Bachelor of
Dramatic Art

Supplement your passion with skills,

experiences and expertise

BACHELOR DEGREE OF DRAMATIC ART

   COURSE SUMMARY
   Qualification / Award DR12 Bachelor of Dramatic Art
   Course Duration 3 years full-time/ 6 years part-time
   Credit Points 144 credit points
   Delivery On Campus
   Available to Domestic (FEE-HELP available)/International
   ATAR N/A
   IELTS 6.0 with no band less than 6.0
   CRICOS Code 054987E
   Financial Information Course Fees Page
   AQF Level 7
   Key Dates Application Deadlines and other Key Course Dates
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The Bachelor of Dramatic Art is a specialist degree with a holistic approach to theatre training. We seek to integrate higher education with professional development and spiritual formation in a supportive and caring environment. It provides an extensive introduction to all the major aspects of theatre.

The course is offered with three major strands of specialisation, and five minor pathways that students can choose depending on their passion and interests: Performance, Production and Theatre Practice.

Performance Practice

Prepares actors to compete in a highly rigorous industry. Acting, voice and movement skills are developed, with students exploring both theoretical and practical perspectives.

Production Practice

Provides an intellectual and artistic foundation for professional careers in the areas of design and stage management.  Grow in the confidence necessary to generate your own work and to participate successfully in a theatre company. Take the opportunity to supplement your passion with the skills, experiences and expertise for a career in theatre, film and television!

Theatre Practice

Offers a mixture of performance and production units in one program, enabling the development of well-rounded theatrical skills useful for work in small theatre companies, particularly in the area of theatre producing and directing. Paired with our Master of Teaching, it also satisfies the requirements for secondary Drama teaching.


Potential Students

The course is particularly suited to:

  • Those looking for a acting career and the degree to take you there
  • Students who want an exposure to a variety of pathways e.g. Acting, Production & Theatre Practice

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Australian Applicants with recent Secondary Education (School Leavers)

Educational Prerequisites 

  • NSW Higher School Certificate or its interstate or overseas equivalent, or
  • Attainment of tertiary qualification, or satisfactory completion of at least one year‚Äôs full-time load in a tertiary course.

Artistic and Academic Skill Assessment

AUDITION

  • Performance Applicants should prepare to present two contrasting monologues, and participate in an improvisation and warm up exercise.
  • Theatre Practice Applicants should prepare to present one monologue and a portfolio demonstrating their area of speciality. For example, a Design Portfolio, Directors Book or a script.
  • Production Applicants should prepare to present a portfolio showcasing two separate areas of specialty. For example, a Design Portfolio and a Directors Book.
  • Interview: Conducted concurrently with the audition. Applicants will discuss their previous experience, personal motivation and aspirations.
  • Academic Skills. In the audition students will be assessed on their literacy through a short test. This determines whether they must participate in a bridging course before the degree starts.

International Student

In addition to meeting the educational, artistic and academic prerequisites above international applicants who have not completed an educational qualification in English have to provide proof of proficiency in English through internationally recognised tests such as IELTS or TOEFL, or through satisfactory completion of an approved course at one of the College’s partner language colleges.


  Examination Minimum Score 
   IELTS 6.0 with no band less than 6.0
  TOEFL iBT (Internet-based) 60* with no score less than 46
  PTE Academic 50 with no score less than 50

Overseas students applying for admission to Excelsia College courses must have reached the age of 18 years by the commencement of their studies.  Excelsia College will not admit overseas students who have not yet reached 18 years of age.

Visit the International Student page


Applicants with Work and Life Experience

Applicants must demonstrate that they have been involved in some form of high level performance or production making for at least 3 years. This could include professional, community and independent work.

Audition 

  • Performance Applicants should prepare to present two contrasting monologues, and participate in an improvisation and warm up exercise.
  • Theatre Practice Applicants should prepare to present one monologue and a portfolio demonstrating their area of speciality. For example, a Design Portfolio, Directors Book or a script.
  • Production Applicants should prepare to present a portfolio showcasing two separate areas of specialty. For example, a Design Portfolio and a Directors Book.
  • Interview: Conducted concurrently with the audition. Applicants will discuss their previous experience, personal motivation and aspirations.
  • Academic Skills. In the audition students will be assessed on their literacy through a short test. This determines whether they must participate in a bridging course before the degree starts.

