A Level

A Level Drama and Theatre Studies

Exam Board: Edexcel

Drama and Theatre Studies is a popular and growing subject at Sutton Grammar and achieves very good results. With lessons taking place in our purpose built studio, students have access to the best technical facilities students are guaranteed a challenging and enjoyable learning environment which offers creativity, plenty of practical work and ownership of the subject, away from rote learning and examination.

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

It is useful to have taken Drama at GCSE level but not essential. Students have achieved very highly at Sutton Grammar who have not done Drama GCSE. It is important that you are interested in gaining a greater understanding of how theatre and plays work and that you are keen to be involved with performances.

What will I learn on this course?

The course demands practical, creative and communication skills in almost equal measure. You will extend your ability to create drama and theatre, either in a performing or production role. You will also be required to write about drama and to develop your powers of analysis to become an informed critic. The course will involve taking part in drama productions, as well as studying plays and playwrights.

What kind of student is this course suitable for?

You need to be curious about issues and ideas and have a creative instinct for communicating your views through drama. You may be keen on acting, writing or on the visual and technical side of theatre and wish to develop your skills in some or all of these areas. Equally you will be interested in going to the theatre to see plays performed by different theatre companies.

Course Outline

AS Unit 1: Exploration of Drama and Theatre 20%

In this unit, students will study two contrasting play texts in a practical and active way. At least one of the plays will be explored in the light of a recognized Theatre Practitioner, either Brecht, Stanislavski or Artaud. Students will produce a set of coursework notes on the explorations carried out in class of no more than 3000 words.

Additionally, students will also experience a live theatre performance and submit a review or evaluation. This work is assessed by the teacher and externally moderated.

AS Unit 2: Theatre Text in Performance 30%

In this unit, students will be assessed on their performance skills in a play, directed by the teacher and performed to a live audience as well as a monologue or duologue from another text. Students will have to show in writing an appreciation of the decisions which informed and shaped their monologue interpretations. This work is assessed by a visiting examiner. Students interested in Theatre design can elect to be examined on this aspect of the production if they would prefer.

A2 Unit 3: Exploration of Dramatic Performance. 20%

In this unit, students collaborate to create a unique and original piece of theatre, about half an hour long, using the knowledge and understanding gained in the AS course. Students are assessed on the process of creation as well as the finished product which will be a performance to an invited audience. This unit is assessed by the teacher. The piece of theatre that they create will be inspired by a chosen stimulus and to back up their thinking, students must keep an evaluative log of activities for assessment.

A2 Unit 4: Theatre Text in Context 30%

This is an externally set written exam and requires the detailed study and exploration of one set play text, either Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus or Georg Buchner’s Woyzeck. and one prescribed period of theatrical development either 525BC –56AD, 1564 – 1720 or 1828 – 1914.

The exam requires the student to explore the set text from the point of view of a director in both and academic and practical way and the ability to evaluate a live performance of a play from the chosen period and how it differs from the original staging conditions of the play.

The Value of Drama and Theatre Studies within and beyond the Sixth form.

Doing Drama and Theatre Studies does not mean you have to become an actor, director or theatre designer but if you want to it is a good start. What it will give you is a different learning style, learning by doing and reflection, rather than learning by rote. During the course you will have to take a lot of responsibility for the decisions and choices you make and at all times you will be working collaboratively with others. The self-motivation required makes it ideal preparation for university life and there is not a profession in which collaborative skills are not required. Above all you have more control over what you do than in other subjects and will thoroughly enjoy the challenges that you are faced with. It will undoubtedly develop you into a more confident, sociable, charismatic and rounded individual and provide with skills and experiences that will last a lifetime.

Lisa Varndell

Director of Drama