Devising plays – Rhinegold Publishing

Devising plays


The BTEC First Certificate in Performing Arts, equivalent to two GCSE’s at grades A*–C, is available in four pathways: Acting, Dance, Production and Performance. Each pathway offers a different mix of compulsory and specialist units. The acting pathway includes specialist units in Devising, Musical Theatre, Performing Scripted Plays, Understanding Drama, Production Process and Performing Arts Business, two of which must be studied alongside the core unit Acting.

Devising Plays is a unit that allows students to explore ways of structuring material into dramatic form, creating group pieces for performance to an audience. Ideally, it should be delivered after students have acquired some basic acting and character development skills through the study of some elements of the core unit A9 Acting.

Students must create two pieces of devised drama each lasting a minimum of ten minutes. The unit could culminate in a single showcase performance in which students present two pieces of devised work. However, the two schemes presented enable students to work on two distinct projects, one midway through the unit and one towards the end, allowing them two assessment opportunities and the chance to improve grades as a result of feedback and actions for improvement at the end of the first project.

The scheme covers the first of the two devising projects and is based on a series of teacher-led workshops and rehearsals, in which students will experiment with a range of explorative strategies and drama forms. All activities should be set within a vocational context with students devising work with a specific audience in mind. The scheme should be delivered in a drama studio or a room that can be adapted to allow for movement work. Students will need access to a performance space for final rehearsals as well as costumes, sets and props as appropriate. Assessment materials in the form of an assignment brief are included.

This project requires students to prepare a short devised piece of drama based on a given stimulus. Students will spend the first four lessons working with a range of explorative strategies and techniques to develop their understanding of the process of devising work for performance. The assignment is introduced in lesson 5 and from then on students will work on a project that will culminate in a performance of a short devised play to an audience. The project should be taught and assessed over approximately 30 hours. Lessons are based on two-hour slots but you can break up activities differently to suit your schedule.

Learning objectives

  • To be able to explore and develop material for a devised play
  • To understand a range of drama forms and techniques
  • To be able to communicate issues and/or feelings through the presentation of devised work
  • To understand the effectiveness of devised work for performance

Number of lessons: 15

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