Applicants with Higher Education

Audition 

  • Performance Applicants should prepare to present two contrasting monologues, and participate in an improvisation and warm up.
  • Theatre Practice Applicants should prepare to present one monologue and a portfolio demonstrating their area of speciality. For example, a Design Portfolio., Directors Book or a script.
  • Production Applicants should prepare to present a portfolio showcasing two separate areas of specialty. For example, a Design Portfolio and a Directors Book.
  • Interview: Conducted concurrently with the audition. Applicants will discuss their previous experience, personal motivation and aspirations.
  • Academic Skills. In the audition students will be assessed on their literacy through a short test. This determines whether they must participate in a bridging course before the degree starts.

Applicants with VET or TAFE studies

Audition 

  • Performance Applicants should prepare to present two contrasting monologues, and participate in an improvisation and warm up exercise.
  • Theatre Practice Applicants should prepare to present one monologue and a portfolio demonstrating their area of speciality. For example, a Design Portfolio, Directors Book or a script.
  • Production Applicants should prepare to present a portfolio showcasing two separate areas of specialty. For example, a Design Portfolio and a Directors Book.
  • Interview: Conducted concurrently with the audition. Applicants will discuss their previous experience, personal motivation and aspirations.
  • Academic Skills. In the audition students will be assessed on their literacy through a short test. This determines whether they must participate in a bridging course before the degree starts.

CREDIT AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING (RPL)

If the applicant is successful they will be issued an offer letter and a written agreement. Students will need to respond to the offer within 6 weeks. This is done online and a confirmation will be emailed back to the applicant. At this point, applicants are welcome to apply for Credit or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). If you are eligible for credit or RPL, you may be exempt from completing some units and you may be able to finish your degree in a shorter amount of time.

Please refer to the Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy reference.


Download the Student Selection and Admissions Policy and Procedure.

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The Bachelor of Dramatic Art is predicated on the understanding that the professional will commonly engage in ‚Äėportfolio‚Äô careers requiring versatile, flexible and adaptable skills, including: performing, stage managing, operations, producing, directing, teaching and researching. Using these skills (and, in some cases, with further study) our current graduates have secured, and future graduates are expected to secure, employment at entry level as:

  • Actor
  • Director
  • Stage Manager
  • Production Manager
  • Theatre Technician
  • Writer
  • Producer
  • Dramaturg
  • Festival Director
  • Voice Over Artist
  • Production Assistant (TV and Film)
  • Art Department Assistant (TV and Film)
  • Production Assistant (TV and Film)
  • Drama Teacher with further postgraduate qualifications in Teaching and Researcher

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Course Units

The purpose of this unit is to introduce students to the art and discipline of acting with an emphasis on the fundamentals of stage presence, performance technique, character, and personal approaches to work on stage. Content focuses on character creation, given circumstances, and developing ease in performance. Students develop practical skills through improvisation, games, technical exercises, observation, research, and rehearsals. As a foundation students identify personal patterns, sources of creative blockages, and ways to overcome blockages in the development of their personal acting method. This unit provides students with extensive studio experience in performance.

Acting II extends skills and knowledge regarding character and situation and introduces students to the skills required for engaging in creative choices and developing emotional presence for dynamic performances. Thematic or topical content covered includes: developing heightened characters from archetypes; creating character arcs; text analysis: tools and approaches; creative risks and making creative choices through emotional investment and interesting character behaviour; professional protocols of actor/director/audience relationships; and approaches to the rehearsal and performance process.

Voice I explores the foundations of vocal technique for the actor, including the underlying principles of vocal technique, anatomical structure, phonetic theory, professional practice and performance technique; specifically as applied to handling verse. Classes include physical exercises to increase vocal awareness and ability, foundation phonetics, and sessions of text work to assist the actor’s performance.

Voice II clarifies and consolidates the concepts and practices established in Voice I.  The use of accent is introduced and further explorations of text in performance are employed to increase vocal range and ability.  The underpinning philosophy and theory of voice work is also explored.

Movement I introduces students to the physical element of acting. Through a variety of movement and movement-based acting techniques students will develop skills in detailed observation of themselves and others. This analysis creates better understanding of body language and how it is applied in character development. Students will also investigate the basic principles of Physical Theatre such as rhythm, architecture and kinaesthetic response, and explore how they impact and affect a performance. To support this investigation students will be introduced to additional movement principles such as presence, psychological gesture, movement indicators for character, status and situation, qualities of movement, transference and adaptation, improvisation, alignment and balance.

