Students with a humanities or creative arts background will be well-suited to this unit. Options will be available for students who have never performed before to help them to participate in the course using their pre-existing arts-based analytical and communication skills. Students from non-arts-based backgrounds who can demonstrate strong prior experience with the creative arts could also participate in this unit.


Course PERF207 Australian Drama 
Course dates 25 June - 6 July 2018 
Campus Brisbane
Lecturer(s) Dr Delyse Ryan
Form(s) of teaching Face-to-face teaching, workshops and field work
Form(s) of assessment Performance review, research essay, performance
ACU credit points 10
Contact hours 36 hours

A wide range of Australian plays will be examined in this unit. Some representative plays include:

Betzien, Angela. Children of the Black Skirt. Currency Press, 2005.

Buzo, Alex. Norm and Ahmed. Currency Press, 1976.

Dampier, Alfred, et al. Marvellous Melbourne. (unpublished)

Enoch, Wesley and Deborah Mailman. The Seven Stages of Grieving. Playlab Press, 2002.

Lawler, Ray. Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Currency Press, 1993.

Murray-Smith, Joanna. The Female of the Species. Currency Press, 2008.

Williamson, David. Travelling North. Currency Press, 1980.

Useful secondary critical texts include:

  • Casey, Maryrose. Creating Frames: Contemporary Indigenous Theatre. U of Queensland Press, 2004.
  • Chowdhury, Khairul. Empowering and disempowering Indigenes: Staging Australian Aboriginal experience. Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010.
  • McCallum, John. Belonging: Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century. Sydney: Currency Press, 2009.
  • Milne, Geoffrey. Theatre Australia (Un)limited: Australian Theatre Since the 1950s.Amsterdam: Rodopi,2004.
  • Radic, Leonard. Contemporary Australian Drama. Brandl & Schlesinger, 2006.
  • Schafer, Elizabeth and Susan Bradley Smith. Playing Australia: Australian Theatre and the International Stage. Rodopi, 2003.

This will include:

  • contemporary Australian theatre performance
  • educational workshops & Q&A sessions

This unit will examine a range of Australian playwrights to understand their particular social and cultural preoccupations in regard to the dramatic style they employ and its execution in performance. Students will attend contemporary Australian theatre productions addressing issues of Australian and indigenous culture.

This unit may include theatre educational workshops and Q&A sessions to tie in with productions. Excursions to the theatre will be used to prompt classroom discussions about representations of Australian Culture on stage and support student assessment tasks.

Topics will include:

  • the historical and contemporary development of Australian drama
  • performance conventions of Australian drama
  • cultural issues in Australian plays
  • Australian Indigenous performance

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  • investigate the development of different types of Australian drama;
  • identify the stylistic approaches and techniques of selected Australian playwrights;
  • explain the different social and cultural contexts of Australian plays including that of Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander people.

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