Learning
Theatre Studies

Why Study Theatre Studies?

Theatre as a form of cultural expression has been made and performed for audiences from the earliest times and is an integral part of all cultures. Theatre is ever evolving and exists as entertainment, education, ritual, an agent for change, a representation of values and a window on society. Theatre practice has developed and has influenced cultures over many centuries through a wide variety of productions in diverse spaces and venues for a range of audiences. Theatre makers work as playwrights, actors, directors and designers, producing theatre for diverse purposes.

Through the study of VCE Theatre Studies students develop, refine and enhance their analytical, evaluative and critical thinking skills as well as their expression, problem-solving, collaborative and communication skills. They work both individually and in collaboration with others to interpret scripts. Through study and practice, students develop their aesthetic sensibility, including an appreciation for the art form of theatre, interpretive skills, interpersonal skills and theatre production skills.

The study of theatre, in all its various forms, prepares students for further study in theatre production, theatre history, communication, writing, acting, direction and design at tertiary level. VCE Theatre Studies also prepares students for further learning in vocational educational training settings or for industry or community-related pathways.

Structure

The study is made up of four units:

Unit 1: Pre-modern theatre and conventions
Unit 2: Modern theatre styles and conventions
Unit 3: Producing theatre
Unit 4: Presenting an 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 theatre styles and conventions

This unit focuses on the application of acting, direction and design in relation to theatre styles from the pre-modern era, that is, works prior to the 1920s. Students creatively and imaginatively work in production roles with scripts from the pre-modern era of theatre, focusing on at least three distinct theatre styles and their conventions. They study innovations in theatre production in the pre-modern era and apply this knowledge to their own works. Students develop knowledge and skills about theatre production processes including dramaturgy, planning, development and performance to an audience and apply this to their work.

Theatre styles from the pre-modern era of theatre include Ancient Greek, Ancient Roman, Liturgical drama such as morality/miracle/mystery plays, Commedia dell’Arte, Elizabethan, Restoration comedies and dramas, Neo-classical, Naturalism/Realism, Beijing Opera, Noh, Bunraku and Kabuki and other traditional indigenous theatre forms. Students begin to develop skills of performance analysis and apply these to the analysis of a play in performance.

Area of Study 1

Exploring pre-modern theatre styles and conventions

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

Area of Study 2

Interpreting scripts

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to work creatively and imaginatively in production roles to interpret scripts from the pre-modern era.

Area of Study 3

Analysing a play in performance

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

Unit 2 - Modern theatre styles and conventions

This unit focuses on the application of acting, direction and design in relation to theatre styles 
from the modern era, that is, the 1920s to the present. Students creatively and imaginatively work 
in production roles with scripts from the modern era of theatre, focusing on at least three 
distinct theatre styles. They study innovations in theatre production in the modern era and apply 
this knowledge to their own works. Students develop knowledge and skills about theatre production 
processes including dramaturgy, planning, development and performance to an audience and apply this to their work. They study safe and ethical working practices in theatre production and develop 
skills of performance analysis, which they apply to the analysis of a play in performance.

Theatre styles from the modern era of theatre include Epic theatre, Constructivist theatre, Theatre 
of the Absurd, Political theatre, Feminist theatre, Expressionism, Eclectic theatre, Experimental 
theatre, Musical theatre, Physical theatre, Verbatim theatre, Theatre-in-education, and Immersive/Interactive theatre.

Area of Study 1

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

Area of Study 2

Interpreting scripts

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to work creatively and imaginatively in production roles to interpret scripts from the modern era.

Area of Study 3

Analysing and evaluating a theatre production

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

Unit 3 - Producing theatre

In this unit students develop an interpretation of a script through the three stages of the theatre 
production process: planning, development and presentation. Students specialise in two production 
roles, working collaboratively, creatively and imaginatively to realise the production of a script. 
They use knowledge developed during this process to analyse and evaluate the ways work in 
production roles can be used to interpret script excerpts previously unstudied. Students develop 
knowledge and apply elements of theatre composition, and safe and ethical working practices in the 
theatre.

Students attend a performance selected from the prescribed VCE Theatre Studies Unit 3 Playlist and 
analyse and evaluate the interpretation of the script in the performance. The Playlist is published annually on the VCAA website.

Area of Study 1

Staging theatre

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to interpret a script across the stages of the production process through creative, imaginative and collaborative work undertaken in two production roles.

Area of Study 2

Interpreting a script

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to outline concepts and ideas for a creative interpretation of excerpts from a script and explain how these could be realised in a theatre production.

Area of Study 3

Analysing and evaluating theatre

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

Unit 4 - Presenting an interpretation

In this unit students study a scene and an associated monologue. They initially develop an 
interpretation of the prescribed scene. This work includes exploring theatrical possibilities and 
using dramaturgy across the three stages of the production process. Students then develop a 
creative and imaginative interpretation of the monologue that is embedded in the specified scene. 
To realise their interpretation, they work in production roles as an actor and director, or as a 
designer.

Students’ work for Areas of Study 1 and 2 is supported through analysis of a performance they 
attend. The performance must be selected from the VCE Theatre Studies Unit 4 Playlist. The Playlist  is published annually on the VCAA website. Students analyse acting, direction and design and the use of theatre technologies, as appropriate to the production.

Area of Study 1

Researching and presenting theatrical possibilities

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and justify a creative and imaginative interpretation of a monologue and its prescribed scene.

Area of Study 2

Intrepreting a monologue

Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to interpret and present a monologue and orally justify and explain their interpretive decisions.

Area of Study 3

Analysing and evaluating a performance

Outcome 3
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate acting, direction and design 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