Drama creation standards - Unpacking ‘Coherent’ and ‘Effective’

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Definition of 'Coherent' for Merit

Coherent means the drama is structured to have flow, dramatic unity, and smooth transition between scenes.


Flow has a sense of dramatic pace - the dialogue moves the action forward and/or develops character. The drama does not contain dialogue or communication that is verbose or meaningless. The 'flow' will assist in the development of tension. Transitions have been considered and purposefully organised to support the progress of the drama. For example, the drama does not require scenery shifts that mean a performance would be fragmented.

Dramatic unity

The characters behave in a believably consistent way. For example, their diction is consistent unless justified by the script. The behaviour and attitudes of the characters is consistent with the time and setting. Character relationships have been thought through and presented with some consistency. If there are time shifts they are presented using conventions, and structured so the audience understands. Purposeful or efficient transitions also help to support the dramatic unity of a piece.

Smooth transition

The consideration of the transitions between scenes does not refer to the enactment of the transitions, but the planning for them. This is part of the decision making surrounding the structuring of the drama. Scene transitions should employ effective conventions. The use of 10 second blackouts, lengthy furniture moving, repetitive exits and entrances undermine or destroy the coherence needed for Merit and Excellence.

Definition of 'Effective' for Excellence

The 'effective' descriptor may mean that the quality of the drama creates tension/humour, has dramatic pace, realises a powerful message, and is convincing and 'fresh' in terms of realising its stated intention. This can mean elements, conventions and technologies have been used innovatively and with originality to create impact.

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