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This subject is for students across the university interested in understanding and enjoying theatre, an ancient art form that enjoys continuing popularity in many modern societies, including Australia. Drawing on a range of local and international examples from mainstream and experimental performance styles, we examine what is distinctive about the theatre experience, and what it can tell us about the place and times we live in. Students new to theatre should gain some insight into why it remains such a vital art form, as well as a firm grounding in theatre appreciation that will serve them well long after the subject is over. More experienced theatre-goers will find the subject’s approach to the fundamentals of the form a refreshing and provocative basis for deeper understanding and further study. In order to achieve these goals, the subject is divided into three parts. Part One identifies theatre’s unique qualities. Part Two explores how to analyse them. Part Three considers theatricality in mass culture. Lectures and tutorial discussions will draw on plays, critical writings and performance recordings, while also making the most of Melbourne’s own vibrant theatre scene.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should have:
- knowledge of a range of theatre styles, and their defining features;
- understanding and application of theatre terminology, as it relates to the component parts of the theatre building, and of plays and other theatrical events;
- familiarity with key critical terms in Theatre Studies, and the ability to use them appropriately in order to analyse and assess theatrical performances;
- the ability to compare and contrast different kinds of performances, and to support arguments with reference to relevant secondary sources, and selected critical theories;
- confidence in discussing and debating the inherently diverse features of creative activities, and the inherently ambiguous qualities of artistic events; and
- experience participating in a small group project as a means of engaging in collaborative learning about theatre.
At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:
- demonstrate sound and independent critical and ethical thinking in their choice of materials and processes;
- be able to present written and oral communication to a professional standard regarding their treatment and material choices;
- be able to engage in critical thinking and analysis by communicating arguments and ideas effectively;
- develop understanding of social, ethical and cultural contexts.
Last updated: 3 October 2023