Middle School

Year 11 boys perform in an adaptation of Homer's 'Odyssey'.

Drama as a GCSE Option

Try and understand what part you have to play in the world in which you live. There's more to life than you know and it's all happening out there. Discover what part you can play and then go for it.

― Ian McKellen

Bolton School pupils are fortunate to have wonderful facilities in which to study Drama. Boys are able to take performance and design pathways for GCSE. Most lessons take place in the McKellen Studio Theatre. The Studio is equipped with a good sound system; projection tools; an excellent stage lighting system – easy enough to use for beginners, yet with advanced capacities for aspiring lighting designers, and modular staging that allows reinvention of the space per the boys’ designs. Pupils also enjoy the use of a purpose-built theatre, housed in the Girls’ Division, and use of the School’s Arts Centre complex. Students also branch out in site-specific and promenade productions that take advantage of our magnificent School surrounds. 

R7J Set Up
Backstage crew setting up for 'Romeo and Juliet' in the Arts Centre.

We follow the new WJEC specification, a course that is delineated by three key components: devising theatre, performing theatre and interpreting theatre.  Boys create their own theatre informed by contemporary practitioners, perform from challenging scripts and watch and review live theatre. 

Year 10 students are currently exploring physical theatre, inspired by the companies Frantic Assembly and Gecko Theatre. This year, they will visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon to watch The Tempest, the play they will study for their written examination. Pupils perform their work for live audiences and are encouraged to take leadership roles within School’s extracurricular Drama provision.

Frantic Assembly has always been about more than the work on the stage. It is about the ethos of collaboration, of empowerment, of that constant desire to improve. It is about telling stories in a voice we don't always hear and about finding talent in places we don't always look.

― Frantic Assembly
Frantic Lift
Year 10 boys try out Frantic Assembly physical theatre devising methods.

Structure of the GCSE Course

Component 1: Devising Theatre

Internally assessed, externally moderated
40% of qualification

Pupils will be assessed on either acting or design.
Pupils participate in the creation, development and performance of a piece of devised theatre using either the techniques of an influential theatre practitioner or a genre, in response to a stimulus set by WJEC.

Pupils must produce a portfolio which consists of:
• a final performance/design
• a portfolio of supporting evidence outlining 3 significant points in the development of the piece

• an evaluation of the process of development and final performance or design.

Component 2: Performing from a Text
Externally assessed by a visiting examiner
20% of qualification

Pupils will be assessed on either acting or design.
Pupils study two extracts from the same performance text chosen by the centre.
Pupils participate in one performance using sections of text from both extracts.

Pupils must produce the following evidence:
• A final performance/design
• A 5 minute presentation of the final design concept (designers)

Component 3: Interpreting Theatre
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes
40% of qualification

Section A: Set Text
A series of questions on one set text from a choice of five:
•  The Tempest, William Shakespeare
•  The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Bertolt Brecht
•  Hard to Swallow, Mark Wheeller
•  War Horse, Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford
•  DNA, Dennis Kelly.

Section B: Live Theatre Review
One question, from a choice of two, requiring analysis and evaluation of a given aspect of a live theatre production seen during the course.