Drama and Theatre (A Level)
Why should I study A Level Drama and Theatre?
This is a varied course and is designed to develop your knowledge and enjoyment of drama and theatre. It is an ideal subject for those who enjoy reading, performing and exploring ideas. It combines both practical and academic work skills.
You will study a range of plays, comedies and tragedies, old and new, and explore them through performance and discussion.
Seeing live theatre is a vital part of the course and we arrange trips to see both local and London productions.
The course is a mixture of practical (including acting skills) and written work and an enthusiasm for both aspects is needed for success. The written work will always be about how you make a play work on stage.
Example exam question:
How could an actor in a leading role in one of your performance texts reveal the tensions within the family?
We have a range of additional studies courses within the Performing Arts Department and students are encouraged to participate in at least one to expand their experience and develop their skills.
We have good links with local theatres and with previous students who are now professionals. Many students take the opportunity to take part in workshops and projects led by both.
Drama and Theatre is a subject that can be helpful and enjoyable to any student not just budding actors- although we welcome those too! It is an essay-based subject that is well respected in higher education. It is not an ‘easy option’ but a varied and challenging exploration of the drama and theatre making process.
The first year of the course consists of the study of two set texts based on the theme of ‘Family’.
You will study these practically in lessons and explore how you can perform and stage them.
You will also learn how to evaluate live theatre performances.
You will study the practitioner Katie Mitchell – looking at how she directs and rehearses with actors. You will apply her ideas to texts and perform these practically recording your research which will contribute to your A level coursework. You will also study the work of theatre company Frantic Assembly and their physical approach to creating theatre. This will then inform your practical work and you will create an original piece of theatre that will be examined in the summer term of the first year.
Progression onto Year 2
Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.
During the second year of the course:
• You will study another play text based on the theme “Family Dynamics”. This along with the play studied in the first year and a question on live productions will be examined in a written exam.
• You will learn to direct and stage a performance for an audience of a third play (Written exam).
• You will explore and perform a further play which will be examined practically.
Minimum Entry Criteria
Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of:
GCSE Drama (if taken) – it is not necessary to have previously studied Drama, but experience of acting plus an interest in the academic study of Drama and Theatre is necessary
GCSE English Literature
GCSE English Language
We would particularly recommend the study of A Level English Literature alongside Drama and Theatre as these subjects complement each other. All prospective students will be expected to attend and pass an informal practical assessment and a brief written task following Induction.
Final A Level assessment at the end of Year 2
2 x Written exams: 2 ¼ hours – and 1 ¾ hours.
2 x Practical exams: A devised piece (completed at the end of the year), a scripted piece and accompanying coursework.
What can I do after studying A Level Drama and Theatre?
All universities recognise Drama and Theatre A Level. Currently there are approximately 10,000 students studying over 250 different courses at Russell group universities including: Medicine, Law, History, Geography, Philosophy, Politics, Mathematics, Business, Economics, Modern Languages, Biomedical Sciences, Film as well as Drama, Theatre and English.
You will be expected to join us on at least two visits to the theatre. This is an essential part of the course and play a key role in helping you to appreciate fully the theatrical experience.
You will also need to buy several play texts (new or second hand) and a subject handbook to support the course (currently £7).