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FAQs - Musical Theatre and Performance Arts

Please find answers to some frequently asked questions about the Musical Theatre and Performance Arts syllabus below:

 

Grade: All

Musical Theatre (Solo)

Question:

When candidates use backing tracks for their dance pieces - can the tracks have singing on them?

Answer:

Yes - but when tracks are used for singing pieces they must be instrumental only.

Grade: All

Musical Theatre (Solo)

Question:

Is it possible to mix the use of live accompaniment and backing tracks?

Answer:

Yes

Grade: All

Musical Theatre (Solo)

Question:

Is it possible to adapt songs i.e. remove verses etc to better fit the theme?

Answer:

Yes, as long as it does not affect the overall meaning and of the song or confuse/compromise the dramatic context or character.

Grade: All

Musical Theatre Solo

Question:

Can the songs be shortened to fit into the time frame?

Answer:

Yes, as long as it does not affect the overall meaning and of the song or confuse/compormise the dramatic context or character.

Grade: All

Musical Theatre Solo

Question:

Can songs from "Juke Box Musicals" e.g. 'Mamma Mia' be used?

Answer:

While not always advisable the candidate would need to be able to discuss the context of the song in the show and be aware of its origins. At intermediate levels candidates should perform material that “will enable the candidate to demonstrate subtleties of meaning, mood and character”. The examiner might well ask – “given the vast range of bona fide musical theatre repertoire available, why have you chosen to do a pop song which has no explicit dramatic context?” the candidate would need to provide sufficient explanation.

Grade: 7

Musical Theatre Solo

Question:

Task 2 - What should the "movement sequence" involve? And how should it be related to musical theatre?

Answer:

The purpose is for the candidate to display their dance/movement skills. The piece performed should focus on dance/ movement though singing and/or speaking may be included. So if for instance the candidate wanted to perform a jive, they should relate this to a particular role in a musical theatre work – eg: I am performing the role of Rizzo dancing to “We Go Together” from Grease and may wish to add a snippet of dialogue to contextualise it – “Hey Danny – you want to see some real dancing? Well look at this!” She doesn’t have to sing the song – she could perform her dance to a recording what is being judged is her ability to create a sense of character through movement.

Grade: 8

Musical Theatre Solo

Question:

Can the dance routine be to one of the five required songs?

Answer:

The candidate should offer a separate dance piece, as this skill is required to be assessed separately by the examiner.

Grade: 6

Musical Theatre (Pairs)

Question:

Task 1 - do candidates need include singing, dancing/choreographed movement and acting in all three performance sequences?

Answer:

The candidates need to show that they can sufficiently integrate skills at an advanced level so we would encourage using more than one skill per piece but they do not necessarily need to use all three skills in each - though be aware that this is musical theatre and as such singing will usually be involved in some form.

Grade: All

Musical Theatre (Group)

Question:

If we have an audience in a group examination can a teacher work the sound equipment?

Answer:

In this instance that is allowed, however teachers should have no contact with the candidates ie. no directing from the wings.

Grade: All

Musical Theatre - In Production

Question:

Does the production need to have been performed prior to the examiner visit?

Answer:

Not necessarily. Ideally the examiner should attend a public performance which may be part of longer run.

Grade: All

Musical Theatre In Production

Question:

Can music for the performance be pre-recorded?

Answer:

Music can be pre-recorded. However, at higher grades candidates should be aware of the additional complex nuancing of performance that is provided by live music and engagement with an accompanist - which in many cases will contribute to the quality of performance which may - in turn - be reflected in the mark awarded.

Grade: All

General - Groups

Question:

Can we have an audience in a group examination?

Answer:

Yes audiences are allowed for examinations with no discussion section, however they should not disrupt the flow of the examination session.  Therefore, they should only be allowed to enter and leave during break times.  Examiners must have ample space to write their reports without members of the audience looking over their shoulder. Please notify your local representative in advance if you wish to have an audience present.

Grade: All

Performance Arts Groups

Question:

For the introduction, do all the group members introduce themselves individually?

Answer:

Yes, all members of the group are required to briefly introduce themselves and what they will be doing.

Grade: All

Performance Arts (Group)

Question:

If we have an audience in a group examination can a teacher work the sound equipment?

Answer:

In this instance that is allowed, however teachers should have no contact with the candidates ie. no directing from the wings.

Grade: 4

Performance Arts Pairs

Question:

Do both performance skills need to be used in both items, or can the students do one for each?  Also, if they use a contributory perforance skill, does it need to be incorporated into both items?

Answer:

Any combination is fine as long as all skills are demonstrated throughout the whole exam.

Grade: All

Performance Arts Pairs

Question:

Could a pair use making a video as one of their performance skills?

Answer:

Candidates need to perform live in both sequences - but there would be nothing to stop them incorporating a video they had made into an acting piece e.g. two people watching a tv and commenting on it.

Grade: All

Performance Arts (All)

Question:

Could you give me some advice on the improvisation section?

Answer:

Please see the Improvisation document for guidance.

Grade: All

Performance Arts (All)

Question:

Please give me some sample topics for the prepared mime.

Answer:

Please see Mime document for guidance.

Grade: All

Performance Arts (All)

Question:

Can the mime contain sound effects?

Answer:

The mime should be completely silent and rely on the intensity of the performer's imagination and concentration.

Grade: All

Performance Arts (All)

Question:

What skills can be presented in a performance arts exam?

Answer:

A selection of the skills that can be presented is listed on page 25 of the syllabus. However this is not definitive and we welcome requests for assessment of addtional performance and contributory skills.

Grade: 3

Performance Arts Solo

Question:

Can the two performances in task 1 have same theme or topic, but be contrasting pieces through their format/ skills used?

Answer:

Yes - the requirement for “contrast” is met by the use of different peformance art skills.

 

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