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Theatre bootcamp : results of a case study examining first-year student learning experiences during an intensive performing arts training project
This paper outlines the results of a case study of the learning experiences of first year tertiary music theatre and drama students during an intensive performance program, Theatre Bootcamp that occurs at the start of their tertiary studies. The two-week Theatre Bootcamp, part of the Bachelor of Theatre program at a regional Australian university, provides the students with intensive training in their core performance skills of singing, dancing and acting. The data for the study consisted of an anonymous survey of students who participated in Theatre Bootcamp and the critical reflections of the academic staff associated with the program. The analysis of this data found that Theatre Bootcamp addresses a number of broad education goals that are gaining increased attention in the higher education sector: graduate attributes. The term ‘graduate attributes’ refers to the set of qualities and skills that a university defines as core learning outcomes for their students. These provide a foundation for students’ employability as well as underlying the development of their human capabilities. The qualities and skills in these graduate attributes complement students’ discipline specific skills. Most universities around Australia are currently engaged in actively integrating these graduate attributes in all undergraduate courses. The results of this case study found that Theatre Bootcamp specifically addresses a number of these graduate attributes at an introductory level, especially in the areas of teamwork and collaborative learning. It also created important opportunities to develop social inclusion and a personal work ethic, which also align to the graduate attributes for performing arts students.