Five awesome books for Drama Teachers

Here is a list of my top ten books for my practice as a Drama Teacher. They are in no particular order because each one is for a different purpose so it would be silly to rank them in any way. However, they really are all my go-to books for inspiration for activities, approaches and ideas for teaching drama.

Royal Shakespeare Company Teacher Toolkit

RSC Shakespeare ToolkitThis is a brilliant and comprehensive collection of schemes of work that covers Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The schemes of work are brilliantly planned, the resources are excellent and the activities within them are amazing. If you ever get the chance to teach the entire scheme of work, and it is a big if as the schemes of work are 12 lessons long, then it is well worth it. However many of the activities themselves are really adaptable to most Shakespeare plays and I’ve also shortened the schemes of work to suit my needs. It is an expensive purchase for three schemes of work, but the adaptability of the activities makes up for some of that.

  • Easy to apply in lessons: 4/5
  • Adaptability to other contexts: 3/5
  • Quality of content: 5/5

Overall score: 4/5

Drama and Theatre Studies

Drama and Theatre StudiesIt is fair to say that this book has been around for years. There are lots of elements to this book and all of them useful to the classroom. What is the most useful chapter of this book is the one on practitioners. It contains a brief but detailed account of the theories and works of Stanislavski, Brecht and Artuad which are easy to read and comprehend. For years I’ve given them to As Level students are the start of their course as additional reading for homework, but I’m increasingly giving them to GCSE students to read as the content and the expectations of the GCSE has increased. The only problem with this book is that there isn’t so many of them around anymore, but a search on Amazon reveals a few second hand copies. Having said that, every drama department I’ve worked in has always had a few in stock.

  • Easy to apply in lessons: 4/5
  • Adaptability to other contexts: 2/5
  • Quality of content: 5/5

Overall score: 3.5/5

Drama Menu: Theatre Games in Three Courses

Drama MenuHaving been a teacher for so long now I am often a bit reluctant to buy new books of games and activities. Over the years I’ve built up a bank of games that I use which, as all teachers  do, I feel far too attached to and have built up a few of changing. I’ve also found less room for them in my lessons – but that is another issue. To be honest, I would never have bought this book for those two reasons, but it was given to me as a gift and what a wonderful gift it has turned out to be. There are two ways of using this book, the first is to use it to create and plan entire schemes of work and the second is to dip in and out to get new activities or refresh old ones. I’m using it the second way, which I’d imagine is how most people are using it. Some of the activities are a bit old and repackaged but , as I said before, it is nice to mix things up a bit to see things in a different way. 

  • Easy to apply in lessons: 5/5
  • Adaptability to other contexts: 4/5
  • Quality of content: 4/5

Overall score: 4.5/5

The Frantic Assembly Book Of Devising Theatre

Frantic Assembly Book of DevisingThis book is a must for physical theatre. I can be a bit tricky to read in places in the format it has been written, but worth persevering with. However, my study’s have also find it generally quite hard to read and engage with, which might be worth bearing in mind. However, when combined with a few other physical theatre resources, it can really be relied on to help you and students alike to move forward with not only making physical theatre but also understanding its methods and principles as well. The book is also supported by some great online resources and there is loads of stuff on YouTube to support it as well.

  • Easy to apply in lessons: 4/5
  • Adaptability to other contexts: 2/5
  • Quality of content: 5/5

Overall score: 3.5/5

Drama and Theatre Studies at As/A Level

Drama and Theatre StudiesAnother old school book from the early 200’s but it is a great book to use. I know it says As/A Level, but the content really is relevant to the new A Level courses and GCSE. However, what has always been the most useful chapter of this book for me is the Devising Chapter. The process the authors describe for devising is excellent. They break the process down into small sections, each with their own actions to be completed and objectives to be met. The authors also manage to combine some excellent theory into each element of the process. I first adopted the approach for the old Edexcel A Level Unit 4 Devising Unit but I’ve since adopted the approach across all years, including Key Stage 3. 

  • Easy to apply in lessons: 5/5
  • Adaptability to other contexts: 1/5
  • Quality of content: 3/5

Overall score: 3/5

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