VCE Drama

VCE Drama is primarily concerned with improvised and student-written drama works. Areas of production such as costume, lighting, make-up, set pieces, sound design, and theatre technologies are applied where relevant to complement student-devised drama.

Various 20th century theatre styles are examined in order to inform students’ drama material for presentation. A number of past Avila College students who have studied VCE Drama have been recognised by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority as producing performance works at an outstanding level. Avila College students are regularly invited to perform at Top Class Drama, an annual concert of VCE Drama Unit 4 performance examination pieces, considered to be amongst the best in Victoria.

VCE Drama pathways include Drama teaching, acting and other production work in the performing arts. There are several former Avila College students currently studying to be Drama teachers, plus a number who are already qualified Drama teachers in Victorian secondary schools.

 

Unit 1: Introducing Performance Styles

In this unit students study three or more performance styles from a range of social, historical and cultural contexts. They examine drama traditions of ritual and storytelling to devise performances that go beyond re-creation and/or representation of real life as it is lived.

This unit focuses on creating, presenting and analysing a devised (student-written) ensemble performance that includes real or imagined characters and is based on stimulus material that reflects personal, cultural and/or community experiences and stories. This unit also involves analysis of a student’s own performance work and a work by professional drama performers (theatre visit).

Students apply play-making techniques to shape and give meaning to their performance. They manipulate expressive and performance skills in the creation and presentation of characters, and develop awareness and understanding of how characters are portrayed in a range of performance styles. They document the processes they use as they explore a range of stimulus material, and experiment with production areas, dramatic elements, conventions and performance styles.

Outcomes

On completion of this unit the student should be able to:

  • devise and document an ensemble work based on experiences and/or stories
  • present an ensemble work before an audience
  • analyse the processes used to create the ensemble work
  • analyse aspects of a professional theatre production (theatre visit)

Unit 2: Australian Identity

In this unit students study aspects of Australian identity evident in contemporary drama practice. This may also involve exploring the work of selected drama practitioners and associated performance styles.

This unit focuses on the use and documentation of the processes involved in constructing a devised (student-written) solo performance. Students create, present and analyse a performance based on a person, an event, an issue, a place, an artwork, a text and/or an icon from a contemporary or historical Australian context.

In creating the performance, students use stimulus material that allows them to explore an aspect or aspects of Australian identity. They examine selected performance styles and explore the associated conventions. Students further develop their knowledge of the conventions of transformation of character, time and place, the application of symbol, and how these conventions may be manipulated to create meaning in performance and the use of dramatic elements and production areas.

Outcomes

On completion of this unit the student should be able to:

  • devise and document a solo work exploring Australian identity
  • present a solo work before an audience
  • analyse the processes used to create the solo work
  • analyse aspects of a professional theatre production (theatre visit)

Student Perspectives of VCE Drama

Working in unison with an ensemble of like-minded, passionate people, VCE drama is different from any of the other subjects that I study in year 12. Drama not only offers a safe, and receptive environment in which individuals can express themselves through performance, but also provides a significant understanding of the history of performing arts, with students studying various theatre practitioners including Jerry Grotowski, and Bertolt Brecht. In Drama, students combine theory and performance coherently, it is a challenging, but rewarding subject that offers individuals the chance to explore issues in society and throughout history. The arts have become increasingly paramount to our society and I would recommend Drama to any student who desires to further extend herself, and obtain practical skills and knowledge that can be utilised significantly beyond school.

Drama at VCE level is a highly demanding but insanely rewarding, confidence boosting, interesting and fun subject. We not only perform, but also study dramatic theory and conventions, as well as various theatre styles to enhance these performances. In Unit 3, the main assessment task is a non-naturalistic ensemble play, in groups with other students in the class, based on a theme such as historical time period or a modern day event. In Unit 4 we work independently on a non-naturalistic solo, which is a fictional, modern day or historical character. In both tasks, we do research on which to base the performance, and to enhance its quality. There is also a written component in that we complete written SACs on these performances, as well as a professional show that we see as part of the course. I would recommend anyone who is energetic, confident, curious, dedicated or looking for something exciting and different to do Drama.

Drama in VCE provides a unique challenge to be both analytical and creative, independent and collaborative. Students develop team building skills such as brainstorming, negotiation, trial and refinement to achieve a performance which meets the various criteria. In particular, I enjoyed the Unit 4 solo which develops self confidence as you are given the task of researching and creating a script for multiple characters that you perform. Drama has provided me with greater confidence in my potential as well as invaluable skills which can be used towards any brainstorming or team task. The subject is suited to students who enjoy creative writing and performance and would like to further their confidence in front of an audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to act in VCE Drama?
Yes!

Do students write their own playscripts in VCE Drama or perform playscripts already published by others?
All VCE Drama units involve students devising their own performance work and writing their own playscripts.

Is there much theory in VCE Drama?
Not as much theory as there is in VCE Theatre Studies, but yes, there is a theory component in all VCE Drama units that underpins student practical work (performances).

Is there after-school rehearsals in the VCE Drama course?
Occasionally there is an after-school rehearsal to prepare student performances. There is a performance evening before parents and friends in each VCE Drama unit.

Can I undertake VCE Drama Units 1 and 2 as a Year 10 student in 2019?
Yes, you are able to undertake VCE Drama Units 1 and 2 in 2019 as an acceleration option, subject Avila College’s acceleration requirements.

Can I study both VCE Drama and VCE Theatre Studies?
Yes it is possible to study both VCE Drama and VCE Theatre Studies in the same academic year. For example, in 2019 you could undertake VCE Drama Units 1 and 2, while at the same time undertaking VCE Theatre Studies Units 3 and 4 as an accelerated student (subject to acceleration requirements). Classes for each of these courses will occur at different times on the school timetable.

VCE Theatre Studies

VCE Units 3 and 4 Theatre Studies  are also offered to Year 11 students as acceleration options, subject to acceleration requirements.

Career Pathways

Further career options that relate to Drama.

Related subjects

VCE Theatre Studies, VCE English, VCE History, VCE Literature.

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