12 Plays for Queensland English Students

Are you an English student in Queensland, or maybe a teacher mapping out the year ahead? The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) has approved a list of prescribed texts for Units 3 and 4 of English and English as an Additional Language (EAL) for 2023-2025. Among these are 12 plays, each with its own unique themes, characters, and storylines. Let’s take a quick look.

As You Like It by William Shakespeare

One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, As You Like It tells the story of Rosalind and Orlando, two lovers who escape to the Forest of Arden to find themselves and each other. Full of wit, humour, and timeless truths about love and identity, this play is a must-read for any English student.

Away by Michael Gow

Set in the 1960s, Away follows the story of three families who embark on a holiday to the coast, each with their own struggles and secrets. As they confront their past and present, they learn about the fragility and beauty of life. Gow’s poignant and relatable characters make this play a touching exploration of family, grief, and hope.

Black Diggers by Tom Wright

Based on true stories, Black Diggers sheds light on the experiences of Indigenous soldiers who fought for Australia during World War I. Through a series of interconnected vignettes, this play explores themes of identity, racism, and the complexity of history.

Così by Louis Nowra

Così takes place in a mental institution, where a young director is tasked with putting on a production of Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte with the patients as the cast. Through the trials and tribulations of the production, the characters learn about friendship, acceptance, and the power of art.

Counting and Cracking by S Shakthidharan

Spanning multiple generations and countries, Counting and Cracking tells the story of a Sri Lankan family and their experiences of war, migration, and cultural identity. This epic play is a powerful exploration of heritage, politics, and the human experience.

Inheritance by Hannie Rayson

Inheritance follows the story of two estranged sisters who reunite after the death of their father. As they navigate their grief and familial tensions, they uncover secrets about their past and present. Rayson’s masterful writing makes this play a gripping exploration of family, memory, and reconciliation.

Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde

Set in Victorian London, Lady Windermere’s Fan is a witty and scandalous satire of the aristocracy. When Lady Windermere suspects her husband of infidelity, she sets off a chain of events that will challenge societal norms and expectations. Wilde’s clever dialogue and characters make this play a timeless commentary on class, gender, and marriage.

Switzerland by Joanna Murray-Smith

In Switzerland, acclaimed writer Patricia Highsmith is visited by a young man who is sent to convince her to write one final novel. As their conversation unfolds, they begin to uncover each other’s secrets and desires. This tense and psychological play is a thrilling exploration of art, morality, and the creative process.

The 7 Stages of Grieving by Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman

The 7 Stages of Grieving is a one-woman show that explores the experiences of Indigenous Australians from colonization to the present day. Through a mix of storytelling, song, and movement, the play touches on themes of loss, resilience, and identity.

The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race by Melanie Tait

Set in a small town in Tasmania, The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race tells the story of a group of women who come together to compete in the annual potato race. As they train and prepare for the competition, they confront their own personal struggles and the societal expectations placed upon them. Tait’s charming and relatable characters make this play a heartwarming exploration of community, friendship, and female empowerment.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Set in Salem during the witch trials, The Crucible is a powerful commentary on fear, hysteria, and the human capacity for violence. When a group of girls accuse innocent people of witchcraft, the town is consumed by paranoia and chaos. Miller’s timeless play remains a haunting reminder of the dangers of groupthink and the importance of standing up for justice.

The Drover’s Wife by Leah Purcell

Based on Henry Lawson’s classic short story, The Drover’s Wife is a reimagining of the Australian frontier through the eyes of a woman. As she raises her children and protects her home from danger, she confronts the harsh realities of colonialism and patriarchy. Purcell’s play is a stunning exploration of identity, resilience, and the power of storytelling.

Whether you’re a fan of comedy, drama, or anything in between, there’s a play on this list for you. Each one offers a unique perspective on the human experience and a chance to engage with the power of theatre. So dive in, explore, and discover what these plays have to offer. Who knows, you may just find a new favourite.

Related Articles