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Centre Stage

By | Copyright Year:2017 | ISBN-13: 9780170385381

Centre Stage, third edition, is a comprehensively updated two-year drama course book suitable for middle secondary students across all states. Through creativity and the development of ideas, students will deepen their appreciation of drama and explore different ways they can perform and evaluate drama.

*Complimentary access to NelsonNet is available to teachers who use the accompanying student book as a core resource in their classroom. Contact your education consultant for access codes and conditions.


Part One: Creating and performing drama

1 The performer’s tools: Body and voice
1.1 Warm-ups
1.2 Body language: Expression, gesture and interpretation
1.3 Mime: Creating illusion through use of the body
1.4 Voice in performance
1.5 Performance task: Images of Australia

2 Improvisation: Spontaneous performance
2.1 An overview of improvisation
2.2 The skills of improvisation
2.3 Character types and status in improvisation
2.4 The elements of drama
2.5 Improvisation exercises
2.6 Playback theatre
2.7 Performance task: Improvisation

3 The elements of drama: A framework
3.1 What are the elements of drama?
3.2 The human context
3.3 Tension and focus: the engine of drama
3.4 Language, movement, symbol, place and mood: Communicating through the elements of drama
3.5 Performance task: Creating dramatic meaning

4 Playbuilding: Devised performance
4.1 The playbuilding process
4.2 Playbuilding structures
4.3 Highlighting dramatic moments using focus
4.4 Scene transitions
4.5 Creating a character
4.6 Stage spaces and the audience
4.7 Gothic drama
4.8 Performance tasks

Part Two: Directing, designing, playwriting and reviewing theatre

5 Directing and designing: Staging and performing play scripts
5.1 The Director
5.2 The Designers
5.3 The Stage Manager
5.4 The directorial concept and the elements of production
5.5 Script detective work and Stanislavski’s system
5.6 Rehearsing and performing scripts
5.7 Performance task: Interpreting script

6 Playwriting: Creating and writing play scripts
6.1 Playwriting
6.2 Approaches to playwriting
6.3 Contemporary Indigenous Australian drama
6.4 Writing your own scripted drama
6.5 Playwriting task: Australian drama

7 Theatre criticism: Analysing and evaluating performances
7.1 Steps in reviewing a live performance
7.2 Evaluating the components of a performance
7.3 Written task: Review of a performance

Part Three: Dramatic forms and performance styles

8 Melodrama: Just for the thrill
8.1 An overview of melodrama
8.2 Plot and dramatic structure in melodrama
8.3 Characters in melodrama
8.4 The melodrama acting style
8.5 Staging in melodrama
8.6 Performance task: Time running out

9 Comedy: It’s all in the ... timing
9.1 An overview of comedy in performance
9.2 Slapstick: Physical comedy
9.3 Character in slapstick comedy
9.4 Parody: Imitation and exaggeration
9.5 Performance task: Don’t slip on the soap!

10 Political theatre: Raising awareness
10.1 The Purpose of political theatre
10.2 Exploring politics, power and justice
10.3 Documentary drama
10.4 Performance task: Political theatre

11 Physical theatre: Roll up! Roll up!
11.1 Legs on the Wall: A physical theatre company
11.2 Physical theatre exercises
11.3 Performing a physical theatre script
11.4 Performance task: Physical theatre

12 Non-realistic theatre: Visions, dreams and symbols
12.1 An overview of non-realistic theatre
12.2 Dreams and the subconscious
12.3 Expressionist theatre
12.4 Performance task: Non-realistic theatre


Mathew Clausen has extensive experience teaching drama and film studies to both primary and secondary students in New South Wales and Victoria. He is currently Drama Coordinator at Loreto Kirribilli, New South Wales and author of Centre Stage. Mathew is a writer of education notes for the Sydney Opera House HouseEd program and recently lectured in Drama Curriculum at the Australian Catholic University. Mathew is also the President of ATOM NSW and Supervisor of Marking for the Higher School Certificate Drama Individual Projects and Written Examinations.


Comprehensively updated two-year drama course book

New chapter dedicated to the ‘Elements of Drama’

New chapter topic: Political theatre

Revised and expanded chapter on Playbuilding

A variety of new performance tasks have been included at the end of each chapter

Updated selection of Australian play extracts and practitioner profiles.