In Movement II students continue to deepen their understanding of the physical expression of acting, and explore stage presence and non-verbal communication through the technique of Neutral and Character Masks. The study of Neutral Mask includes an in depth investigation into the essential nature of movement, universal gesture, balance and energy, focus and breath. Through the study of Character mask, students analyse non-verbal communication and explore how to communicate character through quality of movement, status, energy levels and gestural repertoire.

Theatre Production I addresses the theatre making process as one which integrates a broad range of skills and the combined input of a range of professionals.  Students learn about the protocols, etiquette and hierarchy of professional productions and gain an understanding of the various processes (lighting, sound, stage management, set design, makeup, stagehands, Front Of House) that contribute to the final production outcome. In practical work, students gain confidence and experience in many production areas, including aspects of design, set construction, scenic painting, property construction, costume creation, rigging and focussing, operating sound and lighting and Front Of House duties.

Theatre Production II explores the distinctive features of Drama as an artistic medium, by investigating theories of drama, key theatre practitioners and exploring plays as blueprints for a performance event. In so doing, students develop analytical skills that enable them to discern information concerning aspects of characterisation, dramatic action, appropriate staging and relationship to an audience. In practice, students build further on acquired skills, participate in structured pre-production tasks for a variety of productions, and develop and maintain a process folder detailing their creative research into production areas.

Theatre History and Text Analysis I traces the roots of our current performance culture to the traditions and development of early Western European theatre. In doing so, the unit presents a chronological study of theatre from classical Greek and Roman theatre, through Medieval theatre and the Italian Renaissance, to Restoration and 18th century theatre in England. Parallel to this historical study, students engage with representative plays, where emphasis is placed on text analysis for performance. Through close analysis of these plays, students extend their understanding of how various styles develop in relationship to previous genres, and how this development influences current theatrical conventions.

Theatre History and Text Analysis II presents a broad sweep of contemporary world theatre and its antecedent influences. The historical perspective on antecedent influences gives consideration to dramaturgy, performance style, traditional performance spaces, and cultural expectations and influences. Plays from the early 1900s to the modern day are critically analysed in parallel as representative performance scripts and include works from Europe, Great Britain, America and Australia. Through close analysis of key plays students examine how various styles develop in relationship to previous genres and how this development influences current theatrical conventions.

This unit will introduce students to a range of rational arguments for and against the truth claims of Christianity, and the evidence typically presented for these arguments in contemporary cultural contexts.  In doing so,  the unit will assist students to analyse the treatment of apologetic questions in the arts and media and to consider ways to make cultural products that engage with, and respond to, apologetic questions.  The unit provides significant scope for students to respond to issues raised in ways appropriate to their current and/or emerging belief set.

This unit will introduce students to a range of rational arguments for and against the truth claims of Christianity, and the evidence typically presented for these arguments in contemporary cultural contexts.  In doing so,  the unit will assist students  to analyse the treatment of apologetic questions in the arts and media, and to consider ways to make cultural products that engage with, and respond to, apologetic questions.  The unit provides significant scope for students to respond to issues raised in ways appropriate to their current and/or emerging belief set.

The purpose of this unit is to build on the core knowledge and skills accrued in previous Acting units and focus on contemporary methods for realism in the context of Australian drama.  Practitioners and methodologies studied draw from a cannon of modernists and include Stanislavski, Chekhov, Strasberg, Adler, Meisner and Mamet. Students are exposed to the skills and knowledge needed to successfully prepare for a production of theatre that is specific to Australian audiences.  For 2015 this unit will focus on techniques drawn from Stanislavski and Meisner.

In this unit students acquire skills in manipulating character choices and situation for comedic purposes. Introducing heightened forms of style utilised in both historical and contemporary settings, with a clear focus on timing and delivery, this unit prepares students for a variety of comedic performance opportunities. Topical or thematic content covered includes heightened style, character and situation, comedic timing, focus, emphasis and delivery, playing for contrast, comedy of manners, satire and contemporary comedic styles.

Voice III focuses on finding truthful connection through voice acting, integrating and honing the physical skills previously acquired in Voice I and II.  Students are encouraged to explore and express greater depths of truth and meaning through their personal interpretation of text. Vocal preparations for performance, including warm-ups, space awareness and role preparation are also investigated.

Voice IV builds upon the technical skills acquired in Voice I, II and III through further extension into heightened language and extreme vocal positions of dramatic intensity.  Students consolidate and refine their technical knowledge by leading the class through vocal warm ups, and extend their knowledge of poetic rhythm and metre and their connection to thought and word.

