Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

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The GCSE Drama course mixes practical and written components to complement pupils’ knowledge of English literature, whilst developing new skills as a theatrical practitioner.

GCSE Drama not only allows pupils to gain a deeper understanding of English literature through performance, but also provides vital skills which will be of benefit across the curriculum and throughout life. The course offers pupils the opportunity to develop empathy, communication and interpersonal skills through performance, improvisation and group work.

The course’s components bring together:

  •  the study of the dramatic form’s development through history
  • the creation of original pieces, devised and performed by groups of pupils
  • in-depth study of set texts and key practitioners
  • analysis of specific live productions which lead to a final written exam


Component 1: Devising Theatre

Internally assessed, externally moderated

40% of qualification

Pupils will participate in the creation, development and performance of a piece of devised theatre using either the techniques of an influential theatre practitioner or a genre as inspiration. In addition, pupils will document the development of their piece through a supporting portfolio of evidence and write a reflective evaluation of their ultimate performance.


Component 2: Performing from a Text

Externally assessed by a visiting examiner

20% of qualification

Pupils study two extracts from a performance text, which is studied in depth as part of the wider course, and perform sections from both extracts in front of an external examiner.

Component 3: Interpreting Theatre

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

40% of qualification


This written exam breaks down into two distinct sections:

Section A: Set Text

A series of short questions on one set text from a choice of five.

Section B: Live Theatre Review

One question, from a choice of two, requiring analysis and evaluation of a given aspect of a live theatre production seen during the course.