Literature and performance

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The literature and performance course aims to explore the relationship between literature and theatre. The main focus of the course is the interaction between the literary skills of close reading, critical writing and discussion and the practical, aesthetic and symbolic elements of performance.

The course is organized into three parts, each focussed on a different aspect of literature and performance. Together, the three parts of the course cover the critical study of literary texts, the exploration of chosen approaches to a text, and the realization of texts in performance. Students engage with a wide variety of textual genres to explore the concept of transformation, examining the ways in which the contexts of production and reception shape meaning.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models

  • Available at standard level only
  • Standard level study requires a minimum of 150 class hours
  • A minimum of five literary works must be studied, covering all the main literary genres
  • An understanding of how language, culture and context determine the construction of meaning is developed through the exploration of texts from a variety of cultures, periods, genres and in translation
  • Students develop strong oral and written powers of expression, and a range of performance skills
  • Students are assessed through a combination of formal examinations, written coursework, performance and oral activities
  • The formal examination comprises two essay papers, one requiring the exploration of issues involved in dramatizing a novel, and the other a comparative response to poetry studied
  • Students also produce written coursework based on a critical analysis of a play they have studied and performed, a performance based on their transformation of literature studied, and an oral presentation

Learn more about literature and performance in a DP workshop for teachers

Introducing the new DP Literature and Performance course 2022

You can now read the DP Literature and Performance course 2022 overview here. This overview is intended for all teachers, students and coordinators who are interested in introducing the new DP Literature and Performance course to their schools.

Literature and performance subject brief

Subject briefs are short two-page documents providing an outline of the course. Read the standard level (SL) and/or higher level (HL) subject brief below. 

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Literature and performance SL (PDF, 35 KB) pdf

Latest curriculum updates

This subject is reviewed by the IB regularly to ensure the latest educational research is applied. Please keep up to date with the latest subject updates for Literature and performance.