Day One: Aims of a Drama Curriculum

Welcome to Day One of the 10 Day Drama Curriculum Masterclass.

Today we will be starting the first part of the course, reviewing your current curriculum. It is important that we begin by reviewing what you currently teach so that we can properly build on that and develop it into the curriculum you want.

In this session we will…

  • Establish a common understanding of some importance key ideas to do with Drama, Curriculum and Knowledge.
  • Establish the aims of a Drama Curriculum.
  • Review how your curriculum meets these aims.

Transcript of video

Drama, Theatre and the subject of Drama

Let’s start with Drama. Drama is a thing. Drama is a noun. It is something that we can see, feel, and have a meaningful experience with. Drama is conflict. Contrast. It involves characters. Some of whom are fictional and some of whom are us, ourselves, our friends, our families. Politicians. Celebrities. It can be a play, a film, literature, social media, news. The boundaries of these can get blurred to the point where you might not be certain what you are experiencing. Drama is any situation that elicits emotional responses from the person experiencing it.

Moving on to theatre. Theatre on the other hand is a method of communication. A way of telling stories. At the heart of a theatrical experience is a moment of close connection between performer and audience. A close connection during which something – an emotion, an idea, a concept – is passed between the two.

What about the subject of Drama?

The purpose of Drama in the context of teaching young people at Secondary School is to learn about the structure of Drama and the vast subject of Theatre.

So that is, Drama in secondary schools is teaching young people how to create a piece of Drama to elicit an emotional response and a method of communicating that through acting. I wouldn’t necessarily limit that to theatre, but include Television, Film, YouTube and any other medium which the young people you work with are familiar with.


The first thing to understand about the term Curriculum is that there is no generally agreed meaning of the word. So, for the purpose of this course we will establish Curriculum to mean the learning experience that learners receive during their entire school career.

It is also important them to establish that a learning experience is any experience where the learner is engaged with learning. That can be in the form of a lesson, a subject, a sports day, a trip to the Theatre, assessments, conversations with teachers, conversations with peers. Deep within the concept of a curriculum is a journey that the learner takes towards becoming a more enlightened, intelligent and informed person.

Don’t forget that as a subject within a secondary school, you contribute and complement the wider Curriculum of the school. As such, your subject curriculum is everything you think a learner needs to know about your subject to become proficient and knowledgeable in it.


When we often think of knowledge, what we think of is facts and information. We would assume that knowledge in Drama is knowing Key Terminology. Knowing terms and definitions. But knowledge is much more than this. This is only the start of knowledge. Knowledge is about having an awareness and understanding of those facts and information. It is about an appreciation of, and familiarity with, both theory concepts and practical processes. The pursuit of knowledge is about becoming knowledgeable To be knowledgeable is to be able to use that knowledge in an intelligent, wise and appropriate way. But the foundation of becoming knowledgeable is gaining knowledge itself.

We are going to look at the role of Knowledge a little further in Day Two.

Knowledge rich curriculum

Knowledge + Curriculum = A curriculum which is designed to help the learner become knowledgeable.

A knowledge rich curriculum is academic, challenging, broad, balanced and ambitious. It is a curriculum where skills and knowledge are equal and at the core of its purpose. A curriculum which covers many subject areas and goes into a greater depth of detail across them all. A curriculum which expects to challenge and push young people to become better.

The five key defining traits of a knowledge rich curriculum are:

 Knowledge is the driver of the curriculum
 The knowledge we teach is specific and detailed
 The knowledge we teach is taught to be remembered
 It is not all about knowledge
 The knowledge we teach is sequenced and mapped
Aims of a Drama Curriculum

The aim is for knowledge to be the driver behind the choices we make on curriculum. The purpose of Drama in the context of teaching young people at Secondary School is to learn about the structure of Drama and the vast subject of Theatre. As such, knowledge is also the driver with Drama and the overall arching aim for any Drama Curriculum is to ensure that all learners cover these six areas

  • Understand and explore how Theatre is made and created by Theatre makers (including technical Theatre).
  • Understand how different Drama is structured and used to communicate to an audience.
  • Study, analyse and evaluate Theatre across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including notable playwrights, Theatre companies, Theatre makers, practitioners and designers from history.
  • Become proficient in performing and/or designing both devised and scripted performances.
  • Evaluate and analyse their own work and the work of others using the language of Theatre.
  • Adopt safe working practices

Day One Task

Task 1

Start by reflecting on the six aims of a Drama Curriculum in response to what you currently teach. Which of these six areas do you feel that you…

  • Succeed in most?
  • Need developing most?
  • Cover the most?
  • Don’t cover at all?

Task 2

Contribute to the group discussion on the Facebook group page by sharing your successes. Which of these areas do you feel that you are most successful in meeting? How do you meet them? Is it a particular scheme of work, a focus throughout all your work or a lesson that really works well.