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.
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.
- A monologue or a duologue performance/design realisation from one key extract from one performance text.
- 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:
- A live theatre evaluation
- Page to stage: realisation of a complete performance text
- Interpreting one complete performance text, in light of one practitioner for a contemporary audience
The assessment takes the form of a written exam.
The course is taught by experienced specialist practitioners. Assignments are set at regular intervals throughout the course and a very high level of student involvement is expected in all areas. Performances are especially important, and it is expected that evening rehearsals and performances will take priority over work or social commitments.
Meet the Performing Arts Teachers
Trips to the theatre are arranged regularly and are an essential element of the course. In addition, visiting theatre companies perform at the college and regular practitioner workshops are available. Students have the opportunity to take part in film and television acting workshops delivered by West Acting Workshop / ITV at the college. Students may have the opportunity to participate in exciting projects, which have recently included the National Theatre’s Connections project.St Brendan's production of Want by Barney Norris was chosen to be performed by our students at the National Theatre in 2018.
Students discussing their work at The National Theatre with playwright Barney Norris.
Performing Arts Academy
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.
Method of Assessment
Component 1 - 80 Marks
- Internally marked, externally examined
- 40 marks for portfolio, 20 for the practical process, 20 marks for the final performance.
Component 2 - 60 Marks
- Externally examined (visiting examiner)
- 36 marks for a group piece. 24 marks for monologue/duologue
Component 3 - 80 Marks
- Written exam, externally examined
- Section A - 20 marks
- Section B - 36 marks
- Section C - 24 marks
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.
Classes are taught in the college theatre, where performances also take place. This is equipped with a full technical rig of lighting and sound equipment to enhance performances. The Performing Arts Academy has its own dedicated technician available to aid students with design.
Students are expected to take part in theatre trips to various theatres where a charge will be made based on ticket price and cost of transport. We endeavour to keep the cost of these trips as low as possible.
Past students of this course have gone on to study a range of subjects at university, and A level Drama and Theatre is valued by both universities and drama schools. We have students who have progressed through both of these routes, including prestigious drama schools such as East 15. In addition to this, the transferable skills developed throughout the course also enable students to progress into a range of employment in the creative industries, business and education.