There are many advantages of doing drama at Queen Anne’s, especially if you are thinking of pursuing a career in the Performing Arts!

The drama department (or Dramaramaland as we affectionately call it), is a very busy, buzzy place indeed. With four full-scale productions a year and nearly a hundred girls involved in LAMDA examinations, the Performing Arts Centre is a hive of activity.

Last year, Queen Anne’s School was one of only 200 schools across the country to be selected to take part in the National Theatre Connections Festival, performing a brand new play: ‘Chaos’.

Queen Anne’s School also worked in collaboration with Reading School to produce and perform five full scale performances of the famous Les Misérables.

There are, of course, great rewards for the many students who become involved in “things dramatic”: 32 girls took part in last year’s Woodley Festival and we came away with a haul of seven gold medals, five silver and nine bronze, along with four trophies; the Edexcel teacher-training DVD features a group of Queen Anne’s GCSE girls as an example of “outstanding” work; in recent years two QAS girls have been in the top ten in the entire UK for their GCSE marks (out 64,000!).

The drama department regularly welcomes visiting professionals and practitioners: recent examples include: a workshop with RSC actor Gerard Logan; stage fighting workshops with stage combat choreographer Mark Ruddock; and a masterclass from Former Head Girl and now professional actor, Jessica Webber.

Queen Anne’s Performing Arts Centre (“the PAC”) is a modern, purpose-built performance space. It has 258 permanent seats but can accommodate many more with temporary seating. The facility has a control room (housing a computerised lighting and sound system), and a sound recording studio. There are also two rehearsal/class rooms, an office, backstage areas and a dressing room.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Junior production

The department offers four or five full-scale productions each year in addition to smaller-scale performances. The junior production takes place in the Trinity term and all students in the 4s and U4 are encouraged to audition. The L4s have their own production, which is rehearsed during lesson time in the Michaelmas term and performed at the start of the Lent term. Recent productions have included The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Drama clubs

There are two junior drama clubs (Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning). Both clubs are run on a “drop-in” basis so students can attend as and when they wish. Speech and drama lessons Private lessons in speech and drama are a very popular option (currently approximately 180 students participate). We offer two courses – the Trinity Guildhall syllabus and RADA Shakespeare certificate. The higher levels of the Trinity Guildhall grades attract UCAS points. Junior students are usually taught in small groups, although requests for individual lessons can sometimes be accommodated, timetables permitting.


There are also numerous opportunities to participate in other drama activities such as:

  • Performances in Chapel and assemblies
  • Participation in ‘Fun Day’ and Open Morning activities
  • Performances in various drama showcase evenings
  • Participation in local arts festivals such as; Woodley Festival of Music and Drama and Marlow Arts Festival
Lower School Curriculum


  • Develop a creative and imaginative mind
  • Develop an ability to find creative solutions to practical problems
  • Develop and understand skills of communication, both verbal and non-verbal
  • Develop skills of co-operation, negotiation and tolerance
  • Support and develop self-esteem and confidence
  • Present an idea or theme in a dramatic form


Drama is taught in a flexible but disciplined way at Queen Anne’s: flexibility, because it allows the freedom to address topical, ‘in-the-news’ issues; discipline, because it teaches the students the importance of being able to focus energy into creating and performing their drama work.

By the end of each year, the students would be expected to have learnt to:

L4 (Year 7)

Developed the ability to participate in the work and co-operate with others. They will be able to create basic characters and present a story using dialogue and a wide range of dramatic skills.
When performing we would expect students to have the ability to speak and communicate clearly, using rowing vocabulary and engaging with the audience. They should be willing to experiment with form.

In evaluation they will be able to justify choices they have made and understand the character work. They will be able to evaluate in simple terms and suggest improvements, whilst using simple technology to enhance their performance.

4s (Year 8)

The ability to sustain improvisation, explore issues and themes and also devise a range of styles in their work. When performing we would expect students to be able to refine rehearsal work, whilst selecting and controlling their chosen style with increasing discipline.

Upon evaluation of their work they will be able to analyse ideas, use critical language and analyse performances.

U4 (Year 9)

At this level it is expected that students use original characterisation and challenging work. In performance they would need to demonstrate good control and skill and a ‘connection’ with the audience.

In evaluation we would expect students to understand the context, suggest improvements in their work and the work of others. We also require the ability to recognise and articulate strengths and weaknesses.

