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Unit 1 - Drama Written Paper

Drama Written Paper

Introduction

The written paper assesses Assessment Objectives 1 and 3, with relative weighting of 20% and 20% respectively.

It comprises three sections:

A – Practical work completed during the course

B – Study and performance of a scripted play

C – Study of a live theatre production seen

Candidates must answer Question 1 from Section A and choose one further question from either Section B or Section C.

Candidates will need to address the following elements as necessary:

  • style, genre and social context
  • awareness of health and safety factors.
Performance elements:
  • interpretation of text, characterisation
  • voice – volume, accent, pace, timing, emotional range
  • physical qualities – movement, posture, gesture, facial expression
  • relationship with others on stage.
Design elements:
  • interpretation of text, visual impact
  • design qualities – scale, shape, colour, texture, materials
  • use of scenic devices.
Technical elements :
  • interpretation of text, technical support
  • lighting, sound, modern technology
  • appropriate equipment and its deployment and use.

Section A - Practical Work Completed During the Course

Practical work completed during the course

This question is compulsory. It comprises four sections:

  • a description of a piece of practical performance work to which the candidate has contributed (AO1)
  • an explanation of the nature of the activity undertaken by the candidate (AO1)
  • an analysis of a process undertaken by the candidate (AO3)
  • an evaluation of the effectiveness of the candidate's contribution (AO3).

When preparing for this question, candidates will need to think about their skills development during the course when taking part in practical projects. Any piece of practical work leading to a final performance where the candidate has contributed performance, design or technical skills will be appropriate. Anything from a workshop presentation to a full-scale public performance can be used, although more substantial pieces will give candidates more scope to do themselves justice. Scripted plays, rehearsed improvisations, TIE, physical theatre or devised work are all acceptable.

Candidates must not use the same material again in answer to the questions in Section B.

Candidates should be able to demonstrate:

  • a clear understanding of the practical performance work undertaken
  • informed knowledge and understanding of the acting skills required
  • informed knowledge and understanding of the technical and design elements required
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of the skills involved
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of the work as a whole.

Section B - Study and performance of a scripted play

Study and performance of a scripted play

Candidates should study their chosen scripted play through practical workshops, whether their main interest is in performance or design or technical skills. Candidates will need to have had practical experience of applying their chosen area either in workshop presentations or full productions of their chosen play(s).

Candidates should always be aware of the potential effectiveness for an audience. They should be able to demonstrate their understanding of practical skills as well as their knowledge and understanding of the chosen play from a performance perspective (AO1), and they should be able to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of their ideas and skills and those of others (AO3).

Candidates should be able to demonstrate:

  • a clear understanding of how plays are constructed and realised
  • informed knowledge and understanding of the acting skills required to realise the play
  • informed knowledge and understanding of the technical and design elements and the skills required to realise the play
  • informed knowledge and understanding of the social, historical and cultural context of the play
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of the skills required
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of the production as a whole

Section C - Study of a live theatre production seen

Study of a live theatre production seen

Candidates are expected to have studied, as part of their course, a production of live professional or non-professional theatre. It is helpful for candidates to follow theatre visits with practical workshop study. In the Written Paper candidates will be given an opportunity to show their knowledge and understanding of how plays are constructed and realised. There will be opportunities for those with particular interests in performance, design or technical aspects of production to answer on those elements.

Productions must be of scripted plays. Candidates must have studied the play from a practical point of view and should be able to show their knowledge and understanding of the way in which the text was realised in the production.

Candidates are required to produce a personal response to various aspects of 'live' theatre productions seen during the course. Candidates must study the play before and after the theatre visit with practical workshops, whether their main interest is performance or design or technical skills.

Candidates should be able to demonstrate their understanding of performance or design or technical skills as well as their knowledge and understanding of the chosen live production from a performance perspective (AO1), and they should be able to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of their ideas and skills and those of others (AO3).

Candidates should be able to demonstrate:

  • a clear understanding of how plays are constructed and realised
  • informed knowledge and understanding of the acting performances and the skills involved
  • informed knowledge and understanding of the technical and design elements and the skills involved
  • informed knowledge and understanding of the social, historical and cultural context of the live theatre production
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of the skills presented
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of the production as a whole.

Unit 2 - Practical Work

Practical work

Practical work

Candidates are required to study at least two controlled assessment options from the following list:

  1. Devised Thematic Work
  2. Acting
  3. Improvisation
  4. Theatre in Education
  5. Physical Theatre
  6. Set Design
  7. Costume
  8. Make-up
  9. Properties
  10. Masks
  11. Puppets
  12. Lighting
  13. Sound
  14. Stage Management

Candidates may choose two performance options, for example Acting and Devised Thematic Work; two design options, for example Costume and Make-up; two technical options, for example Sound and Lighting or one of each performance and design option, for example Costume and Acting.

