Teaching Drama

Teaching Drama

Teaching Drama, written for teachers by teachers, practitioners and playwrights, is a unique twice-termly magazine resource for anyone involved in drama and performing arts education. 

About

Published just before the start of each term and half term for maximum benefit, Teaching Drama offers a dynamic mixture of news, features, schemes of work and in-depth reviews. It offers inspiring ideas and advice for all drama teachers, whether you're newly qualified or a head of department. The features section keeps you abreast of current debates, developments and initiatives within the drama teaching profession, as well as providing innovative ways to expand and enhance your teaching. 

Teaching Drama blog

Visit the Teaching Drama blog for our latest online news stories and updates. 

Schemes of work 

Our schemes of work section (available to Teaching Drama + subscribers online for a 12-month period) provides material you can use directly in your own teaching. Each issue contains six substantial schemes of work, covering KS2, KS3, GCSE, AS, A2, IB, BTEC and the Creative and Media Diploma. Some are specific to certain exam boards; others can be used more widely.

For downloadable SCHEMES OF WORK (including account set-up) and supporting material, please scroll to the bottom of this text, and click on the tab labelled 'schemes of work'.

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Welcome to the Teaching Drama online schemes of work. Teaching Drama�s schemes of work are an essential resource for all school drama departments as well as drama practitioners, offering easy-to-follow plans full of inspiring ideas. They cover KS2, KS3, GCSE, AS, A2, IB, BTEC and the Creative and Media Diploma, with some being specific to certain exam boards and others suitable for wider use.

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Schemes of Work

Issue 60 (Summer Term 2 - 14/15)

Key Stage 2

The box

Author: David Porter

The box

A closed or empty box can conjure up a host of images, ideas and thoughts. Boxes made of different materials, housing all sorts of unexpected things. Why? When? Who? and Where? are questions asked by this simple prop, with creative drama supplying possible answers. Using physicality, dialogue and some characterisation development, students can let their imaginations run free about any old box.

This scheme comprises seven short lessons designed to experiment with making drama from a real or imagined prop and help students to work collaboratively and creatively. Read less...

Key Stage 3

One-off workshop: the camera never lies

Author: David Porter

One-off workshop: the camera never lies

It used to be true that the camera never lied – a photograph was proof that the things in it were there. Nowadays, of course, it’s no such thing. Pictures can be manipulated to make anything seem possible. This one-off workshop explores the effect of contemporary technology on people. Read less...

Witches

Author: Katherine Noble

Witches

This scheme of work explores fear and the persecution of ‘innocents’. The Crucible (film), the McCarthy hearings, background information on the Salem Witch Trials, as well as modern instances referring to ‘persecution’, are used. The material is given as a stimulus to act as a thought provoker only. It is intended to be delivered to the higher levels of KS3 and can used as a GCSE unit for KS4. The overall objective of the scheme is that students can explore social and cultural issues in a historical and modern context. Read less...

Key Stage 4

Hillsborough

Author: Rhianna Elsden

Hillsborough

These activities, using the Hillsborough tragedy as stimuli, can form two or three lessons. It can work for Year 9, but the subject matter is perhaps more suited to GCSE groups. At KS3 or KS4, use of this scheme will develop both students'' Drama skills and their wider social skills, while extending their understanding of a socially and historically important event.

The tragedy is of continued relevance and is highly sensitive, therefore anyone leading these activities should ensure they know their group and establish clear boundaries for the sharing of ideas and practical work. The final activity offers a challenging and exciting opportunity to produce a performance response featuring everyone in the class at the same time. The activities afford both practical and discussion opportunities for the students and can work effectively for mixed or setted ability teaching. Read less...

National Subsidiary Diploma in Performing Arts

Author: Gail Deal

National Subsidiary Diploma in Performing Arts

This scheme of work suggests six units to opt for in the BTEC National Subsidiary Diploma in Performing Arts and gives some suggestions of what assignments might cover. It gives information on assessment and grading, content and learning outcomes for some of the six units. It also signposts where to find information on the Edexcel website.

This qualification helps learners acquire knowledge, understanding and skills in order to progress in their chosen career. There are core units and optional units which make the course easy to adapt to the needs of your learners. Read less...

