Here are my must haves for those studying Drama and Theatre this academic year.
It’s back to school!
Students and parents alike are excited and grateful.
With every study of Drama and Theatre there will be an element of acting, even if you are not opting to act yourself, you will be expected to understand acting. For this I recommend learning about the founder of ‘modern’ theatre Constantin Stanislavski. Remember he was reacting against the melodramatic theatre at the time and was one of the first to aim for natural, realistic acting. My favourite in his series of books is ‘An Actor Prepares’ available here:
It’s a little different as he writes as if he was a student of himself; the director named Tortsov is actually Stanislavski.
You can dip in to particular chapters, my favourites are Imagination, Units and objectives and emotional memory which are particularly important if your course requires you to deliver a scripted monologue (which I’ll talk about in my next point)…
Many drama courses require you to deliver a monologue, and this book is an excellent companion especially at GCSE level:
For those really pushing themselves or studying at A Level I have recorded an online video course which takes you through every element of in-depth monologue delivery, it is available here:
Whether or not you choose to use an online course, book, friend, teacher or parent to help you with your monologue, remember to make the performance your own and have confidence!
It’s also vital to purchase a revision or study guide. This shouldn’t to be a last minute panic and purely used to revise at the end of the course. Get one now at the start of the year and dip into it. You can revise certain topics or modules as and when you cover them with your class teacher. You will need to know which exam board you are with. Your class teacher will of course know which board to select and have the latest specification so please check with them. Then select the appropriate grade you are studying such as GCSE, A Level, BTEC etc. When you know your grade and board you are off to a great start and can now purchase the relevant revision guide:
Edexcel A Level Drama and Theatre Studies:
AQA GCSE Drama:
AQA A Level Drama and Theatre Studies:
BTEC Performing Arts:
BTEC Performing Arts level 2:
WJEC Drama GCSE:
Cambridge IGCSE Drama:
There are also many technical elements involved in studying Drama and Theatre which help you have a full, rounded understanding of live theatre productions. Your course may encourage you to take a whole unit or piece of course-work on a particular technical element, or just appreciate these elements as part of your written and practical study. A Designing drama book is a must for understanding and appreciating the technical elements:
Studying live theatre is a vital part of Drama and Theatre education so here’s an excellent guide that covers all the elements you’ll need to appreciate and write about particularly at GCSE level:
For those 16-18 year olds studying theatre, the best seller ‘Theatre and Performance Companion’ by Michael Mangan covers practitioners, terminology and much more:
And finally if you want something just for fun…after all that’s part of why you chose to study Drama right?! Then why not treat yourself to a drama student note book (no doubt you’ll need to keep an acting journal and notes on the classes you are taking). There’s a variety available below:
The Stage is My Happy Place:
There will be Drama, Singing and Dancing:
Find Your Light:
Never Underestimate a Girl who loves Drama:
Never Underestimate a Boy who loves Drama: