The Theatre Experience

Subject ENGL20034 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5 hours per week: 1 hr lecture + 1.5hr tutorial
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours per semester





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Paul Rae


Subject Overview:

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.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the 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.
  • Experience participating in a small group project as a means of engaging in collaborative learning about theatre.

A mid-semester essay of 1000 words 25% (due mid-semester), A performance analysis of 2000 words 50% (due in the examination period), and a group project presentation (15 mins) and 1000 word group write-up 25% (groups will present in tutorials over the course of the semester).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available. The performance analysis will be based on a live performance viewed locally in the course of the subject.


• Balme, Christopher B. The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
• Brook, Peter. The Empty Stage (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990).
• Leach, Robert. Theatre Studies: the Basics (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2008).

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • 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.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - English and Theatre Studies

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