Drama & Theatre Studies

Subject Leader

Mr S Thurley –  sthurley@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Teaching Staff

Ms E Phillips – ephillips23@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Mr A Reed – areed@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Subject Overview

Drama develops students’ speaking and listening skills, confidence and understanding of the world around them.  It also allows for physical expression and use of imagination and develops students’ trust in their creative instinct. In Drama, students use themes, issues and texts to examine a diverse range of social, political and cultural contexts. This, in turn helps them to understand the society in which they are currently living and the nature of the human condition. Drama is an inclusive subject where all students are given the opportunity to develop and learn in a safe and structured environment where originality and creativity flourish.  Cross-curricular links can frequently be made in Drama.

Drama lessons usually utilise the following three phases (at different times during the hour).

  • Creating Phase – where students react in or out of role to given stimuli
  • Performing Phase – students build their ideas and often perform work
  • Evaluative Phase – students evaluate and analyse their own work and that of others.

All students are guided to develop and extend their vocabulary to improve analysis within the lessons. Oriel Drama Teachers and students are fully committed to building on an already exciting and supportive department where all students feel safe and relaxed about achieving, trying their best and therefore reaching their full potential.

Key Stage 3

Throughout Key Stage Three, students develop their abilities in comprehension and communication.  They learn both through and abut the art form of Drama.  They work both independently and alongside others and learn to take risks with the development of their ideas.  Students learn performance skills and about the way in which expression and space help to show meaning to an audience. They learn to analyse their work and the work of others and how to put target setting into practise. Assessment will take place throughout the year where students will accumulate a series of skill sets which will be tested formally and which will form a bank of results leading to one unique, overall grade.

Key Stage 4 (AQA Board)

Progression from Key Stage Three to Key Stage 4 is made through building on and developing the use of Drama techniques previously learnt and learning new ones. Applying these techniques and devices when exploring age appropriate issues and contexts throughout Key Stage Four, students develop their understanding of the world in which they live by studying key playwrights and practitioners and questioning our social climate by exploring a range of different historical contexts.

C1 – Understanding Drama. To be assessed May of Year 11

  • Students will study the play The Crucible or Blood Brothers through both practical and theory work. They will develop an understanding of the play from the perspective of an actor, director and technical designer to allow them to answer 4 exam questions on this play.
  • Students will also analyse and evaluate a piece of live theatre which they will view at least once over the two years. They will focus on the work of the theatre makers (actors, directors and technical designers) and answer 1 exam question on this play.

C2 – Devising Drama. To be assessed June of Year 10

  • Students will work in groups to create a devised piece of drama. In preparation for this this will be taught about applying different styles of theatre to their work, and will explore the work of recognised theatre practitioners.
  • Students will also need to complete a devising log which records their process of exploration and creation of work, and evaluates their final performance. Students will perform in front of an audience and will be marked by an examiner.

C3 – Texts in Practice. To be assessed March of Year 11

  • Students will perform two extracts from a play which will be chosen in collaboration with their teachers to ensure the text embraces the performance strengths of the student.
  • This will be performed in front of an audience, and will be marked by an outside examiner.

Key Stage 5

The Department follows the Edexcel two year A level course.

Component 1: Devising (*Component Code: 9DR0/01)

40% of the qualification, 80 marks

Content overview

  • Devise an original performance piece.
  • Use one key extract from a performance text and a theatre practitioner as stimuli.
  • Centre choice of text and practitioner.
  • Performer or designer routes available.

Component 2: Text in Performance (*Component Code: 9DR0/02)

20% of the qualification, 60 marks

Content overview

  • A group performance/design realisation of one key extract from a performance text.
  • A monologue or duologue performance/design realisation from one key extract from a different performance text.
  • Centre choice of performance texts.

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice (*Paper Code: 9DR0/03)

Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes

40% of the qualification, 80 marks

Section A: Live Theatre Evaluation

  • 20 marks, assessing AO4.
  • Students answer one extended response question from a choice of two requiring them to analyse and evaluate a live theatre performance they have seen.
  • Students are allowed to bring in theatre evaluation notes of up to a maximum of 500 words.

Section B: Page to Stage: Realising a Performance Text

  • 36 marks, assessing AO3.
  • Students answer two extended response questions based on an unseen extract from the performance text they have studied.
  • Students will demonstrate how they, as theatre makers, intend to realise the extract in performance.
  • Students answer from the perspective of a performer and a designer.
  • Performance texts for this section are not allowed in the examination as the extracts will be provided.

Section C: Interpreting a Performance Text

  • 24 marks, assessing AO3.
  • Students will answer one extended response question from a choice of two based on an unseen named section from their chosen performance text
  • Students will demonstrate how their re-imagined production concept will communicate ideas to a contemporary audience.
  • Students will also need to outline how the work of their chosen theatre practitioner has influenced their overall production concept and demonstrate an awareness of the performance text in its original performance conditions.
  • Students must take in clean copies of their performance texts for this section, but no other printed materials.

Learning Outside the Classroom


The Drama department also offer opportunities for students to take part in a range of extra-curricular activities, for example theatre trips, whole school productions, Drama club and supported study after school hours.

Many students take every opportunity they can to perform!

Upcoming / ongoing extra-curricular activities in Drama include:

  • Planned production of 9 to 5, Autumn 2023
  • Oriel Extras, a student run company, to maintain an ongoing series of events
  • National Youth Theatre entries 2023-24
  • Friends of Frantic Assembly
  • Sound and Light Club