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Drama & Theatre Studies A-Level at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

Course description

Drama and Theatre Studies is the study of how and why theatre is created. Students have to develop a good understanding of what actors, directors, designers and technicians do and how they do it. It is a very demanding course, both practically and intellectually. Students work in a small team, at AS, towards a performance of a published play, and, at A2, produce their own Devised Drama.

Students also study, throughout the course, three set plays which they use to show their understanding of acting, directing, and designing in the theatre. All through the course, students investigate the ideas and work of influential practitioners, directors, and theatre companies, people who have shaped modern theatre. Regular theatre visits are arranged, which form the material for part of their assessment, and which students are expected to attend.

Understanding of theatre is assessed through both practical and written examinations at both AS and A2 levels, and students must be prepared to develop both performance and academic skills. Theatre Studies is not for the half-hearted; students must be dependable and committed team members. To paraphrase the Russian actor/director Stanislavski, it is ‘not so much a subject, more a way of life’ – very challenging but also rewarding and fun.

Course content

Live theatre production seen & prescribed play
Candidate’s personal response to live theatre seen during the course. Interpretation of a set play from a performance perspective.

Presentation of an extract from a play
Performance by a group of an extract from a published play, including assessed preparation and supporting notes.

Further prescribed plays including pre-twentieth century
Study of a further two set plays, one of which is pre-twentieth century.

Presentation of Devised Drama
Performance by a group of a piece of Drama devised wholly by the students. Will include assessment of preparation, research into a particular acting style, and supporting notes.

How it is taught

Through practical activities, independent research, and written work, guided by their teacher, students explore set plays and the ideas and work of theatre practitioners to develop an understanding of how theatre is produced. This understanding is assessed through performance (40%) and written examinations (60%).

Frequent theatre visits are arranged so that students can relate their own study to professional performance. Students must be prepared to attend all theatre trips that are arranged.

The focus throughout the Theatre Studies course is on the elements (directing, acting, design, technical resources) that contribute to theatrical performance.

Entry requirements

The usual entry requirement to QE is 5 GCSE grades at C or above including Maths or English. A good number of students study four AS Levels in their first year and to do this we require at least 3B grades and 3C grades at GCSE including Maths and English Language. Students who do not achieve these GCSE grades take fewer subjects at A Level and will be required to do resits in GCSE Maths and English if they have not already achieved a grade C in these core subjects. The College is large enough to have a very flexible timetable that allows students to take almost any combination of subjects at A Level. The advantage of this system is that we can tailor your programme to suit your needs and abilities. We give lots of advice if you decide to apply to the College.

Subject Specific

Students should have at least a GCSE grade C in English.

Experience of Drama at GCSE is not a requirement but can be useful early in the course


Live Theatre & Set Play Exam - 1½ hours - 1st Year May 2014

Play in Production Performance - 1st Year March 2014

Two Set Plays Exam - 2 hours - 2nd Year June 2014

Devised Drama Performance - 2nd Year April 2014


Future opportunities

Theatre Studies is not purely an acting course. Many students go on to prestigious acting courses, but there are many progression routes through university that lead towards careers in the media, education, arts administration and technical specialisms. Employers, generally, like the confidence the subject gives.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 17 April 2015
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