The Practical Performance Proposal – top tips & advice

Below are the key points from the Subject Report that you can find on the OCC, but I have also added my own pointers to help you.

The range and suitability of work

  • Make sure that the students understand that it is ‘A PROPSAL FOR PERFORMANCE BASED ON A PRESCRIBED STIMULUS’. (p4, Subject Report)
  • Always check WORD COUNTS for pitches and rationales.
  •  The STIMULI for the exam session relevant to you is posted on the OCC and sent to your IB coordinator, so make sure you use the right ones! Some schools have used the wrong year!

Section 1: The Pitch

  • Need a holistic approach: plot and design description with some reference to action on stage.
  • The pitch needs to illustrate how elements will combine on stage to create a desired effect
  • The pitch needs to be carefully edited so that all language is relevant and dynamic

Section 2: Supporting Materials

Using the stimulus:

  • Show the dynamic phases of exploring the stimulus using story boards, mind-maps, personal responses, secondary responses. This will lead to an IMAGINATIVE INTERPRETATION.
  • From the stimulus there needs to be evidence of the above process coming to fruition with some CONCEPT leading towards the directorial vision for that concept in production.

Performance concept:

  • The concept needs to UNDERPIN creative choices in terms of plot, performance and design. The concept needs to PERMEATE through the performance and production.

On stage action: To help the reader visualise this you can include:

  • Plot, action, synopsis, storyline
  • Annotated storyboard
  • Use of space
  • Production elements
  • Script extract
  • Shape and rhythm
  • Tempo and quality of movement
  • Sequence of events

Production elements:

  • The visuals provided need to demonstrate a practical understanding of how desired effects are achieved.
  • GoogleSkethUp is a useful tool to draw set design.
  • Costume designs need to be inspired by existing images and not just a replica or already existing images
  • Lighting needs to be used to illustrate guiding the audience’s attention as well as creating mood.


The Report

 The following areas relate to understanding applied research and theory to achieve desired ‘practical effects’ on stage:

  • Philosophical Rationale
  • Socio-historical influences
  • Traditional/Cultural influences

The final area:

  • Possible impacts and resonances
  • Demonsrates and understanding of how to achieve intended impacts and resonances in a practical way.
  • To succeeed in any of the above areas students need to link the area to the performance with CLEAR PRACTICAL EXAMPLES intended in performance.
  • In this section the student should be focusing on APPLIED THEORY and not plot developments.


The DEVISING PROCESS – A tip from me


I have tried many ways of approaching this task, and each time I change the way I do it, but below is a really accessible way to approach creating visuals and thinking about space, style, storyline and concepts etc. It is quick, guided and shows the students a way to look at a stimulus from multiple perspectives, I hope that you find it of use.


IB Theatre – TIMED Devising from a stimulus

(Please note: if you do not stick to the time you will not finish!!!)


Section 1 – Creating a vision from the stimulus

  1. (10 minutes) Listen once to the stimulus & then list the following on the PAPER in the 6 boxes, when you are listening the second time. This is a very quick activity. If necessary listen a third time.
  • Box 1  Key words that come to mind
  • Box 2  Words related to the 5 SENSES
  • Box 3  Locations and props
  • Box 4  Characters and emotions
  • Box 5  Draw a small storyboard of 6 images
  • Box 6  Draw a mood graph for the entire piece
  1. (5 minutes) SHARE your ideas with other people around the room and then get into groups of 5 or 6 that will work on ONE story
  2. (10 minutes) In your new groups WRITE a brief outline of the action and story that you have chosen OR is a fusion of several stories in your group. This needs to be on a piece of paper or a word document.
  3.  (10 minutes) Create IMAGES in a STORY BOARD of 8 IMAGES that show the whole story – DRAW this on paper
  4. (5 minutes) DO the eight stages practically with your group – and show to the class in the form of 8 TABLEAUX
  5. (10 minutes) SHARE your work with the class and get some feedback

 Section 2 – Adding movement and dialogue

  1. (15 mins) In groups repeat your images and decide
  • What is the INTENT of each character in each scene
  • Decide on dialogue you NEED to help us understand the scene
  • Run the whole piece
  • Now do the whole piece in SILENCE and focus on physical theatre, expression, focus, movement and gesture
  1. (10 mins) DRAW your set and decide what FABRIC and any props or set you may need to create the mood and environment of the piece. Where is the AUDIENCE? What is the performance SPACE
  2. (10 mins) Run what you have IN THE SPACE
  3. (15 mins) DISCUSS and RECORD as a group choices regarding the following:
  • Lighting ideas
  • Sound proposals
  • Performance Style
  • Historical references
  • Cultural influences (could be theatre practices)
  • Any theory you may apply
  • Intended resonances and impact on the audience