Master of Theatre Design

Subject THTR70001 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points:
Level: Research Higher Degree
Dates & Locations: This is a time-based subject, taught on campus at Southbank.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: As required
Total Time Commitment: Minimum candidature 18 months
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.
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Subject Overview:

The students are encouraged to develop their own personal artistic vision through an intensive and practical research project.

Course Structure
An advanced level research project consisting of the following aspects:

  • A 2,500 word research proposal or equivalent outlining the research objectives and research design;
  • Directed study courses or secondments arranged in liaison with the course supervisor that provide theoretical and/or practical support for the major research project;
  • Involvement in research methodology coursework; and,
  • Involvement in post-graduate seminars, in which students will be expected to report on their research progress;

The major research project

  • Phase A
    The set and costume design of a major public performance or series of performances, equivalent value 75% of total research project.
  • Phase B
    A 10-15,000 word commentary or equivalent value 25% of total research project.

The objectives are:

  • to provide an opportunity for candidates of proven ability to undertake advanced work in set and costume design for theatre in an environment where their artistic vision will be realised;
  • to extend the creative and expressive skills, knowledge, collaborative abilities, and self confidence of the candidate;
  • to develop appropriate skills for the documentation, description and analysis of design processes;
  • to promote the development of design for theatre relevant for the contemporary age, while building on the traditions of the art form;
  • to provide an environment where the practice and critical analysis of set and costume design for the theatre can co-exist at an advanced level;
  • to make a significant contirbution to theatre design practice in Australia.

The research project requires the design and realisation of one or two (depending on scale of production) set and/or costume designs for a major public performance of dance, drama and/or opera.

Where possible, the design will be for a VCA production. In this case, the designs will be realised by the Production Services Division of the VCA and will be integrated into the Production Course of the Drama School. The student may, however, submit a proposal for a production outside the College. The student must then organise the realisation of those designs from their own or another organisation's resources.

As part of the project the candidate may request to undertake a related study such as a period of residency with a theatre organisation or a specialised study taken in conjunction with another School of the VCA, Faculty of The University of Melbourne, or similar institution.

The other main requirement is a 10-15,000 word commentary, or equivalent, based on the research. The commentary may be presented in one of several forms, such as:

  • Documentation, investigation and assessment of the designs for the public performance project(s);
  • A research paper which complements the designs for the performance project;
  • A research paper investigating aspects of theatre design practice/practitioners related to the performance project;
  • Another form agreed upon by the research supervisor.

Modifications to the original proposal may be permitted, as part of the progressive development of the commentary, with the approval of the research supervisor.

The boundaries of the project will be agreed between the student and the supervisor.

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

At the completion of the subject students should be able to:

  • Exhibit extensive theoretical and practical knowledge of their discipline including relevant professional knowledge, skills, discipline and ethics as they relate to a practising visual/performing artist;
  • Demonstrate capacities for artistic imagination, creativity, transformation and interpretation;
  • Demonstrate practical skills in respect of critical analysis, problem solving, report writing, team work and oral and written communication;
  • Demonstrate a flexible and innovative approach to the national and international challenges for the professional visual/performing artist in the 21st century;
  • Work at various levels, both as an individual and as a team member, in a wide variety of visual/performing artistic environments;
  • Contribute to a range of visual/performing arts environments as artistic collaborators and leaders;
  • Demonstrate an open, independent and inquiring attitude towards contemporary cultural developments and new ideas;
  • Critically and creatively engage with topics of cultural significance across communities;
  • Understand and appreciate how the visual and performing arts connect with the broader society and contribute to its social and economic development; and,
  • Understand their relationship with and responsibility to their cultural environment and society.
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