Learning
Drama

 

 

Drama

Why Study Drama?

In VCE Drama, students tell stories, explore ideas, make sense of their worlds and communicate meaning through the practice of performance-making. The study of drama enables students’ individual and collective identities to be explored, expressed and validated. Students develop an ability to empathise through understanding and accepting diversity. Students draw from, and respond to, contexts and stories that reflect different cultures, genders, sexualities and abilities.

VCE Drama connects students to multiple traditions of drama practice across a range of social, historical and cultural contexts. Through the processes of devising and performing drama, students investigate self and others by exploring and responding to the contexts, the narratives and the stories that shape their worlds.

The study of drama introduces students to theories and processes for the creative development of new work and allows them to develop skills as creative and critical thinkers. Students develop an appreciation of drama as an art form through their work as solo and ensemble performers, and engagement with professional contemporary drama practice. They develop skills of communication, criticism, aesthetic understanding and aesthetic control.

VCE Drama equips students with knowledge, skills and confidence to communicate as individuals and collaboratively in a broad range of social, cultural and work-related contexts. The study of drama may provide pathways to training and tertiary study in acting, dramaturgy, theatre-making, script writing, communication and drama criticism.

Structure

The study is made up of four units.

Unit 1: Introducing performance styles

Unit 2: Australian identity

Unit 3: Devised ensemble performance

Unit 4: Devised solo performance

 

Outcomes  

Outcomes define what students will know and be able to do as a result of undertaking the study. Outcomes include a summary statement and the key knowledge and skills that underpin them.  

 

Unit 1: Introducing performance styles

In this unit students study three or more performance styles from a range of social, historical and cultural contexts. They examine drama traditions of ritual and storytelling to devise performances that go beyond re-creation and/or representation of real life as it is lived.

This unit focuses on creating, presenting and analysing a devised solo and/or ensemble performance that includes real or imagined characters and is based on stimulus material that reflects personal, cultural and/or community experiences and stories. This unit also involves analysis of a student’s own performance work and a work by professional drama performers.

Students apply play-making techniques to shape and give meaning to their performance. They manipulate expressive and performance skills in the creation and presentation of characters, and develop awareness and understanding of how characters are portrayed in a range of performance styles. They document the processes they use as they explore a range of stimulus material, and experiment with production areas, dramatic elements, conventions and performance styles.

In this unit the terms character, performance, story and style may be understood as one or more characters, performances, stories or styles.

Area of Study 1

Creating a devised performance
 
Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to devise and document solo and/or ensemble drama works based on experiences and/or stories.


Area of Study 2

Presenting a devised performance
 
Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to perform devised drama works to an audience.


Area of Study 3

Analysing a devised performance

Outcome 3

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse the development, and the performance to an audience, of their devised work.


Area of Study 4

Analysing a professional drama performance

Outcome 4

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse the presentation of ideas, stories and characters in a drama performance by professional or other drama practitioners.


Unit 2: Australian identity

In this unit students study aspects of Australian identity evident in contemporary drama practice. This may also involve exploring the work of selected drama practitioners and associated performance styles. This unit focuses on the use and documentation of the processes involved in constructing a devised solo or ensemble performance. Students create, present and analyse a performance based on a person, an event, an issue, a place, an artwork, a text and/or an icon from a contemporary or historical Australian context.

In creating the performance, students use stimulus material that allows them to explore an aspect or aspects of Australian identity. They examine selected performance styles and explore the associated conventions. Students further develop their knowledge of the conventions of transformation of character, time and place, the application of symbol, and how these conventions may be manipulated to create meaning in performance and the use of dramatic elements and production areas.

Students analyse their own performance work as well as undertaking an analysis of a performance of an Australian work, where possible, by professional actors.

Area of Study 1

Using Australia as inspiration

Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to devise and document the processes used to create a solo or ensemble performance that reflects an aspect or aspects of Australian identity and contemporary drama practice.


