Drama & Theatre Studies

Drama & Theatre Studies

For Enrichment productions, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Fusion Festival and much more...visit our department website www.hillsroadpa.co.uk

What is Drama and Theatre Studies about?

If you’re reading this it’s because you already know the unbeatable excitement of live performance. No amount of technology can replace watching real actors, or having a live audience right in front of you. That’s what we study. We examine what it is that makes good theatre work: the play, the story, characters and language, the director’s interpretation, the complex work of the actors themselves, and the technical and design elements that make theatre so alive.

"The best relationships you'll have with any members of staff. Brilliant friendships. Fun lessons!"

What does the course involve?

It involves seeing professional productions. That’s essential. In recent years we have been to the Globe, the Royal Court, The Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the Barbican, as well as local venues such as Cambridge Arts Theatre and the Junction. 

“Theatre Studies is really, really fun - you get to see loads of amazing theatre and there is a perfect mix between theory and practical.”

You will participate in professional drama workshops. Actors from several theatre companies are visiting this year to work with our students. You will spend lessons exploring plays practically. Finally, you will develop your own performance skills in a range of styles, informed by the theories of the greatest practitioners.

“The practical exam period is an amazing experience, and you learn so much about wider issues through exposure to plays and theatre.”

What happens in a typical lesson?

Activities include:
  • practical development of drama skills
  • group discussion and analysis of performance
  • making presentations of research into a play or character
  • making an imaginary 'pitch' to design a set for the Royal Shakespeare Company
  • group devising and developing your written skills through coursework and essays.
  • in a recent student survey Drama and Theatre Studies was a top scorer for variety in lessons and student enjoyment.


“The teaching staff are incredibly helpful and totally passionate about what we are studying.”

Some interesting facts about drama

  • More people in the UK see plays in a given year than go to football matches - unbelievable, but true!
  • On average we consume more hours of drama per day than any other people at any time in human history
  • The Creative Industries are now worth a staggering £71.4 billion a year to the UK economy (official government statistics)
  • Dramatists tackle every aspect of human existence. By studying drama you learn to become a psychologist, a detective, a historian, a philosopher, a sociologist, an artist, a collaborator, a motivator, a scientist...
  • Drama and Theatre Studies is a highly-respected, academic course that has led many Hills Road students to the nation’s top universities and successful acting careers.


“By the end of the course I felt I had opened myself up to so much to do with the theatre that I knew nothing of prior to Hills”

Enrichment Activities

The Performing Arts Department at Hills Road is extraordinarily active. Recent staff-directed productions include:
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Metamorphosis
  • Love and Other Fairy Tales
  • Anka’s Story
  • Galileo
  • West Side Story
  • Vernon God Little
… and a wide range of student-directed productions such as
  • Spring Awakening
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Rent
  • Treasure Island
…. Alongside numerous original student plays.

“The Robinson Theatre is a fantastically intimate playing space, equipped with lighting and sound facilities that would rival many professional theatres.”

Other opportunities

We have our own home-grown Edinburgh Fringe company BABOLIN THEATRE, who for the last ten summers have created brand new plays that have been taken to the Edinburgh Fringe earning four and five star reviews. Our latest production, the Frantic Canticles of Little Brother Fish, won an Outstanding Theatre award. You can find it on YouTube

Fusion Festival In partnership with the Junction we have also created the fabulous FUSION FESTIVAL. Last year’s festival took place in June at both the Junction and our own Robinson Theatre, involving no less than six original school and college performances, numerous shows by professional and emerging companies, alongside workshops, live music, dance performances and stand-up comedy. This year’s festival is already underway. Tell your teachers about it and get involved! More information..

New Views - new for this year! New Views is a playwriting scheme run by the National Theatre. Ten drama students are working directly with a professional playwright, each producing their own original new play that stands a chance of being read or performed at the National Theatre next summer.

“It's amazing. The creativity of the students at Hills is on another level to anywhere else and anything else I've seen.”


What do Hills Road students go on to do after Hills Road?

Past Hills Road students are now appearing on the professional stage - recently Dan Canham with Kneehigh Theatre Company and Still House; Laura Doddington with Alan Ayckbourn’s company; Paul Jellis with Nabokov Theatre Company, Sarah Ovens with the RSC, Dom Thorburn with Propellor and Out of Joint, Jo Herbert with English Touring Theatre and the RSC. For students pursuing drama careers, many Hills Road students are at the UK's top drama schools (RADA, Central, Guildhall, Bristol Old Vic, Drama Centre London, Rose Bruford) and the top drama universities (Exeter, Warwick, Bristol, Birmingham). For more information please see the former students section on the Hills Road Performing Arts department website

What can I do alongside Drama & Theatre Studies?

It works well with subjects like History, English, Media, Psychology, Philosophy, Art, Film Studies, but you can combine it with anything. It also works well combined with Dance or Music/Music Technology.

Entry Requirements

GCSE grade B in English Language or Literature.

Awarding Body


Units of Study

Year 13

Drama and Theatre Studies

Practical Exam (60%):
Inspired by professional work you see you will create your own devised performance for assessment.
You will study three plays, performing extracts from each, all informed by the work of the very best practitioners.

Written play (40%):
You will see an exciting range of live productions and review them.
You will study in depth two contrasting plays from a list of rich and challenging works.