War

Author: Vickie Smith

War

This scheme of work can be used with the Drama and Theatre Studies Specification GCSE – Unit 1. The scheme is ready to be used as a 6-hour exam and is structured into four two-part sessions. (This is the six hours practical, and allows for two hours for notes which I have included in the scheme; I do this as a whole day exam with breaks every two hours.) It meets the criteria for the exam, allowing students to use a variety of explorative strategies, drama mediums and elements of drama in the exploration of a range of the stimuli based on the theme of war. Read less...

Key Stage 5

The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh

Author: Alicia Pope

The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a powerful reflection on relationships and mental health. It focuses on the demanding relationship between Maureen and her elderly mother Mag, while raising questions about the lengths people are sometimes driven to. As an audience we swing wildly between the two protagonists, feeling empathy and horror in equal measure. The text offers a great deal for students in terms of performance. It will present challenges, but it also lends itself to a wide range of interpretations, allowing students to experiment with their skills.

This scheme of work is primarily designed to offer activities to develop students’ understanding of the text as well as providing ideas for performance. The activities can all be used after a group has read the text; however, as the text twists and turns, it would also be useful to read the text and use each activity as a small section of text is read. Read less...

Issue 59 (Summer Term 1 - 14/15)

Key Stage 2

The Highwayman: a narrative poem explored through drama

Author: Helen Day

The Highwayman: a narrative poem explored through drama

Alfred Noyes’ ‘The Highwayman’ is a classic poem, providing fantastic source material for drama work. Teaching poetry to KS2 pupils is not always easy, and the wonderful hook of this piece is the powerful story. Read less...

Key Stage 3

One-off workshop: Great expectations

Author: David Porter

One-off workshop: Great expectations

This one-off workshop helps character-building by exploring how people often look forward to things only to be disappointed by reality. Such let-downs are supposed to be character-building in life, and certainly are in drama, where the consequences can be very dramatic. Read less...

Teechers by John Godber

Author: Katherine Noble

Teechers by John Godber

This scheme of work explores the play Teechers by John Godber. It is intended to be delivered to KS3 and KS4. The overall objective is to enable students to explore a contemporary play in a social and cultural context, to learn and use Drama strategies, mediums and elements and to reach the higher scale of the KS3 drama objectives. Read less...

The 7/7 bombings

Author: Rhianna Elsden

The 7/7 bombings

These activities using the 7/7 London bombings as a stimuli can form two lessons, or, with the extension activities, a longer scheme. It can work for Year 9, or for GCSE groups. At KS3 or KS4, use of this scheme will develop both students’ Drama skills and their wider social skills while extending their understanding of a socially and historically important event.

This scheme provides an opportunity to address Islamophobia. This can be highly sensitive and therefore anyone leading these activities should ensure they know their group and establish clear boundaries for the sharing of ideas and practical work. It can work very well with cross-curricular links to History, RE and PSHE. The activities afford both practical and discussion opportunities for the students and can work effectively for mixed or setted ability teaching. Read less...

Key Stage 4

Faction: how to combine fact and fiction to make drama

Author: David Porter

Faction: how to combine fact and fiction to make drama

In a part-factual, perhaps historical story, facts are supplemented with a certain amount of fiction. Who said what, what occurred behind the facts? The mixture is called ‘faction’ and is necessary to make drama work. The case of Ruth Ellis, the last woman in England to be hanged, offers a retelling of events to shed light on the people and their actions and explore dramatic possibilities. Read less...

Key Stage 5

Childhood

Author: Alicia Pope

Childhood

This scheme of work focuses on plays that explore the theme of childhood. It focuses on Blue Remembered Hills, Blood Brothers, Gum and Goo and Swallows and Amazons, looking at how children are portrayed in different scripts and scenarios. The scheme uses on and off-text work involving a variety of skills and ideas for devised and scripted work. This scheme can be used as an introduction to scripted work or a starting point for students’ own devised work. Read less...

Fewer Emergencies by Martin Crimp

Author: Vickie Smith

Fewer Emergencies by Martin Crimp

This scheme of work of work can be used with the Drama and Theatre Studies Specification GCE – Unit 1. I have included an introduction lesson and then assessment lessons which cover all elements except the Practitioner element. I would also include a series of exploration lessons that allow the students just to play around with the play and the different elements.

While I have labelled each lesson under a specific element, it will often be the case that a session will cover more than one element, for example almost every activity they explore could also cover interpretation. Read less...

