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Research Presentation 2022: A World of Opportunity

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

The new IB DP Theatre guide began 'first teaching' in Autumn of 2022, and is due to undergo 'first assessment' in 2024. This means that if you are sitting IB Diploma Programme exams in May 2024 or later, you should be on the 2022 guide. If you are still on the legacy course (last graduating class will be November 2023) then you should look at the old guidance instead.

My new Student Info Booklet for the 2022 IB DP Theatre Research Presentation is here!

Research Presentation Student Info Sheet 2022
Download PDF • 4.31MB

If these free resource have saved you some time and you want to show a gesture of thanks, I'd be so grateful for any small amount you wish to give!

The Research Presentation (RP) is worth 30% of the SL IB Theatre grade, and 20% of the HL grade, and is largely unchanged from the previous course. It requires you to research a world theatre tradition (and this must be chosen off the list that IB provides in the guide) and present your knowledge of the tradition and its contexts, before focusing on practically exploring one convention and experimenting with its application using some Traditional Performance Material (TPM). You wrap up this video recorded presentation/lecture with a reflection on your learning as a performer, and your understanding on the place of theatre in the world. Thankfully for teachers, some of the more onerous and clunky criteria descriptors have gone, and students will find the new three criteria much more sensible and tangible. Thankfully for students, there is no longer an obligation to film the entire 15 minute presentation in one take, but can do so in 3 criteria-aligned sittings spread over time if preferred.

A pantomime dame juggles
Juggling academic research, practical exploration and Traditional Performance Material could leave you feeling like a Pantomime Dame in February.

Practical Explorations

It is imperative that students conduct a good chunk of your time on your feet (so to speak - Rakugo is mostly kneeling). Your practical exploration and experimentation will not only be directly assessed in criteria B, but will also aid your understanding of your convention and tradition which is explained in criterion A. As well as 'feeling' either similar or different to other theatre types you have experienced: these 'feelings' are in the body, and your chosen convention MUST be corporeal. This is why the guide insists on it fitting into the body, voice, gesture, movement, face category(ies). It is easy to view this task as a Research one, and thus spend too much time reading and watching videos, and not enough actually doing. But do not fall into this trap. It is still mostly practical. Using classmates to explore together is enormously helpful - reflecting on seeing a discovery in another during a workshop can be more enlightening than feeling it in yourself.

Considerations for the teacher

The IB Theatre course is best taught with mock tasks that are teacher led throughout the first year, and then taking the training wheels off for second year students who must choose traditions (and theorists, plays etc) that have not been studied or taught before in any depth. For teachers, this task can be traumatic if you have no in-depth knowledge of the traditions on the list with which to lead first year students through a scaffolded mock version. However, there are options!

The list includes some university and drama school favourites, such as French farce, British pantomime and Elizabethan Theatre. For first year teaching, it doesn't even have to be a tradition from the list - Ancient Greek Theatre, for example, comes with an abundance of research material and lesson resources online for a safe bet for a teacher-led unit. Remember of course that anything you choose to teach is then ruled out of the student choice for the final, submitted assessment tasks.

Pedagogy of the unknown is something that applies to teachers teaching an area they are not experts in, and there are strategies that you can use to learn alongside the students. Be open, be transparent about learning along with them, and you will find that not only do you gain the perspective of the learner (which will improve your teaching practice), you will develop stronger relationships with your students and will all enjoy the benefits of social constructivist learning methodology, which goes hand in hand with the IB philosophy. Your aim as a teacher in this first year attempt at the task is not necessarily to teach them about a tradition (though this of course has value too), but primarily to teach them how to research, apply research, synthesise knowledge across different realms, and evaluate the impact that learning has had on them.

If these free resource have saved you some time and you want to show a gesture of thanks, I'd be so grateful for any small amount you wish to give!

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