It is that time of year again when students are doing their REAL assessment tasks in year 2 of the course or having a practice run in year 1. My students in year 1 of the Diploma Theatre course have just had their practice runs of the RESEARCH PRESENTATION and, while we were working on putting the presentations together, there were many things that I found helped them enormously. Below are the things that I helped them with and how we approached each bullet point. I hope that this will help you make sure your students are meeting all the needs of this task.

Criterion A: Theatre in context: the tradition

A1: The tradition and its context. I advised my students to find a range of sources (books, videos, websites, interviews, etc.) to cross-reference information. They then needed to talk about the context with each other (we all did Kathakali for our practice) and make sure they had dates, examples and pictures of the theoretical context. With their mentors, they then made sure they had sourced information in their presentation and on their PowerPoints. When talking about the tradition itself we made sure that they covered all areas of the tradition: what it looked like on stage in terms of SPACE, ACTION (including story and sound) and DESIGN. The person listening then gave feedback to the presenter to say if they could picture all aspects of the tradition as it is performed. We then timed and made sure that this section was no more than 4 minutes long.

A2: Research into the chosen performance convention. We made sure that students STATED what their chosen convention was before they went into detail and gave examples of the convention in performance.

Criterion B: Theatre processes: practical research and approaches to application

B1: The process of practically and physically exploring the convention. For this bullet point, we were really clear to have a structure where they went from stage to stage to explain what they did, why and what they learnt at each stage. We made sure each student had a list of STAGES to show a PROCESS the reflected going from knowing nothing to having learnt what they could about the convention. We also made sure that we documented the process with photos, film or a journal, that they could refer to or include in the presentation.

B2: The process of applying the convention to the moment. Again we made sure that this was a PROCESS with clear STAGES. We made sure that every student said what their moment was, why they chose it and then how they went about applying the convention to their moment. We talked about how this is something that takes place over time, like rehearsing for a play, so this section needs to show a process of application and development.

Criterion C: Presenting theatre: the presentation of the moment of theatre

C1: Practically communicate their understanding of the convention. This is an important one with the mentor. During the process, we made sure that the mentor watched the moment at intervals to give feedback about how clear and specific their application was for an audience. Some explanation for the audience we found always helped and showing the text to explain before the moment, and having up during the moment, also helped.

C2: Using body and voice confidently and effectively. To be confident we saw that we needed to know the material well, be specific in what is being applied and do with conviction.

Criterion D: Theatre in context: the learner

D1: Impact on them as a learner with reference to learning moments as a performer. For my students, it helped to talk about this as a group where they all gave examples of impact and learning moments. We talked about what ‘learning moments as a performer’ meant: this could include performances in class, workshops attended, performances inside and outside school, etc.

D2: Comparing their convention to one other performance practice. This was something again that we talked about as a group. They each came up with an example of a comparison of their convention to another practice. This helped the students be clear about what could be possible comparisons and also identified a range of practices they could refer to.

The last thing we did before they did their practice presentations was to look at each other’s powerpoints and bibliographies and checked the following

  • Are all images sourced?
  • Are all URLs dated?
  • Is the bibliography complete?
  • Is there a range of sources?
  • Am I using the time effectively?
  • Is the space suitable for me to present and perform?

I hope that this has helped you all, and good luck!