In Movement III the students extend upon their knowledge, understanding and skill in mask work; specifically the masks of the Commedia’dell’Arte. The skill in mask will now evolve to incorporate these Renaissance masks which use speech, costume, props and weapons in scenario work.  The focus of these masks is to create a stronger relationship with the audience, to explore heightened body language and gesture, heightened character voice, comic timing and rhythm. The study of these masks also continues to expand skills in elements of drama such as focus of scene, tension, atmosphere, status, entrance and exit work.

In Movement IV students are introduced to Suzuki and Laban techniques which  develop high level skills in physical preparation, discipline, focus, precision and timing for dramatic performance.  The unit particularly considers body and breath control, distribution of energy and skills of personal observation. The unit also requires and supports extensive self assessment, physical research and application to text.

In Performance Practice A, students are provided with the opportunity to rehearse and publicly perform one act plays from the classic repertoire in the Institute theatre. Emphasis is placed on professional rehearsal and performance processes and protocols, and students utilise, incorporate and practice skills acquired in previous studies. Students also take on performance and support production roles, thus developing a range of teamwork and ensemble skills.

Performance Practice B extends each student’s capacity to perform in front of audiences with increasing confidence and professionalism through the analysis, rehearsal and production of a larger cast play derived from the international theatre canon. Students rehearse and perform with final year students and, by doing so, learn to develop and extend creative processes, personal technique and professional protocols.  The unit further enhances understandings of the audition and rehearsal process, and of personal techniques applicable for working constructively with a director, actors and production personnel.

In Performance Practice C (Performing Shakespeare) students further explore and employ the practical skills gained in previous semesters through an intensive series of Acting Shakespeare classes and workshops, the creative adaptation of a Shakespeare play for theatre-in-education purposes, a rehearsal process, in-house performances, and a touring season to schools. In so doing, students further develop and extend creative processes, personal technique and professional protocols; and develop the ability to perform in different performing spaces to diverse audiences.

This unit examines the development of the major movements in 20th century theatre, primarily Epic Theatre, Expressionism and Theatre of The Absurd. Students will explore theatrical styles in contrast to Realism through the work of modernists such as Ionesco, Brecht, Beckett, Albee and Pinter. Specific studies of practitioners and performances will pay close attention to writing style, performance technique, use of design elements and directorial considerations. Classes run as a combination of lectures and practical exercises, enabling students to independently generate performance work from at least two genres.

This unit introduces students to the reading and study of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible as literature and theology, and develops knowledge and skills to applying its ideas and values to contemporary life, faith and the arts. The unit develops a critical awareness of Old Testament texts in their original contexts, the place of various texts in the canon of Scripture, changing understandings of biblical texts through history, and the application of Biblical texts in contemporary artistic and life contexts. Successful completion of this unit will provide a sound basis upon which further Old Testament and other literary studies may be developed.

This unit seeks to provide students with the tools necessary for sympathetic engagement with the New Testament. The unit begins with a discussion of general strategies for reading biblical literature. After a brief survey of the historical context of the New Testament, a survey is given of the four gospels and Acts. The unit then moves to the letters of Paul, the general letters, and the book of Revelation. At various points the unit specifically examines the way the biblical text has influenced Western culture in general, and has specifically influenced key cultural artefacts (films, literature, art, etc).

Acting V exposes students to the terminology, hierarchical structure, process of film-making, work conditions and technical demands associated with camera performances. Topical or thematic content covered includes film process and terminology, on-set protocols and hierarchical structures, technical skills (working to frame, cheating, hitting marks, eyelines, timing), relaxation, presence and creative focus in a pressured environment, taking direction and developing performance flexibility.

In this unit students acquire skills in manipulating character choices and situation for comedic purposes. Introducing heightened forms of style utilised in both historical and contemporary settings, with a clear focus on timing and delivery, this unit prepares students for a variety of comedic performance opportunities. Topical or thematic content covered includes heightened style, character and situation, comedic timing, focus, emphasis and delivery, playing for contrast, comedy of manners, satire and contemporary comedic styles.

Voice V builds upon the foundation skills of Voice I-IV, focusing on the creation of character through vocal transformation.  Accent acquisition is revised and refined.  Range is extended through the exploration of vocal qualities.  Voices are maintained and enriched through vocal workouts and performances.