Middle School Curriculum


GCSE Drama is all about understanding what it is like to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and see things from their point of view. Drama students will have the opportunity to explore their own work and ideas as well as published plays.

In the first year, students will learn the “building blocks” of drama; they learn how to devise work themselves and how to perform work in order to engage an audience. Throughout the course of the year, students have numerous opportunities to perform work in front of an audience in both formal and informal conditions. Students participate in drama showcase evenings (to which parents are cordially invited), drama chapels and performances in assemblies as well as formal productions.
Students will study a variety of play texts and extracts of texts with the emphasis always being on practical activities rather than analysing texts as literature.

Students are assessed in their second year of the course for the three units:

Unit 1: Devising (40%)

Students use a variety of different drama techniques (eg. slow-motion, tableaux, physical theatre) to explore a theme using at least two original resources. The resources could be a poem, painting, piece of music, artefact. Students will have between 8 – 12 weeks to create a piece of drama in groups of between 3 – 6. The performance time must be between 15 – 25 minutes, depending on the size of the group. Candidates also need to write a portfolio which charts and records the development of their work.

Unit 1 is a Non-Examined Assessment (NEA) and the performance of the devised piece and the portfolio are submitted to an external moderator.

Unit 2: Performance of a Text (20%)

Candidates prepare and perform two key extracts from a set text to a visiting examiner. One extract must be a group piece (groups of between 3 – 6) whilst the other extract could be a monologue, duologue or group piece. Performance times vary between 2 minutes and 15 minutes, depending on group size.

Unit 3: Theatre Makers in Practice (40%)

Through a series of practical activities and discussions, candidates explore another set text (different to the one chosen for Unit 2). They learn how to approach and interpret the text from the points of view of actor, designer and director. This unit is assessed through a written examination paper, during which the candidates must write about their own interpretation of the play from the three different points of view.

Sixth Form Curriculum

A Level Drama

Drama and Theatre Studies is a very rewarding course which gives students a great sense of satisfaction and achievement after long hours have been spent rehearsing, discussing, writing, preparing and performing. However, the extra-curricular commitment required by this subject is considerable and must not be under-estimated.


  • Develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other
  • Develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of dramatic methods
  • Develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical skills
  • Develop an interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including further study and careers associated with the subject


  • New Specification (2016)
  • Examination Board: Edexcel (Pearson)
  • Course Code: 9DRO
  • Component 1: Devising (coursework) 9DRO/01
  • Component 2: Acting (coursework) 9DRO/02
  • Component 3: Set Texts (exam) 9DRO/03

Component 1: Devising (40%)

The work is internally assessed and externally moderated.
Development (not marked)

  • In this component, students will devise an original piece of drama over an extended period of time for performance to an audience using an extract from a published text and the work of an influential theatre practitioner as a stimulus
  • Students’ work does not have to include the text extract but it can do if they wish
  • Students will be told which text and practitioner we will be using
  • Group size of between 3 - 6

Part 1: Portfolio (60 marks)

  • A 3,000 word document in which students explain how their ideas developed into their final performance and in which students evaluate their own work and that of others
  • The work is written in students’ own time (including some class time) – i.e. it is not like the “controlled assessment” of the old GCSE syllabus
  • During the development stages, students must research ideas themselves and this must be evidenced in their portfolio
  • Students are allowed to produce a draft version of their final submission on which they can be given feedback
  • In addition to the word limit, students are allowed to include in their portfolio sketches, diagrams, pictures, cuttings etc

Part 2: Performance (20 marks)

  • Students’ group work is performed to a live audience and is DVD recorded for the moderator
  • Students are marked individually
  • Groups of 3 - 4 must have a performance time of 15 - 20 minutes, and a group of 5 - 6 have 20 - 30 minutes

Component 2: Acting (20%)

This is externally assessed by a visiting examiner.

Part 1: Monologue/Duologue Performance (24 marks)

  • A mono/duo performance of one key extract from a performance text
  • Time: a monologue must be between 2 - 3 minutes and a duologue must be between 5 - 6 minutes
  • The teacher can give limited feedback and general advice but is not allowed to actively “direct” the work - this part of the component is students’ work and ideas; it is the students’ interpretation that is being marked

Part 2: A Group Performance (36 marks)

  • A group performance of one key extract from a different performance text
  • Group size is 3 - 6
  • Time: groups of 3 - 4 must be between 20 - 30 minutes and a group of 5 - 6 must between 35 - 45 minutes
  • The teacher is allowed to give unlimited feedback and detailed, specific advice - the teacher can direct the performance; it is the students’ ability to “take direction” that is being marked
  • Supplementary Written Document (not marked)
  • Students need to write a Supplementary Written Document for each of their performances (250 per performance, so 500 words in total).

