Drama and Theatre Studies
As at GCSE, we follow the Edexcel specification for A Level. This course has an excellent combination of textual explorations, teacher-directed performance, pupil-devised work and academic study, including theatre history. Pupils are introduced to more challenging theatre styles and genres to broaden the learning experience and to provide inspiration for further practical work.
In the first year, two contrasting play texts are explored in practical ways. The study of one of the plays is informed by the work of a recognised theatre practitioner. Pupils compile a set of exploration notes based on their responses to their own practical work and individual research. In addition to this, they are required to experience a live theatre performance and submit an evaluation of the production.
Pupils contribute to a performance of a professionally published play by a known writer, either in a performance or a design role. Furthermore, they are required to perform a monologue or duologue, and provide a written rationale for their interpretation of their chosen role.
In the second year, pupils are required to create an original and unique piece of theatre. The starting point for this may be a certain stimulus, theme, idea, issue, or professionally published play by a known writer. Assessment covers the research and development of the work as well as the final performance in front of an audience. A written evaluation of both the process of preparation and the performance of the work is produced for assessment.
For the ‘Theatre in Context’ component of their course, pupils are required to sit a formal written examination paper. Questions for the first two parts of this are based around the study of a chosen play from the point of view of a director. Candidates must demonstrate their understanding of the chosen text in both practical and academic ways. The final part of the paper requires knowledge of one of three historical periods; a live performance of a play from the chosen period must be experienced and evaluated, and a comparison made with the original staging conditions of the play.
An A Level qualification in Drama and Theatre Studies can lead to a wide variety of drama, theatre, performance, and media related options to choose from at degree level. Honours degree courses are offered both by universities and, for the more practically oriented, at drama schools.