Drama and Theatre Studies Preparation
Kenilworth School and Sixth Form
A Level Drama and Theatre Studies
The exam board that we currently use at A Level is AQA
Keeping it practical
It will be hard to do drama practically in lockdown – but not impossible!
Here are some suggestions to keep active and to exercise your performance skills.
- Developing physical skills: Vamos Theatre Company specialises in mask work. With the face covered and the voice silenced, the emphasis is on the body. The physical performance of the actor is important no matter what play you are doing and what style you are working.
Watch the following clip from a Vamos production and analyse the way that the performers are using their physical skills to communicate to the audience:
The following tutorial will give you some ideas on how to make a mask:
Create a mask of your own – you obviously won’t have the materials that Vamos are using in this video, but could you use other things? Paper Mache, Modroc etc. It’s more important to think how to build up the expressions that you want to use on the mask and then think about how this influences your physicality. Practice to the camera on your phone or in front of the mirror.
- Learn and stage a monologue to camera.
Watch it back and give yourself some constructive criticism.
Here are a selection of monologues:
14 in total (7 female characters and 7 male characters – but see beyond gender by all means). Research the plays and find out about the characters and their circumstances to make choices about age, accent, state of mind etc.
- Give Shakespeare a go!
This link has a number of monologues by Shakespeare you could try.
The following link is to the RSC at home series. You can watch a number of different Shakespeare productions from the RSC. If also has a link at the bottom for you to film your own performance and send it to them. It would be amazing if some of you could complete this challenge:
Look also at the Globe theatre website in order to research original Shakespearean performance conditions:
Take the virtual tour around the theatre. Maybe even stream one or two of the productions.
If you want to see how outrageous Shakepeare can be watch Emma Rice’s Globe production of A Midsummer Nights’ Dream. This is a wonderful, playful, visual delight with beautiful sets and colours and very interesting cross gender casting!!
History of Theatre and the timeline of theatre
One of the significant differences between GCSE and A Level Drama is your need to understand theatrical context and how the history of theatre has influenced style and practitioners right up to the current day.
The YouTube channel ‘Crash Course’ has lots of short videos about the history of theatre. It is worth an explore – especially the sections on Greek Theatre and The Theatre of Cruelty as they are a couple of the elements that we may explore next year, as well as expressionism, epic theatre and absurdisum.
Key Practitioners to research and delve deeper into:
- Stanislavski and Naturalisum
- Brecht and Epic Theatre/ Expressionism
- Artaud and The Theatre of Cruelty
- Steven Berkoff and physical theatre
- Kneehigh theatre
- Emma Rice and the Wise Children Theatre company
- Alecky Blythe and Verbatim Theatre
- Frantic Assembly – Lovesong, Things I Know to be True, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time
- Joan Littlewood and Theatre Workshop
- Theatre de Compilicite
Useful additional reading
AQA revision guide – AQA Drama & Theatre Studies by Su Fielder and Pat Friday.
Kenilworth specific reading – our current set texts:
Antigone by Sophocles
Bronte by Polly Teale
A good book on directing – The Director’s Craft by Katie Mitchell
A good book on acting – An Actor Prepares by Konstantin Stanislavski
Two good books by actors about acting – Being an Actor by Simon Callow and The Year of the King by Antony Sher
Practical books on becoming a better actor –
Actioning and How to do it by Nick Moseley
The Process – the secret of truthful acting by James Bowden
In Depth Acting by Dee Canon
These are all just suggested activities. Hopefully they will keep you busy before September. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to seeing you all at the start of the new academic year.