Issue 58 (Spring Term 2 - 14/15)

Key Stage 2

The Incredible Garden

Author: Ed Passmore and Geoff Smith

The Incredible Garden

The Incredible Garden is a scheme designed to promote ecology and environmental awareness in KS1 and KS2 students. Originally developed in partnership with a local garden centre, there should be ample opportunity for the students to – quite literally – get their hands dirty. We have found that many students don’t have any sort of affinity for how inextricably linked we are as a species with plants, nor how diverse, complex and beautiful the world of flora is. This scheme was written to inspire appreciation at least, and fascination at best. Read less...

Key Stage 3

Humour is a serious business

Author: David Porter

Humour is a serious business

Comedy is a much-loved ingredient of teenage drama, both the planned and the unintentional kind of comedy. To be funny in performance is a discipline to be mastered. Humour can be both a great tool and a real problem in drama work. Either way, humour is very personal – one person’s tragedy is another’s joke.

This practical scheme is designed to teach KS3/4 learners the disciplines to use humour in a way that develops performance, characterisation, teamwork, physical theatre and devising skills. Read less...

One-off workshop: Physical theatre - uprisings in Tiananmen Square

Author: Rhianna Elsden

One-off workshop: Physical theatre - uprisings in  Tiananmen Square

This one-off workshop will develop students’ use of physical theatre and help them to understand how they can use it to communicate a story/ideas. The lesson will also enable students to make connections between drama practical work and wider social, cultural, historical and political contexts. It could be used with Year 9 or early in the GCSE drama programme, where it could help to develop students’ use of chorus in performance. Read less...

Theatre styles: expressionism, Grand Guignol and Frantic Assembly

Author: Vickie Hatcher

Theatre styles: expressionism, Grand Guignol and Frantic Assembly

This scheme of work is based around three different theatre styles: Expressionism, Grand Guignol and Frantic Assembly. It will teach your students new skills and approaches to theatre that they will be able to use during KS3 Drama and then to inspire their GCSE work. Read less...

Key Stage 4

Drama exploration: crime and punishment

Author: Naomi Holcombe

Drama exploration: crime and punishment

The first unit of the Edexcel Drama GCSE is Unit 1 – Drama Exploration. This unit is based around a theme, providing students with a variety of stimulus material in order for them to create drama individually and within a group.

This scheme is based around the theme of Crime and Punishment. In order for students to be inspired by the theme to create interesting and imaginative pieces of drama it covers a range of stimuli. Edexcel requires you to use two stimuli, but there are many more within this scheme and many others that I will go on to suggest, should you wish to add to, alter or pick and choose which ones to use in order to suit your students best. Read less...

First Award in performing arts level 1/level 2

Author: Gail Deal

First Award in performing arts level 1/level 2

The specification for this qualification (Qualification Number 600/4785/9) must be read carefully and in full before units are designed by the centre. This scheme of work selects some of the key points but by no means all. Read less...

Key Stage 5

Theatre Studies: on and off-text work based on 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane

Author: Alicia Pope

Theatre Studies: on and off-text work based on 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane

This scheme of work uses Sarah Kane’s powerful play to inspire students’ own work. It focuses on extracts from the text as well as encouraging students to explore and devise their own theatre using the themes and techniques that they examine. The scheme can also be used to introduce 4:48 Psychosis as a scripted piece and to offer students ideas on how to tackle it. The activities used here will lend themselves well to a range of powerful devised work on issues such as mental health, isolation and abuse. Read less...

Issue 57 (Spring Term 1 - 14/15)

Key Stage 2

Are you listening?

Author: David Porter

Are you listening?

Drama and speaking and listening are vital skills and educational activities for children and young people. This scheme uses some speaking and listening requirements of the KS2 National Curriculum to explore people’s ways of communicating. It focuses on those who cannot listen as well as those who will not. The five lessons can either make a logical progression through a range of drama techniques, or any one of the lessons could stand alone. Read less...

Key Stage 3

Missing

Author: Ed Passmore and Geoff Smith

Missing

This scheme is an exploration of the story of a (fictional) runaway teenager called Sarah Wright. The students are given a basic set of circumstances and invited to work through them using Mantle of the Expert. The idea of the drama is to explore themes of loss, confusion, disaffectation and love. Throughout the scheme, the students will collect ideas and written work which should be collected into an ‘evidence’ folder to use as inspiration text for the assessment performance. We have written around two tracks which we have very kindly been allowed to use by Nigel Stonier, from his album Built For Storms. The appropriate times to use this music have been highlighted in the scheme. Read less...

