Dance  (T, A, M)

Drama  (T, A, M)

Music    (T, A, M)

A rich and exciting range of subjects and co-curricular experiences are offered at St Francis Xavier College, which enrich students, excite their imaginations, foster personal growth and creativity and develop their performance and stagecraft skills. Our commitment to the pursuit of excellence is reflected in our students’ achievements at the College and beyond.

The Performing Arts Department is a vibrant part of the College community offering units that extend beyond the classroom, involving lunchtime, evening and community performances.  It is involved in musicals, concerts, liturgies, festivals, competitions, vocal performances and, as such, reflects our Christian community spirit.

The Performing Arts Department offers state of the art facilities in Music, Dance, Theatre and Media, as well as a wide range of courses for students interested in both professional and vocational pathways.

Students who participate in the Dance, Drama and Music courses will be assessed under the BSSS Performing Arts Course Framework.

Dance (T, A, M)

Dance is open students of all levels of dance experience. It enables students to perform, choreograph and respond to dance equipping them with important life skills and encouraging them to become innovative and creative thinkers which are highly valuable skills for all career and industry pathways.

In Dance students learn and explore various styles, techniques and performance skills. They discover and use the elements of dance, choreographic tools and safe dance practices and will develop their analytical and evaluative skills through the exploration of the social, cultural and historical significance of dance works, styles and practitioners.

Students are given a minimum of two live performance opportunities throughout the year; MADD Night which takes place in our very own College Theatre and the Ausdance Youth Dance Festival which takes place at the Canberra Theatre.

Post school pathways:

Performing Arts pathways

Entertainment pathways

Sample course outline:

Semester 1: Contemporary Dance

Semester 2: Dance & Entertainment

Semester 3: World Dance

Semester 4: Dance in the Community

Please note: other Dance units from the BSSS may also be offered depending on student demand and availability of resources at any one time.

Unit descriptions:

Contemporary Dance

This unit examines modern and contemporary dance through the study of modern and postmodern practitioners and companies from both the Australian and the international dance industries. Students will develop technical skills in contemporary dance and will learn about the choreographic process, including the exploration of various stimuli, the elements of dance and choreographic devices.

Dance and Entertainment

Students will learn sequences, technical exercises and choreographed dances in styles such as jazz, tap, ballroom, k Pop, commercial and musical theatre. They will learn about key choreographers of these styles and will explore the cultural contexts of specific musical theatre works. In this unit, students will also continue to develop and refine their understanding of the Elements of Dance, compositional processes and choreographic devices.

World Dance

This unit includes the study of Ritual Dance and dance from other cultures. Students will learn and perform repertoire from specific countries and cultures and will investigate the social, religious, geographical and cultural contexts of these styles and their influence on dance today. Students will also choreograph their own works influenced or inspired by cultural dances.

Dance in the Community

This unit will enable students to learn about dance as it appears in a community context, such as social dance, dance therapy and dance fitness. They will use the body as an instrument of communication and creativity to demonstrate and justify the elements and processes of choreography and they will develop an awareness of community principles such as integration and inclusivity through dance. Students will work as a group to develop a community performance and workshop model for a chosen group of primary or high school aged students.

Dance Foundation

In this unit, students will develop an understanding of familiar dance styles such as classical ballet and contemporary dance. They will learn about the composition process and movement practice and will develop theoretical skills. Students will also study various techniques, dance history and safe dance practices.

Dance in our Time

In this unit, students will study dance in contemporary society including one, or a variety of styles, such as jazz, funk, hip hop, street dance, rock n roll or contemporary dance. They will investigate the personal, historical and cultural context of the role of dance in contemporary society. Students will develop skills and techniques relevant to these styles, including the ability to choreograph their own dance piece.

Dance Production

This unit examines specific methods of approaching movement creation, including the use of costuming, lighting, sets, props and/or multi-media to enhance and develop a dance production. Students will perform their work with consideration of technical skills relevant to the style of choice.

