cambridge U P,2007.

Dillon, Janette. The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare's Tragedies. Cambridge U P, 2007.

Gay, Penny. The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare's Comedies. Cambridge U P, 2008.

Moncrief, Kathryn M., et al. Shakespeare Expressed: Page, Stage, and Classroom in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2013.

Neill, Michael. The New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 2010.

Price, Eoin. ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ Playhouses in Renaissance England: The Politics of Publication. Early Modern Literature in History, 2015.

Smith, Emma. The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare. Cambridge U P, 2007.

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