Theatre IA Topics: SL and HL Topic Ideas

As someone with experience in the IB Theatre course, I’ve come to appreciate the critical role of the Internal Assessment (IA) in the curriculum. In my experience, choosing a compelling topic for your Theatre IA can significantly influence your enjoyment and success in this component, especially when distinguishing between the Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) requirements. Let’s take a guided tour of potential Theatre IA topics and insights that can help you choose the best option.

The Role of IA in the IB Theatre Course

The IB Theatre course is an engaging, challenging, and dynamic program designed for high school students enrolled in the IB Diploma Programme. As a seasoned writer with extensive experience in the IB curriculum, I can attest that this course offers a comprehensive exploration of theatre arts, encouraging students to become adept in the performance aspect and in understanding the theoretical underpinnings, historical contexts, and cultural diversities of theatre.

The IA typically consists of several components, varying slightly depending on current curriculum updates. Generally, these components include:

  • Research Presentation. Students are often required to investigate a specific area of theatre practice, ranging from studying a particular playwright or theatre practitioner to researching a theatrical genre or tradition.
  • Director’s Notebook. For some assessment tasks, students take on the role of a director, preparing for a theoretical production of a play.
  • Practical Performance Proposal. This part of the IA invites students to propose a concept for a creative performance.
  • Reflective Statement or Essay. Students are often required to reflect on their learning experiences in the IB Theatre course, including the process of working on their IA.

Internal Assessment is more than a requirement with a strict IA word count; it’s a unique opportunity to engage with a theatre topic that deeply fascinates you. Tackling either SL or HL, students soon realize that the IA isn’t merely an assignment to complete. Instead, it represents a significant portion of your final grade, underscoring its importance within the broader curriculum. This realization brings to light the necessity of selecting a topic that aligns with your interests and meets the stringent IB criteria. Also, remember that IA differs from the EE or Extended Essay.

IB Theatre IA Topics and Research Questions

Below, I’ve compiled a list of 25 SL and 25 HL topic ideas, each with a potential research question to guide your research and analysis. These topics can inspire SL and HL students to dig into the complexities and nuances of theatre from various perspectives.

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Theatre IA Topics

Standard Level (SL) IB Theatre IA Topics

SL students might focus on a more concentrated area or select from a range of prescribed tasks demonstrating their understanding and skills in a particular aspect of theatre:

  1. The Influence of Ancient Greek Theatre on Modern Dramatic Structure. How has Ancient Greek theatre influenced the structure of contemporary plays?
  2. Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theatre and Its Techniques. What are the key techniques of Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theatre, and how do they aim to engage the audience?
  3. The Role of the Director in Theatre Production. How does the director’s role influence the outcome of a theatre production?
  4. The Use of Masks in Traditional Japanese Noh Theatre. What is the significance of masks in Japanese Noh Theatre, and how do they contribute to the storytelling process?
  5. Stanislavski’s System and Its Impact on Acting. How does Konstantin Stanislavski’s System transform an actor’s approach to their role?
  6. The Evolution of Scenography in the 20th Century. How has scenography evolved throughout the 20th century, and how has this impacted the audience experience?
  7. Theatre for Social Change: A Study of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. How does Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed work as a tool for social change?
  8. Understanding Theatre in Education (TIE). What role does Theatre in Education (TIE) play in contemporary learning environments?
  9. The Importance of Lighting Design in Theatre. How does lighting design enhance a theatre production’s emotional and aesthetic aspects?
  10. The Cultural Significance of Puppetry in Theatre. What cultural roles does puppetry play in different theatrical traditions around the world?
  11. The Impact of Broadway Musicals on American Culture. How have Broadway musicals reflected and influenced American culture in the 20th century?
  12. Theatre Censorship: A Case Study. How has theatre censorship affected the development of theatre in a specific country or region?
  13. The Concept of Physical Theatre. What distinguishes physical theatre from other forms of theatrical expression, and how is it communicated to the audience?
  14. Site-Specific Theatre and Its Engagement with Audience. How does site-specific theatre create unique experiences for its audience compared to traditional theatre settings?
  15. Interactive Theatre: Breaking the Fourth Wall. In what ways does interactive theatre challenge traditional audience and performer boundaries?
  16. Commedia dell’Arte and Its Influence on Modern Comedy. How has Commedia dell’Arte influenced the development of modern comedic techniques and character archetypes?
  17. The Use of Monologues in Character Development. In what ways do monologues contribute to character development within a play?
  18. The Role of Music in Enhancing Theatrical Performances. How does music enhance the emotional impact and narrative depth of theatrical performances?
  19. Theatre Festivals and Their Role in Promoting Cultural Exchange. How do international theatre festivals promote cultural exchange and influence contemporary theatre practices?
  20. The Evolution of Costume Design in Theatre. How has the role and significance of costume design in theatre evolved from the 20th century to the present day?
  21. Theatre in the Digital Age: Opportunities and Challenges. What are theatre practitioners’ opportunities and challenges in adapting to digital platforms and technologies?
  22. The Representation of Historical Events in Theatre. How is theatre used as a medium to represent and interpret historical events, and what are the ethical considerations involved?
  23. Verbatim Theatre: Technique and Ethical Considerations. What is verbatim theatre, and what ethical considerations arise in using real-life stories on stage?
  24. The Impact of Celebrity Casting in Theatre. How does celebrity casting impact the production and reception of theatrical works?
  25. The Role of Audience Participation in Theatre. What are the different forms of audience participation in theatre, and how do they affect the experience of the performance?

This choice of topics allows SL students to demonstrate their understanding and skills in a way that aligns with their interests and strengths, albeit within a more defined framework.

Higher Level (HL) IB Theatre IA Topics

HL students are often expected to engage in more complex analysis or creative work, demonstrating a higher level of synthesis and evaluation of theatre concepts and practices:

  1. Comparative Analysis of Tragic Heroes in Greek and Shakespearean Drama. How do the portrayals of tragic heroes in Greek and Shakespearean drama reflect the cultural values of their respective periods?
  2. The Role of Theatre in Political Resistance. How has theatre been used as political resistance in various historical contexts?
  3. Multimedia in Contemporary Theatre: Enhancing Narrative Through Technology. How does incorporating multimedia elements in contemporary theatre enhance or transform the narrative experience?
  4. Cross-Cultural Influences in Modern Playwriting. How have cross-cultural influences shaped the themes and techniques of modern playwriting?
  5. Devising Theatre: Processes and Outcomes. What processes are involved in devising theatre, and how do these influence the performance’s outcome?
  6. Postmodern Theatre and the Disruption of Narrative. How does postmodern theatre challenge traditional narrative structures, and what implications does this have for the audience’s understanding?
  7. The Evolution of Gender Roles in Theatre. How have representations of gender roles in theatre evolved, and what has driven these changes?
  8. Theatre and Identity: National Theatre Movements. How do national theatre movements contribute to constructing and expressing cultural identity?
  9. Absurdist Theatre: An Analysis of Key Playwrights and Plays. What are the defining characteristics of absurdist theatre, and how have key playwrights contributed to its development?
  10. Environmental Theatre: Creating Immersive Experiences. How does environmental theatre create immersive experiences for the audience, and what are the challenges in producing such works?
  11. The Intersection of Dance and Theatre in Performance. How do dance and theatre intersect in performance, and what does this hybrid form communicate that traditional forms do not?
  12. Innovations in Puppetry: Pushing the Boundaries of Theatre. What innovations in puppetry have expanded the boundaries of theatrical storytelling in recent years?
  13. The Impact of Digital Streaming on Theatre Production and Consumption. How has digital streaming transformed the production and consumption of theatre, and what are the implications for its future?
  14. Reviving Classic Plays for Modern Audiences. What challenges and considerations are involved in reviving classic plays for modern audiences?
  15. The Therapeutic Benefits of Acting and Performance. How can participating in acting and performance serve as a form of therapy, and what are the psychological benefits involved?
  16. Theatre and Globalization: Cross-Cultural Collaborations and Their Impact. How has globalization influenced cross-cultural collaborations in theatre, and how do they impact artistic expression and audience reception?
  17. Post-Colonial Theatre and Its Narratives of Resistance. How does post-colonial theatre present narratives of resistance, and how does it shape national identity?
  18. Theatre for Young Audiences: Approaches and Impacts. What specific approaches are taken in creating theatre for young audiences, and what impact does this have on children’s social and emotional development?
  19. Interactive Digital Theatre: New Forms of Engagement. How is interactive digital theatre transforming audience engagement, and what potential does it hold for the future of theatrical experiences?
  20. Eco-Theatre: Promoting Environmental Awareness Through Performance. How does eco-theatre contribute to environmental awareness and activism, and what are its primary strategies and challenges?
  21. The Revival of Forgotten Plays: Hidden Gems. What processes are involved in reviving forgotten or rarely performed plays, and what can these works contribute to contemporary theatre?
  22. Theatre as a Tool for Social Justice: Case Studies and Outcomes. How has theatre been used as a tool for social justice, and what measurable outcomes have been observed from such initiatives?
  23. The Role of Immersive Theatre in Challenging Traditional Theatre Spaces. How does immersive theatre challenge traditional notions of theatre spaces, and what does this mean for the relationship between performer and audience?
  24. The Shift from Text-Based to Visual Theatre. What has prompted the shift from text-based to more visual theatre in contemporary practices, and how has this affected storytelling techniques?
  25. Theatre and Mental Health: Explorations and Expressions. How is theatre used to explore and express mental health issues, and what benefits does it offer for performers and audiences alike?