Dance and the Media

In this unit, students examine dance as it is seen in commercial media such as advertising, music videos, television and print media. Students will explore dance through various media elements such as notation, storyboarding, video/digital camera techniques and editing. They will also learn specific dance techniques, aesthetic qualities of dance performance and choreographic processes.

Drama (T, A, M)

Unit description:

Drama is an integral art form as it makes meaning of the world through enactment to represent, question and communicate concepts and ideas. The study of Drama enables learners to engage with innovative thinkers and to experience drama as artists and audience members.

In making dramatic performance, students learn about the elements of drama, rehearsal strategies, workshopping, improvising, preparing the body, technical and performance skills to engage and communicate with an audience.

In responding to Drama performance, students learn about theory, the elements of production, roles of directors, actors, playwrights, performance styles, presentation of dramatic works, audience and drama criticism. Students will develop an informed critical appreciation of dramatic works, considering drama practices, elements, genres, styles, production techniques and conventions in the construction of meaning. They interpret, analyse and evaluate the social, cultural and historical significance of drama. The study of drama equips students with life skills while also providing continuity with many tertiary and industry courses.

Each semester, Drama students have the opportunity to showcase their work in a live performance in our professional theatre with a dance tarkett and state of the art lighting, sound and multimedia systems. Performances include full scale plays, productions and concerts that are run by our very own Student Production Crew.

Post school pathways:

Performing Arts pathways

Entertainment pathways

Sample course outline:

Semester 1: Dramatic Explorations

Semester 2: Actor and Director

Semester 3: Devising an Ensemble Production

Semester 4: Australian Theatre

Please note: other Drama units from the BSSS may also be offered depending on student demand and availability of resources at any one time.

Unit Descriptions:

Acting for Film and Television

The focus of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of acting techniques for screen and television. Students will explore acting skills for specific camera angles/shots in relation to various genres such as children’s television, soap opera, advertising, news presentation, comedy and more.

Dramatic Explorations

The focus of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental elements of Drama as well as the historical influences and styles such as Stanislavski, Brecht, and Artaud on the development of theatre.

Devising an Ensemble Production

This unit is designed for students to work as an ensemble to create and present original theatrical work/s for an intended target audience either within the school community or for regional or interstate theatre festivals. The content studied will be determined by the production requirements and may draw on a wide range of both conventional play building techniques and/or specific art forms such as masked theatre, physical theatre or puppetry.


The focus of this unit is to explore the many facets of comedy in performance. Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of theatrical styles such as Commedia dell’Arte and melodrama and experiment with techniques such as farce, satire, status and comic timing.

Australian Theatre

The focus of this unit is to develop an understanding of the relationship between theatre practices and content and Australian cultures, both historical and developing. Students will workshop and perform a variety of plays and extracts which identify specific themes, characters and forms in Australian Drama.

Actor and Director

The focus of this unit is to explore the role, purpose and focus of the actor and the director and to understand their relationship in making theatre.

Modern and Classical Tragedy

The focus of this unit is to explore, examine and journey through the changing face of the tragedy form. This includes consideration of the essential questions of life, death and suffering.

Theatre Production and Performance

The focus of this unit is to work collaboratively to develop a polished theatrical production. The unit explores and practically applies general principles of a production from all perspectives: performing, directing, design and technical production. The unit provides opportunities to create work specifically designed for performance in front of a live audience. Focus is on team/ensemble work as part of a cohesive production team.

Theatre for Young People

The focus of this unit is to explore and appreciate the value of theatre designed and intended for young people. Students are provided with the opportunity to devise and perform theatre to inform, entertain and educate their audience. The unit will explore the importance of establishing interaction and rapport between the young performers and their audiences.

Music (T, A, M)

Course description:

The Music Course at St Francis Xavier College encourages students to continue to develop their skills on their choice of instrument, and build repertoire in a diverse range of styles. All units offer focus on developing performance skills while building knowledge of musical elements including both theory and aural components. There are also many opportunities throughout the year to participate in the school community by taking part in fundraising concerts, performance evenings and special events in our professional theatre with state of the art lighting, sound and multimedia systems.

