This updated course is intended for teachers who wish to ensure the high achievement of students in the written elements of the new AQA A Level Theatre Studies courses. By providing tried and tested teaching resources and techniques, the course aims to help teachers raise attainment in students of all abilities and experience by improving confidence, knowledge and a stronger understanding of what examiners are looking for. The course will examine specific approaches to set text and live theatre production essays that will demonstrate a range of skills and knowledge of assessment objectives.


  • Develop a range of approaches to tackling set texts in practical workshops and written lessons leading to successfully structured written work
  • Gain an increased knowledge of how to use feedback and marking strategies to raise attainment
  • Improve understanding of the differing requirements and key elements of the written exams, including the use of technical terminology, appropriate research and the use of candidates’ own theatrical experience to underpin their understanding of their set texts
  • Develop the ability to analyse and consistently evaluate live theatre productions seen and how to cope successfully with the demands of design questions as well as those on acting
  • Heads of Drama
  • Heads of Performing Arts
  • Teachers of AQA A level Drama and Theatre
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 – 10.30am
Feedback on 2019

  • The time management demands of the written exam
  • Focussing on the demands of the questions and the “command words” used

10.30 – 11.15am
Component 1, Section C:  Writing about live theatre productions and the work of theatre makers

  • How to start post production work with students
  • The importance of the opening paragraph in a LTP essay
  • Developing delegates’ confidence in analysing live work, including the key skills of analysis and consistent evaluation
  • Differentiating for students who have limited experience of theatre (including those who did not study GCSE Drama)
  • Making the right choices: choosing productions and questions that best suit your candidates
  • Supporting lower ability students in written work, including the preparation of production notes: strategies that work best
  • Practical strategies to stretch and challenge the very able student
  • What to cover in design questions: a helpful guide to terms

11.15 – 11.30am
Coffee break and informal discussion

11.15 – 1.00pm
Component 1: Approaches to teaching the List A set text (Drama Through the Ages)

  • How to decode the questions and structure a successful essay
  • Approaching texts in the classroom and then using appropriate ideas in timed essays
  • Encouraging an independent and secure understanding to directing and designing for a set text, focussing on style, genre and context.
  • Opening paragraphs, key moments and choosing quotes successfully for an essay
  • Aiming for excellence: how to achieve the top marks through use of technical terms, theatrical understanding, inventiveness, command words and a range of vocal, physical, movement and stage position ideas.
  • Casting and costume: when to do this, why and how

1.00 – 2.00pm
Lunch and informal discussion

2.00 – 3.00pm
Component 1, Section B: Teaching skills to answer the extract based exam questions

  • How candidates can meet the Assessment Objectives for the extract based questions for 20th and 21st Century Texts: Time demands, essay structure and planning
  • Tackling the extract in the classroom: how to bring the extract to life to make meaning for the audience as a director, actor and designer
  • Ways to teach essay writing skills which make the demands of the written paper less intimidating and allow inventiveness to flourish
  • Using homework to support understanding of the play
  • Making feedback on written work meaningful to encourage students’ progression

3.00 – 3.30pm
Examples of successful written work reviewed and discussed

  • Delegates will be given example answers to work through and discuss for all three sections of the written paper.
  • Suggestions for how work can be improved and more successfully structured to reflect the demands of the mark scheme for all areas of the paper
  • How to plan the course over two years, looking at ways to balance the practical units with the theory, how to time practical exams and coursework and how to effectively use revision time and controlled conditions essays in the run up to study leave

3.30 – 3.45pm
Questions and evaluation

Mat Walters

Mat has been a Head of Drama and Theatre Studies and Performing Arts for 23 years in schools and sixth form colleges. During that time he has also been a member of the senior examining team for A level, an A level examiner and moderator and a GCSE examiner and moderator. He consistently has A level and GCSE schemes of work published, has led Drama INSET courses specifically focussing on practitioners and structuring exam essays and he also presented at Perform in London.

View all courses led by Mat Walters >