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Drama at Key Stage 5

The Drama department offers two different courses at Key Stage 5: Drama and Theatre A-Level and BTEC National Performing Arts. Cohorts from both courses benefit from the high number of theatre trips the department runs.

Drama and Theatre A-Level (Edexcel) – an academic pathway

Students focus on working with plays from the point of view of a director, designer, performer and critic. Lessons enable students to acquire a knowledge and understanding of the language of drama and theatre as well as to develop their performing and analytical skills. Students then apply what they have learned in their own creative work. In devising theatre, students apply their knowledge of different theatre forms and structures. In performing theatre, students are required to apply their knowledge, skills and understanding within the structure of a director’s interpretation of a play and to operate at a highly intellectual level as well as at a highly skilled practical level. The aim of the course is to enable students to operate more autonomously and with confidence within a drama and theatre context.

In Year 12 students complete the AS Level, studying ‘Machinal’ by Sophie Treadwell, rehearsing and performing an extract from a different play-text (previous work includes Sarah Kane’s ‘4.48 Psychosis’) in the style of Artaud, and evaluating the acting, design and direction of a production they have seen.

In Year 13 students complete the A Level, devising their own performance in the style of Kneehigh, rehearsing and performing an extract from an alternative text, studying Buchner’s ‘Woyzeck’ from the point of a director, and re-visiting ‘Machinal’.

Both years culminate in a written exam.

More information about the courses can be found here:


BTEC National in Performing Arts – a vocational pathway

This vocational course prepares students for work in the creative industries as well as giving them invaluable training in working as part of a company. Learners develop knowledge, understanding and skills required by the sector, including essential employability skills, and apply them in real work contexts. Lessons cover the processes involved in making performances, performing skills, the range of performing arts organisations, historical context of the performing arts, rehearsal methodologies, processes and techniques.

In Year 12 students are first ‘employed’ as actors by the Year 13 students before taking part in the National Theatre Connections festival which sees them perform in the West End. Students also tour local primary schools with their own devised work.

In Year 13 students become the directors, audition for an industry professional and are directed in their final major project.