Unit rationale, description and aim
Theatre practitioners, teachers, and Arts workers should have knowledge and understanding of the history and performance practices which shape theatre writing for and about young people. This unit offers an exploration of theatre for young people and its audience, with particular emphasis on changing practices, theoretical perspectives, and performance styles in a contemporary context. Students will have the opportunity to gain experience in producing theatre for a young audience. Through rehearsal processes, students will develop acting, writing, and directing skills which are appropriate for children's theatre or youth theatre performances. The main aims of the unit will be to encourage students to explore different forms and styles of theatre for young people within the Australian theatre landscape and to understand how theatre for young people might be used as a pedagogic tool, a social critique, or for entertainment.
On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
LO1 - Investigate and critique changing theoretical perspectives in theatre for young people (GA2, GA4, GA9)
LO2 - Analyse and articulate how theatre for young people can entertain and educate (GA2, GA4, GA9)
LO3 - Create, develop, rehearse and perform a piece of theatre for young people (GA3, GA7, GA9)
GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society
GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making
GA4 - think critically and reflectively
GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively
GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media
Topics may include:
- the elements and tools of dramatic form
- the relationship between play and drama
- the specific dynamics of theatre for young people
- styles of theatre for young people, including theatre-in-education, children’s theatre, community theatre, applied theatre, and plays written for youth audiences
- writing and directing theatre for young people
- actor training theories, play texts and the associated performance styles
- theoretical and ethical perspectives relating to theatre for young people
Learning and teaching strategy and rationale
This unit embraces active learning strategies which will help you to interact with the theatre history and performance culture of theatre for young people. All classes will help students to gain a deeper understanding of the issues and concerns which have had an impact on various styles of theatre for young people, including theatre-in-education, children’s theatre, community theatre, applied theatre, and plays written for youth audiences. Students will have the opportunity to engage and extend the practical skills and discipline knowledge they have acquired during their introductory study of drama.
This unit will be taught through face-to-face classes and/or through some multi-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 theatre for young people. Formal lectures will present key theories and model research and 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 they 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 arts functions within society to meet the needs of children and young people as well as how plays and performances might contribute to their understanding and interpretation of the world around them. This Drama unit both celebrates and interprets the contributions of plays and performance and recognises the dignity of children and young people 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 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.
This is an advanced Drama unit and students will be expected to start showing a high degree of self-motivation to support your 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. The rationale for this task is to provide students with an opportunity to learn about various concerns relating to theatre for young people and to develop their knowledge of how theatre for young people works to entertain and educate young audiences.
The Analytical Task will allow students to develop their ability to critique and evaluate theatre for young people.
The Performance will use engaged learning strategies to enable students to embrace group work activities which allow students to demonstrate a working knowledge of performance skills that are ethical and appropriate for the creation of piece of theatre for young people. Students will have the opportunity to participate constructively in a collaborative performance and also begin to show independent strategies for the creation of a dramatic performance.
Overview of assessments
|Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment Tasks||Weighting||Learning Outcomes||Graduate Attributes|
The key purpose of the research task is to help students learn about theoretical perspectives in theatre for young people and give them an opportunity to investigate how theatre for young people can entertain and educate.
GA2, GA4, GA9
The key purpose of the analytical task is to help students to analyse theatre for young people and demonstrate a working knowledge of how this style of theatre might empower, inform, and educate a young audience.
GA2, GA4, GA9
Students will create a performance that demonstrates their understanding of the principles of theatre for young people. They will develop, rehearse and present a performance piece which showcases their creativity.
GA3, GA7, GA9
Representative texts and references
Brosius, Peter and Adams, Elissa (eds). The Face of America: Plays for Young People. University of Minnesota Press, 2011.
Brosius, Peter and Adams, Elissa (eds). (eds). Fierce and True: Plays for Teen Audiences. University of Minnesota Press, 2010.
Casey, Maryrose. Telling Stories: Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander Performance. Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2012.
Lazarus, Joan. Signs of Change: New Directions in Theatre Education. Intellect, 2012.
Frost, Leslie Elaine. Dreaming America: Popular Front Ideals and Aesthetics in Children's Plays of the Federal Theatre Project. Ohio State University Press, 2013.
Jackson, Anthony, and Vine, Chris. Learning through Theatre: the Changing Face of Theatre in Education. Routledge, 2013.
O'Toole, John. Young Audiences, Theatre and the Cultural Conversation. Springer, 2014.
Reason, Matthew. The Young Audience: Exploring and Enhancing Children’s Experiences of Theatre. Trentham Books, 2010.
Smagorinsky, Peter. Creativity and Community among Autism-Spectrum Youth : Creating Positive Social Updrafts through Play and Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
Wooster, Roger. Contemporary Theatre in Education. Intellect Books, 2007.
Wozniak, Jan. The Politics of Performing Shakespeare for Young People: Standing up to Shakespeare. Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2016.