"Tell me and I will forget.

Show me and I will remember.

Involve me and I will understand."

Chinese Proverb

"The future of our nation depends on our ability to create-and to be creative. During the coming decades our most important national resources will be human resources. If our nation is to continue to meet the challenges of the future, today's schools need to develop creative leaders."

From Performing together: The Arts and Education

Team Leader of Drama Mrs N Furnell
Teacher of Drama & Head of Arts Faculty Miss J Lawlor

At Bishop Luffa Drama is studied as a compulsory subject at KS3, with Drama taught once a week in Years 7 and 8, and once a fortnight in Year 9. We offer students the opportunity to study GCSE Drama in Years 10 and 11, and A'Level Drama & Theatre Arts in Years 12 and 13. Further details about the A'Level course are available on the Sixth Form website.


Through Drama we learn to work productively together under pressure, to co-operate, to find the best way for each member of a group to contribute, and to listen to and accept the viewpoints and contributions of others. Drama allows us to communicate with and understand others in new ways. Drama enables us to gain confidence in speaking in public, to be more persuasive in all communications, written and oral, better able to put ourselves into others' shoes and relate to them, and have a more positive, confident self-image. Drama develops self control and discipline that will serve our students well in all aspects of life. No art form is more collaborative. Drama develops verbal and non- verbal, individual and group communication skills. Drama is an important tool for communicating effectively as part of a team.

Drama enhances our students' creative abilities developing our imagination to hone skills for thinking ‘outside the box’ and responding to situations in original and innovative ways. Drama helps us to respond and adapt to problems and situations quickly, creatively and effectively.

By playing other characters in other contexts, drama enables us to question who we are, why we are here and challenge our existing ideas. We can reflect on our own values and beliefs. We can experiment with various personal choices and solutions to problems. In order to play a role, we must be able to fully inhabit another's shoes. We start to be able to really understand how the world looks through another person's eyes. Drama develops empathy.

Through rehearsal and improvisation, we explore connections with each other, share stories, and develop our expression. We develop the world of wonder and play. Drama provides a safe space for students to continue questioning, exploring and teasing out new ideas and ways of living and thinking. Drama can provide an outlet for emotions, and ideas that we might not otherwise have means to express. Drama provides our students with a better understanding and confidence of themselves and a broader understanding and tolerance of our world. In today's polarized and intolerant culture, the ability to understand others' motives and choices is critical. Drama can help build responsible global citizens.

Drama is not about being the best performer or the next Hollywood star, it is about creating and making, exploring and responding in the search of our true selves and meaningful connections with others and the world around us.

Drama Learning Journey

This is a visual representation of how students' knowledge and skills develop through the Drama curriculum.

(click on the image below to view a larger version)

Drama Learning Journey  A Level Drama Theatre Arts Learning Journey

At KS3, the study of drama is focussed on developing drama skills through three forms of drama:

  • Scripted Drama – A Christmas Carol, Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations, BFG, Mark Wheeler plays, Blood Brothers, Metamorphosis, World Drama
  • Devised Drama – Mime, Frantic Assembly, Physical Theatre, improvisation, Drama Games
  • Historical Drama – pantomime, Shakespeare, Greek Theatre

Through these forms, students are given access to a range of theatrical styles such as:

  • Abstract theatre (Berkoff, Frantic Assembly)
  • Political/ Documentary theatre (Brecht)
  • Naturalism (Stanislavski)

Within these areas students explore play texts, poems, music, images and articles responding to plot, characters, and narrative to explore ideas and themes.
Assessment is separated into three areas:

  • Making - researching, discussing, questioning, thinking, sharing and shaping, experimenting
  • Performing – communicating narrative to an audience
  • Responding – reflecting and evaluating your own work and the work of others

Why study Drama at GCSE?

This exciting specification for GCSE Drama gives you the opportunity to explore theatre from a range of perspectives by devising your own, original work; by bringing to life the work of a playwright; as theatre reviewer, developing your own thoughts on what makes drama and theatre successful. Students can choose to be assessed as either a performer or as a designer in the non-exam components. This means that students have the choice to complete the course as a performer, as designer or through a combination of both roles. The practical nature of the lessons and assessments equip you with a range of personal skills such as team work, confidence, time management, independence and assertiveness alongside developing your creativity. The skills you develop through studying drama prepare you for jobs involving the need to work effectively with people and/or are required to think creatively.

At GCSE students continue to follow the thread of learning at KS3 but engage more with the theory of drama and explore the conventions of the subject at a deeper level. This provides a backbone for their drama work.

‘Without theory, practise is only routine imposed by habit.’
Louis Pasteur

‘Our word theory, which we use in connection with reasoning and which comes from the same Greek word for theatre, means really looking fixedly at, contemplation; it is very near in meaning to our imagination’
Jane Harrison

At GCSE students work is divided into
Developing a broad knowledge and understanding of Drama

Evaluating Live Theatre

  • The study of a play developing performance and design interpretation
  • The performance of a script communicating character and context (designer route available)
  • The creation of a piece of devised drama exploring complex and challenging ideas (designer route available)

This work is demonstrated and assessed through

  • Written essays, accounts and reviews
  • Performance Work

Outline of syllabus content

Component 1: Devising Drama - 30%
Students will create a devised performance in groups. They will be able to select a starting point from a range of stimuli provided by the exam board. Performances will be between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on the size of the group. All performances will be supported by a portfolio which is evidence of the students’ devising process.

Component 2: Text Performance - 30%
Students will study a text chosen by the centre. Students will take a part in two performances of two extracts from the text. They can work as a performer or designer in this component. Performance lengths will vary according to the size of the group. In this unit students can work individually, or in a group of up to 6. Students must present at least one performance as part of a group. Students will be required to produce an accompanying concept document..

Component 3: Performance Response - 40%
The exam component will be assessed at the end of the qualification and will be 1 hour and 30 minutes in length. Students will have to complete two compulsory sections.

Section A 50 marks Students will be asked about preparing and performing a text. They will draw on the experience of studying a whole text during the course from a list set by the exam board. The questions will focus on the process of creating and developing a performance, working as a director, performer and designer, as well as the performance of a character from the text.

Section B 30 marks This section asks the students to review a performance they have seen on their course. They will be primarily assessed on their ability to analyse and evaluate, but will also be marked on their accurate use of subject specific terminology.


All assessment is linear, with written exams taking place at the end of the course.

The written Exam is worth 40% of the GCSE and is 1½ hours
The non-exam assessment takes place over the two years and is assessed internally and by an external examiner depending on the component. The non-exam components are worth 60%, 30% for each component.

GCSE Drama Exam Specification Information