The Woman in Black

Author: Katherine Noble

The Woman in Black

This scheme of work explores the play The Woman in Black adapted by Stephen Mallatratt and Susan Hill from the novel by Susan Hill. It is intended to be delivered to KS3 and KS4. The overall objective is for students to be able to explore a contemporary play in a historical context. They will learn and use drama strategies, mediums and elements, as well as reaching the higher scale of the KS3 Drama Objectives. Read less...

Key Stage 4

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Author: Alicia Pope

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This scheme of work uses John Green’s powerful novel as the basis for GCSE devised work. The scheme uses a range of techniques to explore the novel and employs the story as a springboard to create devised work around the themes of the novel and also on issues this work raises. Students do not need to read the complete novel; the summary provided is sufficient. This scheme could be used to begin a unit of devising work to explore different techniques based on a powerful idea. Read less...

Key Stage 5

Community performance project

Author: Gail Deal

Community performance project

This scheme of work explains how to use an exciting stimulus from the community in order to motivate students to produce original integrated work and shows how to produce a successful commentary on the devised work.

Drawing on Kirsty Mitchell’s stunning photographic work from her project Wonderland, accompanying diary entries and behind the scenes films, your students can be inspired to devise very different pieces in a variety of performance styles. Read less...

The tower block: developing devised work reflecting a theatrical style

Author: Mat Walters

The tower block: developing devised work reflecting a theatrical style

This scheme of work takes students through the planning of a devised piece of practical work that fulfils the demands of the AQA A2 practical exam. It reflects the development of a Physical Theatre style, but, it can be easily adapted to reflect any style appropriate for DRA 4. The aim of the scheme of work is to encourage students to think imaginatively about how to create a journey on stage, and thereby understand the importance of transitions and their contribution to the overall effectiveness of a piece. It also enables students to create large amounts of work quickly. Read less...

General

One-off workshop: Targeted theatre in education

Author: Vickie Smith

One-off workshop: Targeted theatre in education

This one-off workshop can be adapted to suit any topic that you would like your group to explore. This session can be used cross-curricular and has worked very well with science, geography and history. With prior planning and preparation, it can be highly educational for both actors and audience. Read less...

Issue 56 (Autumn Term 2 - 14/15)

Key Stage 2

The Dark Ages? A look at the Anglo-Saxons through drama

Author: Helen Day

The Dark Ages? A look at the Anglo-Saxons through drama

The scheme covers the Anglo-Saxon topic very broadly, and while it is expected that students will come to the scheme with prior knowledge of the subject, there are also opportunities to invest the themed games and exercises with additional teaching. The scheme has been written in line with the KS2 National Curriculum drama objectives, and with reference to the National Curriculum history programmes of study. Read less...

Key Stage 3

One-off workshop: Just one regret

Author: David Porter

One-off workshop: Just one regret

This one-off workshop sets up a scene in which characters should be developed through the impact of a single action or word which leads to regret with far-reaching consequences. Read less...

Shackleton’s adventure

Author: Ed Passmore and Geoff Smith

Shackleton’s adventure

This scheme of work is based around the true story of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, or Endurance Expedition as it is more commonly known. It aims to educate the students on the historical events of the journey, through ‘in-role’ exploration of specific situations, and character-driven improvisation. The focus is primarily on the themes of leadership and bravery, although there is scope for this to be shifted to suit one’s own aims.
The scheme is built on the foundations of the trivium and is implemented through the idea of Mantle of the Expert; it moves forward with the ideas and exploration of the students, with only minimal guidance to keep the story on track. There is ample opportunity for the use of Philosophy for Children (P4C) techniques to delve deeper into the questions that are raised during the story; I found these methods very useful while developing and testing the scheme. Read less...

Key Stage 4

Perfection: body image, beyond and beneath

Author: Rhianna Elsden

Perfection: body image, beyond and beneath

Body image is a sensitive topic for students. This scheme works especially well in Years 9+ where students become more aware of their bodies and issues surrounding image and appearance. The scheme starts at a personal level for the students and then engages with wider social issues such as cosmetic surgery, eating disorders and genetic manipulation. There are also suggestions on how to link the scheme into Hitler’s manifesto and ideologies for a ‘master Aryan race’ and the Holocaust. Read less...

