Modern and Contemporary Drama

Subject ENGL20030 (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 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

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


Subject Overview:

This subject is a study of the major developments in 20th and 21st century theatre and drama within the cultural and historical context of aesthetic modernism and modernity. It starts with the anti-realist manifestos of Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud, and the theatrical innovations of Samuel Beckett, to consider the key intellectual and artistic upheavals of modern theatre and drama. The subject then turns to the impact of women dramatists from the social realism of Shelagh Delaney and the political force of Caryl Churchill, to the experiential theatre of Sarah Kane in the 1990s. The subject concludes with a section on 21st century advances in theatre that engage with virtual reality, global war and social satire.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should be able to:

  • demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of the concepts and practices of modern and contemporary drama;
  • apply high level critical and conceptual thinking to weigh up arguments about dramatic texts and theatrical performance;
  • articulate the relationship between modern and contemporary drama and the complex social, historical and cultural contexts that produced them;
  • work effectively in a team and interact with peers and develop
  • collaboration and leadership skills;
  • 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.

Written work equivalent to 4000 words comprising an essay of 2500 words 60% (due in the examination period), and either a creative play presentation equivalent to 1500 words or a tutorial presentation equivalent to 1500 words 40% (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:
  • Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasion Chalk Circle, Methuen Drama
  • Samuel Beckett, Rockaby, Grove Press
  • Shelagh Delaney, A Taste of Honey, Grove Press
  • Caryl Churchill, Far Away, Nick Hern Books
  • Sarah Kane, Blasted, Methuen Drama
  • Tony Kushner, Homebody/Kabul, Theatre Communications Group
  • Huzir Sulaiman, Cogito and The Weight of Silk on Skin, Checkpoint Theatre, Singapore
Recommended Texts:
  • Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and Its Double, Grove Press
  • Christopher Balme, The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies, Cambridge University Press
  • Bertolt Brecht, Brecht on Theatre, Methuen Drama
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 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
Graduate Certificate in Arts - English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - English and Theatre Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): Theatre Studies

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