Drama and Theatre


Drama at St Paul’s presents the opportunity to study theatre’s social and cultural relevance while developing an appreciation of performance texts, deepening an interest in and understanding of drama


Students studying drama at A level explore new possibilities and find out what they enjoy doing best, whether it is directing, designing and making costumes, creating sets or props, operating the sound or lighting, acting, singing or dancing.

We follow the AQA syllabus which offers a diverse and challenging programme of study designed to inspire students and develop their understanding through practice. Subjects include the work of theatre practitioner Antonin Artaud, theatre history, Oh What a Lovely War! by Joan Littlewood, text in performance, live theatre analysis, devising A Servant to Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht and The Trial by Steven Berkoff.

Girls are required to explore performance as participants, either from an acting or a technical perspective, and as audience members. Assessment is through written examinations which will focus on the study of set texts and live theatre analysis, and by practical examination of both scripted and devised performances.


There is always a wealth of drama taking place at St Paul’s, whether it is in class, the annual school plays or student-led productions. There are multiple opportunities for students of all ages to get involved in shows, whether in the fantastic Celia Johnson Theatre or in the new drama studio.

If you are interested in seeing how the professionals do it, our Theatre Society organises numerous visits that take advantage of London’s rich theatrical life, as well as inviting practitioners to run workshops in school.

Each year the Colet Play is produced entirely by students in the VII who cast, design, direct, and stage manage the performance using as many of the year group as possible. The chosen play in 2015 was Simon Stephens’ Pornography which captures London leading up to the 2005 terrorist attacks. The girls were able to maximise year-wide participation as the production included short films, snippets of news footage and radio reports all of which required a large cast, management and technical team allowing members of the VII with a variety of skill sets to contribute.

Our annual VIII Play is open only to girls in their final year and recent plays include The Laramie Project and Brief Encounter.


We regularly prepare girls to study drama and theatre at university or to pursue vocational acting courses at drama schools and conservatoires. Girls also often select drama as a creative addition to their other subjects, enabling further development of critical analysis. Drama students can go on to every imaginable type of degree.

Notable Old Paulinas include Dame Celia Johnson, after whom our school theatre in named, the influential stage designer Jocelyn Herbert, and the theatre director Blanche McIntyre.

'Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essense of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality'
Ian McEwan

Qualification: A level

Board: AQA

Mode of Assessment: 40% examination, 30% coursework and 30% performance