Candidates are required to develop the ability to use improvisation skills in a range of drama contexts.

  • For all performance options, improvisation is used in a variety of ways. Candidates will use improvisation to devise, as a performance mode and as a means to improve scripted performance. They may use a range of spontaneous, prepared and polished improvisation skills. These will be used effectively during the preparation and rehearsal period.
  • For all design and technical options, candidates must show in their personal notes a practical exploration of skills through improvisation. The option/options chosen for design and technical response are collaborative controlled assessment tasks and the exploration of the task will be improvised in its nature. Improvisation skills will be used effectively during the preparation and rehearsal period. Candidates will be given the opportunity to develop the exploration of their design or technical option through improvisation skills. These skills will enhance the communication of their design brief when recreated in performance outcomes.

Each controlled assessment option is assessed through 7.5% – process and understanding of skills development and 22.5% practical work – performance and production, giving a total of 60% for the unit. Each option is divided into two parts:

Part 1 Process and understanding of skills development, in which candidates' ability to 'recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of drama to generate, explore and develop ideas' is assessed (AO1).This part is assessed by the teacher through preparatory and exploratory work in preparation for the final presentation.

Part 2 Final Presentation (either performance or demonstration/artefact(s)), in which candidates' ability to 'apply practical skills to communicate in performance' is assessed (AO2). This part is assessed through the final presentation.

Choice of controlled assessment options

Choice of controlled assessment options

Teachers may set as many pieces of work as they wish during the course. The final submission to AQA must be only one set of marks for each of the two controlled assessment options. This set of marks must be for a complete controlled assessment option, i.e. Parts 1 and 2 of the same piece of work.

Teachers must ensure that candidates' choice of controlled assessment options during the course will enable them to fulfil the requirements of the scheme of assessment as described in the specification. Part 1 is assessed by the teacher during the period from initial discussion of ideas/ selection of material, through to, and including, the final presentation.

Choice of material for presentations

Choice of material for presentations

Material selected for all controlled assessment tasks should challenge but should not be beyond the scope of candidates. It should be commensurate with their abilities but provide opportunities for them to respond with creativity and sensitivity.

If candidates are performers, they should be able to communicate the feelings, emotions and motivations of their role. Well-crafted plays and original work which explores characterisation and relationships in depth will provide more opportunities for candidates to explore, positively, the requirements of all the assessment objectives.

Technical and design skill candidates should respond to stimuli which will give them the opportunity to respond creatively, engage in research, offer practical solutions to design problems and demonstrate their technical skills in the use and application of materials. The challenges should equate with their levels of competence but must ensure the same degree of application, time-scale and commitment as that expected from performance candidates.

Lengths for performance options

Lengths for performance options

The general guideline is five minutes performance exposure time per candidate. A typical length of time for a group of four would therefore be approximately twenty minutes. Care must be taken to ensure that candidates can fulfil the requirements of the assessment criteria during their performance. They should have time to communicate a character through appropriate movement and/or vocal skills and be able to develop and sustain the characterisation.

Usage of technical and design skill work

Usage of technical and design skill work

It is a requirement that designs must contribute to an actual group performance. For all options other than set, the designs (artefact(s) or demonstration) must be put to use in the group performance. This need not necessarily be in the finally assessed performance, but at some stage the designs should be used in the performance which the designer is seeking to support. For set, there are obviously constraints on what a candidate can make and it is accepted that the full realisation of the set model may not be practicable. In this case, candidates must provide a scale model of the set and details of their actual contribution to the performance in terms of creating and dressing the set to achieve a performance space as near as possible to their original design.

Authenticity

Authenticity

Candidates will complete the work under the direct supervision of the teacher.

Feedback from teachers

Feedback from teachers

Teachers are expected to have a positive input during the development of the practical work. This may involve them in directing the performance and in teaching skills and techniques in performance, design or design technology. Teacher guidance which will encourage candidates to investigate and pursue their work in depth is an essential part of the teacher's role. The development of candidates' abilities, understanding and confidence through their work over the course will enhance and inform their responses in the written paper. While feedback should be positive, it should also set targets for the candidates which will help them improve their approaches to work and the acquisition of skills.

Collaboration

Collaboration

Candidates will work as a whole group. Each candidate will produce work recalling, selecting and communicating their knowledge and understanding of drama to generate, explore and develop ideas. Candidates' work will be individually assessed for both parts 1 and 2 of each option.

