Drama and Theatre

Exam Board: Pearson/Edexcel

Pearson Edexcel’s Drama and Theatre specification is designed to provide a balance across a range of learning activities. This specification combines the activities of exploring plays, creating theatre, the performing of plays, the analysis of theatre and the critical evaluation of all of these elements. Students completing the course successfully will have a thorough understanding of drama and theatre, highly toned analytical and creative skills and an ability to communicate effectively with others.

Course Content

Component 1: Devising  - Non-Examination Assessment (NEA)

40% of the qualification

80 marks


  • Devise an original performance piece.
  • Use one key extract from a performance text and a theatre practitioner as stimuli.
  • Student and Teacher choice of text and practitioner.
  • Performer or designer routes available.

Assessment overview

Internally assessed and externally moderated.

There are two parts to the assessment:

  • 1. a portfolio (60 marks, assessing AO1 and AO4) the portfolio submission recommendations are: Can be handwritten/typed evidence between 2500–3000 words or recorded/verbal evidence between 12–14 minutes Or, Can be a combination of handwritten/typed evidence (between 1250–1500 words) and recorded/verbal evidence (between 6–7 minutes).
  • 2. The devised performance/design realisation (20 marks, assessing AO2).

Component 2: Text in Performance - Non-Examination Assessment (NEA)

20% of the qualification

60 marks

  • A group performance/design realisation of one key extract from a performance text.
  • A monologue or duologue performance/design realisation from one key extract from a different performance text.
  • Student & Teacher choice of performance texts.
  • Assessment overview
  • AO2 is assessed.
  • Externally assessed by a visiting examiner.
  • Group performance/design realisation: worth 36 marks.
  • Monologue or duologue/design realisation: worth 24 marks.

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice -Written examination

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

40% of the qualification

80 marks

  • Live theatre evaluation – choice of performance.
  • Practical exploration and study of a complete text – focusing on how this can be realised for performance.
  • Practical exploration and interpretation of another complete performance text, in light of a chosen practitioner – focusing on how this text could be reimagined for a contemporary audience.
  • Choice of 15 performance texts from prescribed play list
  • Choice of eight practitioners from prescribed practitioners list

Assessment overview

Section A: Live Theatre Evaluation

20 marks

  • Students answer one extended response question from a choice of two requiring them to analyse and evaluate a live theatre performance they have seen.

  • Students are allowed to bring in theatre evaluation notes of up to a maximum of 500 words.

Section B: Page to Stage: Realising a Performance Text

36 marks

  • Students answer two extended response questions based on an unseen extract from the performance text they have studied.

  • Students will demonstrate how they, as theatre makers, intend to realise the extract in performance.
  • Students answer from the perspective of a performer and a designer.
  • Performance texts for this section are not allowed in the examination as the extracts will be provided.

Section C: Interpreting a Performance Text

24 marks

  • Students will answer one extended response question from a choice of two using their chosen text.

  • Students will demonstrate how their re-imagined production concept will communicate ideas to a contemporary audience.
  • Students will also need to outline how the work of their chosen theatre practitioner has influenced their overall production concept and demonstrate an awareness of the performance text in its original performance conditions.
  • Students are allowed to bring clean copies of their performance texts for this section, but no other printed materials.

Enrichment Opportunities

The demands of the A Level course are such that students will be expected to attend the theatre at least eight times over the two years. Further to this, students will have the opportunity to work with younger students to share their expertise in drama and theatre and develop communication and leadership skills. Students will also have the opportunity to take part in theatre training overseas (Italy, New York etc.) and be part of the annual school musical.


Students are assessed through continuous assessment of their performance and written work marked against the assessment criteria of each component. The assessment method of each component is outlined above.