Students study Drama and Theatre Studies is a brilliant A Level to take, in that it combines an academically rigorous approach to the study of live theatre and play texts with the fun of practical exploration. Students are encouraged to be creative and to develop a varied diet of theatrical experience, both through reading widely, and through attending London theatres. We have yet to confirm which exam board we will select for the new A Level that we begin teaching in September 2016, but all of the boards offer qualifications with the following elements across the two years of study:
Analysis of live theatre – we will attend a variety of theatres to see as wide a range of productions as possible, and then discuss the effects that the actors and production team created. This will be an examined unit, assessed through an analytical essay. It really helps students in their own practical work to have seen a range of live theatre, and it is enjoyable for the class to attend shows together.
Practical work on scripted play texts – across the course you will study a wide range of plays, and work shop three in detail. You will hone extracts from each of these three plays for performance, one of which will be an extended project viewed by the exam board’s examiners. This unit requires strong teamwork and organisation skills and real commitment to your group, as well as to your own roles.
Study of theatrical practitioners – you will study the theory and practice of a range of practitioners (possibly including Brecht, Max Stafford Clark, Stanislavski, Kneehigh, Katie Mitchell and others). You will apply their ideas to your work in role in both practical units, and create a coursework portfolio detailing how their ideas have shaped your own practice. The study of practitioners brings entirely new ways of exploring a role to students, and is a fascinating way into exploring theatrical genres.
Study of scripted play texts – you will study two or three plays, both classical and modern, in real depth. These two units are examined in essays in which you lay out your ideas for direction of scenes, or performances of roles. Both are taught through practical exploration of the text, although students are required to complete a significant amount of written work for homework on their approach to these texts. The genre and cultural and historical context of each play will be important to our work here. This is an excellent unit for prompting a practical but analytical approach, and eliciting really detailed ideas from students about their vision for a text.
Entry Requirements: GCSEs at grade 6 or above in English language and mathematics, and 3 other GCSEs at grade 6 or above or ‘B’ or above in the unreformed subjects
Special Requirements: Interest in the theatre as an audience member. Practical experience of drama such as membership of a youth group or GCSE Drama.
Exam Board: Edexcel