Advanced Higher Drama


The Advanced Higher Drama Course will provide a challenging and satisfying Course for candidates who wish to specialise in both the academic and practical aspects of the subject. It also provides opportunities to develop transferable skills for learning, life and work.

The course allows learners to explore both the practical and analytical aspects of the subject. It provides opportunities for learners to develop skills through practical aspects of theatre, the creative exploration of the art of theatre and its forms and practices.

Learners will investigate how theatre practice has been shaped by key practitioners. They will expand and develop their own skills within their chosen area of acting, directing or design.


The aims of the Course are to enable learners to:

♦ develop autonomy and independent thinking skills

♦ develop skills in performing within their chosen area of acting, directing or design

♦ develop individual creativity when applying skills in problem solving, analysis and evaluation

♦ analyse current theatrical performance

♦ develop analytical skills in the interpretation of texts

♦ develop knowledge and understanding of 20th-century theatre practice and key practitioners

♦ develop knowledge and understanding of social and cultural influences on drama


Course Details

This course consists of two core units as well as a practical examination and a written project (dissertation).  Although the unit titles are the same as Higher there is a focus on Theatre Practitioners and their impact on modern theatre. Students will be required to analyse the influences, theories and practice of these practitioners.


Drama Skills

Outcome 1: Apply a range of complex drama skills

  • Exploring ideas for a drama in response to a variety of methodologies, theatre practices and texts of one or more key practitioners.
  • Developing ideas based on research informed by one or more key practitioners.

Outcome 2: Contribute creatively to the drama process

  • Planning, research and devising drama informed by practices and methodologies of one or more theatre practitioners.
  • Appling complex drama skills within a presentation.
  • Evaluating their drama.


In this Unit, learners will be required to provide evidence to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in devising, directing and performing through the exploration of a key practitioner. They will independently create a devised drama production, using their dramatic interpretation of complex texts. They will present it to an audience and evaluate their effectiveness as an actor or director.

Production Skills

Outcome 1: Explore a range of complex production skills informed by theories and practices of one or more practitioners

  • Researching the theories and practice of one or more key practitioners.
  • Developing complex production skills, informed by research of one or more practitioners.
  • Applying selected production skills informed by research of one or more practitioners.

Outcome 2: Evaluate complex production skills

  • Analysing the use of complex production skills in a current performance.
  • Analysing aspects of a performance that reflect or contrast with the theories, methodologies and practices of one or more key practitioners.


In this Unit, learners will focus on a study of a key theatre practitioner, and explore in depth the influences on and the theory and practice of their chosen practitioner. They will explore and analyse key productions that reflect their acting or directing or design methodologies through both research and practical experimentation. They will also view and analyse a live theatrical event, considering performance concepts and effectiveness.


Component 1 — Practical Exam

The practical exam will have 60 marks (60% of the total mark). The practical exam has two sections.

  • Section 1 will have 50 marks.
    • For the performance in the chosen role of acting, directing or design.
  • Section 2 will have 10 marks.
    • These marks are awarded for a report based on their chosen role and production.

Component 2 — Project

The project will have 40 marks (40% of the total mark).

  • The candidate will select a topic from relevant and current performance theories and practice. The project will consist of a written report and may contain visual evidence.

Total 100 Marks


In order to assess each unit there are a number of assessment tasks that are spread out across each unit. The times that they will be assessed are detailed on the time line below.

Drama Skills

Assessment Task 1 (part 1) – Study and research at least one theatre practitioner. Candidates will research and share their findings with the class in the form of a presentation. (Assessment standard 1.1)

Assessment Task 1 (part 2) – Respond to sourced materials in order to explore ideas for a drama (informed by the practitioner studied). (Assessment Standard 1.2)

Assessment Task 2 – Pupils will undertake necessary research, planning and exploration in order to independently create a devised drama. They should keep a log showing the research and development of their piece.  (Assessment Standard 2.1)

Assessment Task 3 – Pupils will apply complex drama skills to devise and present a drama.  The presentation will last between seven and ten minutes and will be performed to an audience. A rehearsal log shall be kept and the performance recorded. (Assessment Standard 2.2)

Assessment Task 4 – The candidate will evaluate and analyse their work.  (Assessment Standard 2.3)

Production Skills

Assessment Task 1 – Explore the work of a selected key practitioner(s) to find out their theories of performance (what they aimed to achieve with their productions) and examples from their practice (what they actually achieved during their career). They will then need to communicate their findings in a chosen way. (Assessment Standard 1.1)

Assessment Task 2 – Informed by their work on the practitioner(s) in task one, you will take on the role of either an actor, designer or director to develop and apply complex production ideas for an extract from a play. (Assessment Standard 1.2)

They pupils shall demonstrate their final production concepts in a way that they see appropriate. If pupils have chosen design they should develop ideas for set and one other aspect. (Assessment Standard 1.3)

Assessment Task 3 – The pupils must analyse features of a current performance that they have seen, either live or through a recent recording of a live performance. They should draw comparisons with the theory and practice of one or more key practitioners. They should communicate their comparison through and appropriate method such as: writing an essay, giving a presentation. (Assessment Standard 2.1, 2.2)

Term Checklist

Term 1

  1. Share presentations on Brecht on one of the following topics
    1. Contrast between Dramatic and Epic theatre
    2. What is Epic Theatre and its Purpose
    3. Epic Theatre in Performance
  2. Should have a detailed plotline for their Drama Skills performance. Their play should only have 3-4 characters maximum.
  3. They also need to pick a topic and title for their Dissertation.

Term 2

Drama Skills Focus

  1. Submit an Introduction for their dissertation.
  2. Performance of Drama Skills in the Evening to Friends and Family
  3. Evaluation of Drama Skills Performance to be done in class
  4. See performance of The Cheviot, Stag and Black, Black Oil

Term 3

Production Skills Focus

  1. Draft of introduction plus 2 paragraphs/ points of Dissertation due. (week1)
  2. Production Analysis of Cheviot, Stag and Black Black Oil
  3. Hand in essay on Stanislavski research. Can choose from the following topics
    1. The Influences on Stanislavski and his practice
    2. The development of his System
    3. Stanislavski in performance through his career
  4. Production Skills – select either acting, directing or design and text. This will also be for your final exam
  5. Performances/Demonstration of Production Concept
  6. Prep for Final Exam – actors choose a monologue; designer need to choose their 2 production areas (set is compulsory and worth the most marks), Directors need to choose an act of their chosen text.

Term 4

  1. Analysis element of Dissertation to be completed at the start of term
  2. Final Disseration due near the end of term
  3. Preparation for Performance
  4. Prelim and Final Practical exam to take place