The Play of George Orwell’s Animal Farm

Author: Katherine Noble

The Play of George Orwell’s Animal Farm

This scheme of work concentrates on Paper 2 of the Edexcel Drama GCSE. The scheme of work follows the specifications in the exploration of the complete The Play of George Orwell’s Animal Farm adapted by Peter Hall et al. It explores the play using all the strategies, elements and mediums set out by Edexcel, as well as covering opportunities for workshop and written evidence. I used this scheme for this part in Paper 2 of the Edexcel Drama GCSE and the outcome made a significant contribution towards the students achieving good results. The scheme of work assumes that students have read the whole play in preparation, and that they have prior knowledge of the strategies, mediums and elements used in Edexcel GCSE Drama. This scheme can be easily adapted to cover other examination boards. Read less...

Key Stage 5

Teacher’s Dead by Benjamin Zephaniah

Author: Alicia Pope

Teacher’s Dead by Benjamin Zephaniah

This scheme of work uses Benjamin Zephaniah’s novel to ignite students’ own ideas for devised work. The story is based around the stabbing of a teacher outside a busy school and focuses on how this brutal event affects a range of people, while also exploring why the attackers behaved as they did. The work in this scheme explores different elements of the story using a range of techniques allowing students to then move on to devising their own stories, create their own characters or explore the themes and issues raised. Read less...

Issue 55 (Autumn Term 1 - 14/15)

Key Stage 2

Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden: a look at the book through drama

Author: Helen Day

Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden: a look at the book through drama

Nina Bawden’s Carrie’s War has delighted both adults and children alike for generations. Set against the backdrop of World War II, and sensitively exploring the topic of evacuation, it is an ideal book to use with KS2 students to launch an investigation into this historic period. The multi-layered story also has strands that touch on bullying, feelings, sibling relationships, friendship, trust, guilt, responsibility and fear. It therefore lends itself brilliantly to provoking work that can be used to deliver elements of PSHE.
This scheme of work uses drama to explore the story and its themes as a whole, so would be best delivered once a classroom reading of the book is complete. Read less...

Key Stage 3

Poetry

Author: Katherine Noble

Poetry

This scheme of work focuses on two pieces of poetry, ‘The Ballad of Charlotte Dymond’ by Charles Causley and Pastor Niemöller’s work ‘First they came …’. It is intended to be delivered to a Year 7 class. It explores teacher in role, improvisation, devising, character building strategies, the narrator and monologue. The overall objective is that students can explore historical events and share social and current issues inspired by the text, as well as learn and use Drama skills. This scheme is built around the KS3 Drama Objectives. Read less...

Key Stage 4

Atmospheres

Author: David Porter

Atmospheres

‘You could cut the air with a knife …’ Atmosphere makes or breaks drama and is achieved by using lights, music, effects or performance. This scheme develops students’ atmosphere-creating skills when presenting drama in order to help their characters develop, improve their story-telling and their presentation confidence, without relying on lights and sound. It also looks at using different performance settings to harness atmospheres. Read less...

Loss of life

Author: Vickie Smith

Loss of life

This scheme of work is designed to be used with the Edexcel GCSE and is a good scheme of work to prepare the students for the Unit 1 exam; alternatively it can be easily adapted to be used for the exam itself. The scheme covers explorative strategies, drama mediums and elements of drama, and encourages students to explore various ideas before developing a piece of theatre. Read less...

Key Stage 5

Beasts and Beauties

Author: Alicia Pope

Beasts and Beauties

This KS5 scheme of work is based on the retelling of some well-known traditional tales. The scheme is divided into sessions based on six different stories with a focus on key elements of Drama and Theatre Studies. The scheme can be used as a starting point for both the AQA and Edexcel AS level Unit 2. In addition to this, the scheme can be used to focus students in specific areas of Drama or as a foundation for devised work. Read less...

Taking the fear out of starting a new set text

Author: Mat Walters

Taking the fear out of starting a new set text

The purpose of this scheme of work is to reduce some of students’ fear of the set text unit, and to encourage them to see the key aspects of written essays as a summary of the best ideas they have come up with during practical work.
The ideas contained in this scheme of work are applicable to any of the plays set for AQA DRAM1 Unit 1, Section B. The aim here is for them to see Theatre Studies essays as an extension of their practical work. A good set text essay should be able to be ‘acted out’. Read less...

General

One-off workshop: Living architecture

Author: Mat Walters

One-off workshop: Living architecture

This lesson aims to get students thinking physically and to develop skills that communicate complex ideas. It focuses specifically on team work and quickly reacting to instructions. It allows students to assess their own work and compare it with others. Read less...

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