Drama is an activity that focuses upon human behaviour and our perceptions of the world. As probably the oldest, and certainly the most encompassing of art forms, drama allows students to learn to discuss topics that arise from exploring the social, cultural and historic context of a wide variety of stimuli. Just like Aeschylus, the ‘father of tragedy’ living in Ancient Greece, who as a child fought imaginary monsters with his wooden sword, students are encouraged to continue to use this innate instinct to make believe as they once did and explore imagined realities.

Drama is a life skill and a creative art form. It helps students develop their ability to use voice, movement, gesture and facial expression, within a range of practical role playing activities. Through Drama, young people are given opportunities to express and manage their thoughts and feelings, responding to a wide range of issues and situations.

The Drama department is a busy and exciting department at Clyst Vale. We offer many drama opportunities for our students to extend their learning and enjoyment of drama beyond the classroom, ranging from whole school productions, drama workshops, theatre visits, drama clubs as well as hosting visiting theatre practitioners and performers to come into school to work with our students.

Miss E Williams Head of Performing Arts
Miss A Ruscoe Head of Drama
Mrs K Sprenkel Teacher of Drama

The KS3 Drama curriculum helps to develop transferable skills such as negotiation, resilience, team work, cooperation, and public speaking. The development of these skills encourages self-confidence and self-awareness. It promotes the development of the individual in a group context: roles and ideas are negotiated, problems solved and decisions made together. During KS3, students explore both factual and fictional texts that help to broaden their understanding of different social, cultural, moral and historical contexts and situations.

  • Students are taught two lessons of drama per fortnight
  • Students are taught in our two custom built drama spaces, as well as in our outdoor amphitheatre in the summer term

Schemes are likely to be drawn from the following 

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
§  The Elements of drama 1

§  Grimm Tales

§  La Commedia dell’ Arte

§  Pirates

§   The Elements of drama 2

§  Melodrama and silent comedy

§  Naturalism

§  Physical Theatre

§  Greek Theatre

§  The Elements of drama 3

§  Ghost stories and The Woman in Black

§  One act plays

§  Farce

§  Murder Mystery

§  Non–naturalism and witchcraft

Students will develop skills in making, performing and responding to drama in a variety of styles. Students will use drama techniques to explore themes, issues and ideas in their own work and in the work of play wrights and theatre practitioners.  They will learn to evaluate and discuss their own work and the drama produced by others including the work of professional theatre makers.  An important part of the course is group work and the development of social skills, creative negotiation, concentration and communication through a shared responsibility for the work with others. Students will be expected to work in independently on research projects in order to share ideas and information with others.

The OCR course explores the four core disciplines to drama.

  • Performer – the ‘doing’ of the drama, and the concept of communicating it to an audience.
  • Deviser – Creation of Drama (improvised or script)
  • Designer – considers the presentation of the drama, how its message will be put across or what sort of experience the audience will have.
  • Director – guide with a complete vision of the performance conclusion. Good directors listen to ideas of others and help them to be structured.
Year 10 Year 11
Students begin the course by participating in the Shakespeare Schools Festival, in performing an abridged version of a Shakespeare play at the Exeter Phoenix. Over the year students will develop their knowledge of the six areas of study; character, context and plot, structure, audience and performance space, improvisation, genre, performance style and convention and the semiotics of Drama and Theatre. In the summer term they will start unit A581: From Page to Stage. The focus of this unit will be on how a published text is animated and brought to life for an audience. The emphasis is on working to the intention of the original playwright and not on devising. Students complete the unit A582: Drama in the Making. The focus of this unit will be to explore and develop candidates’ understanding of the devising process using stimulus material. They will explore and gain an understanding of the key principles and concepts of devising a piece of drama. The stimulus is selected by the centre. The final unit A583: From Concept to Creation is about exploring and realising one of four briefs set by the exam board through a series of workshops exploring the functions of Deviser, Designer, Director and Performer. At the end of the unit, candidates will undertake a practical examination, comprising a preparation/rehearsal period and a practical outcome.


Students can opt to do a straight Acting pathway or follow a wider exploration of the Performing Arts. Focus is on providing vocational insights into practical performance, through allowing students to have a varied, challenging and exciting practical experience in which they are perform in various professional theatrical venues.  The Acting strand develops students’ knowledge of theatre practioners through an exploration of style. The course covers a variety of both contemporary and classical theatre. The Performing Arts pathway allows students to develop their skills in drama, music and or dance. The course units are selected in close consideration to the students’ individual strengths and needs. Regular venues are The Barnfield Theatre and The Phoenix.

Example units for acting pathway

  • Principles of acting
  • Devising plays
  • Applying acting styles
  • The practice of directing theatre
  • Contemporary theatre performance

Example units for Performing Arts pathway

  • Performing to an audience
  • Musical theatre performance
  • Singing for actors and dancers
  • Drama improvisation
  • Ballet for beginners