Modern and Contemporary Drama

Subject ENGL20030 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 1.5-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 102-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

106-208 Modern Drama; ENGL20030 Modern Drama

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. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Denise Varney

Subject Overview:

Students will read a selection of the key works of modern and contemporary drama. The focus is on the major developments in 20th century American, British and European drama, the social and historical context of modernity, Stanislavskian, Brechtian and Artaudian theories of acting and performance and innovations in technology and stagecraft. The subject concludes by considering the drama of the 21st century and the ways in which the form continues to renew and modernise itself under pressure from an increasingly mediatised culture.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should have:

  • an understanding of the theories and practices of modern drama and theatre and its historical and cultural contexts;
  • worked effectively in a team to present the results of research through both rational argument and the presentation of performance material;
  • developed appropriate research methodologies in the field of modern drama and theatre;
  • critically analysed and evaluated arguments and theories regarding the practice and development of modern drama and theatre;
  • identified and critically analysed the traces of modern drama in contemporary theatre practice.

Work equivalent to 4000 words: comprising an essay of 2000 words 50% (due in the examination period), a creative play presentation equivalent to 1000 words 25% (due during semester) and a tutorial presentation equivalent to 1000 words 25% (due during the semester). This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% 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.

  • Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters, Plays, Penguin Classics
  • Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasion Chalk Circle, Methuen Drama
  • Arthur Miller, All My Sons, Penguin
  • Harold Pinter, The Birthday Party, Faber and Faber
  • Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, Cambridge University Press
  • Sarah Kane, Blasted, Methuen Drama
  • Caryl Churchill, Far Away, Nick Hern Books
Recommended Texts:
  • Antonin Artaud, Artaud on Theatre, Methuen
  • Bertolt Brecht, The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht, Methuen
  • Konstantin Stanislavsky, An Actor Prepares, Methuen
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 sucessfully complete this subject will be able to:

  • demonstrate sound and independent critical and ethical thinking in their choice of materials and processes;

  • present written and oral communication to a professional standard regarding their treatment and material choices.


This subject is available to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Creative Arts students and may be credited towards a theatre studies or English major in either course.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English Literary Studies Major
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
Theatre Studies Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Theatre Studies

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