Area of Study 2

Presenting a devised performance
 
Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to present a devised performance that reflects aspects of Australian identity and contemporary drama practice.


Area of Study 3

Analysing a devised performance
 
Outcome 3

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse the development, and performance to an audience, of their devised work.


Area of Study 4

Analysing an Australian drama performance
 
Outcome 4

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate a performance of a drama work by Australian practitioners.


Unit 3: Devised ensemble performance

In this unit students explore the work of drama practitioners and draw on contemporary practice as they devise ensemble performance work. Students explore performance styles and associated conventions from a diverse range of contemporary and/or traditional contexts. They work collaboratively to devise, develop and present an ensemble performance. Students create work that reflects a specific performance style or one that draws on multiple performance styles and is therefore eclectic in nature. They use play-making techniques to extract dramatic potential from stimulus material, then apply and manipulate conventions, dramatic elements, expressive skills, performance skills and production areas. Throughout development of the work they experiment with transformation of character, time and place, and application of symbol. Students devise and shape their work to communicate meaning or to have a specific impact on their audience. In addition, students document and evaluate stages involved in the creation, development and presentation of the ensemble performance.

Students analyse and evaluate a professional drama performance selected from the prescribed VCE Drama Unit 3 Playlist published annually on the VCAA website.

In this unit the terms character, performance, story and style can be understood as one or more characters, performances, stories or styles.

Terms used in this study are defined on pages 9–12.

Area of Study 1

Devising and presenting ensemble performance

Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to develop and present characters within a devised ensemble performance that goes beyond a representation of real life as it is lived.


Area of Study 2

Analysing a devised ensemble performance
 
Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse the use of processes, techniques and skills to create and present a devised ensemble performance.


Area of Study 3

Outcome 3

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate a professional drama performance.


Unit 4: Devised solo performance

This unit focuses on the development and the presentation of devised solo performances. Students explore contemporary practice and works that are eclectic in nature; that is, they draw on a range of performance styles and associated conventions from a diverse range of contemporary and traditional contexts. Students develop skills in extracting dramatic potential from stimulus material and use play-making techniques to develop and present a short solo performance. They experiment with application of symbol and transformation of character, time and place. They apply conventions, dramatic elements, expressive skills, performance skills and performance styles to shape and give meaning to their work. Students further develop and refine these skills as they create a performance in response to a prescribed structure. They consider the use of production areas to enhance their performance and the application of symbol and transformations. Students document and evaluate the stages involved in the creation, development and presentation of their solo performance.

Students are encouraged to attend performances that incorporate a range of performance styles to support their work in this unit.

Area of Study 1

Demonstrating techniques of solo performance

Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to demonstrate, in response to given stimulus material,

application of symbol and transformation of character, time and place, and describe the techniques used.

Area of Study 2

Devising a solo performance

Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to create, develop and perform a solo performance in response to a prescribed structure.


Area of Study 3

Analysing and evaluating a devised solo performance

Outcome 3

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate the creation, development and presentation of a solo performance devised in response to a prescribed structure.


Assessment

Satisfactory Completion

The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on a decision that the student has demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit. This decision will be based on the teacher’s assessment of the student’s performance on assessment tasks designated for the unit.

Levels of Achievement

Units 1 and 2

Emmaus College students complete graded Assessment Tasks and Semester Examinations as part of the Assessment process for Units 1 and 2.

Units 3 and 4

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will supervise the assessment of all students undertaking Units 3 and 4. In the study of VCE Drama students’ level of achievement will be determined in Unit 3 by School-assessed Coursework and in Unit 4 by School-assessed Coursework and an end-of-year performance and end of year written examination.

Percentage contributions to the study score in VCE Drama are as follows:

Unit 3 School-assessed Coursework 30%
Unit 4 School-assessed Coursework 10%
End-of-year performance examination 35%
End-of-year written examination 25%