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A-level Drama and Theatre Studies is an exciting course with a practical focus which challenges students to develop knowledge and understanding of theatre performance, design, directing, analysis and evaluation, as well as transferable skills of empathy, teamwork, problem-solving and presentation.

Over the course, students create their work, perform and design play texts and visit professional theatres to evaluate the work of others as well as studying the work of influential theatre practitioners.

Entry Requirements
Also 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.

Course content

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.

  1. A monologue or a duologue performance/design realisation from one key extract from one performance text.
  2. A group performance/design realisation of one key extract from a different performance text.

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:

  1. A live theatre evaluation
  2. Page to stage: realisation of a complete performance text
  3. Interpreting one complete performance text, in light of one practitioner for a contemporary audience

The assessment takes the form of a written exam.

Course Delivery

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: Bath School of Acting; Curtain Up Theatre School; West Acting Workshop & 3rd Stage Dance Company. Students benefit from regular workshops, performance opportunities, visiting speakers and theatre trips both locally and in London.

Partnerships and links

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 Travelling Light Theatre. 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.


A fee of £30 is requested from each student as partial payment towards college organised trips to live theatre and workshop events. Students are expected to take part in theatre trips to London and Bristol where a charge will be made based on ticket price and cost of transport.  


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.

Where can this course lead?

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