Wednesday 17 March 2021 – 4.30pm

Code: TBC


This webinar will provide students with a detailed, first-hand account of how the play Hard to Swallow came to be. Mark Wheeller will introduce the events that inspired the idea of the play and the varied influences that contributed to the play as it emerged and developed. Mark will discuss the play’s original performance conditions and give a definitive explanation of key scenes in order to enhance and deepen your knowledge and understanding of the play. Alongside Mark’s accounts, Ishani will present opportunities to approach a variety of component three examination style questions and advise on how best to embed Mark’s first hand examples into your written responses in order to achieve the highest marks.


  • A first hand opportunity to hear directly from a component three playwright in order to enrich your own knowledge and understanding of the play
  • A unique opportunity to instantly explore ways to effectively incorporate this first-hand knowledge into Component three style responses
  • A confident insight into the original performance conditions and development of the play including rehearsal techniques
  • Expert examiner’s advice on how to structure responses to questions of varying values


4.30 – 4.40pm: Welcome and Recap

Student reflection: Identifying strengths and areas for improvement in the C3 examination

A short recap of the Component Three written examination and most recent examiner’s reports.

4.40-5.00pm: An Introduction to Hard to Swallow – Mark Wheeller

  • Themes and Inspiration
  • Approaches to rehearsal and development
  • The original performance conditions

5.00-5.25pm: Identifying question types and how to respond– Ishani Thorpe

  • Examining question types and what they want
  • Active model examples – looking at ways to incorporate new knowledge from the session into a selection of top band responses
  • Advice on time management and how to adapt your structure and content for the C3 examination

5.25-5.30pm: Q and A

  • A chance to have your Hard to Swallow and your Component Three specific Questions answered

Mark Wheeller

Mark is one of the most-performed living playwrights. Too Much Punch For Judy and Chicken! have been performed over 6,000 times.  His 2019 verbatim play Game Over, (grooming/murder of Breck Bednar) is published by Salamander Street and proves ideal as a socially distanced/Zoom play. Mark has written about his classroom/theatre work in Drama Schemes, The Story Behind TMPFJ & Hard to Swallow – Easy to Digest. His new book Verbatim – The Fun Of Making Theatre Seriously is due out early in 2021.  Mark’s most popular plays are now available on DVD. He runs practical workshops across the world.

Ishani Thorpe

Ishani Thorpe is Head of Drama the Royal High School Bath. Ishani is an experienced Eduqas examiner in all three components. An outstanding teacher, Ishani has taught and prepared students for the Eduqas GCSE and A-level examinations for over eight years, achieving grades 7-9 year on year. In addition, Ishani is a founding member of the Band of Mothers ensemble and frequently writes, performs, and participates in theatre workshops with them.