The A-level Drama and Theatre course allows you to explore the different aspects of the subject including training in performance skills, analysis of texts and performance, the work of a designer, practical exploration of play texts and directing.
The course also helps to develop a large range of highly sought after transferable skills including research, analysis, presentation and communication skills, and the ability to work with others.
In 2023 61.5% of A-level Drama and Theatre students achieved A*-B. This exceeded national benchmarks by 5.1%. As well as this, student progress was significantly higher than national benchmarks.
The minimum entry requirement is five GCSE passes at grade 4 or above including English Language and Drama, if studied; any practical experience of theatre, technical or performance based would also be an advantage. All students will prepare for, and attend, a workshop audition. These take place in the spring/summer term and students will be invited to attend following their application. Students will prepare a monologue and will take part in a practical workshop. Students should be able to demonstrate confidence as a performer, be able to work confidently as part of a group and show a suitable skill basis from which to develop.
Component 1 – Devising (40%)
In this component students will develop their creative and exploratory skills to devise an original performance. The starting point for this devising process will be an extract from a performance text and an influential theatre practitioner. The assessment takes the form of a written portfolio of evidence analysing and evaluating the devising process, plus a performance or design realisation of the devised piece.
Component 2 – Text in Performance (20%)
There are two areas of focus.
The assessment takes the form of a performance in front of an external examiner.
Component 3 – Theatre Makers in Practice (40%)
There are three areas to be covered:
The assessment takes the form of a written exam.
The course is taught by specialist practitioners and a very high level of student involvement is expected in all areas. Lessons are a mixture of practical workshops and rehearsals, and theory based lessons, aimed to provide students with the necessary key skills required for further training in this area at HE or beyond. Performances are especially important and it is expected that evening rehearsals and performances will take priority over work or social commitments.
You will automatically become a member of our highly successful St Brendan’s Performing Arts Academy which provides an enrichment programme and exclusive opportunities in association with our partner organisations: National Connections Project and our college events; such as the whole college musical. Students benefit from regular workshops, performance opportunities, visiting speakers and theatre trips.
We have strong links with local theatre companies and professional actors, and offer workshops with them as part of the course. This year, companies have included The Paper Birds and Frantic Assembly. Students benefit from regular workshops, visiting speakers and theatre trips.
Classes are taught in the purpose-built theatre, which has full access to a sophisticated range of lighting and sound equipment, and theatre technician. There is an adjoining classroom used for theory work and exam preparation. Additionally, Performing Arts has a Dance Studio with a sprung floor, and further rehearsal spaces.
Students are expected to purchase a Performing Arts Academy t-shirt, and take part in theatre trips where a charge will be made based on ticket price and cost of transport. There are further opportunities such as workshops and the chance to take part in a range of courses and enrichment activities, some of which come at a small cost.
Past students of this course have gone on to exciting careers in the industry, including one who formed their own theatre company that toured performances in America, and one who gained employment as a staff director at the National Theatre. We have students that have gained a place on their Made in Bristol scheme which invests in young theatre makers. A-level Drama and Theatre is valued by universities and drama schools, and we have students who have progressed through both of these routes, including prestigious drama schools such as East 15, as well as leading Drama BA (Hons) programmes at Russell Group Universities, such as Exeter and Bristol. In addition to this, the transferable skills developed over the duration of the course also enable students to progress into a range of other employment in the creative industries, business, law and teaching.
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