Drama and Theatre Studies

Welcome to the Drama Department. The department is a dynamic and enthusiastic environment in which we aim to enthuse, inspire and challenge all of our students.  Drama is studied by all pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 and is a popular option subject at GCSE and ‘A’ Level.



We have high expectations of our students, and actively encourage them to learn to express their thoughts coherently as well as creatively; to develop excellent design, technical and performance skills; to become productive and collaborative team players and to produce high-quality oral and written work.

We seek to develop each pupil’s individual potential and independent learning skills to the highest possible level. At Key Stage 3, we use a secure virtual classroom hosted by Edmodo to set assignments and to track pupil progress. At Key Stages 4 and 5, students use folders and exercise books to complete assignments and essays for coursework and exam preparation.

Staff and facilities

Ms-Nielsen-HeadThe department consists of two Drama specialists: Ms G Nielsen gnie4852@burford.oxon.sch.uk, is Head of the department and Mr D Warren dwar6268@burford.oxon.sch.uk is the 2nd in department. Located in a purpose-built Drama Studio and adjoining classroom, students have access to a range of technical equipment for lighting and sound as well as a large costume and props store.




The department puts on a range of school productions every year. The most recent productions include:

  • Scrooge – January 2013Romeo and Juliet Balcony cropped
  • Alice in MediaLand – May 2014
  • Anthony and Cleopatra – July 2014
  • ShakespeaRe-Told – November 2014
  • Romeo & Juliet – January 2016



Trips and visiting players

woman-in-black-2015Students are offered a range of theatre trips to develop and enhance their understanding of theatre. In September Year 11 Drama students visited the Fortune Theatre in London see ‘The Woman in Black’ and to participate in a Q&A session with the director and the actors.


Further trips will take place throughout the school year for Years 10 – 13.
Each November our Year 11 Drama students  visit Bampton Primary, one of our partnership primary schools,  to perform Theatre-in-Education pieces written for Bampton students on topics linked to their curriculum. This is always a fantastic day for all of the students involved!

In January 2016 the Adamson Theatre Company from Wesley College, Melbourne, australia visited the school as part of their UK tour.  This talented company performed an abridged version of ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ together with a montage of monologues and songs.  In addition they ran workshops for our GCSE and ‘A’ Level students.

We will bne welcoming back Splendid Productions to Burford in February 2017 to perform their current production of ‘Macbeth’.  They will also be running workshops for our GCSE and ‘A’ level students.

Other highlights

Some of our Drama Club members take their dramatic skills beyond school, taking part in TV productions such as Downton Abbey in addition to local amateur dramatic productions.  ‘A’ Level students regularly go on to study Drama and Theatre at university and two of our former students were part of the cast in the highly successful production of King Charles 111 on Broadway.

Key Stage 3 

At Key Stage 3, (Years 7-9) students begin to develop key performance skills such as improvisation; physical and vocal skills; mime and movement; in-depth characterisation; genre, style and form; awareness of stage space and audience; script-writing and interpretation of plays in performance. They explore a range of design and technical skills such as set design; costume, props and make-up design; sound, lighting design and stage management.


In lessons, students are expected to work collaboratively in groups on projects which demand high levels of concentration, active listening, and independent thinking. Each year, different topics are studied which embed and extend these skills.  In Years 7, 8 and 9, pupils have one lesson of an hour per week.

Key Stage 4 : AQA GCSE Drama

The world around us is changing, and young people can now expect to change career several times during their working life. They need, therefore, to develop ‘soft’ skills which cross subject boundaries; skills which are actively taught to those students who select Drama as one of their GCSE options.


At Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) students are expected to become proficient at working in teams to accomplish a shared goal; contributing ideas and opinions with clarity and conviction; listening actively to others and building on their ideas. They work to develop leadership and communication skills; becoming independent learners with enquiring minds; developing creativity and imagination.



These are important life skills, and they will be expected to develop alongside specific Drama skills such as:

  • developing and demonstrating competence in a range of design, technical and performance skills.
  • considering and exploring the impact of social, historical and cultural influences on drama texts and activities.
  • reflecting on and evaluating their own work and the work of others.


We follow the AQA syllabus at GCSE, which is structured as follows:

Unit 1: Drama Written Exam: (40%)

Unit 2: Drama Controlled Assessment:  (60%)

Theatre trips and workshops form part of the course and students are required to attend these in order to be able to write reviews of live performances and to enrich their knowledge of different types of plays and performances. All written work relating to controlled assessments is prepared in class and developed into essays as homework.


Key Stage 5 : AQA ‘A’ Level Drama and Theatre Studies

Drama and Theatre Studies is a popular subject at ‘A’ Level. The course entry requirements are a minimum of Grade C in GCSE Drama, however it is possible to choose to take Drama at ‘A’ Level without having done GCSE Drama.

The course demands practical, creative and communication skills in almost equal measure. Students learn to extend their ability to create drama and theatre, either in a performing or production role. They are also required to write about drama and to develop their powers of analysis to become an informed critic. Taking part in drama productions is essential, as well as studying plays and playwrights.

The course consists of four units.

AS course: Unit 1: Written Exam: (60%)

Unit 2: Practical Performance: (40%)

A2 course: Unit 1: Written Exam: (60%)

Unit 2: Devised Piece: Practical: (40%)

Drama and Theatre Studies AS and Advanced GCE complements a range of subjects and is useful in developing critical thinking and analytical skills, collaboration, building confidence and improving presentation skills for a range of careers.

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