Our Lady's Abingdon - Drama


Overview of Drama at OLA

At OLA, Drama is not only seen as a tool for the learning of performance skills but contributes to the development of oral and interpersonal skills.

In Years 7 and 8, Drama lessons are integrated into English lessons. These lessons are supported by a lower school Drama Club and opportunities for involvement in an annual school production. In Year 9, Drama becomes an optional subject. From Year 10 onwards we offer GCSE Drama and A Level Drama and Theatre Studies.

Our drama studio is equipped with WiFi, audio/visual equipment and professional video cameras. We have a large collection of costumes, drama texts, drama DVDs and audio CDs.  OLA drama performances take place in our auditorium which has a seating capacity of 300 and technical sound and lighting facilities.

Co-curricular Drama Activities

Each year the school performs a large scale show over three nights in addition to our GCSE, A Level and LAMDA performances.

Previous OLA Productions include:

2019 – Hairspray
2018 – Romeo and Juliet
2017 – Little Shop of Horrors
2015/16 – A Christmas Carol
2014 – The Sound of Music
2013 – Beauty and the Beast
2011 – Great Expectations
2010 – Bugsy Malone
2009 – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
2008 – The Crucible

We also offer:

Lower School Drama Club
LAMDA Examination Club

Years 7 to 9 Drama Curriculum

In Years 7 and 8 the primary objective is to allow pupils to explore the medium of drama and drama methods through the texts studied in their English lessons. Building relationships and trust between pupils is a key focus in the early work in the drama studio.  The aim is to teach basic skills and develop an awareness of drama conventions, which are very much a foundation for work further up the school.  Pupils are able to pool their own ideas, research, explore and use skills to develop responsibility, decision-making and judgement.  Pupils should also begin to analyse their own work.

The projects in Year 9 provide a bridge between lower school Drama and GCSE Drama. Lessons emphasise making, performing and responding to material.  During Year 9, there are many opportunities for pupils to participate in performance.  Projects in Year 9 are designed to highlight popular and performance-orientated drama – making it interesting, fun and accessible for all pupils.  We also strive to present challenging and varied areas of work to showcase the great reasons to choose Performing Arts at GCSE and A Level.

Trips for Drama in Years 7 to 9

Theatre trips are offered to pupils from Year 9 upwards.  Most theatre visits take place after school and there is a cost for each pupil.

Examples of recent trips include:

a) National Theatre’s ‘War Horse’, New London Theatre, London
b) National Theatre’s ‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ Apollo Theatre, London
c) Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘The Tempest’ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford
d) Bill Kenwright’s ‘Blood Brothers’, High Wycombe Swan and Phoenix Theatre, London
e) Stephen Schwart’s ‘Wicked’, Apollo Victoria Theatre, London
f) Young Vic’s ‘A Doll’s House’, Duke of York Theatre, London
g) Complicite’s ‘Master and Margarita’, Barbican, London
h) Frantic Assembly’s ‘The Believers’, Theatre Royal, Plymouth
i) Out of Joint’s ‘Top Girls’, Oxford Playhouse
j) Out of Joint’s ‘Our Country’s Good’, Oxford Playhouse
k) Out of Joint’s ‘Ciphers’, Oxford Playhouse

We have also had visiting theatre performances/workshops from Frantic Assembly and Creation Theatre.

Years 10 and 11 Drama Curriculum

GCSE Drama follows on from Drama work that pupils have done at Year 9.  They will develop their improvisation and acting skills to a higher level.  They will also look at plays in more detail and explore different ways of bringing a script alive on stage.  The GCSE course is primarily practical and pupils will be involved in a range of drama activities during their lessons.  This work will be supported by written coursework.  Pupils who enjoy this course do so because it’s a subject that is both practical and creative and may have done some acting before or helped out backstage on a production.  Areas of future interest for our students include writing/producing a play, performing, making costumes, building a set or operating the lights in a full-scale production – this course gives them chance to explore these.  They will enjoy this course if they enjoy working as part of a team.

The course is assessed as follows:

Component 1: Understanding Drama

What’s assessed:

a) Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre

b) Study of one set play from a choice of six

c) Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers


How it’s assessed:

a) Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre

b) Study of one set play from a choice of six

c) Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers

Component 2: Devising Drama Practical

What’s assessed:

a) Process of creating devised drama

b) Performance of devised drama (pupils may contribute as performer or designer)

c) Analysis and evaluation of own work


How it’s assessed:

a) Devising log (60 marks)

b) Devised performance (20 marks)

c) 80 marks in total

d) 40% of GCSE

Component 3: Texts in Practice (Practical)

What’s assessed:

a) Performance of two extracts from one play (pupils may contribute as performer or designer)

b) Free choice of play but it must contrast with the set play chosen for Component 1


How it’s assessed:

a) Performance of Extract 1 (20 marks) and Extract 2 (20 marks)

b) 40 marks in total

c) 20% of GCSE

Trips for Drama in Years 10 and 11

See the details above for Year 9.

Sixth Form Drama Curriculum