Drama and Theatre Studies

Qualification: 
A / AS Level
Duration: 
2 years
Level: 
3

What is A/AS Level Drama and Theatre Studies?

Drama and Theatre Studies is a practical, intellectual and artistic subject. You will be expected to explore the structural elements of theatre from the page to the stage. In order to be successful and enjoy this subject, you will need to have a keen interest in the history of drama and study the practitioners, theatrical forms and conventions that make theatre such a compelling and exciting subject. You must be able to analyse and critically deconstruct the work you study, create and witness. It is recommended that students have achieved a C in GCSE Drama and English.

Is Drama suitable for me?

Current drama students have stated that they find A Level drama challenging with an excellent mix of both practical and theory work. Students find the productions they work on in both years highly rewarding. Also, if a student clearly has design skills, these can be evaluated and considered for concentrated study when productions take place.

You must be prepared to put in the extra time that is required, outside of class, for rehearsals when in productions. There is a large workload so you need to be very organised and have an extremely dedicated and conscientious approach in order to be successful in both your practical and written work.

How will I learn?

Lessons are a healthy combination of practical learning supported by the necessary academic theory needed to understand the work being studied. Learning takes place through the following: practical workshops, researching background material on a playwright, written research (social/cultural/historical), rehearsal of a production, participating in improvisation, devised work and class discussion. These methods increase understanding of the subject and provide more detail and substance to the students work.

The style of homework varies according to the unit of exam work. Research, essay writing and rehearsals are all integral to the course.

4 to 5 hours of private study per week are expected at AS in addition to timetabled lessons. This can, at times, all be taken up with external rehearsals.

How will I be assessed?

AS Level

Component 1: Exploration and Performance (*Component Code: 8DR0/01)
Coursework
60% of the qualification
96 marks

Content overview

  • A group performance/design realisation of one key extract from a performance text.
  • A monologue or duologue performance/design realisation from one key extract from a different performance text.
  • Centre choice of performance texts and extracts.
  • Performer and designer routes available.

Assessment overview

  • AO1, AO2 and AO4 are assessed.
  • Internally assessed and externally moderated.
  • There are three parts to the assessment:
    1) a portfolio (48 marks, assessing AO1 and AO4) the portfolio submission recommendations are:
    - it can be handwritten/typed evidence between 2000–2500 words or
    - it can be recorded/verbal evidence between 10–12 minutes or
    - it can be a combination of handwritten/typed evidence (between 1000–1250 words) and recorded/verbal evidence (between 5–6 minutes).
    2) the group performance/design realisation (32 marks, assessing AO2)
    3) a monologue or duologue performance/design realisation (16 marks, assessing AO2).

Component 2: Theatre Makers in Practice (*Paper Code: 8DR0/02)
Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes
40% of the qualification
48 marks

Content overview

  • Practical exploration and study of a complete performance text.
  • Choice of six performance texts.
  • Live theatre evaluation – choice of performance.

Assessment overview
Section A: Live Theatre Evaluation

  • 16 marks, assessing AO4.
  • Students answer one extended response question from a choice of two requiring them to
    analyse and evaluate a live theatre performance they have seen.
  • Students are allowed to bring in theatre evaluation notes of up to a maximum of 500 words.

Section B: Page to Stage: Realising a Performance Text

  • 32 marks, assessing AO3.
  • Students answer two extended response questions on how they might interpret and realise an unseen extract in performance from their chosen text.
  • Students answer from the perspective of a performer and a designer.
  • Performance texts are not allowed in the examination as extracts will be provided.

 

A2 Level

Component 1: Devising (*Component Code: 9DR0/01)
Coursework
40% of the qualification

80 marks

Content overview

  • Devise an original performance piece.
  • Use one key extract from a performance text and a theatre practitioner as stimuli.
  • Centre choice of text and practitioner.
  • Performer or designer routes available.

Assessment overview

  • AO1, AO2 and AO4 are assessed.
  • Internally assessed and externally moderated.
  • There are two parts to the assessment:

1) a portfolio (60 marks, assessing AO1 and AO4) the portfolio submission recommendations are:
- can be handwritten/typed evidence between 2500–3000 words or recorded/verbal evidence between 12–14 minutes or
- can be a combination of handwritten/typed evidence (between 1250–1500 words) and recorded/verbal evidence (between 6–7 minutes).

2) the devised performance/design realisation (20 marks, assessing AO2).

Component 2: Text in Performance (*Component Code: 9DR0/02)
Coursework
20% of the qualification

60 marks

Content overview

  • A group performance/design realisation of one key extract from a performance text.
  • A monologue or duologue performance/design realisation from one key extract from a different performance text.
  • Centre choice of performance texts.

Assessment overview

  • AO2 is assessed.
  • Externally assessed by a visiting examiner.
  • Group performance/design realisation: worth 36 marks.
  • Monologue or duologue/design realisation: worth 24 marks.

 

Progression

The course can lead you to studying drama at university, drama school or a Performing Arts course at the end of your A Level. Many students go on to study Drama and Theatre Studies/Performing Arts at a higher level and progress to working in theatre, television, film and video. It has also proved invaluable in the journalistic, teaching and legal professions.

When students study Drama and Theatre Studies at A Level it invests the individual with invaluable skills in articulating thoughts, exploring ideas, sharpening communication skills and providing the ability to work within a group situation both in a practical and academic setting.

Entry requirements

Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). It is recommended that students have studied GCSE Drama.  English Literature/Language has proven to be a complimentary subject to aid study and understanding of text and written work.  Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate).

Essential: £60 for textbooks.
Desirable: you will be expected to attend many theatre trips as part of the course. The cost of any trips and workshops can exceed £100.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course Code

Edexcel8DR01/9DR01