GCSE Drama

The new GCSE syllabus offers exciting possibilities to those who enjoy performing, but also offers exploration into all aspects of theatre production, including lighting, sound, set and costume design. 

Why study Drama?

You will gain knowledge of different drama genres and styles; learn to use different stage and performance conventions; explore the ways in which performers and designers communicate meaning to an audience; and develop many other communication skills.  Such skills will be of value in the future in any profession that involves dealing with people – the legal profession; education;  social work; journalism, and of course TV, film and the theatre.

Many lessons involve practical work:  developing work for assessment, rehearsal and performance.  However, you should also be ready to engage in a variety of written tasks, arising out of the practical work undertaken. This will include keeping a devising log which is part of the exam and worth 60 marks, and developing responses to play scripts.

There is also a written exam based on the study of a set text which is worth 80 marks.  For success, it is vital to be ready to attend a number of live productions, both in and out of school time.  Follow up lessons will result in reviews of these live productions.  We try to ensure that at least one such trip is to the West End, London.  In recent years this has included ‘War Horse’ and ‘The Woman in Black’.

Drama develops the skills of the independent learner: encouraging independent research and exploration of individual ideas and responses; working co-operatively as a member of a group; nurturing focus and the ability to work without constant supervision; setting short and long term targets as a group member and as an individual; developing the skills of self and peer assessment to ensure a full understanding of how to succeed in this examination.  

The subject content is divided into three components:

  1. Understanding Drama
  2. Devising Drama
  3. Texts in practice

Course Content

We offer a broad-based fine art course, which builds on and uses the skills acquired at KS3.  Young artists studying GCSE ideally should be curious about how and why art is made in our society and those of other cultures, as well as enjoy and be enthusiastic about making art themselves.

You will be encouraged, especially in Year 10, to take creative risks as you explore your ideas and experiment with new techniques and materials in both two and three dimensions; you will have the opportunity to work within several artistic disciplines, including drawing, painting, print-making, photography, mixed media and sculpture (e.g. clay, mod-roc, wire, card).

Students will need a selection of basic art equipment for personal use at home; your teachers will advise you on this.

Three units are completed during the course; there will be a choice of topics set by your teachers, and a selection of this work is then submitted for moderation.

We organise two visits, one to a London museum or gallery and one to Kew Gardens; both provide an inspirational starting point for coursework units.

You will learn how to:

  • Develop your practical skills, including drawing from direct observation
  • Critically analyse art works, and explore the ideas behind them
  • Experiment with a wide range of materials and techniques
  • Develop your own imaginative ideas
  • Make substantial paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces

How will it be assessed?


Component One Understanding Drama

What is assessed?

  • Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre
  • Study of ONE play
  • Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers

It is assessed by a written exam duration 1 hour and 45 minutes

Open book, 80 marks, 40% of GCSE.

Questions will be:

Section A – Multiple choice

Section B – Four questions on a given extract from the set play (Blood Brothers)

Section C – One question (from a choice) on the work of theatre makers in a single live theatre production.

Component Two

 What is assessed?

Process of creating devised drama (pupils may contribute as a performer or designer)

Performance of devised drama:

Analysis and evaluation of own work

How it is assessed?

Devising log

Devised performance, 80 marks in total, 40% of GCSE

Component Three

 What is assessed?

Performance of TWO extracts from ONE play (pupils may contribute as a performer or designer)

Free choice of play but it must contrast with the play set in Component 1

How is it assessed?

Performance of Extract 1 (20 marks) AND Extract 2 (20 marks)

40 Marks in total, 20% of the GCSE

This component is marked by AQA.

Further information:

For further information on the Drama Specification: Click here