Master of Directing for Performance

Course MC-DIRPERF (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Year and Campus: 2015 - Southbank
CRICOS Code: 085432F
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 24 months full time.


Dr Alyson Campbell


Dr Alyson Campbell

Course Overview:

The Degree of Master of Directing for Performance aims to provide opportunities for suitably qualified candidates to develop their potential for artistic leadership and attain in-depth knowledge of their practice as a director, artist, performance-maker, collaborator and researcher. The course enables individual pathways to be forged through three major streams of contemporary performance practice: directing and performance making; practice-led research; and applied performance in intercultural and community engagement contexts. These streams are designed to open up a broad range of career pathways into professional practice.

This distinctive coursework masters degree is inspired by the diversity of performance practices and approaches to directing present in Melbourne, one of the world’s most vibrant and culturally diverse cities. The course is underpinned by a commitment to the pursuit of artistic excellence, collaboration and interdisciplinarity within established and emerging local, national and international performance practices. The VCA offers a unique environment for students to develop an individual approach to directing and creative leadership in a context of interdisciplinary and intercultural learning. During the course students will experience a wide range of collaboration and leadership roles with designers, actors, production teams, writers, dramaturgs and choreographers at VCA, and a range of creative encounters with local, national and international artists, organisations and communities.

The course offers a balance of theory and practice across the four semesters, organised to allow for a progression from the intensively-taught, skills-based, first year to a more independent, project-orientated second year which culminates in an independent, practice-led research performance project or written dissertation. The course actively encourages intercultural and international training and research experiences through fieldwork in the second year of the course.

Learning Outcomes:

Through laboratory-based workshops, seminars, lectures, self-directed exercises, tutorials, practical master classes and national and international internships the key learning outcomes will be:

  • Specialist skills in directing for performance, such as processes of rehearsal, dramaturgy, devising, composition, performance-making;
  • Advanced ability to engage creatively and imaginatively with textual, visual and performed sources and artworks;
  • Ability to work across disciplines and multiple contexts of performance practice;
  • Understanding of the interplay between theory and practice, and their mutual enrichment through praxis;
  • The knowledge, practice and critical approaches required to build the Australian performance culture of the future;
  • The skills to be flexible practitioners who can operate as leaders in multiple contexts;
  • Embedded research skills and knowledge;
  • Advanced critical, artistic and conceptual skills;
  • Ability to comprehend, interpret and intelligently engage with the work of significant practitioners and theorists in the field;
  • Advanced dramaturgical awareness, providing the skills to understand one’s own and others’ work within its socio-cultural environment;
  • An awareness of intercultural and international differences, with a focus on Asia;
  • Collaborative networks from within the cohort and the VCA, and the knowledge and skills to build future collaborative networks nationally and internationally through industry placements and internships.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Year One – Semester 1

DRAM90010 - Performing Arts Research Method

DRAM60024 - Directing Methodologies

THTR70007 - Dramaturgy and Text

DNCE60047 - Cross Disciplinary Laboratory

Year One - Semester 2

DRAM90012 - Dramaturgy and Live Performance

DRAM60025 - Applied Directing – Rehearsal Practice Lab

Year Two - Semester 1

DRAMXXXXX - Working Towards a Creative Vision

DRAMXXXXX - Fieldwork Project

DRAMXXXXX - Independent Project

Subject Options:

Compulsory subjects

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Elective subjects

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
March, June, November
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applications must have completed either:

• an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline (such as the performing arts, music, visual arts, film, dance and digital arts), or equivalent; or

• an undergraduate degree in a cognate discipline (such as social sciences, architecture, landscape, computer science, cultural studies, applied sciences or international development fields), or equivalent; or

• an honours degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline, with a weighted average mark of at least H2B (70%) across the honours year; or

• at least six years of documented professional practice in the creative arts industry.

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:

• prior academic performance or professional experience; and

• an artistic statement which may include written and visual elements; and

• an interview/observing practice (for short-listed applicants only).

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Academic Board rules on the use of selection instruments.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for graduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the

standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

Note. Applicants with the following may be awarded up to 100 points of credit:

• an Honours degree in a relevant discipline, with a weighted average mark of at least H2B (70%) across the Honours year, or equivalent.

Core Participation Requirements:

Participants should possess and/or display potential to develop:

  • Skills in the creative arts: performing arts, circus, graphic design, digital media arts, music, painting, sculpture, etc.
  • Competencies in applying tools & techniques in imaginative play, lateral thinking, interpersonal & intrapersonal skills, social creativity, emotional & multiple intelligence methods
  • Commitment to an intense praxis study model that encompasses research and practice

Behavioural and Social Attributes:

  • Students must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment.
  • Students must take full responsibility for their own participation and learning.
  • Students also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative environments and must therefore demonstrate a wide range of interpersonal skills, which consider the needs of other students. Assessment will include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.


  • Students who have a disability which may prevent them from participating in tasks involving these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:
Adjustments can be provided to minimise the impact of a disability; however, students will need to participate in the course in an independent manner.
Graduate Attributes:
  • Advanced skills and techniques applicable to the discipline
  • A capacity to engage where appropriate with issues in contemporary society
  • The capacity to value and participate in projects which require team work
  • An appreciation of the design, conduct and reporting of original research
  • An ability to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature in the discipline
  • A capacity to articulate knowledge and understanding in oral and written presentations
  • An advanced understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area
  • Well developed problem-solving abilities in the discipline area characterised by flexibility of approach
  • An understanding of the significance and value of knowledge to the wider community (including business and industry
Generic Skills:

On completion of this course the students should demonstrate the ability to:

  • work across disciplines, create and organise a range of aesthetic material
  • work as a leader showing initiative and openness
  • communicate verbally and orally
  • collaborate and be flexible
  • use a range of research tools and methodologies
  • lead others in the skills of problem solving
  • interpret and analyse with a capacity for critical thinking
  • reflect and evaluate to employ innovation methodologies
  • network, broker and mentor

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