The Sixth Form
AS and A Level
This course is aimed at those who have a genuine interest in theatre and the process by which theatre is made: the progression a script goes through in its transfer from page to stage; the roles of the director, actor and designer in that process, and in the influence that various practitioners of theatre through history have had on modern theatre practice. An enthusiasm for acting is required, but there are also opportunities for those who are interested in technical and design areas to explore those.
Although GCSE Drama is helpful, it is not necessary for a boy to have studied this in order to embark on AS and A Level Theatre Studies.
At AS the course covers four areas over two Units, one of which is examined during the course of the first year:
- The group present the performance of a piece of play text. Although the majority of candidates are likely to act in this, it is possible to be examined on a design element such as lighting or set design. The performance is influenced by study of the work of a theatre practitioner such as Stanislavski, or a theatre company such as Kneehigh, and includes a written portfolio. This is assessed by an external moderator.
- This Unit is in two parts. Firstly, the study of a set text from the point of view of actor, director and designer. The second part is related to theatre criticism and evaluation and is based on visits to a number of professional productions over the two years. This Unit is currently examined at the end of the A2 year.
At A2 a further two Units are taken:
- The group devise a twenty minute piece of theatre based on theatrical ideas that interest and have inspired them from the course. This again is assessed by an external moderator and involves a written portfolio.
- The detailed study of a further two texts from different periods of theatre history from the point of view of actor, director and designer.
Theatre Studies is a rigorous discipline which demands both practical and written skills at a high level. It does require a commitment to time outside the classroom, both in terms of attending productions (we will go on a number of theatre trips each year) and in preparing for practical exam work. It should also be noted that the course requires a strong team ethic, and thus an ability to work closely with others is an absolute requirement.
After A Level
Theatre Studies is welcomed as an academic A Level by all universities, whether as the main interest or as a sign of breadth of study. Some pupils will go on to read Drama, but it also works well for those studying English, Law, Languages, Philosophy or any media based subject.