Resources Required

Resources Required

For performance options, a space, studio or hall which is large enough to accommodate the performers will suffice. Where candidates are offering technical and design skills, the following minimum facilities are advised:

  • materials to enable candidates to construct a set model, if applicable
  • greasepaint or water-based make-up, if applicable
  • materials to enable properties, masks and puppets to be constructed, if applicable
  • materials and equipment to enable candidates to make or assemble costumes if applicable
  • black-out facilities if lighting is being used
  • a lighting and sound system, commensurate in its capabilities with the candidates' dramatic and technical aims and intentions.

Part 1 (Options 1–5)

Part 1 (Options 1–5)

Part 1 is assessed by monitoring through observation and involvement by the teacher in the preparatory work being undertaken to create a performance. It assesses candidates' ability to recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of drama to generate, explore and develop ideas resulting in the final presentation. This will include ongoing discussions with the candidates. Teachers must maintain ongoing records of candidates' contributions throughout the period of the work to support their assessments. These record sheets will be provided by AQA. The records should provide evidence of the candidates' ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of work in progress
  • recognise strengths and weaknesses in working processes and presentation
  • demonstrate understanding of their own capabilities and the demands of working in a group
  • verbally assess their final performance.

Part 1 (Options 6–14)

Part 1 (Options 6–14)

Part 1 is assessed primarily by the following:

Notes

The notes should refer to the initial stages of working with the group performance, in which candidates analyse the task, define the problems, research possible solutions and perhaps map out some of these outcomes in draft form. The notes should contain the embryo of the final design ideas. It is not expected that the notes should be re-written or re-drawn, but they should be legible and intelligible to the assessing teacher and moderator. Written, graphic or modelled work is acceptable, and candidates should use the appropriate medium/ media to show their working.

Documents, eg the working plot, diagrams, sketches

The documents should show the final design, crystallised into a practicable and intelligible form to support the group performance. They should be able to be understood by other members of a production team and give full information about how the design ideas are to be realised in terms of construction, setting, operation, etc. Consideration of health and safety factors, cost, availability, use, constructional detail, relationship with other design elements will be included as appropriate. Diagrams and sketches will usually need extensive labelling for clarification.

There should also be ongoing discussions with the candidates by the teacher on the development of their work and its contribution to the group performance. The substance of these discussions should also be taken into account in the award of marks for Part 1. Teachers must maintain ongoing records of candidates' contributions throughout the period of the work to support their assessments. These record sheets will be provided by AQA. The records should provide evidence of the candidates' ability to:

  • recall select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of work in progress
  • understand the relationships of other design elements and their input to group performance
  • demonstrate understanding of their own capabilities with regard to their chosen skill and its contribution to the performance
  • verbally assess their design contribution to the final performance.

Part 2

Part 2

Part 2 (Options 1–5) is assessed through the final performance.

Candidates are required to work in groups of not less than two performers. They should realise clear dramatic intentions for an audience. Candidates should aim to produce approximately five minutes of performance each – an average group of 4/5 candidates should aim to perform for 20/25 minutes. Each candidate must ensure their contribution to the performance is identified.

Each individual candidate's contribution to the final performance will be assessed as they apply their practical skills to communicate in performance.

Candidates should develop and present a role offering their performance skills to fulfil a range of functions through the presentation of the final performance. They should be aware of health and safety factors relevant to the presentation of their final performance.

Part 2 (Options 6–14) is assessed through the final performance or demonstration/artefact(s).

Candidates are required to contribute to an actual group performance.

The work produced must be each candidate's individual work.

Candidates should develop their design/technical skills to fulfil a range of functions through the presentation of their design/technical skills in the final performance. They should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the interaction of the design/ technical work in performance.

Candidates should work collaboratively with other members of the production team. They should be aware of health and safety factors relevant to the presentation of their work in the final performance.

Option 1 Devised Thematic Work

Option 1 Devised Thematic Work

Candidates must prepare for, and perform, a piece of work devised in response to a specific stimulus or theme.

The devised work must contain both elements of script – extracts from plays, verse or prose – and of original work.

Candidates must work in a group of not less than two performers and each candidate's contribution must be identified and assessed.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material selected to ensure that each candidate has the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of drama to generate, explore and develop ideas during the process of development to performance (AO1)
  • work in role to create a character or characters, interpret with creativity and originality; sustain role or character; show an awareness of audience (AO2)
  • use practical skills to communicate in performance with clarity, fluency, control, appropriateness to character and sustain with pace, projection, vocal and physical flexibility, timing and spatial awareness (AO2).

Candidates should be aware of health and safety factors relevant to the presentation of performances.

