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A-Level Drama & Theatre Studies

Awarding Body

Course Code

Head of Department


Edexcel 9DR0 Julian Smith Smith-J@beaconsfieldhigh.bucks.sch.uk

Why study this course?

What skills does it develop?

Studying Drama and Theatre allows you to develop a range of practical performance and workshop skills.   You will be required to “think on your feet” and use your emotional intelligence to get the best out of people. You will have to create a communicated message according to a deadline and a set of criteria. Your analytical skills will be stretched as you consider how a text can be brought to life; you need to express your creative ideas in a coherent and convincing manner, drawing on your researched knowledge of influential practitioners.   You will develop essay writing skills.

What careers might it lead to?

Drama students have to work in a team, so any employment that requires you to manage a team, communicate your message effectively and achieve deadlines will benefit from having Drama students. Many Drama students go on to work in a range of industries from the Performing Arts world – acting, directing, media production, events management, arts marketing etc.  

What level of prior knowledge, attainment and skills are required?

What are the entry requirements?

It is not essential to have GCSE Drama, but it would be useful. You must have GCSE Grade 6 English. The abilities to think on your feet and work within a team are essential.

What subjects might it combine with/lead to?

You may combine Drama with any subject, but you must be somebody who is happy to work within a team. All grades are awarded individually, but for two key components you have to adopt collaborative workshop skills. Elements of text analysis, study of historical practitioners, designing for production and developing coherent written arguments will all be addressed on this course. Some students may choose to study Drama or Performance at university; others may consider a range of arts based courses where working in a team, negotiating management roles and creating a practical project with strict deadlines are essential components. Studying Drama is hard work - although all assessment is individual, you have to explore ideas as a group and understand the dynamics of collaborative team work. 

It is an excellent grounding for the “real” working world where positive energy, thinking on your feet and clear communication skills are highly valued.

What does the course cover and how is it structured?

A Level Drama and Theatre Studies gives students the opportunity to develop skills as a performer, director and theatre practitioner.   You will be assessed in these 3 key areas:

  • Creating your own group devised performance and keeping a written portfolio to reflect on the artistic decisions that you have made. This is an internally assessed unit which tests your ability to think creatively, shape your own ideas, work within a team and identify how performance techniques and knowledge of other practitioners have influenced your work. (40%)
  1. Taking part in two practical performance exams directed by your teacher:

- a monologue or duologue from a published play (3-5 minutes)

- a group extract from a published play  (15-20 minutes)

You will be assessed on your ability to create character through voice and movement and your awareness of communicating to an audience. (20%)

  1. A written examination which asks you to consider two set play texts from the point of view of an actor, director and designer. You will need to show your ability to structure essays with direct arguments, provide textual evidence and demonstrate your knowledge of established theatre practitioners. (40%)

How is the course assessed?

What examination modules/papers are there?

As described above, there are 3 separate components

How are they weighted?

30% of your overall grade is based on practical work (20% assessed by an external examiner, 10% internally assessed)

70% of your overall grade is based on written work (40% externally assessed, 30% internally assessed as a coursework portfolio)

How can families help?

What family trips might be useful?

Seeing as much live theatre as possible is very useful whether amateur or professional.    Seeing a wide range of theatre venues is essential.

What activities might parents encourage?

Watching live theatre is best, but reading a range of play texts provides excellent background knowledge. Students will be signed up to a site called Digital Theatre, so watching these classical texts is invaluable.