Theatre updates

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This page contains the latest updates on the Diploma Programme (DP) theatre course.

The new theatre course will be taught in 2022 for the first time, with first assessment taking place in 2024.

The new guide retains the spirit of the legacy theatre course, giving students the opportunity to make theatre as creators, designers, directors and performers. It emphasizes the importance of working both individually and as part of an ensemble. It encourages students to actively engage in the creative process of inquiring, developing, presenting and evaluating.

Through the new course, students are encouraged to work as inquisitive and imaginative artists, transforming ideas into action and communicating these to an audience.

The following sections outline the key features of the new theatre course and identify the processes through which the course has been redesigned and rigorously tested. For a technical breakdown of the DP curriculum and assessment methods for this course, read the theatre subject brief (SL & HL)(PDF, 469 KB).

An innovative approach to curriculum redesign

The theatre course underwent an innovative process of redevelopment, ensuring a fully trialled and tested new guide supported by a wealth of support materials and authentic assessment samples. The theatre guide was piloted for three years in 38 IB World Schools to ensure it was fit for purpose before publication. All assessment tasks were trialled and involved a dedicated group of theatre teachers in the design, testing and refinement of the new course. The pilot guide underwent two full assessment sessions, which resulted in further tweaks being made to the course to ensure greater consistency and reliability, and to enable the publication of grade boundaries alongside the release of the course.

Guiding principles for redevelopment

In developing the new course, the review team identified the following priorities for redevelopment, based on feedback from the community.

  • Increase the value of practical performance work while retaining the essence of the existing assessment tasks.
  • Reduce the complexity of some of the course requirements.
  • Demand less from students, teachers and examiners.
  • Simplify the assessment criteria to increase the reliability of marking. 
  •  Increase the amount of authentic support and guidance available for students and teachers.

Key revisions

The following key revisions were made to the theatre course in response to the guiding principles.

  • The guide presents a clear process for theatre-making which underpins the whole course.
  • The workload of the course has been reduced across all assessment tasks.
  • All assessment task instructions have been made clearer, with more guidance provided for both students and teachers and fewer “moving parts” appearing within each task.
  • The assessment criteria have been written more clearly and consistently throughout the guide and have been fully tested using authentic student work.
  • The task designated as the internal assessment component has been altered to ensure it can be marked more consistently by teachers.

Assessment tasks authentically emerge out of the syllabus content

Through the perspectives of creator, designer, director and performer, theatre students investigate four syllabus areas, which closely resemble the content of the legacy theatre course. Each of these syllabus areas links directly to one of the four revised assessment tasks.

Syllabus area

Linked assessment task

Externally / Internally assessed



Staging play texts

Production proposal


SL 30%

HL 20%

Exploring world theatre traditions

Research presentation


SL 30%

HL 20%

Collaboratively creating original theatre

Collaborative project


SL 40%

HL 25%

Performing theatre theory (HL only)

Solo theatre piece (HL only)



HL 35%


The revised assessment tasks set the following expectations for theatre students. 

  • Production proposal: Students at SL and HL choose a published play text they have not previously studied and formulate a vision for the design and theoretical staging of the entire play text for an audience. This results in a production proposal, which communicates the student’s vision for the feasible staging of the play text for a live audience using a combination of words and images. This task has been designated as the new internal assessment task which is marked by teachers.
  • Research presentation: Students at SL and HL plan, deliver and video record an individual research presentation (15 minutes maximum) in which they provide evidence of their academic and practical exploration and learning of a world theatre tradition they have not previously studied. While in many ways this task resembles the previous Research presentation task, a key revision provides students with the choice of either submitting a recording of a non-stop 15-minute presentation, or submitting a recording of three discrete 5-minute sections captured over time (one section per criterion). 
  • Collaborative project: Students at SL and HL collaboratively create and perform an original piece of theatre (lasting 7–10 minutes maximum) created from a starting point of their choice. The piece is presented to an audience as a fully-realized production. In this revised version of the legacy assessment task, each member of the ensemble is now required to perform in the final piece and is assessed on the use of their performance skills. Each member of the ensemble is also required to individually contribute to the development and staging of the piece as creator, designer and/or director and is assessed on how effective these specific artistic contributions are in achieving the ensemble's intentions. In another significant move from the legacy course, this task is now designated as an external assessment task. 
  • Solo theatre piece (HL only): Students at HL research a theatre theorist they have not previously studied, identify an aspect(s) of theory and create and present a solo theatre piece (lasting 4-7 minutes maximum) that demonstrates the practical application of this theory to a theatre piece for an audience. This task closely resembles the Solo theatre piece from the legacy course, but with slight changes to the task instructions and significant changes appearing in the assessment criteria.