Drama and Theatre Studies
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?
Exploration of Drama and Theatre through theory and practice
written coursework and practical assessments following in-depth study of two full-length plays (30%). In addition, students will complete a written critical evaluation of a professional production they will have witnessed and studied through a series (10%).
Theatre Text in Performance
Section A - An in-depth study of a full length play culminating in an externally examined unit – students will be asked to provide a written concept of the interpretation of their chosen roles or designs.
Section B - Completion of a written concept and externally examined performances of monologues/duologues (60%).
Exploration of Dramatic Performance
devising and performance of an original piece of drama which is conceived,researched, adapted, edited and directed by the students. Students will be assessed on the research and development stages of their work as well as the final performance in front of an identified audience (40%). Students are required to complete a set of 10 essays as their written coursework (40%).
Theatre Text in Context
A 2 hour 30 minute externally examined written paper requiring the detailed study of one set play text and one prescribed historical period of theatrical development. This essay paper requires the student to explore the chosen play from the point of view of a director in both an academic and practical way. Students are also required to critically evaluate a live performance from a chosen period and make critical comparisons to the original staging conditions of the play (60%).
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.
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.
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.