The Tertiary course has a prerequisite requirement which is Grade 3 AMEB standard or equivalent in theory and practical. Previous completion of Year 10 Music, or a discussion about the required standards with one of the members of the Music staff is recommended.

Post school pathways:

Music pathways

Performing Arts pathways

Entertainment pathways

Sample course outline:

Semester 1: The Blues

Semester 2: Film Music

Semester 3: Music of the 1990’s and Beyond

Semester 4: Self-Directed Studies

Please note: other BSSS Music units may also be offered depending on student demand and resources at any given time.

Unit descriptions:

The Blues

In this unit, students learn about the origin of the Blues, the Twelve Bar Blues, extended Blues chords, Blues scales, vocal and instrumental Blues elements, improvisational skills and they learn how musical elements are used to influence a sense of place and time. Students also analyse how social, historical, technological, cultural, political and/or geographical contexts have influenced blues music. Students are able to create original music works manipulating the key elements that relate to blues music. Students may perform in their own choice of styles, although one Blues inspired work must be included in their repertoire.

Film Music

In Music for Film, students study the soundtracks created by composers such as John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Jerry Goldsmith, Henry Mancini, John Barry and Anne Dudley. Students learn about the use of leitmotif in movies such as Jaws to build characterisation. Students also expand their instrumental skills and repertoire, and have the opportunity to create a short score for a film scene negotiated with the teacher.

Music of the 1990s and Beyond

In this unit, students analyse how music elements are used to influence mood and audience in contemporary music genres. Examples of artists studied include Bjork, Thom Yorke, Kaija Saariaho and Elena Kats-Chernin. Students also explore extended harmonies and social and geographical influences on Music, while performing their choice of repertoire and creating a new work.

Self-Directed Studies

In this unit, students negotiate the overall topic of study with the teacher and must address the parameters of performance, creation and musicology. Students may choose to complete the musicology section through a research task or a theory test, and may choose to arrange a pre-existing work or compose a new work for the creation component. One of their performed pieces must reflect their overall topic of study.

Contemporary Jazz Artists

In this unit, students will study and perform the work of artists such as Michael Buble, James Morrison and Norah Jones. They will examine the influences on these artists and will explore music elements and composition techniques.

Rock Music of the 1970s and 1980s

This unit examines sub-genres such as Art Rock, Progressive Rock, Punk, New Wave, Heavy Metal and artists including Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Elton John, Metallica, David Bowie, Blondie and Heart. Students will analyse how music elements are used to influence the mood and audience. They will create and perform original music works manipulating the key elements that relate to rock music of the 1970s and 1980s.

Live Production and Services (C)

A course in Live Production and Services allows students to be a Stage Manager, Stagehand/Theatre Mechanist, Audio-visual Technician, Lighting Designer/Operator, Sound Designer/Technician, Production Crew Member, Film/Stage/Television Director and more.

This course aims to provide the student with appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes towards:

  • Sound design
  • Lighting design
  • Stage design
  • Audio visual
  • Stage Management
  • Front of House
  • Workplace Health and Safety

Live Production and Services is run offline on a Monday and Wednesday afternoon from 3:30-5:00pm. Students enrolled in this course will be involved in the set-up and running of whole school events, live productions, concerts and our College Musical.

Students get to learn and work in the College’s professional theatre that boasts state of the art sound, lighting and audio-visual systems.

Live Production and Services is a nationally recognised vocational course with competency standards from the Creative Arts and Culture Training Package. It is intended that students studying this course are able to achieve a Certificate II in Creative Industries (Release 1) or a Statement of Attainment for competencies attained.

Subject Rationale

This qualification is designed to reflect the role of individuals who perform a range of mainly routine tasks and who work under direct supervision. It is also designed to reflect the role of individuals who work in technical production areas, who perform a range of skilled tasks using discretion and judgement, and who have the ability to select, adapt and transfer skills to different situations.

