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Drama and Theatre Studies

A level Drama and Theatre Studies Edexcel

Course Summary & Assessment

This is a course for those that wish to work practically as well as study academically across all aspects of Drama, theatre and production skills. You will explore aspects of directing, acting, script writing, set design, costume, lighting, sound and use of multi-media. This is a course for those that are already confident in front of an audience. In Year 12 we will develop your knowledge of a wide range of contemporary practitioners, texts and scripted works culminating in you writing, devising and performing your own contemporary play. Year 13 develops this further with the study and performance of classical and modern texts. This A Level is a compulsory 2 year course.

A level Drama and Theatre Studies are assessed through a combination of a 60% practical assessment and coursework and a 40% written exam. It is based on four main areas of drama and theatre: creating and developing ideas to communicate meaning to an audience; making dramatic connections between theory and practice; the analysis and evaluation of live productions seen and candidates' own practical work & use of characterisation to practically realise artistic intentions.

Year 12 A Level course covers the following:

Component 1 - Devised Performance & Portfolio 40% - Writing, devising and performing in/designing a key aspect of a play based around a practitioner and script extract. A Devising Portfolio (3000 words) documenting and reflecting on their exploratory process, the skills and techniques that they have developed in response to the text, and the influence of their chosen theatre practitioner.

Year 13 A level Course covers the following:

Component 2 - Text in Performance 20% -  The preparation and performance of a scripted Group Play and either a Monologue or Duologue. These two elements are performed for an external examiner. 

Component 3 - Written Exam 40% -  2 hours and 30 minutes in length covering three key sections  -

  • A Live Theatre review - Notes on productions seen during the course are permitted in the exam.
  • Interpretation of a play extract from a designer & performers perspective. This text will have been studied by pupils throughout the course with the extract printed in the examination booklet. 
  • Interpretation of a play extract from a directors perspective interpreted in the style of a contrasting practitioner to Component 1. The pupils will have studied the play throughout the course and are permitted to have the complete play text with them in the exam. 

Is it for you/skills needed?

The most important qualities are a love of theatre and drama, a sense of humour, an ability to get on with others and a willingness to work hard. Additionally, you must be willing to carry out the necessary written work and research to develop and broaden your skills. You will learn how to analyse plays in a variety of ways and how they can be interpreted for realisation in performance. You should be confident enough to develop your characterisation, movement, vocal and ensemble skills. Other skills include practical improvisation, performance skills, movement and voice exercises, note taking, research, discussion, use of film, theatre visits and workshops.

How can I prepare?

The key is to read as many different plays as possible, become familiar with theatre companies and practitioners, start writing scenes as well as attending plenty of live theatre events.

What could I do next with A level Theatre studies?

In the future you are going to have to be a creative thinker, not a follower. The skills you learn are key in a wide range of working environments. Skills of teamwork, communication and problem solving are necessary for future success and are intrinsic to the subject. The range of career options that are benefitted by this A Level are endless, as the people and presentation skills that are developed can be applied to a plethora of professional avenues. 

There are a number of courses and careers directly related to the subject such as acting, producing, directing, film making, stage management, working for Media companies such as the BBC, lighting or sound design, costume or set design and make-up. Students have gone onto study performance related studies at Central, Lipa & Lamda as well as more technical qualifications such as stage management at Central and set design at Bristol Old Vic.