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Drama and Theatre A Level at Shirley High School Performing Arts College

Course description

The course aims to develop students’ skills in a range of practical drama elements such as performer, lighting designer, sound designer, set designer, costume designer, puppet designer and director. Students are offered a wide range of plays to study practically and theoretically, and are given the opportunity to write about live productions.

Course content

Students will pursue their own areas of interest for research into an influential director, designer, Theatre Company or other practitioner. They will gain experience of working as a team to create original drama as well as interpret text into performance. Students will gain knowledge of a range of plays and study many different styles of theatre. They will gain an excellent knowledge of theatre history, terminology and practices and will be expected to visit live theatre on a regular basis.

Entry requirements

  • The ability to work collaboratively and creatively with others
  • A good level of English
  • A genuine interested in theatre and the arts

When qualifying to study A level subjects we will accept a ‘5’ as the equivalent grade for the new GCSE 1-9 measure for English and Maths. Most A level courses require a ‘B’ which is the equivalent of a ‘6’. BTEC Level 2 qualifications will only be counted in place of one GCSE subject. This is because they are not considered to have the required breadth of study necessary for the demands of a varied combination of A level subjects.


Linear A Level – students will complete the full A Level over two years.

Component 1: Drama and theatre

What's assessed:

  • Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre
  • Study of two set plays, one chosen from List A, one chosen from List B
  • Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers

How it's assessed:

  • Written exam: 3 hours
  • Open book
  • 80 marks
  • 40% of A Level


  • Section A: one question (from a choice) on one of the set plays from List A (25 marks)
  • Section B: one three part question on a given extract from one of the set plays from List B (30 marks)
  • Section C: one question (from a choice) on the work of theatre makers in a single live theatre production (25 marks).

Component 2: Creating original drama (practical)

What's assessed:

  • Process of creating devised drama
  • Performance of devised drama (students may contribute as performer, designer or director)

Devised piece must be influenced by the work and methodologies of one prescribed practitioner.

How it's assessed:

  • Working notebook (40 marks)
  • Devised performance (20 marks)
  • 60 marks in total
  • 30% of A Level

This component is marked by teacher and moderated by AQA.

Component 3: Making theatre (practical)

What's assessed:

  • Practical exploration and interpretation of three extracts (Extract 1, 2 and 3) each taken from a different play. Methodology of a prescrobed practitioner must be applied to Extract 3. Extract 3 is performed as a final assessed piece (students may contribute as performer, designer or director)
  • A written reflective report analysing and evaluating theatrical interpretation of all three extracts.

How it's assessed:

  • Performance of Extract 3 (40 marks)
  • Reflective report (20 marks)
  • 60 marks in total
  • 30% of A Level

This component is marked by AQA

Future opportunities

The Arts is the second biggest employment sector in London with careers available in acting, teaching, stage management, administration, fund-raising and marketing. Drama offers many opportunities for developing specific performance and theatrical skills, but also developing confidence and social skills. It is an academically rigorous subject that requires a combination of practical and theoretical skills. It complements other subjects and students can choose to pursue their studies at Higher Education or Drama Training Schools.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Shirley High School Performing Arts College directly.

Last updated date: 21 November 2017
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