Drama at St Augustine’s

The team    Aims of the department    Information by years    How can I help my daughter?    Career progression    Productions    Trips


Taught from Prep I through to GCSE Drama and A level Drama and Theatre Studies. Drama is taught by form teachers within the Junior school.

The Team

Faith Murphy – Head of Department
Key Stage 4 and 5


Bridget Ogley – Junior Subject Co-ordinator
Key Stage 2 and 3

Aims of department

• To enhance and develop children’s self-esteem and appreciation of self-worth
• To allow children to explore everyday issues in a safe and secure environment
• To break down social and cultural barriers through the medium of drama
• To allow children of all abilities to experience a level of success and achievement no matter what their role of participation
• To encourage children to explore different styles of performance and develop their imaginations



• To respond to ideas and issues through drama
• To communicate effectively with an audience using different styles and forms
• To develop key skills in performing to an audience
• To understand the effectiveness of drama both in ourselves and others

Information by years

In the early years the emphasis is on the development of self, expression, creativity and confidence in presenting yourself. Freedom to express ideas, creating and playing with characters emerging from the costume box and physical play with props and prompts are vital tools. The girls are gradually introduced to script work and encouraged to bring the written word to life on stage. Ballet is taught as a curriculum subject in Prep I (Reception) to encourage the girls to move to music, and develop confidence and co-ordination skills.

Ages 4-7

In Prep II and III, Drama is taught as an integral part of the English curriculum, however it is also used to enhance other subjects such as Religious Studies and History.
A typical lesson may include warm-ups and character exploration activities such as hot seating and freeze-framing. Children also act out sections of stories to help with their understanding and to develop their speaking and listening.

Ages 8-11

The aim of drama at this stage is to develop the girls’ confidence and increase their ability to work as part of a team. They learn a variety of dramatic skills in a fun and supportive environment.
There are dedicated drama lessons in both Lower and Upper II, where skills such as improvisation and speaking in role are taught. See below for examples of annual productions put on by Lower and Upper II.

Ages 11-14

Building on the early years experiences, girls will now start to explore analytical skills, how to break down texts and learn to interpret stimuli in both a practical and theoretical way. The girls begin to apply their analytical skills to written work, in preparation for GCSE.

Ages  14-16

GCSE Drama – Edexcel examination board

Studying Drama at this level provides a wonderful opportunity to explore different aspects of theatre practice, from acting to stage management, and directing and lighting design. The girls work practically in groups, complete written coursework and are taken to see two theatrical productions per year to broaden their knowledge.

Year 1
The girls are firstly taken on a whistle stop tour of the history of theatre, during which they are introduced to dramatic terms and concepts, which they utilise throughout the course. Assessment for Unit 1 takes place over a number of workshops that focus on a theme using different stimuli such as poems, newspaper articles or clips from television and film. The workshops are written up and presented in coursework, which together with the practical work constitutes 30% of the final mark.

Year 2
Unit 2 focuses on one play, which the girls explore over a number of workshops. This is another opportunity to put the methods and terminology learnt in the first year into practice. They write up the process in coursework, and this whole unit again constitutes 30% of their final mark. Studies culminate in the preparation and performance of Unit 3, an exam production (marked by an external examiner) that makes up the final 40% of the overall mark.

Age 16 – 18

Key Stage 5
AS and A Level Drama and Theatre Studies - Edexcel Examination board

The A Level in Drama and Theatre Studies is an exciting course, during which the girls develop further understanding of the influence of
major theatre practitioners, as well as finding their own unique style as actors, directors or designers.  As with the GCSE, girls are encouraged to see as much theatre as possible, therefore at least two trips per year are organised.

The course is split into four units;

AS Unit 1: Exploration of Drama and Theatre
(40%) The study of two play texts and analysis of a live theatre performance.

AS Unit 2: Theatre Text in Performance
(60%) Externally assessed performances of a monologue or duologue and a published play.

A2 Unit 3: Exploration of Dramatic Performance
(40%) The creation of a unique and original piece of theatre.

A2 Unit 4: Theatre Text in Context
(60%) Externally assessed written exam.

How can I help my daughter?

Dance lessons are a very useful way to develop skills in co-ordination and self-expression, or you may wish to consider enrolling your daughter in a drama group such as Questors. Ms Hagerty runs Easter and summer holiday courses in drama www.yourspacedrama.com which are a great opportunity for children at the school to mix with other age groups and develop their performance skills.

Regularly attending the theatre is a fun yet vital part of the girls’ education in drama. Living in London, we are surrounded by exciting theatre companies and theatres, so if you are able to make the most of this your daughter is sure to benefit from it!

Career Progression

Girls who take the subject at A Level and are keen to continue their study of Drama, have the opportunity to apply to top universities such as Bristol, Warwick, Exeter, Kent and East Anglia, which all have thriving Drama departments with excellent facilities.
The skills the girls develop through Drama will prepare them for a career in a range of industries, from law to the media, as well as theatre, film and television.

School Productions

St Augustine’s Priory has an exciting and vibrant Drama department, whose collaboration with the Music department creates innovative performances of a professional standard. The Junior school regularly take to the stage in different events, from ballet displays in the summer term, to concerts and short plays throughout the year.
All girls from Form III (Year 7) to Upper VI (Year 13) are offered the opportunity to develop skills in acting, choreography, lighting, sound, costume, stage management and stage design in our annual senior school production at Questors Theatre in Ealing. This is an excellent opportunity for different age groups to work together, and for those not necessarily taking Drama at GCSE or A Level to take part in an exciting project in a professional theatre.

A Midsummer Night's Dream
We sold out Questor's Studio in 2009, with a fantastic all Indian interpretation of the classic 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

Fiddler on the Roof
St Augustine's Priory returned to Questors Playhouse for a full scale production of 'Fiddler on the Roof', March- April 2010.

We’ll Meet Again
The children of Upper 2 performed a moving rendition of the evacuation drama in March 2010.

As You Like It
Another sell out performance at Questors Studio in March 2011, for our 1950s interpretation of William Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It'.

Treasure Island
Upper 1 thrilled parents with their musical performance of ‘Treasure Island’ in November 2011.

The Ash Girl
This year’s senior school production at Questors Studio; a modern twist on the tale of Cinderella, will take place from 8th-10th March 2012.


Regular theatre trips are organised for the children right through the school, with two per year organised at GCSE and A level as part of the courses. Recent trips include A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric Hammersmith, Warhorse at the New London Theatre and Charlotte’s Web at the Polka Theatre.

Workshops and Visits

Workshops and talks are organised for the girls, to develop and consolidate their knowledge of different theatre forms and genres, as well as to support teaching in other subjects.

Actor Rory Kinnear and director Mark Bell have worked with students of Key Stages 4 and 5 in recent years, which the girls found hugely beneficial to their studies at GCSE and A level.

Students from the local drama school Drama Studio London visit us each year at Christmas to entertain the Junior school with their annual pantomime.

The Orange Tree theatre has provided exciting Shakespeare workshops for the Juniors for the last two years.

Key Stage 3 students visit The Globe theatre each year as part of their English and Drama cross-curricular activities.