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Eduqas Drama embracing diversity and inclusion

Through working with the London Theatre Consortium and their partners in the RinD (Representation in Drama) working group, Eduqas has introduced a total of 15 new texts to their Drama curriculum.

Pupils taking Eduqas GCSE Drama and A level Drama and Theatre qualifications will be able to study a wide variety of texts from a range of cultural backgrounds and periods from September onwards. The texts have been chosen due to their varying genres, their inclusivity, and their contemporary themes to maintain the specification’s relevance.

The new texts tackle a wide range of themes, from acceptance of LGBTQ+ and gender non-conformity to ethnicity, migration, and coming-of-age. Eduqas always try to include a wide range of interesting and challenging texts from different historical periods and different genres, however, this year felt it was more important than ever that the plays within the specifications reflected today’s society. The texts offer plenty of opportunity for reinterpretation due to their content, characters, and theatricality. Hopefully appealing to a wide cross-section of learners from different cultural and social backgrounds.

The text selection was extensively researched and discussed. Schools and colleges were surveyed to gain feedback regarding the proposed set texts, and Eduqas’ Principal Examiners, Chair of Examiners and Drama Subject Officer, have worked tirelessly to ensure that the new texts offer an inclusive and stimulating choice for centres.

Beverley Roblin, Eduqas’ Principal Examiner for GCSE Drama, who represented Eduqas in the Diversifying the Curriculum Working Group, said:

“I have been working with the Royal Court Theatre and London Theatre Consortium as part of their consultation panels since May 2017. The panel, involving members from a variety of creative industries was set up to support teachers across the country with exams, with influencing the teaching of new writing; particularly texts by females and playwrights from the global majority in the classroom and bridging the gap between industry and formal education. Over the past 18 months the panel has focused on representation across the drama curriculum, and they have worked closely with Eduqas offering support and guidance in helping us choose a range of exciting new texts.

The new texts offered at GCSE, AS and A level show Eduqas’ commitment in choosing texts which represent the diversity of schools and students which study Drama. This is the first stage in developing a range of new resources representing and celebrating the work of playwrights, theatre companies and practitioners from the Global Majority.”

The changes were welcomed by Romana Flello, Participation Manager at the Royal Court Theatre, and chair of the London Theatre Consortium Creative Learning group:

“We’re pleased Eduqas has made the commitment to make these changes. The addition of texts by playwrights from the global majority and LGBTQ+ communities to their suggested Non-Examination Assessment and set text lists for GCSE and A Level are a welcomed step on the journey towards decolonising the curriculum.  We look forward to supporting Eduqas further with their commitment to an inclusive specification which promotes dignity and belonging for all students.”

Wyn Jones, Eduqas’ Drama Subject Officer said:

“We’ve really enjoyed reading lots of new and contemporary texts, while also discovering some great historical texts that remain equally relevant. Feedback to date has been wonderful, with many teachers praising the range of texts, and the inclusivity they now offer. We hope to work with National Drama and other leading organisations in developing more resources regarding Diversity within Drama.”

To support their qualifications, Eduqas offer a range of free digital resources, tools, and materials. They’ve been developed to enhance learning, stimulate classroom discussion, and encourage student engagement. New recourses are currently being developed to support teachers and students as they explore these new texts and key themes. 

AS and A Level Eduqas Component 1: Theatre Workshop (additional texts from September 2021)

Broken Biscuits Tom Wells
A coming of age story about three friends as they prepare to leave school. It looks at issues of growing up and relationships and how these change as they get older. It also looks at issues of identity and sexuality. It was first performed at the Live Theatre, Newcastle in 2016.

Dear Evan Hansen Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
It has been called the most vital and important musical of a generation. It is a timely and timeless musical about struggling to connect in a hyperconnected world. Evan Hansen is a young man with social anxiety disorder. He yearns to make connection with his peers and alongside the central narrative the dangers of social media are explored.

Elmina’s Kitchen Kwame Kwei-Armah
The play is set in a shabby West Indian cafe on Hackney’s murder mile. In an area controlled by Yardies, one man’s life is a daily battle to maintain an honest living and provide a stable life for his troublesome son. A thrilling, engaging portrait of a one-parent family struggling to stay within the law.

Emilia Morgan Lloyd Malcolm
A play that looks at the life of Emilia Bassanio the 17th century poet. It is a riotous exploration of the role of creative women in society and the way in which they fought for their voices to be heard. It received its acclaimed premiere at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2018. It won three Olivier Awards, including Best Entertainment or Comedy Play.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Dan Gillespie and Tom MacRaeInspired by a true story, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the award-winning hit musical for today. Modern, contemporary, and relevant. Supported by his mother and his best friend, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies, and steps out of the darkness into the spotlight. Championing diversity and pride in who you are, this is both a popular and poignant text for young people.

Hang Debbie Tucker Green
A powerful play exploring a woman’s dilemma in making an unspeakable decision. It explores the clash between the character of the woman and the system in an un‐named country. A look at the knife-edge between justice and vengeance, where the victim has the chance to determine her perpetrator’s fate.

Lionboy Zizou Calder
The play tells the story of Charlie Ashanti – a boy who can speak to cats. When Charlie’s parents are kidnapped, he sets off on a rescue mission with a little help from a floating circus and its pride of performing lions. Charlie uses his wit and courage before it’s too late! The original production was performed by Complicité and mixed storytelling with circus skills and live percussion.

Moon on a Rainbow Shawl Errol John
The play is set in a community in Trinidad after the second world war. It explores the politics of sport and sexuality and how all the characters dream of escape. It is regarded as an important text exploring new themes and characters and was described as ‘a breakthrough in Britain for black-writing’.

Nine Night Natasha Gordon
A humorous play looking at the rituals at a Jamaican nine‐night wake. The play explores family and the links between generations. It is full of life and is a celebration of a life. It was premiered at the National Theatre in 2018.

Poet in ‘da Corner Debris Stevenson ft. Jammz
A poetic exploration of Dizzy Rascals album ‘Boy in the Corner’. It looks at the effect of the album on Debris as she goes on a journey, which mixes music, dance, and words, to find herself. It was originally co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and the Royal Court Theatre in 2018.

The Barber Shop Chronicles Inua Ellams
Four generations of African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world. These are place where the banter can be barbed, and the truth is always telling. A heart-warming, hilarious and insightful new play that leaps from a Peckham to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, and Accra over the course of a single day.

The Mountaintop Katori Hall
The play is set on the eve of Martin Luther King’s assassination, as he prepares in his motel room, to make his mountain-top speech. Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Play 2009, it is a historical-fantastical two hander. The play is heart-breaking, humorous and breathtakingly powerful. It remains a relevant today, exploring being human in the face of inevitable death.

The Watsons Laura Wade
The text is based on an unfinished story by Jane Austen. This is a humorous meditation on the process of creating a text and how a writer tries to control the narrative. It is a clash of two worlds, two cultures across two centuries. It also looks at the creative process and looks at who is in control – the writer or the character?

Tituba Winsome Pinnock
A re‐telling of the Salem witch trials from the point of Tituba Indian, the enslaved servant. It explores racism, prejudice, and fear. The monologue also explores attitudes to religion and conformity. The play is taken from Women Centre Stage; a collection of eight short plays, that together demonstrate the range, depth, and richness of women’s writing for the stage.

Tuesday Alison Carr
The play centres on an ordinary Tuesday that suddenly turns very weird when a tear rips across the sky over the school yard. Not only that but is starts sucking up pupils and staff while at the same time raining down a whole new set of people. What happens when parallel worlds collide!

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