Performing arts

A specialist course exploring how performing artists craft and control performing arts protocols to intentionally engage a live audience.

Specialist department-approved elective courses have specific requirements. Due to this, running specialist department-approved elective courses may require substantial investment in areas like staffing, professional learning, school resources, infrastructure, and equipment.

Before considering if Performing arts will be a viable addition to the curriculum in your school, course-specific requirements must be met.


Engaging in Performing arts will equip students with the collaborative and creative problem-solving skills needed to develop a complex project or event. They will understand the important role of collaboration, preparation and the performer-audience relationship. Throughout the course, students will engage in learning experiences that encourage purposeful play, creative risk-taking, and problem-solving.

The broad scope of this course allows it to be contextualised for a range of performing arts forms. This includes:

  • classical ballet
  • musical theatre
  • circus skills
  • technical production
  • contemporary or hybrid performance work.


The aim of this course is to develop student skills, knowledge, and understanding essential to the performing arts. Working individually and collaboratively, students will build, develop, and refine skills as they engage with creative processes and performance protocols to produce a live performing arts event for an audience.

Performing arts allows students to undertake specialised study across one or more performing art forms. As such, it has the flexibility to be taught by any teacher/s with relevant skills and knowledge in one or more performing art forms.

Some performing art forms such as classical ballet, circus skills, and technical production, must only be taught by teachers with specialist training. This includes training for applicable skills and the use of equipment. These highly specialised forms require risk assessments and approval by the principal prior to teaching the course.

School resources

Ideally, students will have access to performing art studios or performance spaces, allowing them access to specialist equipment. This equipment will be dependent on the performing art form being studied. This may include:

  • costumes and props
  • set dressing materials
  • music and sound effects library
  • lighting and sound equipment
  • circus equipment
  • ballet barres and mirrors
  • sprung dance flooring.

When selecting theatre and performance spaces, teachers must ensure that:

  • the space is large enough for the type of movement and the number of performers
  • spaces are well ventilated
  • entrances and exits are clear
  • backstage areas can be supervised
  • all electrical equipment is certified, safely housed and operated by trained technicians.

WHS considerations

Performing arts is a course with a practical focus, with students often using specialist equipment, and working in purpose-built spaces and outside a classroom setting.

In the Core 1 topic, students recognise and apply safe working practices in their chosen form, including:

  • physical safety protocols
  • the role of preparation
  • safe use of specialist equipment, such as lighting, sound, or circus apparatus
  • psychological and emotional safety.

Schools undertaking public performances and working in professional theatre spaces will be required to complete detailed risk assessments and follow public audience and WHS guidelines issued by the venue.

Class sizes

Class sizes for this course are not addressed specifically in the staffing agreement. It is recommended that no class need exceed 22 students. This aligns Performing arts with class size requirements of other practical courses, like Visual Arts and Food Technology.

Additional subject-specific requirements

In Performing arts, students regularly engage in practical making and performance activities that may include:

  • working in small groups outside of a classroom setting
  • working with specialist equipment such as circus apparatus, sound and lighting, props and costumes
  • working in theatres and purpose-built performance spaces

Presentation of a live performing arts event to an audience is an essential component of the course. Schools will need to provide a variety of opportunities for students to share their work with an audience. These opportunities will be largely determined by the chosen performing art form and provide an opportunity for schools to showcase and promote student works.

In specialist performing arts high schools, this course offers an extension for high-potential and gifted students and allows them opportunities to build industry connections and explore performing arts career pathways, as they assemble a practical portfolio or showreel of their work.

Course information for leaders

The Performing arts course has been developed in consultation with schools that previously delivered the course as a school-developed board endorsed course, however, there have been significant changes to the course content and requirements.

Important information:

  • Performing arts may be delivered as a 100 or 200-hour course
  • A set of resources has been published to support the implementation of Performing arts in schools, including
    • course documents
    • sample scope and sequences
    • assessment advice.

Schools may need to consider the following if delivering Performing arts:

  • provision of adequate time for planning and programming
  • resourcing, including
    • staffing
    • new teaching resources and materials
  • budget implications to upskill teachers, including casual release.

The course

Schools must use the Performing arts course document (DOCX 230 KB) to develop educational programs for this course to comply with the Curriculum planning and programming, assessing and reporting to parents K–12 Policy and associated policy standards.

Scope and sequences are flexible documents and may vary according to local school contexts and student cohorts, provided they comply with the course documents.


Performing arts assessment advice (DOCX 172 KB) is available to assist teachers to select a range of different activities for the purpose of assessing and reporting.

Department-approved elective courses are not eligible for credentialing on the Record of School Achievement (RoSA). Assessment activities should reflect the school's organisation of the course and provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning.

Teaching resources

Schools may choose to adapt or modify this content or use other materials suitable to their local context, provided they comply with the course documents.

For more information


  • Teaching and learning


  • Web page

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
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