Voice VI prepares the student vocally for audition work and continues to strengthen technique for professional performance.  In particular, the unit incorporates phonetic and aural skills applicable to dialect and accent work, thus enabling students to demonstrate advanced vocal skills in dialect/accent in performance.  This unit represents the final degree-level stage of voice development for the aspiring actor.

In Movement V students draw on movement work completed during previous semesters, and in their performance experience, and apply these to a piece of group-devised physical theatre. Students discuss, improvise, build on work generated in the rehearsal space and work as an ensemble through listening, sharing and complicité. The finished work requires students to source costumes, set, props and music as necessary; and to liaise with technical assistants as appropriate.

In Movement VI students complete their movement studies by focusing on skills acquired through studying Greek Theatre and Melodrama. The approach to Greek Theatre will specifically focus on the role of chorus: including how this early ensemble may have used movement in storytelling and how this storytelling could be contemporised.  The unit will also highlight advancements of the Commedia dell’Arte as a precursor to further investigating contemporary comedy, thus building on understandings developed in Movement III.

In Performance Practice D students are exposed to the various stages of development of a theatrical production; are trained in critical thinking and practical skills in management; and are provided with mentorship as they develop a show from its initial concept to performance. The unit also provides students with ongoing practice in the integration of voice, movement and acting skills in order to create a polished performance. Skills acquired in the unit enable students to collaborate at a professional level with other artists in the generation of co-op, low budget and independent work post-graduation.

Performance Practice E consolidates each student’s capacity to perform in front of audiences with confidence and professionalism through the analysis, rehearsal and production of a larger cast play derived from the international theatre canon. Students develop and extend creative processes, personal technique and professional protocols to industry standard.  The unit solidifies understandings of the audition and rehearsal process, and of personal techniques applicable for working constructively with a director, actors and production personnel.

Performance Project is centrally built around the graduation play, performed in the final semester in order to showcase student talent, acquired skills and professional standing. The students rehearse and perform a demanding play according to professional procedures, timelines and standards. This unit completes the students’ preparation for professional performance work, and exposes them to a range of industry representatives.

Film Project provides performance and production students with a broad overview of the process for generating independent films. It is primarily a practical unit, drawing on and consolidating prior knowledge and skills accrued in a variety of subjects, and extending skills via practical application in small group settings. Working on creative exercises, students are introduced to core skills and understandings in the stages of film production from development to delivery. They are also introduced to accepted standards in synopsis writing and production planning and develop technical proficiency with appropriate technology including safety issues and collaborative work practices.

This unit seeks to equip students for the world of work by considering biblical perspectives on work, a theological anthropology of human beings as ‚Äúworkers‚ÄĚ, an ethical analysis of wealth, and the development of practical tools for decision-making in vocational contexts. ¬†In order to ground the unit in both relevant theory/theology and practice, ¬†students will be asked to develop a range of cultural products, to consider their potential impacts in contemporary social contexts, and to engage in a guided reflection on how to act ethically within the concrete domains of institutions and workplaces.

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  Applicant background
2019 Semester 2
Number of Students  Percentage of  all students
 (A) Past higher education study
(includes a bridging or enabling course)
7 15%
  (B) Past vocational education and training (VET) study 0 0%
 (C) Work and life experience
(Admitted on the basis of previous achievement not in the other three  categories)
1 2%
 (D) Recent secondary education:

  • Admitted solely on the basis of ATAR (regardless of whether this includes the impact of adjustment factors such as equity or subject bonus points)
0 0%
  • Admitted where both ATAR and additional criteria were considered (e.g. portfolio, audition, extra test, early offer conditional on minimum ATAR)
0 0%
  • Admitted on the basis of other criteria only and ATAR was not a factor (e.g. special consideration, audition alone, schools recommendation with no minimum ATAR)
36 78%
    International students 2 4%
    All students 46 100%

Excelsia College’s OZ to LA PROGRAM

Excelsia College’s Oz to LA program gives students a once in a lifetime opportunity to study in Los Angeles, rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in showbiz. Throughout the program, students will study five days a week at a Los Angeles renowned school in an intense and concentrated manner, testing your commitment, passion and suitability for life as an actor. FEE-HELP is available for the training and course-related costs of the Oz to LA program. Students are required to cover the upfront costs of approximately $8000.
This includes accommodation, flights, living and other expenses.

What does it include?

10 weeks intensive actor training
Audition/casting sessions
Exclusive meetings
Industry conferences
Networking opportunities
Studio tours
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