This qualification is very flexible and designed to meet a broad range of industry needs. It includes a general option to reflect the need for multi-skilling plus specialised streams for specific job outcomes (e.g. for audio, lighting). Other job roles include front of house assistant in a small venue and lighting/audio/staging assistant.


  • Goals are statements of intended student outcomes. This course should enable students to:
  • Demonstrate the ability to work and learn individually and with others
  • Communicate effectively through production skills for a variety of audiences
  • Use a range of technologies and media to support learning and performance
  • Acquire a physical and verbal understanding of Performing Arts terminology
  • Demonstrate an understanding and implementation of Work Health and Safety (WHS)
  • Develop basic audio, lighting, staging, theming and various elements of production
  • Experience the interaction between performers, technicians and business
  • Provide technical support to performers, working as part of an ‘in house’ production team with industry conventions and practices
  • Finally amalgamate practical and production elements for independent and leadership practices in live theatre and events
  • Improve Language Literacy and Numeracy

Student Group

This course is designed for students interested in the Entertainment industry.  It focuses on the fundamental skills and underpinning knowledge required to pursue further training and work in a range of live events.

It is envisaged that this course will meet the needs of students with varying ability levels and interests who wish to:

  • Undertake related study at tertiary level and/or with private providers
  • Enter the Entertainment industry and associated commercial industries and
  • Work part time while still studying at school/college

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL): Assessment

As a part of this course, students will be given the opportunity to participate in a structured work placement at the Canberra Theatre.

Structured Workplace Learning is the workplace component of a nationally recognised industry specific VET in Schools program. It provides supervised learning activities contributing to an assessment of competence, and achievement of outcomes and requirements of a particular Training Package. (Please refer to BSSS Policies and Procedures Manual for Board policy on SWL)

Students must be able to demonstrate identified competencies in SWL units with direct reference to elements of competence and required skills and knowledge from the relevant Training Package. Assessment of SWL units is competency based and reliant on the gathering of sufficient evidence from a student’s work placement. Students will be awarded a grade Pass or Participated in the SWL unit (refer section Unit Grades – BSSS Policies and Procedures Manual).

VET Qualifications

To obtain a Certificate II Creative Industries, 10 units of competence must be achieved:

  • 3 core units
  • 7 elective units of which:
  • 4 units must be from Group A. Of the remaining units up to 3 units may be from group A or Group B or
    • any currently endorsed Training Package Qualification at Cert II or III level.

The elective units chosen must be relevant to the work outcome and meet local industry needs.

If the full requirements of a Certificate are not met, students will be awarded a Statement of Attainment listing Units of Competence achieved according to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015.

As an extension opportunity, there is also an opportunity for students to gain their CUA30415 Certificate III in Live Production and Services with the Canberra Theatre.

Units of Competency

CUA – Creative Arts and Culture Training Package.

Qualification CUA20215 – Certificate II in Creative Industries (Release 3.0)

To achieve this qualification, 10 units of competency must be completed:

  • 3 core units
  • 7 elective units

Students will complete the following competencies:

BSBWOR203 Work effectively with others (core)
CUAWHS302 Apply work health and safety practices (core)
CUAIND201 Develop and apply creative arts industry knowledge (core)
BSBWOR202 Organise and complete daily work activities (elective A)
CPCCWHS1001 Work safely in the construction industry (elective A)
CUALGT201 Develop basic lighting skills and knowledge (elective A)
CUASOU201 Develop basic audio skills and knowledge (elective A)
CUAVSS201 Develop basic vision system skills (elective A)
CUASTA201 Develop basic staging skills (elective A)
BSBSUS201 Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices (elective B)
CUARES201 Collect and organise content for broadcast or publication (elective B)

As this is Vocational Course students will need to provide to the College their USI (Unique Student Identifier) to be awarded competencies and receive the certificate for the course.  To obtain their USI students need to use the USI link-