This conference is designed to support and inspire students to achieving outstanding grades at AS and A Level. Including sessions with professional actors and through a variety of practical tasks, quizzes, reflection and opportunities to explore brief written tasks, students will develop and consolidate the knowledge and skills required to meet the demands of the A level specifications offered by OCR, EdExcel, AQA and Eduqas.


  • A fully interactive day: watch and participate in practical rehearsals and performance
  • Gain insight and confidence in how to approach the written exam to meet the demands of the mark scheme
  • Find out more about high quality exam responses
  • Understand how to improve your answers about set texts and live productions
  • Take away a comprehensive set of notes which can be used as part of your revision
  • Learn devising techniques that can immediately be applied to your own practical work in school or college
DATE & LOCATION London | Friday 26 February 2021
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Conference

*Venue subject to change dependent on student numbers 


10.15 – 10.30

Welcome and Introductions

  • Meeting the examiners’ requirements
  • The examiner’s perspective: what examiners are looking for in each component – an overview

10.30 – 10.45am

LIVE performance: Scratch: Exploring Live Production Analysis

10.45 – 11.15am
After the performance, we will explore

  • What to look for in a performance and how to focus on the demands of the question
  • How to make your drama-specific vocabulary impress your examiner
  • How to analyse and evaluate to A level standard
  • Increase your confidence in structuring a response to a question
  • The evaluation challenge: how to make judgments about your own work and that of others

11.15 -11.30am

11.30 –12.00

Working practically with your set texts

  • Applying professional approaches to staging a scene
  • Articulating your ideas clearly in writing, as designer, director and performer
  • How to use your  research purposefully
  • Asking the right questions for your audience,  to ensure you achieve the playwright’s intentions

Answering questions on set texts

  • What we actually mean by social, historical and cultural context and how to use it – a whistlestop tour!
  • How to develop a confident and creative overview of your set text
  • A working theatrical concept for your text: how different design elements help create this
  • Top tips for approaching an extract in rehearsal
  • From rehearsal to exam room: writing about your ideas to impress your examiner
  • Analysing example answers: what the examiners are looking for and how to ensure that you achieve it
  • Capturing a modern audience’s attention whilst retaining awareness of the Original Performance Conditions

1.00 – 1.40pm

1.40 – 1.50pm
A Level – Ask the Expert

1.50 – 2.35pm
Design skills – developing confidence for every student

  • Creating effects for the audience: how contemporary designers are engaging and challenging today’s audiences – examples from key theatre designers of the past 30 years
  • How to use social, historical and cultural context to inspire your designs
  • On your marks, get set, MAKE!: creating a design concept in 15 minutes!

Practical Workshop: A level Drama Performance skills

With a LIVE PERFORMANCE by Scratch

This final practical session allows students to experience exercises used by professional actors and directors in the rehearsal room to develop the practical skills required to achieve highly in A Level performance

  • The Director’s perspective – using examples from contemporary practitioners to approach a scene and get the best from performers
  • Meaningfully interpreting practitioners’ work
  • Applying performance skills in a sophisticated style
  • Implementing performance style
  • Understanding the examination criteria to improve marks in performed devising and scripted work

Final Top Tips

  • Achieving A and A* – what students need to do to reach the top grades across the papers
  • What students can do after today to improve their exam results

Susie Ferguson

Susie has taught Drama for 18 years, and was a Head of Drama at the Holt School for 8 years. In addition to her continued outstanding teaching in the classroom at The Piggott School, she also works regularly with the Learning departments of the National Theatre and Old Vic, as well as designing GCSE and A Level production and practitioner notes for Disney Theatrical Group. This year Oxford University Press will publish 5 National Theatre play texts for which Susie has written the classroom notes and activities.

Matthew Nichols

Matthew is an experienced Chief Examiner for Drama, having written exam board specifications, question papers and delivered a broad variety of teacher and student support courses over the last 15 years.  He is Head of Drama at a leading school in Manchester. He has worked with theatre companies such as the Royal Exchange Theatre and Contact Theatre in Manchester and is currently writing ‘The Drama Teacher’s Survival Guide’ which will be published by Bloomsbury in 2020.


Scratch contains some of the UK’s leading comedy performers and actors. Founder member Gareth Kane has appeared on stage in The West End, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Globe Theatre and The English Theatre Warsaw. His television credits include Black Mirror, Citizen Khan and the 2018 EE commercials with Kevin Bacon. He is also one of The UK’s most sought after Compere’s and hosts several stand-up comedy shows across London. As a writer he produced five consecutive sold-out Edinburgh festival shows and was nominated for a Whatsonstage award. Many of the Scratch performers have appeared on TV, film and in venues across the West End, including recent appearances in Eastenders, Johnny English 3, Miranda. The Javone Prince Show, Doctors and Pramface.

Students £25+VAT

One free teacher place for every 10 student places
Additional teachers £35+VAT
Individual teachers £80+VAT