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Why Drama?

Through drama you can become anyone, anywhere, at any time. By understanding drama you can learn to understand anyone, anywhere anytime. Plays often capture the essence of a culture or a group within that culture. They reveal the attitudes and opinions of their day.

Drama gives us the opportunity to hone our improvisation skills. Improvisation is the spontaneous response to new and unexpected situations. Life is improvisation. We respond in new ways when spontaneous and unexpected things occur to us.

In Drama you will be expected to create plays. No prior knowledge of play making is expected but all students are expected to participate whether that be on stage or in backstage work. Play making is the process of experimenting with new roles. Through plays we can re-examine old roles and challenge society’s values and interpretations.

In Drama you will be asked to participate in group work. This will help you to explore relationships on and off stage and improve your communication skills.

Studying Drama has a lot of personal benefits for students. It helps with building self-confidence, speaking in public, and developing interpersonal skills. Drama will help you to be more aware of how your physical presentation can affect the way people see you. Ethically, it provides the motivation to start to evaluate your own values and beliefs.

Summary of content

The WJEC A level in Drama and Theatre is an exciting and inspiring course which prepares learners for further study in Higher Education. This highly practical specification provides learners with the opportunity to work as either performers and/or designers on three different performances. In Unit 1 learners reinterpret a text to create a piece of theatre which is a combination of the selected text and original ideas. In Unit 3 learners engage with a stimulus to create two pieces of theatre in different styles; one an interpretation of a text of their own choice and the other a devised piece. Both Units 1 and 3 are designed to encourage learners to make connections between dramatic theory and their own practice. While preparing their practical work, learners will explore the work of two theatre practitioners (individuals or companies) of their own choice and then apply their research to their performances or designs.

In Units 2 and 4, learners explore three complete performance texts. There is an exciting and diverse list of texts to choose from; centres must select one which was written before 1956 for AS and two which were written after 1956 for A2. Learners are also required to watch at least two live theatre productions and learn about the processes and practices involved in interpreting and performing theatre.


AS - Unit 1 - Theatre Workshop

Non-exam assessment: internally assessed and externally moderated by WJEC

24% of qualification; 90 marks

Learners are required to create a piece of theatre based on an extract from a text using the techniques and working methods of either an influential theatre practitioner or a recognised theatre company.

Learners must work in groups of between two and five actors and may have up to four designers with a focus on lighting design, sound design, set design (including props), costume design (including hair and make-up). Designers must contribute fully to the creation of the piece of theatre.

Selecting a suitable text: each group must select one text from the list supplied in Appendix A of the full specification.

The workshop involves five stages: researching; developing; reflecting;  realising (including the 4 design elements) and evaluating.

AS - Unit 2 - Text in Theatre

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

16% of qualification; 60 marks

In this unit, learners are required to study one complete text.

  • Medea, Euripides (NHB ISBN 978-1-85459-164-7)
  • The Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare (OUP ISBN 978-0-19-953614-6)
  • An Enemy of the People, Henrik Ibsen (Methuen ISBN 978-0-413-46340-1)
  • Ubu Roi, Alfred Jarry (NHB ISBN 978-1-85459-189-0)
  • A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller (Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-4081-0840-6)
  • The Woman Made of Flowers, Saunders Lewis (Dinefwr ISBN 978-1-904323-33-4)

A2 - Unit 3 - Text in Action

Non-exam assessment: externally assessed by a visiting examiner

36% of qualification; 120 marks

This unit requires learners to engage with a stimulus supplied by WJEC to create two pieces of live theatre: one devised piece using the working methods and techniques of either an influential theatre practitioner or a recognised theatre company and one extract from a text in a different style to the devised piece.

For each performance, learners work in groups of between two and four actors with up to two designers per group. Designers must contribute fully to the creation of the piece of theatre.

Selecting a suitable text: Learners may choose any suitable text including those listed in Appendix A of the full specification.

The production of the live theatre pieces involves four stages:  researching; developing; realising (including the 4 design elements); reflecting & evaluating. Upon completion of the practical work, learners write a process and evaluation report on both pieces.

A2 - Unit 4 - Text in Performance

Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes

24% of qualification; 95 marks

Sections A and B

Learners must choose two texts from the list below. The following editions must be used in the examination:

  • A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Peter Nichols (Faber ISBN 0-571-08369-2)
  • Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim (NHB ISBN 978-1-85459-108-1)
  • The Absence of War, David Hare (Faber ISBN 978-0-571-32589-4)
  • *Mametz, Owen Sheers (Faber ISBN 978-0-571-332250)
  • *The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, Tim Price (Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-4081-7287-2)
  • One Moonlit Night, Caradog Prichard, adapted by Bara Caws (Digital publication available through WJEC).

*These texts contain language and content of an adult nature

Section A: 55 marks

A question exploring how the text can be performed in the theatre. Learners will be expected to approach the text as theatre performers, directors and designers.

Section B: 40 marks

An essay question on how the text can be adapted for a contemporary audience.

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