Drama Documents

Drama is a human need. Throughout time and culture human beings have enacted events in order to understand them or gain power over them. In schools, students and teachers have come to recognise the power and efficacy of drama to simultaneously learn about and create art and culture.

Rainer/Lewis Teaching Classroom Drama and Theatre; Routledge 2016


Defining ‘drama’ and how it has been taught in schools has been a problematic and challenging task for the last 30 years. To simplify a rather convoluted academic picture drama in education practitioners, teachers, academics and writers have broadly fallen into two polarised camps; drama as acting skills as we make ‘theatre’ and drama as a process that encourages exploration and experimentation through role play without the defining focus of a theatrical product at the end of the process. This is often referred to the process vs. product (theatre skills) argument.

The drama curriculum at KCC is research informed, fluid and sensitively responsive to cultural and societal shifts and follows sound pedagogy and learning science. It is also rooted in the published works of academics and practitioners such as Gavin Bolton, Cecily O’Neil, Dorothy Heathcote, Jonothan Neelands, John Rainer and Martin Lewis. The curriculum is reviewed and updated yearly and possibly termly and has been designed to:

  • Give teachers the means to teach and explore theatrical concepts without losing the essentially student-centred, process oriented and participatory character of the best drama teaching and provide the means to make this agenda explicit and open to students.
  • Suggest that an emphasis on methodology and ‘process’ is a crucial element in making such learning about theatre accessible; an integrated drama curriculum of process and theatre skills with stage and audience deliberately in the foreground of the
  • Provide lessons where the skills and concepts explored in this classroom theatre will be learned within the context of significant content which is relevant and interesting to learners;


Commonalities and features in drama lessons at KCC

Process drama techniques such as mantle of the expert and role play are explicitly explained to the students so they understand the thinking behind the processes.

Improvisation – prepared and spontaneous are the engine room to drive much of the creative process. Our starting point is always the stimulus in its varied forms.

Processes are linked to the theatre productImagine if this piece of drama (improvisation) was the prologue or opening scene to a play – what would that look like on stage? How could we use thought tracking in our scene – what relationship to the audience would that create?

Significant content and ‘think’ points explicitly link cultural, historical and social issues to our present day, helping students make connections to the then and the now – our time, our place, our world. Discussion is encouraged. Hinterland knowledge and links to plays, the digital world, books, theatre, film and modern culture is referred to in schemes and in practical work.

Key words and vocabulary in order for students to be able to express their intentions effectively.

Reflection and evaluation are encouraged and supported in a student safe way.

A structured, well-resourced approach to teaching, clear signposting of ‘think points’ and expectations of positive behaviour and group work.


In KS3 there is a balance of process in role work, key cultural anchors such as Shakespeare, history and origins of theatre and creating work for performance (devising). The early Year 7 (Childhood) work uses fictional contexts based around childhood and growing up drawing on hinterland knowledge of play and role play. In Year 8 (The World) the stimuli become more challenging thematically, using analogous ideas to explore more socially sensitive topics such as BLM and diversity. Shakespeare continues to culturally anchor the work. Year 9 (Protest and Conflict) refines the work further to more challenging initial topics such as moral teenage dilemmas, friendships, crime and protest and resistance topics exploring The White Rose and the Suffragette movement, Shakespeare’s rebellious families in Romeo and Juliet before shifting towards a more theatrical, devising based final cycle of work offering a culmination of the toolkit of work and conventions explored in Year 7 and 8.

KS4 and KS5 (EDUQAS) are mapped against the requirements to:

  • Create theatre from a stimulus as part of a group – through the specific lens of a practitioner or genre. Identifying and applying those key techniques to make coherent theatre.
  • To perform theatre as an individual actor (voice, movement and interaction with actors and audience) or designer (lighting and sound, set and props, hair costume and makeup) or director.
  • To evaluate own work and the work of others including professional theatre.
  • To interpret script and text for performance as an actor, director and designer.

Both courses follow a linear pathway through the components and we encourage a wide range of reading and explorations beyond the syllabus including workshops with professional theatre makers, trips and visits to see live theatre and using digital resources such as National Theatre on Line.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now