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Performance and academic rigour are both paramount in drama, therefore there is as much opportunity as possible for pupils at Hill House to do what they do best – participate in performance, as well as enhance important drama technique, theory and stage craft.  All pupils in Key Stage 3 and above devise drama and explore texts practically, working on text-based performances. Pupils can also choose to develop as a:

  • performer
  • designer (lighting, sound, set, costume, puppets)
  • performer, designer and director. 

Whichever options they choose, pupils can be sure to gather many invaluable skills, both theatrical and transferable, to expand their horizons.

Year 9

Year 9 is a valuable time for pupils in all subjects with GCSE choices fast approaching. Drama covers some of the main topics that are studied at GCSE level, should pupils wish to continue their creative studies in Year 10 and 11. The two most important aims of the course are:

Consolidation of drama knowledge, performance skills and confidence building, as well as performing in school production performances, musicals, serious plays and form assemblies.

Foundation for pupils to move forward with confidence towards the GCSE AQA drama syllabus.


  • To understand the importance of the terms explore, create and perform.
  • To investigate stagecraft and understand ‘the stage’.
  • To explore performance/confidence through class paired/group work.
  • To explore character development; effect-arc and physical.
  • To study aspects of narrative structure; intention-conflict and plot.
  • To understand audience awareness; impact-staging and tension.
  • To develop the art of improvisation in drama.

The Year 9 syllabus covers:

  • Acting performance skills – in a range of dramatic genres
  • Characterisation
  • Stagecraft and drama vocabulary
  • Improvisation
  • Script writing and analysis
  • Devised drama
  • Mime
  • Mask work


Pupils will follow the AQA GCSE 8261 specification.

This is a course for those who have a passion for scripted plays and theatrical performance. AQA drama, at GCSE, is a broad-based course that allows pupils to study the full range of theatrical performance from satire to tragedy and to perform. Although practical at its core, the course entails a significant portion of academic, written work that underpins this in addition to the formal, written examination.

The subject content for GCSE Drama is divided into three components:

1 Understanding drama

2 Devising drama

3 Texts in practice


Component 1: Understanding drama

This is 40% of the GCSE, assessed by a formal, written examination of 1hr 45minutes which tests:

  • knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre
  • analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers
  • study of one play from a choice of six

Component 2: Devising drama (practical)

This is 40% of the GCSE, assessed by a written devising log and practical performance which considers:

  • process of creating devised drama
  • performance of devised drama (students may contribute as performer or designer)
  • analysis and evaluation of student’s own work

This component is marked by teachers and moderated by the exam board.

Component 3: Texts in practice (practical)

This is 20% of the GCSE and is assessed via performance of two extracts from one free choice play.

This component is marked by the exam board.

All pupils who undertake to study drama at GCSE level are expected to take part in school productions, as required.