This should include:

  1. What role are you playing?
  2. What is happening to you character in the key extract?
  3. How does the extract relate to the context of the whole play?
  4. What are your character’s objectives, motivations, feelings?
  5. How are you interpreting your character in performance (both vocally and physically)?

Component 3: Set Text (40%)

This is externally assessed in the written examination (2 hours 30 minutes)

Section 1: Theatre Review (20 marks)

  • Students answer one of a choice of two questions about a live production that they have seen
  • Students are allowed 500 words of their own notes

Section 2: Page to Stage (36 marks)

  • Students answer two questions (no choice) on an unseen extract of one of the plays they have studied (students will be given the extract in the exam)
  • The questions will focus on how students would take the extract from “page to stage” i.e. turn the play into a production)
  • Students are not allowed any notes or anything for this section of the exam
  • Section 3: Interpretation and Practitioner (24 marks)
  • Students answer one of a choice of two questions on an unseen extract of one the plays they have studied (which will be a different play to Section 2)
  • The question will focus on how students would interpret the extract for a contemporary audience in the light of a practitioner they have studied
  • Students will be given a clean copy of the text in the exam and they will look up the page references for the unseen extract
Potential Degree Courses and Career Choices

Drama, Performing Arts, Journalism, Broadcasting. A drama degree is a firm foundation for virtually any career since drama, in essence, is all about an ability to communicate.

In recent years, students have continued their drama education at Drama School or University with a view to entering the theatre profession.

Academic Stretch

The word “drama” comes from a Greek word meaning “action” so it should come as no surprise that the key element for achieving your full potential in drama is energy. Drama is about life and two very good ways of improving your drama are:

(a) to observe everything and everyone around you
(b) to take an interest in everything

There are five drama teachers in the drama department, all of whom are drama-trained at Uni and/or Drama School and all of whom are available to give advice, guidance and coaching to you.

Key Stage 3

  • Come along to one or both of the Drama Clubs on offer (Thursday 4.30pm and Saturday 9.00am)
  • You can book an appointment with any drama teacher, either individually or as a group, to get advice and guidance on any aspect of drama.
  • Get involved in school productions; you will learn so much! If you don’t fancy acting, you can do technical, costume, make-up or stage crew.
  • There are between two and five Drama Showcases each term and you can get involved in any of them. Just ask your teacher when the next Showcase is and say that you’d like to perform. You learn so much from performing and it will give you really valuable experience if you perform regularly.
  • We participate in three or four of the local Arts Festivals (Woodley, West Berkshire, Marlow and Henley) and getting involved in one or more of these is a great way to challenge yourself and see how you compare with people of your own age at other school.
  • Speech and drama lessons are available either as group, pair or individually; you will cover a wide range of different genres of drama and this will really broaden your knowledge. 

Key Stages 4 and 5

In addition to the offerings at K/S 3, you can also…

  • Participate in Masterclasses run by visiting professionals in the world of theatre. Recent Masterclasses have been held in “Drama School ‘Taster’ Session” by actor Jessica Webber; Stage Combat by stunt director Mark Ruddick; Classical Acting by RSC actor Gerard Logan; “Being a Professional Actor” by Nicola Millbank; Devising Drama by theatre director Kerry Frampton.
  • You learn a great deal from watching any type of theatre and in the Drama Department we try to provide as varied a diet as possible; we visit conventional theatres like the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, the National in London, commercial theatres in the West End and alternative venues like the Bush, Almeida and Gate pub theatre. In terms of theatre, the more you experience, the more you learn!
  • We have four or sometimes five main school productions every year and getting involved in these will really challenge you and you will learn a great deal from the experience. You can act, do lighting or sound, help with costumes and make-up and help with the set as part of the Stage Crew.
  • Participating in the National Youth Theatre, School’s Shakespeare Festival and the National Theatre Connections project will enable you to develop experience of working with professional directors and actors. All of these events are organised by the drama department (ask one of the staff for details on how to get involved).
  • The theatre profession’s newspaper is called “The Stage” and you will find all sorts of up-to-the-minute news articles in it about everything and anything to do with drama. If you’re really interested, you can take out a subscription and get it each week.

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