Mirror Magazine

How would you like to sing, act and dance, as a part of your examination? Then, musical theatre is for you. Natasha Fernandopulle takes a closer

For the musical-minded

An area that seems to be gathering much interest within the dramatic arts field is musical theatre. With this in mind the Trinity Guildhall syllabus has come up with the necessary and accurate support needed for musical theatre training internationally.

Musical theatre is the combination of drama, music and choreographed movement. An assessment is made of the achievement of the performers, who have various levels of experience and ability in the fields of musical theatre. This syllabus also mixes well with other programmes and examinations in performance.

The graded examinations are available for solo, pair and group work. Singing, acting and movement are examined. In addition, one is also expected to demonstrate one’s ability in these skills through integrative performance.

This syllabus has a wide variety as far as the selections of performance are concerned. They can also include selections from the candidate’s own country or culture.

Who is it for?

This is an option available from the levels of grade one to grade eight, for those of all ages. There are also opportunities for young learners under the age of seven, provided by the option of the Young Performers' Certificate.


The timing of your set-up is one of the important aspects you have to cover for your examination. Always remember that the time allocated in your particular syllabus is about the exact time you are allowed. Arrange a time with your local centre, so that you can rehearse your technology with specific focus on your dance.

If you are not totally accurate with these aspects, the delays will affect you, your examiner and your fellow candidates waiting to come in. All this will affect the turn out of your performance.

Think about it; it is after all not the wisest thing to do – to fit your performance into a smaller space than which you have rehearsed in. After all, doing an impromptu performance is far from an easy task!

When and if you are using tapes, get the cues right in advance. Also make sure that the level of the volume will not drown you. Rehearse with your accompanist beforehand, if you are using one.

Solo syllabus

This syllabus is available from grades one to eight and is suitable for children and adults. However it is advisable that you, along with the help of your teacher, select the correct level of entry to match your individual level of performance.

The solo syllabus comes in three levels:

Foundation Level (Grades 1–3)

This is usually taken by children.

Requirements: A memorised performance in character of two contrasting songs, in addition to a presentation, which may include any combination of prose, dance movement or song. The candidate’s improvisation skills are tested. At grade three, a spoken extract from a play is introduced. Conversation with the examiner is about the prepared pieces.

Intermediate Level (Grades 4 and 5)

Requirements: Two contrasting songs, followed by a performance of a dance or movement sequence based on one of the prepared songs, a play extract and an extemporised performance (ex: of the words of a song). A discussion of the content, context and preparation of the selections are also a part of the syllabus.

Advanced Levels

There are more specific requirements here with regard to the dance routine or movement sequence, in addition improvisation or modification of the performance is also tested. A related programme showing the co-ordinated use of singing, acting and choreographed movement, along with a dance or movement sequence, improvisation or modification of performance and discussion are what are required.

Plus points

The syllabus helps to develop individual confidence.

It helps to consolidate the performance skills of multi-talented performance students.

Pairs syllabus

The opportunities that are offered are similar to those of the solo syllabus, and the structure of the syllabus is similar to acting in pairs. This option is available from grade one to grade eight.

Foundation Level

Two pieces that include the relevant performance skills such as acting, singing, dance, and choreographed movement must be performed by the candidates, along with a conversation with the examiner.

Intermediate Level

The performances can include devised pieces, a short narrative using integration of relevant skills, and for improvisation.

Advanced level

The requirements are performance sequences performed with an improvisation of a scene, quick-study duet or an extemporised dance sequence to music provided. In addition, the pair will be tested in improvisation or modification of performance following from one of the performed items, and a discussion of the meaning, interpretation and context of the items performed will follow.

Plus points

Allows students to enjoy themselves, while developing useful skills in improvisation and to gain the trust which is needed for successful work on the stage.

Every candidate receives a written report. If they are successful, they receive an individual certificate. Different levels of success can be achieved for members of a pair.

Offers specific intensive work on interactive performance skills and is also a good option for building the confidence of the performers, who are in training and who have still not built proper techniques for solo work.

Groups syllabus

This too is offered from grades one to eight. The skills are parallel to those in the Pairs and Solo syllabuses. The groups in all levels perform from memory and demonstrate their acting, singing and choreographed movement abilities.

Foundation Level

Grade one – an item will be presented, which may be a compilation of items or the whole or part of a published work.
Grade three – the assessment will include a spoken introduction and written programme, along with responses to one or two questions.

Intermediate Level
Grades four and five – the length and level of the performance is required to be greater and higher, respectively. This will be in accordance with criteria published in the Trinity Guildhall Syllabus.

Advanced Level
Grade seven – two contrasting programmes or sequences are required. The opportunity to present original and published work also is an option.

Plus points

The development of co-operative acting and performance skills are offered to the Group Drama syllabus for groups of three candidates or more.

There is a wide choice of material for those studying in groups rather than individually. It also allows the development of interactive theatre skills.

Each group will receive a written report. However, every member of a successful group will receive a certificate.

Musical Theatre:

Two options are available in this syllabus, which will take place before a live audience.

Option 1

A complete production can be submitted to the appropriate grade level. Detailed appreciation and assessment of the many aspects of the production, including group dynamic, individual performance, staging, design and technical theatre arts will be provided in a three-page report.

Option 2

Within the context of a complete stage production, individual, pair and group entries can be submitted for performances. And the candidates can enter at different grade levels. 

How to apply or order a syllabus

There are many examination centres for Trinity Guildhall Speech and Drama Examinations around the UK and also in many countries around the world. More than one local examination period a year may be offered in some countries. There is often a National Representative in most countries, who can assist you with regard to entry forms and the necessary information with regard to examination dates and fees.

In Sri Lanka you can contact:

The examinations in Sri Lanka are done through the Trinity Sri Lanka Centre and you can contact them at Horizons International, No.30, Galle Road, Colombo 6, call on 2583152 or email: horizons@wow.lk However, for further details visit: www.trinitycollege.co.uk You can write to them at Drama and Speech Department, Trinity Guildhall, 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP, UK. Fax: +44 (0) 20 7820 6161 or e-mail at: info@trinitycollege.co.uk

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