A Level Theatre Studies
What is it about at sixth form level?
Plays and performance have long been part of human culture. The theatre is a unique space in which the world, society and the human condition can be explored. It is a public place where the voices of ordinary people can be heard raising questions about the forces that shape our lives. It is furthermore an exciting place. The playwright invites the audience to observe the action whilst asking for their intellectual participation. In the Theatre Studies A level you will take a close and critical look at the playwright’s art. You will consider how different styles and social contexts can shape the interpretation of a script, influence a rehearsal and achieve a successful performance. You will learn how to look at a play from different angles: as a spectator, as an actor and as a director. The course will enable you to develop a deep appreciation of what is involved in a successful piece of theatre.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
Through the detailed study of plays and their presentation, Theatre Studies develops your analytical and interpretative skills along with your ability to articulate your ideas clearly in a written form. It will of course also develop your creative abilities and your understanding of the workings of theatre. It has a natural affinity with degree courses such as English and Drama at university but works well with subjects such as History and Politics. It also provides a basis on which to pursue acting at a drama school or for a career “backstage” in theatre design and management.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
Theatre Studies is an academic subject with a performance element and not a drama course based solely on performance! You will be studying plays both practically and theoretically to examine the social and political themes they raise. Commitment is a must, as you will be in a group devising a piece for performance and thereby contribute to determining everyone’s final grade for the practical elements.
How is the course assessed?
For Component 1 (Interpreting Drama), students will be assessed on their knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre. The exam will be an open-book written exam on the plays Yerma and Antigone that they will have studied. In Component 2 (Creating Original Drama), students will be assessed on the process of creating devised drama and its performance (students may contribute as performer, designer or director). In Component 3, students undertake a practical exploration and interpretation of three extracts each taken from a different play. Extract 3 will be performed as a final assessed piece (students may contribute as performer, designer or director). A reflective report will be written which analyses and evaluates the theatrical interpretation of all three extracts. Component 1 lasts 3 hours and is worth 40% of the A level. Components 2 and 3 are worth 30% each.
By Federico Garcia Lorca, trans. Gwynne Edwards.
Methuen Student Edition, ISBN: 978-0-7136-8326-4
By Sophocles, trans. Don Taylor, edited by Angie Varakis.
Methuen Student Edition, ISBN: 978-0-4137-7604-4
Exam Board and Specification Codes
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