This NEW conference, designed for students studying any of the 4 exam boards (AQA, EdExcel, OCR or Eduqas), aims to inspire, extend and consolidate students’ learning in the three components studied for GCSE: Devising; Performing an extract, analysing and evaluating a LIVE production with the professional acting group, Scratch,  and understanding a set text for a written exam. With practical activities, interactive sessions and supported writing opportunities, we will develop students’ confidence in navigating the wide demands of the GCSE specification, and achieving well in examination.  Throughout the day, reference will be made to specific feedback from Examiners’ reports.


  • A memorable, valuable and interactive day, with LIVE performances from professional actors, leading Drama experts
  • Watch and participate in practical rehearsals and performance, and gain insight and confidence in how to approach the written exam
  • Gain first hand guidance and crucial insight from experts
  • 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
  • Explore a range of techniques to apply to scripted performances in Year 11.
DATE & LOCATION London | Friday 22 January 2021
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Conference



10.15 – 10:30am
Welcome: what the examiners want to see  

  • The examiner’s perspective: what examiners are looking for in each component – an overview
  • Roles and responsibilities in theatre: interactive student quiz!

10.30 – 10.45 am

LIVE Performance: Exploring Live Production Analysis

  • A LIVE performance by the professional activing group, Scratch.
  • Actors will perform a short extract from a published play.

10.45 – 11.15 am
After the performance, we will explore

  • What to look for in a performance and how to focus on the demands of the question
  • Using drama-specific vocabulary properly
  • Analysing and evaluation: how to get high marks by doing these well
  • Expert advice on how to increase confidence and marks through structuring a response to a question

11.15 -11.30 am  
BREAK and Question box: submit your questions to our experts – the best wins a prize

11.30 –12.30pm
Devising Skills – practical workshop

  • Enhancing devising skills in response to a stimulus
  • Top tips on how to record valuable information during the devising process to make written reports easier and more manageable

12.30-1 pm
Your set text

  • How to develop a confident overview of a set text
  • Top tips for approaching an extract in rehearsal
  • From rehearsal to exam room: how students can get high marks when writing about their ideas
  • Structuring answers on set texts for top marks – ensuring that your response is relevant and detailed

1.00 – 1.40pm

1.40 – 1.50pm
Question box

  • Question and Answer session with the experts
  • Answers to the student quiz

1.50 – 2.35 pm
Improving design skills for all candidates

  • Creating effects for the audience: how to use design to communicate dramatic intention and support the action of a scene or play
  • How to use social, historical and cultural context to inspire designs
  • Typical exam questions and student strengths and weaknesses in their answers
  • The Dragon’s Den challenge: creating a design concept in 15 minutes

2.40 – 3.15 pm
Performance skills

This final practical session allows students to experience exercises used by professional actors to become aware of, and remedy, common issues found in GCSE performance

  • Encouraging a vocal range – using the voice effectively
  • Character starting points: creating and sustaining character effectively for maximum marks
  • Understanding the examination criteria to improve marks in devising and scripted work

3.15 – 3.20 pm
Final Top Tips

  • Summary, final top tips, technique and revision tips

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