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IB Theatre Survival Guide

RESOURCE: IB Theatre Survival Guide

IB Theatre ~ Survival Guide


This survival guide is an outline to provide students with a general overview of what the IB Theatre Arts program includes. This document is a starting point; information for you to digest and formulate questions and ideas. You can anticipate detailed information about the program during the upcoming academic year.

The survivors guide introduction provides an overview, aims, and objectives of the course. The syllabus conceptual overview in this document introduces the concepts the following: the journal, theatre in the making, theatre in performance, and theater in the world.  Finally, there is a section that outlines assessment in the IB Theatre Arts program.  Internal and External assessment is discussed in the assessment section of this document.

There will be terminology and course ideas that are new to you. Don’t be intimidated by anything in this document. If you have questions write them down. You will have an opportunity to seek clarification. Welcome to IB Theatre Arts and lets get started!



Theatre, in one form or other, has existed for thousands of years. Through energy and imagination theatre is a means to explore society, examine relationships, frame, expose, critique, and speculate. The IB Theatre Program will engage students to study diverse forms of theatres in theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts. Beyond the study of theatre, and more importantly, students will learn by engaging in theater practice and performance. At the core of the theatre course lays a concern with clarity of understanding, critical thinking, reflective analysis, effective involvement and imaginative synthesis—all of which should be achieved through practical engagement in theatre.

Critical to the IB Theatre Arts student is the importance of working independently and as a member of an ensemble. Each student will need to develop the ability to lead and temper that with the intuition of when it is better to follow.

There are two levels of IB Theater Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL). At Prince Andrew only the HL program is offered. Information presented here primarily pertains to the HL program.

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The aims of the theatre course at HL and SL are to enable students to:

·        experience and participate in a wide and varied range of theatre activities and develop proficiency in more than one area of theatre technique

·        become familiar with forms of theatre from their own and different cultures

·        explore different theatre traditions in their historical contexts

·        develop academic skills appropriate for the study and understanding of theatre

·        become reflective and critical practitioners in theatre

·        develop the confidence to explore, to experiment and to work individually and collaboratively on innovative projects, which should involve challenging established notions and conventions of theatre

·        understand the dynamic, holistic and evolving nature of theatre and the interdependencies of all aspects of this art form.




Having followed the theatre course at HL or SL, students will be expected to:


  • demonstrate a theoretical and practical knowledge of theatrical traditions from more than one culture.
  • demonstrate an understanding of production elements and theatre practices
  • evaluate critically a range of diverse performances.
  • engage practically in creating and presenting performances, which will include a basic level of technical proficiency.
  • reflect on their own development in theatre through continual self-evaluation and recording
  • acquire appropriate research skills and apply them.
  • demonstrate an ability to interpret playtexts and other types of performance texts analytically and imaginatively.
  • demonstrate initiative and perseverance in both individual and group projects.
  • evaluate the relevance of selected research sources to personal practice
  • demonstrate an understanding of the complex processes of performance, from its initial conception to the impact the final result leaves on spectator

Syllabus Conceptual Overview

The theatre arts course at HL consists of four interdependent components: theatre in the making, theatre in performance, theatre in the world and either option A or option B for the independent project. Each component builds on the knowledge and skills gained in the others. The journal is a means of recording personal growth in theatre and lays a foundation for the independent project portfolio. The conceptual model below shows how each course components are interrelated

The journal


Students at both HL and SL should keep a journal from the outset of the course. This is the student’s own record, charting development, challenges and achievements, and, as such, students are free to determine what form it should take (written, audio and/or visual). The aim of the journal is to support and nurture development and reflection, and it is expected that much of the students’ assessed work will emerge from it. Students should also be encouraged to explore connections between different areas of learning throughout the course. The journal is not directly assessed or moderated but, since what it contains will reflect the sensibility of individual students, and will contain their responses to the different areas of learning, it should be regarded as a fundamental activity of the course.

Theatre in the making


This area of the course allows students to explore the different processes involved in making theatre, to develop the skills required to make theatre and to observe and reflect on different theatre practices. By working in this area, students should be encouraged to uncover a pathway to performance by investigating theory and practice. Students are required to explore this area from the perspective of dramaturg, director, performer, group ensemble, production team and spectator.

