Overview

What is this subject about?

Drama and Theatre Studies is the academic study of theatre through the centuries and the practical exploration of different genre and style of performance. It is designed to deepen your understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of theatre and theatre visits are an integral and key part of the course.

What will I study in the first year?

During the first year you will study a set text from a historical period; Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, and theatre practitioner Stanislavski. You will be assessed in examination practice essays, and practical workshops. You will also analyse live theatre productions and produce examination style essays. You will perform a duologue of a play extract, working as a pair, as well as performing a play extract as a group, for which you will prepare a written coursework file.

What will I study in the second year?

In the second year, you will revise Hedda Gabler, and theatre review and an additional set text, ‘Our Country’s Good’. All of which will be assessed through a written examination in June.

You will also study a different practitioner, Max Stafford Clark or Godber and perform a series of scenes from an extract in a duologue to a visiting examiner. A written coursework folio covering the extracts studied over the two years and your duologue will be assessed.

You will then produce a piece of original theatre in a group, taking on all responsibilities for research, writing, directing, set design and acting. You will be using the style of practitioner 3 Kneehigh, Katie Mitchell, Berkoff or Frantic Assembly. The performance will be filmed and will be moderated, along with a coursework folder.

How is the course assessed?

Practical work is worth 60% (30% acting plus 30% written coursework) and written examination work is 40%..

What skills will I need and develop in this course?

You will be encouraged to engage with a wide range of different kinds of theatre, developing skills of independent research, observation, critical analysis and personal reflection, as well as developing your creativity and practical skills, in both performance and essay writing.

Careers

What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

With regards to progression, this course does not guarantee a career in the theatre, but many students do go on to read Drama or Theatre at university. It also provides a good analytical A Level which would support other subjects for university entry. Students who have studied either AS or A Level Drama and Theatre Studies have gone on to study a wide variety of subjects at university including Law, English, History and Psychology.

Entry Requirements

What are the formal entry requirements for this course?

Aside from the general entry criteria that the College requires, you will also need a grade 4 or above in English Language, and also a minimum grade 4 in Drama is preferred. Significant acting experience is essential if GCSE Drama has not been studied.

Extra Support

What extra support/enrichment activities are on offer?

The department offers a varied programme of theatre visits. We also have visiting theatre companies who perform and offer workshops.

A lunch time course of ‘clinics’ is run in the autumn term of Year 1 to support the jump from GCSE to write analytical essays with specialist language. Students are set one essay a week on average, each week.

Subject combination advice

Subject combination advice:

Drama and Theatre Studies is a subject that by its nature requires candidates to consider individual, moral, ethical, historical, social, cultural and contemporary issues. Therefore Theatre Studies combines well with any humanities subject, for example History, English, Politics and Sociology. It also combines well with Psychology, Film Studies and Media Studies. However, we advise against students combining Drama and Theatre Studies with BTEC Extended Certificate in Performing Arts as they are too closely related in terms of the skill set.

What is the difference between Drama and Theatre Studies and BTEC Performing Arts?

Drama and Theatre A Level is in some ways similar to English Literature, but with just theatre texts. The Performing Arts BTEC course is more flexible so you can play to your strengths in your options as you can choose two options from Drama, Music or Dance and can follow a Musical Theatre pathway. The Performing Arts BTEC course is assessed by both coursework and tasks set and marked by the examination board, as assessment is 100% coursework. Theatre is 30% acting, 30% coursework and 40% written exam. The Performance Studies course focus is predominantly British twentieth century playwrights, whereas in Drama and Theatre you study theatre and practitioners from different countries, genres and time periods. Drama and Theatre is not an acting course, you also learn about design and directing.