Latest update for A level and GCSE Drama teachers | Pearson qualifications

January 2023 Drama update

Wed Jan 11 14:45:00 UTC 2023

Dear colleagues,

I hope that this new term has started brightly and things are going well for you and your students so far. Here is your January 2023 update with all the latest news on our GCSE Drama and A level Drama and Theatre qualifications.

In this update you will find:

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Text choice deadline 31st January

Please ensure that you submit your performance text and set text choices (and practitioners for A level) by 31st January.

The submission form is on the qualification page

GCSE Drama Text Submissions

A Level Drama Text Submissions

Component 2 update

If you have students completing Component 2 this academic year, please note that the examination window for Component 2 will be 30 January to 31st March 2023.

We are unable to allocate an examiner to your centre until you have made exam entries.
Exam entries for Component 2 can be made from 14th November 2022.
The closing date for exam entries for UK centres is 21st February 2023.
The closing date for exam entries for international centres is 21st March 2023.

Examiners will begin to contact centres (who have made entries) from 23rd January to make arrangements to either visit your centre or to arrange when the recorded performances will be completed.

For further information on Component 2 and the administration of the qualification, please refer to the Administrative Support Guides below

Admin Support Guides and forms (updated)

The Administrative Support Guides for GCSE Drama and A level Drama and Theatre are now available for this academic year, including information on:

  • key dates
  • administrative guidance for all three Components
  • guidance on using Learner Work Transfer (LWT) platform for Components 1 and 2
  • support on how to contact us 

We have also provided new, clearer (and fewer) forms for Components 1 and 2 for this year to cut back on admin burden.

All the links in the ASGs are now working.
We have also updated the Component 1 Centre Candidate Information Sheets for both qualifications too.

Component 3 live theatre evaluation update

In order to retain comparability and fairness, and to keep the 500 words of notes in the exam, we are not making any changes to Component 3. This decision has been made based on feedback from the survey we shared. The response to the survey was huge, and the majority of Drama teachers voted in favour of keeping the live theatre and notes, rather than allowing streamed or recorded performances and removing the notes.
Experiencing live theatre is embedded in the subject criteria and therefore this requirement cannot be removed from the qualification. At the end of the course, and by 15 May, centres need to confirm that students have been given the opportunity to see live theatre.
In April 2023, we will send an electronic declaration form to all centres with entries for the summer 2023 exam series, in order for you to confirm that all students have been given the opportunity to see live theatre. The deadline for the declaration to be completed is 15 May 2023.
We understand that due to the current cost of living crisis, and other factors such as location, some centres face huge difficulty in trying to take students to see live theatre. If you are in this situation and it is not possible for your students to write about a live theatre production for component 3, please do get in touch with us at to ask permission to use a streamed or recorded production. We will treat each request on an individual basis. If you have already contacted us this academic year and been given permission to use a streamed or recorded live performance for the 2023 exam, you do not need to contact us again.

A Level Drama and Theatre guidance 

As you prepare for A Level Drama and Theatre in the 2023 series, we offer you some bullet point reminders to help to guide you.
The following information from the Senior team should be read in conjunction with the specification, the 2023 ASG (Administrative Support Guide) and material on the website, including the Principal Moderator and Examiner reports from 2022.

As centres return to a normal year, Component 1 provides an exciting opportunity for performers and designers to create original theatre.

Centres are reminded of some of the top tips from this year's Principal Moderator's report.

·      Ensure the influence of the chosen practitioner is evident throughout the final performance/design realisation and portfolio. A range of theatre makers may contribute to the influence, but the chosen practitioner should dominate

·      Find ways for your students to refer to the chosen extract, where appropriate. Sophisticated responses do this, throughout. Not just in statement 1 

·      Ensure audience impact is paramount in student evaluation of process and performance. Sophisticated responses do this, throughout. Not just in statement 6

·      Connect theory and practice, throughout.

Finally, teachers are reminded that evidence for AO2 is solely reliant on the quality of the final recording. Please ensure candidates are clearly identified and well lit!

Early visits:
the LWT will not open for your centre to upload the Pre-Visit documentation for Drama and Theatre until your entries have been made. This usually occurs in mid to late February at most centres, but if you are looking for an early February visit you will need to speak to your Exams Officer prior to starting to upload.

Key extracts:
for copies of the key extract for the Monologue/Duologue to be uploaded onto the LWT both prior to a live visit and for a Digital Submission, it is important that the extract is a photocopy from the script, not a typed-up version. If you are having a live visit, the full scripts for both performances should also be available to the Visiting Examiner. 

'Direct address' during a monologue:
following several queries on Ask the Expert, it is important to note that of the 5 criteria for a Monologue/Duologue, 2 relate to communicating the role in context and interpreting the playwright's intentions. Direct address is rarely found in a scene when there is another character on stage, the obvious exception being a Shakespearean aside, which is not direct address. Where students reimagine a scene out to the audience or place another character in the audience, when in the context of the performance text the fourth wall should not be broken, this will impact on their potential level. Clearly, no one wants to see a candidate get 0 marks and within the level descriptors there are 3 other bullet points, and it is in these areas that examiners can award marks. When 2 out of 5 indicators are not met, however, it would be very hard to justify a candidate being marked as Assured or Sophisticated. 

Section A Live Theatre Evaluation:
Do make sure that your students don’t write about ANY of the set texts from the specification. Even if you’re not studying a text, it is still forbidden and will get zero marks.

Do think carefully about what they see, the sky’s the limit with online performances now available. Musicals work the least well and are best avoided altogether. A sung-though musical e.g., Les Miserables would get zero marks.

Section C Interpreting a Performance text:
Choose a logical combination of text and practitioner, there is so much to do in Section C, keep things as straightforward as possible.

The concept is the most important thing to get right. Don’t let your students choose ridiculous concepts that then get in the way of their response. It needs to reflect and respect the themes and issues of the play. Too many concepts seem to be trying too hard to be original, witty or zany and they rarely work. A concept that is broad based rather than specific tends to be much more successful.  E.g. For Hedda Gabler, a concept looking at male/female relationships would work much better than one trying to look at something very specific such as The Suffragettes.

Support and contact

Please feel free to get in touch, if you require any help or support in your delivery. You can access contact details from the contact card below.



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