Option 2 Acting

Option 2 Acting

Candidates must prepare for, and perform, an extract from a script for a play.

The script used may be either a published or unpublished text. Scripted drama must be learned.

Candidates must work in a group of not less than two performers and each candidate's contribution must be identified and assessed.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material selected to ensure that each candidate has the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of drama to generate, explore and develop ideas during the process of development to performance (AO1)
  • work in role to create a character or characters, interpret with creativity and originality; sustain role or character; show an awareness of audience (AO2)
  • use practical skills to communicate in performance with clarity, fluency, control, appropriateness to character and sustain with pace, projection, vocal and physical flexibility, timing and spatial awareness (AO2).

Candidates should be aware of health and safety factors relevant to the presentation of performances.

Option 3 Improvisation

Option 3 Improvisation

Candidates must prepare for, and perform, a piece of polished improvisation. Improvisation is defined as any non-scripted work in drama.

Candidates must work in a group of not less than two performers and each candidate's contribution must be identified and assessed.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material selected to ensure that each candidate has the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of drama to generate, explore and develop ideas during the process of development to performance (AO1)
  • work in role to create a character or characters, interpret with creativity and originality; sustain role or character; show an awareness of audience (AO2)
  • use practical skills to communicate in performance with clarity, fluency, control, appropriateness to character and sustain with pace, projection, vocal and physical flexibility, timing and spatial awareness (AO2).

Candidates should be aware of health and safety factors relevant to the presentation of performances.

Option 4 Theatre in Education

Option 4 Theatre in Education

Candidates must prepare for, and perform, a piece of Theatre in Education based on a theme designed for a specific target audience.

The target audience could range from nursery school pupils through to the elderly. It is important in this controlled assessment task that candidates recognise and cater for the specific needs of the target audience and identify particular approaches which will maximise the impact of their performance on the audience which has been selected.

Candidates must work in a group of not less than two performers and each candidate's contribution must be identified and assessed.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material selected to ensure that each candidate has the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills. The topic explored through the Theatre in Education project can include the target audience and lead to further exploration of the theme or topic with the intended target audience.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of drama to generate, explore and develop ideas during the process of development to performance (AO1)
  • work in role to create a character or characters, interpret with creativity and originality; sustain role or character; show an awareness of audience (AO2)
  • use practical skills to communicate in performance with clarity, fluency, control, appropriateness to character and sustain with pace, projection, vocal and physical flexibility, timing and spatial awareness (AO2).

Candidates should be aware of health and safety factors relevant to the presentation of performance.

Option 5 Physical Theatre

Option 5 Physical Theatre

Candidates must prepare for, and perform, a piece of physical theatre, which is a mode of performance that pursues storytelling through primarily physical means. It is a visual form of theatre. Performances could consist of contemporary dance, theatrical clowning, physical comedy and theatrical acrobatics.

The emphasis, within this controlled assessment task, is on drama and should be on relationships, characterisation, conflict and narrative.

Candidates must work in a group of not less than two performers and each candidate's contribution must be identified and assessed.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material selected to ensure that each candidate has the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of drama to generate, explore and develop ideas during the process of development to performance (AO1)
  • work in role to create a character or characters, interpret with creativity and originality; sustain role or character; show an awareness of audience (AO2)
  • use practical skills to communicate in performance with clarity, fluency, control, appropriateness to character and sustain with pace, projection, vocal and physical flexibility, timing and spatial awareness (AO2).

Candidates should be aware of health and safety factors relevant to the presentation of performances.

Option 6 Set Design

Option 6 Set Design

Candidates must prepare, and present, a scale model of a set for a play, a devised piece or an unscripted piece.

While designs must contribute to an actual group performance, the work produced must be each candidate's individual work.

It is accepted that there may be practical constraints on the full realisation of the set model for the purposes of the actual group performance. In this case, candidates must provide a scale model of the set and details of their actual contribution to the performance in terms of creating and dressing the set to achieve a performance space as near as possible to their original design.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material/performance selected to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills:

Artefact: a scale model of a set.

Work in progress: to include diagrams, drawings of a set, consideration of methods of building, set changing, health and safety factors.

Skills tested:

  • knowledge of the use of space in relation to the actors and the audience
  • awareness of period, creation of mood and atmosphere and of different forms of presentation
  • awareness of the contribution of other design elements
  • awareness and knowledge of set building, decorating, materials and techniques.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of the planning and development which leads to the final design, the costume itself and its relationship to other design skills and others in the group (AO1)
  • respond to the stimulus/text/theme showing understanding of the dramatic possibilities for set design; apply practical skills and techniques required to produce a practical creative set design, consider its relationship to other design skills (AO2)
  • communicate this knowledge and understanding in a practical way taking health and safety issues into account; show an awareness of audience (AO2).

