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Independent Project Portfolio

The Independent Project

    During the second year of the Theatre Arts IB course, students are required to work on an "Independent Project."  This project may be done on your own, with other IB students, or with an outside theatre group.  Based on your experiences in year one (class activities, production experiences, theatrical performances viewed, online research, etc.), you'll decide on something to pursue.  
    Perhaps you saw a cool puppet show and want to create one, or you've always wanted to write a play, or you want to collaborate with a bunch of classmates on a completely original production, or you're interested in exploring a particular theorists ideas. Go for it!!!  Make sure it's something that you're excited about because that excitement will carry you through the whole process.

The assessment for this activity is not the activity itself but the Independent Project Portfolio that is produced after the project is completed. 
HL: Students at the HL level must produce a project that is BASED ON RESEARCH.  Whatever you select to do, you must have some research to inform what you'll attempt.  If you're directing, you must research directing methods and practices.  If you're conducting a series of workshops, you must research the theories and how to apply them.  This "research" can take a number of forms: books, internet sites, viewing live performances, videos on the web, emails to experts, visits to local theatres, online articles, etc.  The more diverse your research materials, the better your project will be.

HL students must choose from one of two options for their project:

Option A: "Devising Practice"

From the IBTA Guide:
"This option allows students to work in the role of a director/theatre-maker to explore in depth the devising and actualization of a performance. Using their knowledge gained in the core syllabus, students are required to investigate the processes through which ideas are effectively translated into a theatre performance."
    Students choosing this option will produce a performance.  Students will chose a stimulus or a concept, informed by their studies of world theatre, and work alone or with others to create a production. 

According to the IBTA Guide, students choosing this option may work on (guide excerpts in black/my notes in blue):
  • Exploring in depth concepts or stimuli for the potential they offer for performance  - Explore ideas you have or stimuli (books, plays, music pieces, brainstorms, images, etc.) and work out how you could realize those creative ideas as a performance.  You can use a published play as a "stimulus," but I think the IB program is more about devising interesting work than about producing a known play.
  • Acquiring knowledge, experience and understanding of alternative ways of developing an idea from stimuli or concepts into a theatre performance.  This aspect asks you to investigate how plays are out together.  How could you collaborate with your partners to get the production off the ground and carry it through to the ultimate production.
  • Demonstrating a clear and thorough understanding of the nature, function and interaction of the various production elements that are necessary to create a theatre performance.  Any work you attempt has to be presented as a performance for this option.  You must demonstrate that you understand how the pieces of the performance production fit together in order to achieve the performance.
The guide also says "Students should create and present an original piece of work. The concept for this work should be inspired by any source of the student’s choice, which can be of any origin." - that's quite a wide open range of choices - take advantage of that freedom and do something really original.

The IBTA Guide suggests that:  Possible activities may include the following.
  • Practical engagement in realizing a performance of a playtext
  • Practical realization of a self-devised performance
  • Practical creation of a performance developed from non-text-based source
Option B: "Exploring Practice"

From the IBTA Guide: 
This option allows students to undertake a practical study of aspects of theatre practice. It encourages students to engage actively with one or more theatre forms, practitioners, theorists (or practitioner/theorists) or genres that have had an impact on the development of theatre."

    Students choosing this option will explore techniques used by theater forms, practitioners, theorists or genres.  Students will choose a particular form, theory, practice or genre and practically explore the connected concepts and technique.

Students involved with this project will be
  • Examining the theories and work of one or more theatre forms, practitioners, theorists or genres

  • Critically evaluating the similarities and differences between the chosen subjects and, if appropriate, 

    demonstrating an understanding of the relationship between the work of the chosen theatre forms, 

    practitioners, theorists or genres

  • Demonstrating an understanding of theatre techniques by undertaking a specific practical role in a 


SL: Students at the SL level can work on a project by themselves, with other students, or with an outside group.  Choose an area of theatre that you're interested in and think of a project that you can get involved in.  It should give you the opportunity to express yourself with a level of freedom and should challenge you to use your imagination and persistence to see it through to production.

The IBTA Guide suggests that:  Possible activities may include the following.
  • Devising and presenting a solo performance
  • Creating and developing a role in a performance
  • Writing a piece of theatre
  • Directing a piece of theatre
  • Undertaking a technical project such as creating and staging a sound and/or lighting design
  • Designing costumes
  • Running a workshop