Our aim at The Swanage School is to ‘enable students to deliver exceptional performances in drama, dance and music.’

Students studying the performing arts at The Swanage School are motivated to achieve vocational and academic excellence. There is a consistent approach to showcase students' skills in whatever discipline they choose and we ensure that students receive outstanding opportunities to do this.

Our drama studio and music suite enable students to work in a stimulating environment where their creativity can be explored to produce exceptional work.


Key Stage 3 Years 7 and 8

In Key stage 3 there is a focus on performance skills through drama and students are taught the necessary drama techniques that will enable them to devise performances and evaluate their and others' work. We explore topics including: current affairs, adaptations, 911, physical theatre, musical theatre and 'Blood Brothers'. This diverse range of topics ensures that a rounded experience of the performing arts is delivered where creativity is at its heart.

Key Stage 3 Year 9

In Year 9 students work as a whole year group and form their own production company, ‘The 9th Degree’. Students work collaboratively to produce three productions over the course of the year, these being: Pantomime, a short film (written by themselves) and a musical theatre concert. Students take responsibility for every aspect of the production from set design to marketing and PR. There are opportunities for all students to decide their role and responsibility in each production enabling them to build a diverse range of skills that will prepare them for the GCSE course.

Key Stage 4

Students who pick Drama as a GCSE will further explore drama techniques and learn performance skills. They will have the opportunity to create their own work, and look at other people's plays. Issues and themes will be explored and students will learn about different ways of communicating these on stage.

In the GCSE, students are assessed on three components:

  • Devising, where students create and develop a devised piece of work from a stimulus and perform this to an audience. They create a portfolio to analyse and evaluate the devising process and the performance.
  • Performance from text, where students perform in and/or design for two key extracts from a performance text.
  • Theatre Makers in Practice, where students study and explore one complete performance text and watch a live piece for theatre, for an exam.

Extra-curricular opportunities

The main extracurricular activity in drama is taking part in our 'talk-of-the-town' annual musical production at The Mowlem Theatre! We have performed Rock of Ages, Grease, Hairspray, Fame, Little Shop of Horrors and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to sell-out audiences. In addition, there may be performing arts clubs such as drama or dance clubs, choir, private instrument tuition and band practice. 

National Connections 

In addition, we take part in the National Theatre's 'Connections' Festival which sees youth theatre groups all over the country perform one of ten newly commissioned plays from some of the UK's most exciting playwrights. First performances are at The Mowlem, as our local theatre, with a regional theatre such as Southampton's Mayflower of Poole's Lighthouse being the stage for the second performance. If our production is selected, students will have a chance to perform at the National Theatre in London. 

In Addition

The Swanage School works closely with the local community and The Mowlem Theatre to ensure that students can experience theatre within the heart of the community. We also have links with The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Swanage Rep Company and Bournemouth and Poole College. The Performing Arts Department also organise annual school trips to theatres in London’s West End and to other stage performances. 

Further information

Exam board: Pearson Edexcel Drama