Option 7 Costume

Option 7 Costume

Candidates must prepare, and present, a costume which they have made or assembled for a play, a devised piece or an unscripted piece. The costume must be supported by designs for at least one other costume to be used in the performance.

While the costume and the designs must contribute to an actual group performance, the work produced must be each candidate's individual work.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material/ performance selected to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Artefacts: one completed costume, and designs for at least one other costume.

Work in progress: to include patterns if applicable, preliminary drawings, costings, consideration of health and safety factors.

Skills tested:

  • awareness of the significance and use of costume in a production
  • knowledge of where to gain information on costume, and some knowledge of period style
  • suitability of materials, colours and textures for dramatic effectiveness
  • working to a budget, making, hiring, assembling costumes
  • development of design through sketches and through discussion with the director, set and lighting designers
  • knowledge of the effects of lighting on colours and fabrics
  • suitability of the costume to the actor, production and role
  • awareness of the contribution of other design elements
  • role of the wardrobe supervisor, running-repairs, quick changes and other special problems.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of the planning and development which leads to the final design, the costume itself and its relationship to other design skills and others in the group (AO1)
  • respond to the stimulus/text/theme showing understanding of the dramatic possibilities for costume; apply practical skills and techniques required to produce a practical creative costume design, consider its relationship to other design skills (AO2)
  • communicate this knowledge and understanding in a practical way taking health and safety issues into account; show an awareness of audience (AO2).

Option 8 Make-up

Option 8 Make-up

Candidates must prepare, and present, two contrasting make-ups for a play, a devised piece or an unscripted piece.

While designs must contribute to an actual group performance, the work produced must be each candidate's individual work.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material/performance selected to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Demonstration: two practical demonstrations under stage lights of contrasting types of make-up. The candidate may make up him/herself or another person.

Work in progress: to include diagrams, drawings of designs, notes on method of usage, costings, consideration of health and safety factors.

Skills tested:

  • knowledge of different types of make-up
  • understanding of, and practice in, the creation of straight, character, and fantasy make-up
  • development of the design of make-up for a production through sketches and discussions with the director, set, costume and lighting designers
  • awareness of the effects of make-up on stage
  • effective application of make-up for a performance
  • awareness of the contribution of other design elements.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of the planning and development which leads to the final design, the make up itself and its relationship to other design skills and others in the group (AO1)
  • respond to the stimulus/text/theme showing understanding of the dramatic possibilities for make up; apply practical skills and techniques required to produce a practical creative make up design, consider its relationship to other design skills (AO2)
  • communicate this knowledge and understanding in a practical way taking health and safety issues into account; show an awareness of audience (AO2).

Option 9 Properties

Option 9 Properties

Candidates must prepare, and present, two different stage properties for a play, a devised piece or an unscripted piece. While designs must contribute to an actual group performance, the work produced must be each candidate's individual work. It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material/ performance selected to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Artefact: two self manufactured properties.

Work in progress: to include a property list for a production, drawings of the set which indicate where properties are to be sited, diagrams and notes relating to methods of making, costings, consideration of health and safety factors.

Skills tested:

  • awareness of the significance and use of properties in a production
  • knowledge of where to gain information on properties, and some knowledge of period style
  • practice in making properties
  • organisation of properties and preparation of the property plot for a production
  • knowledge of other sources from which properties can be obtained
  • awareness of the contribution of other design elements and the practical needs of the properties.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of the planning and development which leads to the final design, the properties themselves and their relationship to other design skills and others in the group (AO1)
  • respond to the stimulus/text/theme showing understanding of the dramatic possibilities for properties; apply practical skills and techniques required to produce practical creative properties; consider their relationship to other design skills (AO2)
  • communicate this knowledge and understanding in a practical way taking health and safety issues into account; show an awareness of audience (AO2).

Option 10 Masks

Option 10 Masks

Candidates must prepare, and present, two contrasting masks for a play, a devised piece or an unscripted piece.

While designs must contribute to an actual group performance, the work produced must be each candidate's individual work.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material/performance selected to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Artefacts and demonstration: a practical demonstration of two masks.

Work in progress: to include diagrams, drawings of designs, consideration of methods of usage, relevant methods of construction, health and safety factors.

