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Drama and Theatre Studies A level **FEES PAYABLE** at Marlborough College

Course description

The course provides an opportunity to study plays from the points of view of a director, designer, performer and critic. Pupils acquire a knowledge and understanding of the language of drama and theatre and develop performance and analytical skills. Each part of the creative process is studied with practical opportunities to develop skills in both production and performance roles. Individual creativity is nurtured along with the challenges of collaboration both practically and academically.

Drama forms a valuable part of community life at Marlborough. Performers work with outstanding teachers to hone their skills, rehearse pieces and, ultimately, to face the challenge of performance. Drama is both exuberant and rigorous; standards are high and much is expected of those who undertake this testing but fulfilling process.

Course content

AS and A2 Drama & Theatre Studies (Edexcel) is a demanding course that involves the study of plays from different periods and in strongly contrasting styles; these are examined not as literary texts but as blueprints for performance.

The course introduces pupils to the inspirational dramatic theories of eminent theatre practitioners; it requires the analysis of professional productions and an ability to solve technical challenges inherent in scripts. The production and performance of two substantial pieces of original drama, one devised and one of a published play, form part of the assessment.  

An important stimulus for the College's drama comes from the regular visits by leading professional touring companies both from Britain and abroad, and from workshops by specialists in particular fields, most recent master classes being given in puppetry, clowning and the intriguing Japanese theatre form, Noh.

Entry requirements

This A-level would suit anyone interested in the creative process of making theatre, its history and its role in a world crowded with alternative forms of entertainment.


COMPONENT 1: Devising (40%)

This unit requires the creation and performance of an original piece of theatre based on a prescribed stimulus and influenced by the work of a significant theatre practitioner. Assessment is carried at for both process, performance and the accompanying portfolio that will include images, sourced items, films and text.

COMPONENT 2: Text in Performance (20%)

This requires students to produce an edited version of a published play to be performed to an external examiner. You will also produce a 2-3 minute monologue from a contrasting play for the assessment. The component will further enhance your understanding of the role of the director, actor and designer in the rehearsal process as well as facing the challenge of performance. You will be marked on voice, movement, character and communication.

COMPONENT 3: Theatre Makers in Practice (40%)

This component, studied throughout the two years culminates in the final written exam that will be in three parts.

Section A requires you to respond to a question about a live theatre performance you have seen and studied in class.

Section B requires involves two extended response questions based on an unseen extract from a performance text you have studied in class. This question will be based around the roles of the actor and the designer.

Section C requires you to answer one extended response question based on a second set text focusing on the role of the director and how your personal interpretation would be influenced by the study of one significant theatre practitioner.

Further information

The Department works principally in two well equipped spaces.

The Bradleian Theatre is excellent as a teaching room and doubles as a 135-seat studio theatre. This space is ideal for the performance of pupils' own work and for the hosting of the professional touring companies that visit the College several times each year.

The Ellis Theatre boasts an exciting and distinctive atmosphere and can be converted into a variety of stage formats. In a conventional end-stage configuration, it accommodates just over 200; as a thrust stage it holds 360 and, as a theatre-in-the-round, it seats nearly 450 including almost 100 in the surrounding balcony. Pupils thus gain experience of performing in a variety of spaces. 

Pupil-directed productions are encouraged, and a particularly attractive opportunity for pupils to produce, direct and even write their own work is provided by the Summer Term's House Play Festival, in which the quality of performance and production is frequently most impressive.  There is no exclusive Drama "club" - all plays are cast by open audition. Exacting standards of performance and production are set, and the choice of plays is deliberately eclectic, encouraging performers and audiences alike to engage with a wide range of subject, tone and theatrical style.


Combining Music and Drama

The worlds of music and drama combine in a number of performance projects. Every two years, the College presents a musical; recent productions have included Grease, West Side Story and Sunday in the Park with George. Some of the School Play's include musical elements, composed and performed by leading music pupils.

Miscellaneous or one-off productions that combine music and drama are also encouraged and Illuminations is a regular pupil-led initiative that includes elements of music and drama. 'Opera Scenes', an increasingly popular initiative, takes place in two out of every three years. In this long-standing collaboration between the Music and Drama departments, the pupils prepare and perform a group of theatrically linked scenes from opera, in a staged environment. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Marlborough College directly.

Last updated date: 18 November 2016
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