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IB Theatre - Research Presentation (first assessment 2024): Traditional Conventions

This guide provides resources for the Research Presentation external assessment task for IB Theatre (first assessment 2024).

Traditional Conventions

Reference book - Britannica ImageQuestPerformance conventions

A performance convention is a significant and identifiable element of performance (body and/or voice) that is usually culturally recognized, accepted and identified as a key feature of the theatre tradition. Performance conventions have a particular function within a tradition and are a key feature of communication to the audience. Many conventions are unique to their theatre tradition, although some may appear in similar form but with significant variations in other world theatre practices.

These are examples of traditional conventions, but this is not a complete list. You may select any other convention, but you must ensure the convention is centered on the performer's use of their body, voice or manipulation of an object that is specific to that tradition.

Greeting Farewell Gesture of thanks
Marriage Spiritual Funeral
Naming ceremonies Coming of age State ceremonies
National anthems Eating Towards elders
Towards children Dress Celebration
Education Attending a performance  
Excerpt from "Research the Convention", p. 8, Research Presentation, Student Information Booklet, IBDP Theatre, First Assessment 2024, by Kieran Burgess. The booklet is available for download on his website here.


You are asked to select one convention to focus on.

Your research into the convention will be largely bundled in your research into the whole tradition and the cultural context behind it. The tradition and context themselves may provide you with reasons or causes (explanations) for the existence of your chosen convention. Ensure that the convention you have selected to focus on in this project is going to be centered on your use of body, voice or manipulation of tradition-specific objects. Like with the whole tradition section, focus on what makes your convention specific to that time and place.

Clearly state which one convention you have chosen to focus on. If there are more, or it is ambiguous, the examiner will mark you on the first one mentioned, which may not be your strongest.

QUESTION: What does the research tell us about how this tradition and convention appears and behaves, and why?


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