Skills tested:

  • knowledge of the purpose and use of masks
  • design and manufacture of different types of masks and an understanding of their practical limitations in performance
  • development of the design of masks for a production through sketches and discussions with the director, set, costume and lighting designers
  • suitability of the role for the wearing of the mask
  • awareness of the contribution of other design elements.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of the planning and development which leads to the final design, the mask itself and its relationship to other design skills and others in the group (AO1)
  • respond to the stimulus/text/theme showing understanding of the dramatic possibilities for mask design; apply practical skills and techniques required to produce a practical creative mask; consider its relationship to other design skills (AO2)
  • communicate this knowledge and understanding in a practical way taking health and safety issues into account; show an awareness of audience (AO2).

Option 11 Puppets

Option 11 Puppets

Candidates must prepare, and present, a puppet for a play, a devised piece or an unscripted piece.

While designs must contribute to an actual group performance, the work produced must be each candidate's individual work.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material/performance selected to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Artefact and demonstration: a practical demonstration of the puppet.

Work in progress: to include diagrams, drawings of designs, methods of construction, consideration of methods of usage, health and safety factors.

Skills tested:

  • knowledge of the purpose and use of puppets
  • the design and manufacture of different types of puppets and an understanding of their practical limitations in performance
  • development of the design of the puppet for a production through sketches and discussions with the director, set, costume and lighting designers;
  • characterisation and performance of the puppeteer
  • awareness of the contribution of other design elements.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of the planning and development which leads to the final design, the puppet itself and its relationship to other design skills and others in the group (AO1)
  • respond to the stimulus/text/theme showing understanding of the dramatic possibilities for puppet design; apply practical skills and techniques required to produce a practical, creative puppet; consider its relationship to other design skills (AO2)
  • communicate this knowledge and understanding in a practical way taking health and safety issues into account; show an awareness of audience (AO2).

Option 12 Lighting

Option 12 Lighting

Candidates must prepare, and present, the lighting for a play, a devised piece or an unscripted piece.

While designs must contribute to an actual group performance, the work produced must be each candidate's individual work.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material/performance selected to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Demonstration: an operational demonstration of lighting an acting area.

Work in progress: to include working lighting plot, rigging diagrams, annotated script, consideration of health and safety factors.

Skills tested:

  • technical understanding of different types of lanterns and lamps, focusing, angling, wiring, operation of switchboard and dimmer packs, patching
  • use of colour filters, special effects lanterns, gobos and the effect on actors/costumes/set design and make-up understanding of lighting design for a production, and experience in the preparation of a lighting plot
  • suitability of the lighting for the production
  • awareness of the contribution of other design elements.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of the planning and development which leads to the final design, the lighting design itself and its relationship to other design skills and others in the group (AO1)
  • respond to the stimulus/text/theme showing understanding of the dramatic possibilities for lighting design; apply practical skills and techniques required to produce a practical, creative lighting design; consider its relationship to other design skills (AO2)
  • communicate this knowledge and understanding in a practical way taking health and safety issues into account; show an awareness of audience (AO2).

Option 13 Sound

Option 13 Sound

Candidates must prepare, and present, a sound plot for a play, a devised piece or an unscripted piece.

While designs must contribute to an actual group performance, the work produced must be each candidate's individual work.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material/performance selected to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Demonstration: a practical demonstration of sound effects appropriate to the chosen production.

Preparatory and exploratory work: to include a working plot, annotated script or running order, diagrams, consideration of health and safety factors.

Skills tested:

  • awareness of the significance of sound in performance, and the quality of sound or music in creating atmosphere within a production
  • use of "live", directional and recorded sound, as appropriate
  • ability to record, mix, and edit
  • ability to control sound at appropriate levels for background or dramatic effect
  • ability to create appropriate sound effects for the production
  • awareness of the contribution of other design elements.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of the planning and development which leads to the final design, the sound design itself and its relationship to other design skills and others in the group (AO1)
  • respond to the stimulus/text/theme showing understanding of the dramatic possibilities for set design; apply practical skills and techniques required to produce a practical, creative sound design; consider its relationship to other design skills (AO2)
  • communicate this knowledge and understanding in a practical way taking health and safety issues into account; show an awareness of audience (AO2).

Option 14 Stage Management

Option 14 Stage Management

Candidates must prepare, and present, a practical demonstration of the stage manager's role in a play, a devised piece or an unscripted piece.

The work produced must be for a group presentation, with the candidate's contribution clearly identifiable.

Candidates should develop strategies as appropriate through their stage management decisions and methods. They should guide the actors and designers to achieve a clear understanding of how the performance is managed on stage and apply their practical skills by managing their performance.

It is emphasised that careful consideration should be given to the material/performance selected to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate range of skills.

Candidates should refer to the collaborative nature of the stage manager's role with the rest of the group. They should demonstrate their knowledge, choice and use of performance space, the management of the actors in terms of groupings, movement and performance delivery.

