By Sarah Lambie
Editor, Drama and Theatre
The works of Shakespeare are central to Drama teaching, not only in the UK but across the Globe (pun intended…) No playwright in history has been the subject of such intense and widespread academic analysis and debate, or the creator of works performed so widely and so variously. As such, every major UK exam board offering GCSE and A Level in Drama has a Shakespeare work somewhere among its set-text lists (see these laid out below according to current specifications).
As the Editor of Drama & Theatre magazine, a twice-termly print and online publication full of practical advice for Drama teachers, I set out to create a Secondary Drama teacher-targeted playlist of useful material available from the BBC Shakespeare Archive.
Each recommended TV or radio clip aims to provide something of value to those exploring Shakespeare plays with GCSE and A Level students of Drama. The playlist offers a mix of analysis and full productions, designed to help students to envisage and realise their own adaptations, as needed for performance or written exams.
Here you will find a starting point for your exploration of the Archive, curated to offer varied perspectives, from varying periods of broadcasting history. I hope that you will find this a useful springboard for research and inspiration.
For further ideas, and to download schemes of work into which you might choose to incorporate these materials, Drama & Theatre magazine is an invaluable resource – written for teachers by teachers, playwrights and practitioners. Visit our website to subscribe for practical strategies, lesson plans, and inspiration.
GCSE and A Level in Drama set-text lists featuring Shakespeare plays (correct as at March 2022):
AQA – Romeo and Juliet – Practical exploration of an extract as performer and designer, for Component 1.
Edexcel – Twelfth Night – Practical exploration of an extract as performer, director and designer, Component 3.
Eduqas – The Tempest/Macbeth – Practical exploration of an extract as performer, director and designer, for Component 3.
WJEC – Romeo and Juliet/A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Exploration as actor, designer and director, for Unit 3.
AQA – Much Ado About Nothing – Practical exploration of an extract as performer, director and designer, for Component 1.
Edexcel – The Tempest – Practical exploration and interpretation in light of a chosen theatre practitioner, focusing on how this text could be reimagined for a contemporary audience, for Component 3.
OCR – Hamlet (Theme: Conflict) OR King Lear (Theme: Family relationships) OR Othello (Theme: Heroes and Villains) – Practical exploration and interpretation as performer, director or designer, for Component 31.
WJEC/Eduqas – The Comedy of Errors – Reinterpreted for performance in the light of the work of a chosen practitioner, for Component 1, AND As You Like It (Eduqas only) – Practical exploration and interpretation as performer, director, or designer, for Component 3.
The playlist offers a
mix of analysis and full productions, designed to help students to envisage and realise their own adaptations, as needed for performance or written exams.
Drama & Theatre Magazine