What is the exam board and specification?
Drama is not only the study of a very valuable and exciting art form, it also involves elements of politics, psychology, cultural analysis, literature, expression, team-work and communication skills. Drama develops students performance skills, love of theatre and acting, confidence, the ability to lead and work in a team, it also develops presentation skills that are important in selling yourself as a young professional within both the initial interview processes as well as at further stages in your career.
There are two practical exams: one devised work and the other scripted, both supported by a written portfolio (coursework). For the scripted performance, candidates are examined on their performance and characterisation skills by an external examiner.
Performing is not the only option within the course. The course also allows students to study and be assessed on stage design elements such as set, costume and makeup, lighting, sound and puppet making in either of the practical elements.
What will you study?
Throughout the course, you will explore many different dramatic techniques, practitioners as well as investigating themes and issues to advance your understanding of drama, yourself, and the world around you. You will study and explore every aspect of drama: devising, rehearsing, performing, design and directing. The plays you study and explore are from a large range covering different time periods, styles and genres. Within the course, you will also develop your writing skills of analysing and evaluating theatre and the justification of your own creative and performance choices.
How will you be assessed?
Component 1: Devising – 40% of the qualification (60 marks)
Students explore stimuli chosen by the centre and in groups of 2-6 devise a piece of original theatre for an audience as either a performer or designer. A practical mark is awarded and then students have to complete a portfolio.
You will complete a portfolio covering the creating and developing process then, analysis and evaluation. The portfolio can be either
- handwritten/typed evidence between 1500–2000 words
- recorded/verbal evidence between 8–10 minutes
The portfolio is worth three times as many marks as the practical performance and can consist partly or fully of video documentation. This will be internally assessed and externally moderated.
Component 2: Performance from text – 20% of the qualification (48 marks)
Students have to perform in two extracts from the same play which is performed/ presented to an external examiner. The same character should be played in both extracts which can be either a monologue, duologue or group performance.
Exploring play texts involves the study of a complete published play text developing practical approaches to characterisation and presentation using drama and theatre skills.
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice 40% of the qualification (60 marks)
At the end of the course, there is a 1 hour 45 minutes written exam based on two sections: set texts and live theatre review. The set text is chosen internally from a range of texts: An Inspector Calls, The Crucible, DNA, and 1984 are just some examples. To complete the live theatre review section, students will attend several professional performances in the West End and/or local Theatres, before choosing one to review for the exam. Most recent plays to be reviewed are The Woman in Black, The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-Time, War Horse. The assessment weighting is heavier towards the set text and there will be a range of questions based on acting, directing and designing on both the set text and live theatre review and extracts will be provided from the set text.
What qualities do I need to be successful in the subject?
If you enjoy working practically as part of a team and challenging yourself with new ideas, roles and techniques then you will enjoy drama. To be successful on this course you need to have a positive “can-do” attitude, confidently work in groups and independently, commit to rehearsals and line learning, be ready to create, explore and push yourself in every practical lesson/ rehearsal and most importantly you need to be patient and resilient: creating, rehearsing and performing is a process, there are no shortcuts to a successful piece of theatre/ performance.
What future opportunities can I have with this subject?
The skills developed in drama are vital in all walks of life. The ability to work in groups, public speaking, be creative, express yourself and communicate effectively are indispensable and therefore are an attribute and strength to whichever path a student takes for their academic and professional career. Here are some Drama specific examples:
Level 3 Qualifications: A-Level Drama, BTEC Performing Arts
- Drama School – Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre, Stage Management, Directing
- University – Acting, Drama, Theatre Studies, Creative Writing, Writing and Directing, Performing Arts, Writing,
- Broadcast presenter
- Community arts worker
- Runner, broadcasting/film/video
- Theatre director
- Theatre stage manager
- Costume and Make-up
- Arts administrator
- Further education teacher
- Media researcher
- Music producer
- Secondary school teacher
- Special effects technician
- Talent agent
- Television floor manager
- Theatre manager
Who should I contact for further information?
Mr Church – firstname.lastname@example.org