Learning
Theatre Studies

Why Study Theatre Studies?

Theatre has been made and performed from the earliest times and is an integral part of all cultures. Theatre exists as entertainment, education, an agent for change, a representation of values and a window on society. Theatre makers have worked as playwrights, actors, directors, researchers, designers, technicians, managers and administrators to produce theatre for a range of audiences and diverse purposes. Theatrical practices has developed, and influenced culture more generally, over centuries and through the variety of productions in a range of spaces and venues.

VCE Theatre Studies develops, refines and enhances students’ analytical, evaluative and critical thinking, and their expression, and problem-solving and design skills. Through study and practice in theatrical analysis, playscript interpretation and engagement in theatrical production processes, students develop their aesthetic sensitivity, interpretive skills, and communication, design, technological and management knowledge.

The study of theatre, in all its various forms, is relevant to students who wish to pursue further study in theatrical production, theatre history, communication, writing and acting at tertiary level or through vocational educational training settings or to pursue industry or community related pathways.

Theatre Studies focuses on the interpretation of playscripts and the production of plays from the pre-modern era to the present day. Students apply stagecraft including acting, to study the nature, diversity and characteristics of theatre as an art form. Throughout the study students work with playscripts in both their written form and in performance. They learn about the times, places and cultures of key theatrical developments and develop awareness of the traditions and histories of theatre.

This knowledge is applied through use of stagecraft to collaboratively interpret playscripts in performance. Through contribution to the production of plays and performance of a monologue, students also develop knowledge and understanding of theatrical styles. This knowledge and understanding is further developed by analysis and evaluation of their own productions and productions by professional theatre practitioners. Theatre Studies provides students with pathways to further studies in fields such as theatre production and theatre design, script writing and studies in theatre history.

Structure

The study is made up of four units:

Unit 1: Pre-modern theatre
Unit 2: Modern theatre
Unit 3: Playscript interpretation
Unit 4: Performance interpretation

Each unit deals with specific content and is designed to enable students to achieve a set of outcomes. Each outcome is described in terms of key knowledge and skills.

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. Only the summary statements have been reproduced below and must be read in conjunction with the key knowledge and skills published in the study design.

Unit 1 - Pre-Modern Era

This unit focuses on the application of acting and other stagecraft in relation to theatrical styles of the pre-modern era. Students work with playscripts from the pre-modern era of theatre, focusing on works created up to 1920 in both their written form and in performance. They also study theatrical and performance analysis and apply these skills to the analysis of a play in performance.

Periods from the pre-modern era of theatre include Ancient Greek, Roman, Liturgical drama such as morality/miracle/mystery plays, Italian and the Commedia Dell’Arte, Elizabethan and Shakespearean, Restoration comedies and dramas, Neo-classical, Spanish and French, Naturalism/Realism, and non-Western theatre such as Beijing Opera, Noh theatre, Bunraku and Kabuki and other traditional indigenous theatre forms. The term ‘playscript’ refers to play/s and/or excerpts from play/s.

Stagecraft

In this unit stagecraft includes acting, costume, direction, dramaturgy, lighting, make-up, multimedia, properties, promotion (including publicity), set, sound and stage management. Students research and apply acting and other stagecraft to interpret playscripts.

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to identify and describe the distinguishing features of pre-modern theatre playscripts.

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply acting and other stagecraft to interpret playscripts from the pre-modern era.

Outcome 3
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse a performance of a playscript.

Unit 2 - Modern Era

This unit focuses on studying theatrical styles and stagecraft through working with playscripts in both their written form and in performance with an emphasis on the application of stagecraft. Students work with playscripts from the modern era focusing on works from the 1880s to the present. Students study theatrical analysis and production evaluation and apply these skills to the analysis of a play in performance from the modern era.

Theatrical styles in the modern era include Naturalism/Realism, Expressionism, Theatre of the Absurd, Epic Theatre, physical theatre, political theatre, feminist theatre, and Eclectic theatre (contemporary theatre that crosses traditional boundaries). Modern theatre has been influenced by practitioners such as Ibsen, Strindberg, Stanislavsky, Chekhov, Brecht, Jarry, Pinter, Beckett, Anouilh, Grotowski, Artaud, Craig, Churchill, Hewitt, Kane, Cusack and Rayson.

The term ‘playscript’ refers to play/s and/or excerpts from play/s.

Stagecraft

In this unit stagecraft includes acting, costume, direction, dramaturgy, lighting, make-up, multimedia, properties, promotion (including publicity), set, sound and stage management. Students apply stagecraft to interpret a playscript and consider the impact of stagecraft on audiences.

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to identify and describe the distinguishing features of modern era theatre playscripts.

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply stagecraft to interpret playscripts from the modern era.

Outcome 3
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate stagecraft in a performance of a playscript.

Unit 3 - Playscript interpretation

In this unit students develop an interpretation of a playscript through the stages of the theatrical production process: planning, development and presentation. Students specialise in two areas of stagecraft, working collaboratively in order to realise the production of a playscript. They use knowledge they develop from this experience to analyse the ways stagecraft can be used to interpret previously unseen playscript excerpts. Students also attend a performance selected from the prescribed VCE Theatre Studies Unit 3 Playlist published annually in the VCAA Bulletin VCE, VCAL and VET, and analyse and evaluate the interpretation of the playscript in the performance.The term ‘playscript’ refers to play/s and/or excerpts from play/s.

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply stagecraft to interpret a playscript for performance to an audience.

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to document an interpretation of excerpts from a playscript and explain how stagecraft can be applied in the interpretation.

Outcome 3
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate the interpretation of a written playscript in production to an audience.

Unit 4 - Performance Interpretation

In this unit students study a scene and associated monologue from the Theatre Studies Stagecraft Examination Specifications published annually by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and develop a theatrical treatment that includes the creation of a character by an actor, stagecraft possibilities, and appropriate research.

Students interpret a monologue from within a specified scene using selected areas of stagecraft to realise their interpretation.

Students’ work for Outcomes 1 and 2 is supported through analysis of a performance they attend selected from the prescribed VCE Theatre Studies Unit 4 Playlist published annually in the VCAA Bulletin VCE, VCAL and VET.

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to interpret a monologue from a playscript and justify their interpretive decisions.

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to develop a theatrical treatment that presents an interpretation of a monologue and its prescribed scene.

Outcome 3
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate acting in a production.

Assessment

Satisfactory Completion

Demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified 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 Theatre Studies the student’s level of achievement will be determined by school-assessed coursework, an end-of-year performance examination and an end-of-year written examination.

Percentage contributions to the study score in Theatre Studies are as follows:

Unit 3 school-assessed coursework: 30 per cent
Unit 4 school-assessed coursework: 15 per cent
End-of-year stagecraft  examination: 25 per cent
End-of-year written examination: 30 per cent