The NSW Board Of Studies stage 6 syllabus tells us that “Drama is an important means of understanding, constructing, appreciating and communicating social and cultural values; interpreting, valuing and transmitting the past and traditions; exploring, celebrating and challenging the present and imagining the future” and I am inclined to agree. Drama is an art form and it’s ability to be used as a tool to observe, explore and teach our students about themselves and our very own Australian societies and cultures is unlike any other.
The HSC Drama rubric tells us that “Australian drama and theatre explores, theoretically and experientially, the traditional and contemporary practices of Australian drama and theatre and the various ways in which artistic, cultural, social, political and personal issues and concerns are reflected in different contexts.”
Basically, in teaching the topic of Australian Drama and Theatre we are asking out students the following questions:
- What is the role of Australian theatre?
- What are its artistic, cultural, social, political and personal issues and concerns?
- And how do our students engage with and learn from their studies of Australian drama and theatre?
The answer to these questions will be different for everyone who asks them, but we know that drama asks these questions through the mirroring of society and through the exploration of differing situations, characters, issues and ideas.
Bruce Burton’s Living Drama acknowledges that “Indigenous theatre has a significant and complex role in contemporary theatre in Australia” (Burton, p.234). He goes on to write “as an important part of this search for identity, many indigenous plays have explored the importance of family and community to the individual”. It is through the study of Jane Harrison’s Stolen where our students can learn and experience the fear, persecution and desolation felt by the children and families of the Stolen Generation; an entire...