Master of Dramaturgy

Course MC-DRAMAT (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016 - Southbank
CRICOS Code: 085431G
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 100 credit points taken over 12 months full time.


January to June 2016

Dr Alyson Campbell

July to December 2016

Mr Matthew Delbridge


Currently enrolled students:

Future students:

Course Overview:

This is the first course leading to a qualification in dramaturgy in Australia and Asia, and offers a unique curriculum emerging from its positioning within the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and the artistic and cultural life of Melbourne. It is a one-year, 100-point, Masters course that is closely interwoven with both the existing Master of Writing for Performance and the new Master of Directing for Performance. The Dramaturgy course would form a significant part of a distinctive suite of postgraduate taught programmes in Theatre at the VCA, contributing to a vibrant ecology that matches the conditions of contemporary practice in the field. Working closely with postgraduate Dance and Design, the Centre for Cultural Partnerships and the undergraduate Theatre Practice students, the course exploits the interdisciplinary possibilities of the VCA to offer a course that is not only matchless nationally but internationally. This is enhanced by our international partnerships with institutions and cultural organisations. The VCA’s central location in Melbourne opens up the city’s rich and vibrant performance diversity to the student cohort, and VCA Theatre has strong partnerships with industry.

The structure and content of the course is distinctive in that it is underpinned by a commitment to interdisciplinarity and national and international engagement. It draws on the Theatre department’s strengths in teaching and professional experience in writing, directing and dramaturgy.

The teaching-intense first semester focuses on skills and research training, including a discrete subject that engages closely with the dramaturgical expertise of Melbourne’s diverse theatre industry. The teaching methodology is underpinned by the principle of bringing industry professionals onto the campus to interface with the students. The second semester allows more independent practice and research, building reflective performance practitioners with a high level of research and practice skills commensurate with a Masters degree.

Learning Outcomes:

Through a balance of theory and practical subjects, laboratory-based workshops, seminars, lectures, self-directed exercises, tutorials, practical master classes and internships, the key learning outcomes are:

  • Advanced dramaturgical awareness, providing the knowledge to understand work within its socio-cultural environment;
  • Ability to work collaboratively in interdisciplinary and community work;
  • Knowledge and skills in working in the rehearsal room with directors and creative teams;
  • Advanced ability to engage creatively and imaginatively with textual, visual and performed artworks;
  • The knowledge, practice and critical approaches required to build the Australian performance culture of the future;
  • An awareness of intercultural and international differences, with a focus on Asia;
  • The skills to be flexible practitioners who can operate as leaders in multiple contexts;
  • Reflective practitioners with 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.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Year One – Semester 1

Research Methodologies

Applied Dramaturgy

Dramaturgy and Text

Cross Disciplinary Laboratory

Year One – Semester 2

Dramaturgy and Live Performance

Writing from Performance

Independent Dramaturgy Project

Subject Options:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Entry Requirements:

The Selection Committee for the Master of Dramaturgy will evaluate applicants using the following criteria:

  • Completion of an undergraduate degree in the arts (across art forms such as the performing arts, music, visual arts, film, dance & digital arts); or
  • Completion of an undergraduate degree in associated areas such as social sciences, areas within the design industry sector such as architecture, landscape, computer science, and also related areas in cultural studies, applied sciences and in international development fields ; or
  • For applications without a prior undergraduate degree, equivalent of 3 years professional practice in the creative arts industry.
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.

Further Study:

The Master of Dramaturgy offers a pathway into VCA research higher degrees or other research higher degrees, and the PhD.

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
  • 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
  • work as a leader showing initiative and openness
  • network, broker and mentor

The Master of Dramaturgy includes an independent project that will involve students undertaking a research project within an arts institution/professional environment. This will be managed and assessed by staff on campus. It is possible for this to happen overseas as the learning outcomes and assessment are set up as a research project and monitored and assessed by staff. This will be assessed by research essay and presentation on return to campus. Monitoring will be by email and Skype.

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