Theatre in performance

This area of the course involves students in presenting theatre performances, where their practical theatre skills can be applied, either solely or collaboratively, in a wide range of theatre practices. Theatre performance can take many forms and allows students to experience the many different roles that are necessary to present theatre works to spectators. Students are required to explore this area from the perspective of dramaturg, director, performer, group ensemble, production team and spectator.

Theatre in the world

This area of the course allows students to explore theatre traditions and practices from a range of cultures around the world. The primary aim of this area is to encourage students to investigate theatre in its historical and cultural context. It is expected that students will acquire a knowledge and understanding of the theatrical traditions of their own culture, as well as of those cultures that are unfamiliar to them. The major objective of this component is to enrich students’ development throughout the course by ensuring they experience theatre from a variety of performance traditions, both in theory and practice. Students are required to explore this area from the perspective of dramaturg, director, performer, group ensemble, production team and spectator.

Independent project (HL only)

The independent project allows students to pursue an independent interest in theatre, which may have arisen during the course. The project should be practical in nature and may involve the student working alone, with a class group, or with other people from outside the theatre course. Students at HL are required to produce an independent project that explores theatre practice, which should be underpinned by theoretical research into performance. Students must choose between either option A, which involves a practical examination of the processes involved in devising a performance; or option B, which involves a practical examination of the theories and philosophies that inform the performance process.

The project should be largely self-motivated and directed. It should be undertaken in the second year of study, when it will be informed by students’ increased maturity and experience in theatre. The work undertaken by students for the independent project must not be a duplication of work undertaken in other areas of the course

Assessment Outline


Higher level


External assessment

Research investigation 25%
Students are required to produce a research investigation of 2,000–2,500 words with supporting visual materials.
Practical performance proposal 25%
Students are required to produce a proposal of 250 words with supporting visual materials and a report of 1,000–1,250 words.
Internal assessment 50%
Theatre performance and production presentation 25%
Students are required to do an oral presentation lasting 30 minutes with 7–10 images.
Independent project portfolio 25%
Students are required to produce a portfolio of 3,000 words on their independent project (either option A or option B) and its connection to their experiences in the core syllabus.



External assessment


Research investigation (25% HL and SL)

Students at HL and SL must undertake personal dramaturgical research into an unfamiliar theatrical practice for the production of a play or theatre piece. Students should select a specific aspect of a play or theatre piece from the chosen theatrical practice to research, and then formulate a research question to answer. Students should collect, edit and present their research to contribute to a realization of the play/theatre piece from the chosen theatrical practice.

Students at HL are also required to write a critique of the sources used in the research investigation. For the critique to be effective, these sources must be relevant to the specifics of the research undertaken. This critique should form a separate section at the end of the research investigation. It should clearly demonstrate the student’s understanding of the sources used and their relevance to the investigation.

Practical performance proposal (25% HL and SL)

Students at HL and SL must adopt a directorial perspective and write a rationale, outline and detailed description of a proposal for staging a performance. This proposal should originate from one of the IBO prescribed performance stimuli. It should include written work, scenarios, images, storyboards and any other materials that convey the essence of the proposed performance, and the practical preparations necessary to realize it. Students should ensure that the proposal contains appropriate visual materials and does not depend solely on written descriptions.

Students at HL should also include a report on the wider theoretical context of the proposed performance, based on the research they have done and the experience and personal perspective they have developed during the preparation period.


Internal assessment


Theatre performance and production presentation (25% HL and SL)

Students must give an oral presentation on their involvement in the performance and production aspects of all areas of the core syllabus. The presentation should be made to the teacher and the class, accompanied by a set of images to illustrate or counterpoint the spoken word. The presentation must be recorded on CD or audio cassette and the set of images (each not exceeding A4 size) should be arranged to accompany the presentation in any way of the student’s choosing. This may take the form of a slide show presentation but is equally valid as a set of A4 photocopies.

The oral presentation should be made in the second year of study, when it will be informed by students’ increased maturity and experience in theatre. It should be focused on one or two performances in which the student has been involved.


Independent project portfolio (25% HL and SL)

Students at HL must prepare an independent project portfolio that shows the development of their independent project and its connection to their experiences in the core syllabus. The portfolio could include an amalgam of carefully selected and edited insights from their journal, showing how their explorations in theatre have influenced their independent project.

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