Reinforce your knowledge and consolidate your armoury of resources, exercises and tools to enrich each of Edexcel GCSE Drama’s three sections: Devising Theatre, Performing From a Text and Interpreting Theatre. Explore the practical and written elements of each section, deepening your understanding of how to support your students in writing their evaluations and reviews as well as completing their portfolio and performances or designs for Devising Theatre. This one-day seminar is suitable for new teachers as well as those who want to refresh and consolidate their approach to the Edexcel Drama GCSE syllabus.


  • Deepen your understanding of the set text and its specific requirements.
  • Receive and exchange tips and suggestions for identifying and physicalising key plot points onstage.
  • Develop your knowledge the theme, language, characters and structure of your set text.
  • Expand yours and your students’ involvement in your set text with good questions and practical exercises.
  • Gain insight and confidence into the syllabus and its requirements.
COURSE DATE Online | Tuesday 15 June 2021
  • Drama Teachers
  • Heads of Drama
  • Teachers with Responsibility for Arts
  • Staff members considering selecting the Edexcel syllabus for the first time
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


10.00 – 10.20am: Introduction

  • Meet Rachel and explore how Edexcel’s syllabus supports your students. This is also a chance to introduce yourself, the centre you work in and what’s top of your ‘shopping list’ to consolidate, clarify or explore about Edexcel GCSE Drama. Why DNA is our chosen text today, and how questions and exercises we cover can be adapted to other drama texts you may teach in the future.

10.20 – 10.30am: Discussion: coffee break

10.30 – 11.30am: DNA by Dennis Kelly: Opportunities Your Text Offers

  • Summarise key plot, characters and style. Show how central conflict is expressed and explored in character personality.
  • Centrality of Subtext: In modern drama, and particularly for playwrights writing for and about teenagers, eloquence comes through emotional engagement with the lines. While every text is only as real as the drama the actor brings to the lines, this is more true than ever for monosyllabic scenes!
  • Stimulus and exercises – hear about and share your success stories of games and exercises to stimulate the rehearsal process. Discuss what’s worked and receive suggestions to take it in new directions.
  • Dramatic Devices, Practitioners and Genres – Identifying relevant influences, and how to treat this as a ‘toybox’ not a ‘tick sheet’.

11.30 – 1.00pm: Technical Theatre: Set, Lights, Sound, Wardrobe and Make-up options

  • Recap of reasons to encourage alternative options to acting in students with talents/interests in other areas than acting – and that actors collaborate to enjoy and benefit from these.
  • What questions to ask your students to ask themselves about: Set (including Props), Lighting, Sound, Costume (including Hair and Make-up) to express the meaning they identify in the text.
  • Activities to support technical theatre students as well as acting students.
  • Q&A/consolidation: Reminder central objectives: communicating meaning and message to audience.
  • Use of “drama watchwords” to help students get the most out of rehearsal and development.

1.00 – 2.00pm: Lunch

2.00 – 2.45pm: Written Evaluations

  • Main ingredients of your evaluation
  • How to structure your evaluation
  • Notes – what your students can bring to the exam
  • How to make the most of the notes they’re allowed to bring

2.45 – 3.30pm:  Performing From a Text: smaller groups

  • Selecting a monologue or group scene to work on in smaller breakout groups. Discuss how you would use drama exercises (mentioned today or from your own experience) to explore and develop the scene.
  • Present in form of discussion, and/or aloud to whole group if desired.
  • Positive feedback and points to move forward with.

3.30 – 3.45pm:  What do you want your audience to understand?

  • When making your technical and artistic decisions, it can be easy to stray from your objectives and meaning. Examples of how to self-check whether a performance is communicating what it needs to, and questions to ask your invited audience. Conclusion: Take-away and targets.

Dr Rachel Knightley

Dr Rachel Knightley is the author of Illuminate Publishing’s GCSE Drama Study and Revision Guide. She is a former senior tutor of the Questors Youth Theatre and was resident speech and drama teacher at Heathfield GDST School until 2013, when she moved into full-time writing and private tuition. Rachel has directed, performed and written for theatre; her first collection of short stories (greatly influenced by her background in performance) will be published in 2021. Rachel teaches English Language and Literature, Drama and Theatre Studies, Public Speaking and LAMDA Exams privately from her base in southwest London and online.