A level departments

Drama and theatre

Drama has a rich history at St Paul’s and allows students to use their creative flair practically, whether performing as actors, directors or designers.

Beasts and Beauties performance

What we study

It is our intention to reconnect classroom drama to the theatre’s long and diverse history as a cultural form and performance art. At A level we aim to deepen our students’ knowledge, skills, and practise of theatre.

We follow the AQA syllabus, which offers a diverse programme of study designed to inspire students and develop their understanding through performance as designers, directors, actors, and academics. Study includes practical exploration of the work of theatre practitioners Bertolt Brecht, Katie Mitchell, Shared Experience, Complicité, Gecko, and DV8. Our current set texts are Yerma by Lorca and Jerusalem by Butterworth. Live theatre analysis is another key component of the course and we take great advantage of the spectacular range of theatre and performance art on offer in London.

Assessment is through written and practical examinations, which focus on the realisation of set texts, live theatre analysis, scripted and devised performances.

Beyond the curriculum

There is always a wealth of drama taking place at St Paul’s, whether it is in class, the annual school plays, or student-led productions. There are multiple opportunities for students of all ages to get involved in shows, whether in the fantastic Celia Johnson Theatre or in the new drama studio.

If you are interested in seeing live theatre or working with professional actors and directors, our Theatre Society organises numerous visits that take advantage of London’s rich theatrical life, as well as inviting practitioners to run workshops in school.

Each year performance opportunities are created for A level students, which have recently included productions for each year group, musicals, and studio productions. Students are encouraged to act, direct or design, and to celebrate theatre at the highest level.

Where it might lead

We regularly prepare students to study drama and theatre at university or to pursue vocational acting courses at drama schools and conservatoires. Students also often select drama as a creative addition to their other subjects, enabling further development of critical analysis. Drama students can go on to every imaginable type of degree. Recent alumnae of the drama department have gone on to Oxford, Cambridge, RADA, Central and Guildhall.

Notable Old Paulinas include Dame Celia Johnson, after whom our school theatre is named, the influential stage designer Jocelyn Herbert, theatre director Blanche McIntyre, and more recently, the dynamic and inspiring young theatre producers Emma Hall, Ellen Spence, and Lucy Moss.

A level


Mode of Assessment
40% examination, 30% coursework and 30% performance

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