Theatre Study and Drama(DEP)

What is it about?

" TSD at it’s core is the study of Theatre and it’s performance capabilities. We study history of theatre, a multitude of world-renown plays and are taught performance skills for our own performances as part of the A-level curriculum. The TSD experience truly differs from school to school, as such my response is truly from the ACJC TSD experience.

For the exam, there is our Paper 1, the more traditional aspect of a H2 subject. Here we study world theatre, and plays from Shakespeare to August Wilson. There is also an unseen component where we’d get an unseen script but unlike a Lit paper, you analyse acting, directing or design questions rather than theme questions.

Paper 2, is an 2500 world long essay you’d write through your J2 year on the skill you’ve chosen for paper 3

Paper 3 is a practical performance exam. One individual skill performance on a form of theatre and performance skill such as dance, monologue, duologue, etc of your choice, which you are individually graded. One Group performance, where a group of students perform a piece in which the whole group is graded. " --- Senior T.M(ACJC)

" TSD is basically Theatre Studies and Drama! We have a theory and practical component. For theory, it’s almost like literature where you study two texts and analyse them etc. The main difference is that you will focus on the how - so how would the play be performed? What techniques will be used to achieve the intended effect? In TSD, we focus on the audience, so our essays are usually more focused on what the performance has on the audience.

Next, for practical, it’s basically where you learn to be a performer! You will get to explore the different exercises famous theatre practitioners do. You’ll be surprised that we even have lessons on breathing! (In a group context, breathing is important for good dynamics with the performer). In TSD, you have two practical papers - and individual component where you showcase an individual skill (acting, devised, costume, stage design); and a group component where you and your classmates get to create your own piece. " --- Senior (TMJC)

Why did you choose to take this subject? Is it what you expected it to be?

" I’ve had a passion for theatre studies for quite a while and have always wanted to pursue theatre in some aspect. TSD was the opportunity to pursue and learn more about the performative arts that I’ve been looking for.

I heard a lot about the subject from seniors so coming in I roughly knew what to expect from the curriculum and the performances. What I didn’t expect were the long training sessions and the amount of professional masterclasses and experts we’d get to meet and guide us through our exams. " --- Senior T.M(ACJC)

" I took this subject because I love theatre. I also had experience with Drama O Levels, so TSD is a subject I knew I would be familiar with. However, I have to admit I did underestimate TSD. I guess this is true for all JC subjects, but TSD really is different from Drama. In TSD I had to learn about theatre conventions (eg Greek theatre) and it’s a norm for me to be familiar with who famous practitioners are and what they do - this will benefit me when I do my theory and when I come up with my pieces. Which is why it’s called Theatre Studies - you really will touch on theoretical stuff! " --- Senior (TMJC)

What do you do during lessons? What is it like taking the subject?

" The way TSD is taught differs from school to school. In ACJC we have lessons where we’d go through the written paper component. Where we’d watch the plays that we are studying as a class and discuss what we observe and how we can use such observations in our exams. These lessons are very comfortable and fun and we even sprawl across the floor as we watch and enjoy the performances together.

We also have lessons where we have trainers to teach us specific skills that can translate into our own individual and group performance exams, such as voice classes and combat theatre classes. " --- Senior T.M(ACJC)

" So I have both practical and theory lessons. For practical lessons it’s usually us rolling on the floor, learning how to utilise our body for movement. We even do breathing exercises, like I mentioned. For my school (and what I think other schools do too) is that we’ll explore the different individual skills in the first year - so I had assignments on costume design and monologue and duologues and stuff :3

Meanwhile in theory, you’ll first get an introductory lesson to what is drama - my first lesson was basically a history of theatre. We also explore our texts and do discussions - so quite similar to Literature. If you want to take this subject, you need to be committed. TSD is an ongoing thing and you can’t mug for 2/3 of the exams (practical components). After all, TSD is a coursework. " --- Senior (TMJC)

How easy/difficult is it to score?

" In my honest opinion, with the amount of recourses, personal guidance and creative control we as students are given in ACJC, I believe everyone is capable of scoring very well for TSD. The distinction rates are consistently high. " --- Senior T.M(ACJC)

" I would say TSD is manageable to score. I mean when I first started out I had my shares of Cs but like any subject, there’s a certain method of answering so once you get that right (and familiarise yourself with the text) you should be good to go. TSD really is about imagination and creativity, so you need to be fluent and clear when writing your answer too " --- Senior (TMJC)