A Level Drama & Theatre

Course description

This is an A Level which comprises practical work, set plays, the study of theatre practitioners and work on live productions seen. . It is an exciting and creative course which requires a willingness to work as part of a team, to think independently and to develop communication skills. It is a challenging and demanding discipline both intellectually and artistically.


Pupils should have attained at least a 7 in GCSE Drama, preferably an 8/9.  Those who have not studied Drama for GCSE should have extra-curricular performance experience and a 7+ grade in GCSE English.  Performing in front of an audience is a central component, alongside strong written analytical and evaluative skills and a genuine passion for theatre in a wide range of forms.   The subject is ideal for those who are creative, experimental, logical and collaborative.

Key subject aims

The aims of the Advanced Level AQA GCE in Drama and Theatre are to encourage students to:

  • create, perform and respond to drama and theatre
  • develop the creativity and independence to become effective theatre makers
  • explore the relationship between theory and practice in a range of theatrical styles and periods and historical, social and cultural contexts
  • learn how relevant research, independent thought and analysis of live theatre production can inform decision making in their practical work and put this understanding into practice
  • experience the ways in which theatre makers collaborate to create theatre.

Content and Assessment Overview

Component 1: Drama and Theatre (40 %) (Externally assessed)

Students will sit a 3 hour written exam paper made up of 3 sections. This will ask students to realise an extract from a drama text “through the ages” (Section A), interpret for performance a “20th or 21st century drama” text (Section B) and evaluate a “live theatre production” they have seen (Section C).

Component 2: Creating Original Drama (30%) (Internally assessed and externally moderated)

Students devise an original piece of theatre using the working methodologies of a theatre practitioner. They must produce a ‘Working Notebook’ of up to 3,000 words which documents their rationale and research as well as the development and refinement of the piece.

Component 3: Making Theatre (30%) (Externally assessed)

Students practically explore and interpret three key extracts each from a different play and complete two assessment tasks: formally present Extract 3 to an audience and produce an individual ‘Reflective Report’ analysing and evaluating their theatrical interpretation of all three key extracts studied.

Assessment Method

Non-examined practical and written assessment (coursework) in both Lower and Upper Sixth. (60%)

Written Examination in June of Upper Sixth. (40%)

Potential careers

Drama prepares pupils for a world that is increasingly team orientated and allows them to explore emotions, to acquire tolerance and to develop the empathy to inhabit the characters they play. Drama promotes divergent and critical thinking, as well as honing skills in team building, decision-making, problem solving and leadership.

Drama & Theatre is most directly useful for those aiming to pursue a career in theatre making or other performing arts.  There is a close connection with English Literature, as the course hinges on the study of dramatic literature.  The performance elements of Drama & Theatre can afford appreciable growth in presentation skills and public speaking.  It is also a useful subject for anyone considering a career that might involve public speaking or presenting. Drama can provide an excellent foundation for a degree in Drama and most other performance related courses due to the level of textual analysis, collaboration, expression and creativity required.  Moreover, the challenges presented by the study of contemporary theatre have broad application across a range of fields of study and careers.

Contact for further information

Nick Huntington, Director of Drama: nh@wellingtoncollege.org.uk

Also, you can visit AQA’s website for the new specification