Examination Board: Edexcel
A-level Drama and Theatre helps students to pursue their interests and skills in a range of practical drama elements including acting, directing and technical design. This course is for students who enjoy reading, watching and taking part in plays, whether performing, directing or designing sets and costumes. It provides a pathway for students to be at the centre of the creative process, creating original and innovative work, as well as developing a wide range of skills and their subject knowledge.
It is a definite advantage, though not essential, to have completed GCSE Drama before embarking on the A-level course. However, candidates without a GCSE in Drama will need to be assessed for suitability by the Director of Drama and Dance on a case-by-case basis. Please note that there is considerable emphasis on written work in this course; the written elements within both practical and exam components constitute 70% of your final mark.
Drama and Theatre A-level combines well with most other A-level subjects, either as a complementary or as a contrasting option. Drama and Theatre is, of course, ideal for students who wish to pursue Drama and other arts based subjects at university, but is also useful for a wide range of areas that require interpersonal and communication skills. Our past students are working in a wide range of areas from theatre, TV and film to law, marketing, personal relations and education.
In this component, you will develop your exploratory drama skills in order to devise an original performance piece in a group of between three and six. You will use an extract of a professionally published performance text as stimulus for the piece and apply the methods of one practitioner as you develop your own interpretation. This component can be approached from more than one perspective, working from the viewpoint of a performer or a set, lighting or costume designer.
At the same time as developing the piece practically, you will complete a portfolio of evidence showing how you have interpreted, created and developed the work. In this document, you will also analyse and evaluate this process and the performance itself. Both the practical performance and portfolio will be assessed.
Text in Performance
You will develop two practical pieces of work. The first, a monologue or a duologue performance/design realisation from one key extract of a performance text. The second, a group performance/design realisation of one key extract from a different performance text. You may complete this component either as a performer or as a designer of costume, lighting or set. In this component, you will explore how to realise artistic intentions in performance and conduct wider reading that addresses the significance and influence of social, historical and cultural contexts of the chosen texts and extracts.
Theatre Makers in Practice
You will prepare for a written exam that aims to test your knowledge of theatre as a collaborative art form. In lessons, you will prepare to prove you have a clear understanding of how different creative elements of theatre are put into practice. The first section of the exam will be a critical analysis and evaluation of your experience of live theatrical performance. You will, therefore, attend organised theatre trips to see some of the most influential plays, theatre companies and cutting-edge writing; analysing these performances in subsequent lessons. The next section of the exam will require you to articulate your practical ideas for the realisation of any section from a complete performance text from ‘page to stage’. The final section of the exam will be your interpretation of a second, more classical complete text; this time in light of the approach of an influential theatre practitioner for a contemporary audience. Throughout practical and textual analysis lessons, you will consider the methodologies of practitioners and interpret texts in order to justify your own ideas for a production concept.