Drama and Theatre Studies is a brilliant A Level to take, combining as it does 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 full range of theatrical experiences. We follow Edexcel’s course, which offers 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.
- Practical work on scripted play texts – across the course you will study a wide range of plays, and workshop 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 a visiting examiner. This unit requires strong teamwork and organisational 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 to students entirely new ways of creating and developing a role, and is a fascinating way into exploring theatrical genres.
- Practical work on a devised production – you will work with a group to create a production of your own that uses the methodology of one of the practitioners you have explored during the course. This is a fantastic opportunity to be creative, and to showcase the ideas that you have gleaned from the range of theatrical experience offered by the course. The unit requires you to be prepared to put in significant time outside of lessons in order to research, rehearse and refine your piece.
- Study of scripted play texts – you will study two or three plays, both classical and modern, in real depth. These units are examined in essays in which you lay out your ideas for direction of scenes. 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. Current texts are Don Taylor’s adaptation of Antigone and Peter Shaffer’s Equus.
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 is a bonus, but not essential.
Exam Board: Edexcel