Modern and Contemporary Drama

Subject ENGL20030 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 1.5-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170-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:


Prof Denise Varney


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:

  • to demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of the concepts and practices of modern and contemporary drama;
  • to apply high level critical and conceptual thinking to weigh up arguments about dramatic texts and theatrical performance;
  • to demonstrate a substantive engagement with theatre studies as a discipline that involves the study of theory and practice;
  • to articulate the relationship between modern and contemporary drama and the complex social, historical and cultural contexts that produced them;
  • to work effectively in a team and interact with peers in a semi-structured, small team creative project and develop collaboration and leadership skills;
  • to develop and apply appropriate research methodologies in the field of modern drama and theatre;
  • to work with independence, self-reflection and creativity to meet the goals and challenges of theatre studies, as active participants in cultural life and the workforce.

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 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.

  • Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters, Plays, Penguin Classics
  • Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasion Chalk Circle, Methuen Drama
  • Arthur Miller, All My Sons, Penguin
  • Shelagh Delaney, A Taste of Honey, Grove Press
  • Samuel Beckett, Rockaby, Grove Press
  • Sarah Kane, Blasted, Methuen Drama
  • Caryl Churchill, Far Away, Nick Hern Books
  • Tony Kushner, Homebody/Kabul, Theatre Communications Group
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 and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): Theatre Studies

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