Candidates should ensure all aspects of the performance are managed and carried out with precision and timing: from the entrances of the actors, cuing of lights to changing of the set and positioning of properties.

Candidates should ensure there is sufficient scope to fulfil all the appropriate tasks of a stage manager during rehearsals, as well as running the show during the final performance by applying skills to communicate in performance.

Demonstration: an operational demonstration ie, 'running the show'.

Work in progress: to include a prompt copy/stage manager's book, consideration of health and safety factors.

Skills tested:

  • understanding of the responsibilities of the stage manager, before, during and after a production
  • knowledge of backstage equipment
  • preparation of a prompt copy/stage manager's book and the use of it
  • implementation of rehearsal schedules and preparation of the acting area for rehearsal organisation and supervision of the backstage area and personnel
  • knowledge and application of health and safety regulations
  • awareness of the interaction of design and acting skills in the creation of a performance.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of the planning and development which leads to the definition of the role of the Stage Manager, the practical application of the Stage Manager's function and the Stage Manager's relationship with others in the group (AO1)
  • respond to the stimulus /text/theme showing understanding of the demands in terms of Stage Management; apply practical skills and techniques required to fulfil effectively the role of the Stage Manager and its relationship to the technical contribution to a production (AO2)
  • communicate this knowledge and understanding in a practical way taking health and safety issues into account, showing an awareness of audience (AO2).

Assessment Criteria for the Controlled Assessment

Assessment Criteria for the Controlled Assessment

Assessment Criteria for the Controlled Assessment

There is a maximum mark of 60 for each option,subdivided as follows:

Part 1 - Process and understanding of skills development (maximum mark is 15)

Part 2 - Final presentation (either performance or demonstration/artefact(s) (maximum mark is 45)

Candidates submit two options for assessment, giving a total maximum mark of 120 for the controlled assessment unit.

The assessment criteria appear in the tables on the following pages.

The assessment criteria are given in separate sections for options 1 to 5 and options 6 to 14.

Part 1 Assessment

Part 1 Assessment

Part 1 - This part assesses Assessment Objective 1: 'Recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of drama to generate, explore and develop ideas'. A mark out of 15 will be awarded, using the banding descriptions below.

Option 1 - 5

Marks 13 - 15 

Candidates have well developed communicative and reflective skills.

They show a thorough critical awareness of work in progress in terms of performance, their own contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate a high degree of insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a performance.

They show a thorough understanding of drama terminology and use it accurately and appropriately.

Marks 10-12

Candidates have good communicative and reflective skills.

They show a good critical awareness of work in progress in terms of performance, their own contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate good insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a performance.

They show a good understanding of drama terminology and use it accurately and appropriately.

Marks 7 - 9

Candidates have reasonable communicative and reflective skills.

They show a reasonable critical awareness of work in progress in terms of performance, their own
contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate reasonable insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a performance.

They show a reasonable understanding of drama terminology and use it accurately and appropriately.

Marks 4 - 6

Candidates have limited communicative and reflective skills.

They show a limited critical awareness of work in progress in terms of performance, their own contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate limited insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a performance.

They show a limited understanding of drama terminology and use it with some accuracy.

Marks 1 - 3

Candidates have basic communicative and reflective skills.

They show a basic critical awareness of work in progress in terms of performance, their own contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate a basic degree of insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a performance.

They show a basic understanding of drama terminology and use it in a generalised manner.

Options 6 - 14

Marks 13 - 15

Candidates have well developed communicative and reflective skills.

They show a thorough critical awareness of work in progress in terms of design, their own contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate a high degree of insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a creative design.

They show a thorough understanding of drama terminology and use it accurately and appropriately.

Marks 10 - 12

Candidates have good communicative and reflective skills.

They show a good critical awareness of work in progress in terms of design, their own contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate good insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a good design.

They show a good understanding of drama terminology and use it accurately and appropriately.

Marks 7 - 9 

Candidates have reasonable communicative and reflective skills.

They show a reasonable critical awareness of work in progress in terms of design, their own contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate reasonable insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a design.

They show a reasonable understanding of drama terminology and use it accurately and appropriately.

Marks 4 - 6

Candidates have limited communicative and reflective skills.

They show a limited critical awareness of work in progress in terms of design, their own contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate limited insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a design.

They show a limited understanding of drama terminology and use it with some accuracy.

Marks 1 - 3

Candidates have basic communicative and reflective skills.

They show a basic critical awareness of work in progress in terms of design, their own contribution and that of others.

They demonstrate a basic degree of insight and sensitivity in working in a group to produce a design.

