Drama and Theatre
What will I learn?
- Acting and production skills
- Interpretation skills and critical analysis
- The ability to communicate effectively and confidently as an individual
- Group work and leadership skills
- The process of translating plays from the page to the stage
- A range of theatrical styles and genres, and a variety of practitioners
Drama at A Level, is taught jointly with Warwick School. This gives our students the benefit of working with their peers from our brother school on broader theatrical projects and gives ready access to the excellent facilities at both schools.
Who should choose Drama and Theatre A Level?
Anyone who is curious about issues and ideas and has a creative instinct for communicating their views through Drama. You may be keen on acting, directing, writing or the 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 a range of theatre companies. Drama and Theatre Studies at A Level is a natural progression for students who already have GCSE Drama; however, a GCSE is not essential. You may have enjoyed English Language and English Literature and want to understand more about acting techniques and what makes productions effective. We require a minimum grade 6 (preferably 7) in English or 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 in performances. The course demands practical, creative and communication skills in almost equal measure. You will extend your ability to create Drama and 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.
The course is taught through a mixture of both practical workshops and academic study. You will go to see many theatre productions during the course.
What other subjects go well with Drama and Theatre?
Due to the wide-ranging skills and knowledge that Drama and Theatre incorporates, there are many subjects that complement the course, either because they support the work covered, or because they offer an interesting contrast. Some of the most popular combinations that our girls choose are:
- English Literature/Language – essay writing, critical thinking, textual analysis, linguistic appreciation
- History – contextual knowledge of plays and playwrights, essay writing, critical and analytical thinking
- Languages – linguistic appreciation, exploration of text, verbal communication
- Psychology – study of the human mind and behaviour, critical and analytical thinking
The A Level course will cover three components
Component 1: Devising
40% of the qualification
• Devise an original performance piece
• Use one key extract from a performance text and a theatre practitioner as a stimulus
• Performer or designer routes available
Component 2: Text in Performance
20% of the qualification
• A group performance/design realisation of one key extract from a performance text. A monologue or duologue performance/design realisation from one key extract from a different performance text.
• Use one key extract from a performance text and a theatre practitioner as a stimulus.
Assessment is external by visiting examiner.
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
40% of the qualification
• Written examination: Two hours 30 minutes
• Live theatre evaluation – choice of performance
• Practical exploration and study of a complete text – focusing on how this can be realised for performance
• Practical exploration and interpretation of another complete performance text, in light of a chosen practitioner – focusing on how this text could be reimagined for a contemporary audience
Beyond the classroom
Our extracurricular programme is vast, with opportunities in the Sixth Form to take on leadership positions within the department. This ranges from supporting and delivering lunchtime clubs to younger girls, stage management for school productions or mentoring our GCSE girls. Every year, we collaborate with Warwick School on our senior production, performing in the Bridge House Theatre or Warwick Hall with the support of professional designers and technicians. This offers our girls the fantastic opportunity to showcase diverse work, which has recently included Les Miserables, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Crucible, with both acting and technical roles proving very popular. Trips throughout the year are numerous and we aim to explore a diverse array in the productions we take students to see. Recent theatre visits have encompassed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Crucible, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Shawshank Redemption, and War Horse. There are also chances to partake in residential theatre trips which have included London, Canada and New York City. We also hold a variety of workshops for our A Level students to explore their performance skills and develop their knowledge and passion for the subject. Motionhouse has a permanent residency with us, as well as working with Frantic Assembly, Highly Sprung, and Snippet Theatre in the past. We also regularly invite industry specialists to speak with our students to offer career advice and support with shaping their pathway.
Girls are also able to partake in Saturday Morning Drama in conjunction with Warwick School, and opt for theatrical sessions during afternoon activities such as LAMDA, Arts Award and improvisation workshops.
Currently, the arts industry is Britain’s second largest industry, and a significant export. The skills this A Level offer are even more important in the current economic climate.
Both at Further Education level, and in terms of future careers, vital transferable skills, such as creative problem-solving and confident leadership ability mark successful candidates; making Drama and Theatre students extremely employable. The pathways from Drama are many, as the course complements a range of choices including English, History, Law, Languages, Psychology, Business Management and even some Sciences. Related careers could involve acting, producing, arts management, directing, writing, technical and stage management, tourism, the leisure industry and teaching. In the past few years, students have gone on to gain places at top universities and renowned, competitive drama schools such as RADA, LAMDA, Bristol Old Vic and Guildford School of Acting, in both acting and technical courses.
Should you wish to know more about Drama and Theatre at A Level, please contact Miss Price: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Drama is my favourite subject and it's the class I look forward to most. It provokes my thought long after class is over, as you have to put yourself into other people’s realities and look at life from their perspectives, which can cause you to completely change your views. Despite what people assume, it is an academic subject, as you'll have to do close analysis of text and write multiple essays. I don't know of anyone who regrets taking drama." Morgan, Sixth Former