The IA for HL students is not just about demonstrating mastery of theatre concepts but also an exercise in critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative expression. They are expected to draw upon various sources and integrate diverse perspectives.

How to Choose The Best Theatre IA Topic?

Here are some strategies and insights from my extensive experience to help you select a topic that resonates with you and meets the IB criteria:

  • Choose a topic that sparks your curiosity and passion. A genuine interest in your chosen area will sustain your motivation throughout the research and writing phases.
  • Ensure your topic complies with the specific requirements and objectives of the IB Theatre IA. This alignment is crucial for achieving a high score.
  • Verify that sufficient resources are available for your topic. Access to academic papers, books, interviews, and other materials will enrich your IA.
  • Consider whether you can conduct the necessary research within the given timeframe and with available resources.
  • Aim to provide a unique angle or perspective on your chosen topic. A fresh approach can distinguish your IA from others.

Furthermore, I cannot overemphasize the value of consulting with an IB Theatre teacher or advisor. These mentors possess a wealth of experience and insight that can guide you in refining your topic choice and research process. Their advice can be instrumental in identifying potential pitfalls and opportunities you might not have considered.


Selecting the right Theatre IA topic is crucial in your IB education. Whether you’re drawn to traditional forms, modern innovations, or the directorial craft, your passion will be the guiding light. Remember, a topic that intrigues and challenges you will likely result in a high-grade Internal Assessment. So, dare to choose boldly, research thoroughly, and write passionately. Good luck, and remember that our team of experts at IB IA Writing Service is here to help!

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a devoted educator, marketing specialist, and management expert with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector. After obtaining his business degree in 2016, Nick embarked on a quest to achieve his PhD, driven by his commitment to enhancing education for students worldwide. His vast experience, starting in 2008, has established him as a reputable authority in the field.

Nick's article, featured in Routledge's "Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization," highlights his sharp insights and unwavering dedication to advancing the educational landscape. Inspired by his personal motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to streamline students' lives and foster efficient learning. His inventive ideas and leadership have contributed to the transformation of numerous educational experiences, distinguishing him as a true innovator in his field.

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