They show a basic understanding of drama terminology and use it in a generalised manner.

Zero marks are to be awarded to work not worthy of any credit.

Part 2 Assessment

Part 2 Assessment

Part 2 - This part assesses Assessment Objective 2: 'Apply practical skills to communicate in performance'. A mark out of 45 will be awarded, using the banding descriptions below.

Option 1 - 5  

Marks  37 - 45

Candidates recall accurately, select and communicate detailed knowledge and thorough understanding of plays and other types of drama.

They demonstrate a sensitive awareness of the relationship between texts and dramatic styles and of social context and genre, generating, exploring and developing their ideas.

They apply and adapt effectively an extensive range of practical skills.

They perform a role creatively with a high degree of originality to communicate their ideas. This is sustained in performance.

They show a thorough awareness of audience, and a strong commitment to the group is evident.

Marks 28- 36

Candidates recall with some accuracy, select and communicate some clear knowledge and clear understanding of plays and other types of drama.

They demonstrate a secure awareness of the relationship between texts and dramatic styles and of social context and genre, generating, exploring and developing their ideas.

They apply and adapt appropriately a good range of practical skills.

They perform a role creatively with some originality to communicate their ideas. This is sustained in performance.

They show a clear awareness of audience and respond positively to others in the group.

Marks 19 - 27

Candidates recall, select and communicate reasonable knowledge and reasonable understanding of plays and other types of drama.

They demonstrate an awareness of the relationship between texts and dramatic styles and of social context and genre.

They apply and adapt a reasonable range of practical skills.

They perform a role creatively with some originality to communicate their ideas. This is consistent in performance.

They show a reasonable awareness of audience, work well in the group and respond to the leadership of others.

Marks 9 - 18

Candidates recall, select and communicate limited knowledge and limited understanding of plays and other types of drama.

They demonstrate a limited awareness of the relationship between texts and dramatic styles and of social context and genre.

They apply a limited range of practical skills.

They perform a simple role to communicate their ideas. 

They show a limited awareness of audience and provide limited support to the group.

Marks 1 - 8

Candidates recall, select and communicate basic understanding of plays and other types of drama.

They demonstrate a basic awareness of the relationship between texts and dramatic styles and of social context and genre.

They apply basic practical skills.

They perform a role at a basic level to communicate their ideas.

They show a basic awareness of audience, and a basic commitment to the group is evident.

Option 6 - 14

Marks 97 - 45

Candidates recall accurately, select and communicate detailed knowledge and thorough understanding of the interaction of other design skills in their demonstration/artefact.

They demonstrate a high degree of creativity in response to the text, theme or stimulus, and there is rigorous attention to detail in generating, exploring and developing their ideas.

They apply and adapt effectively an extensive range of design skills.

They work creatively with a high degree of originality to communicate their ideas.

An excellent practical awareness of audience and a strong commitment to the group are evident.

Meticulous attention is paid to the requirements of health and safety.

Marks 28 -36

Candidates recall with some accuracy, select and communicate some clear knowledge and understanding of the interaction of other design skills in their demonstration/artefact.

They respond to the text, theme or stimulus with creativity and careful attention to detail in generating, exploring and developing their ideas.

They apply and adapt appropriately a good range of design skills.

They work creatively with originality to communicate their ideas.

There is clear practical understanding in their awareness of audience and of the needs of the group performers.

Careful attention is paid to health and safety factors.

Marks 19 - 27

Candidates recall, select and communicate reasonable knowledge and understanding of the interaction of other design skills in their demonstration/artefact.

They respond to the text, theme or stimulus with some creativity.

They apply and adapt a reasonable range of design skills with some attention to detail.

They demonstrate secure design skills, which they apply appropriately in generating, exploring and producing their ideas.

They show a reasonable awareness of audience and of the needs of the group performers.

There is an awareness of health and safety factors.

Marks 9 - 18

Candidates recall, select and communicate limited knowledge and understanding of the interaction of other design skills in their demonstration/artefact.

Their response to the text, theme or stimulus is limited in creativity.

They apply a limited range of design skills.

Technical skills in the use and application of materials are limited.

There is a limited awareness of audience and of the needs of the group performers.

There is little awareness of health and safety factors.

Marks 1 - 8

Candidates recall, select and communicate basic understanding of the interaction of other design skills in their demonstration/artefact.

Their response to the text, theme or stimulus is basic and lacking creativity.

They apply basic design skills.

Technical skills in the use and application of materials are at a basic level.

There is a basic awareness of audience, and basic commitment to the group is evident.

There is little attention to health and safety factors.

Option 6 - 14