The Plympton Academy Drama department is housed in the beautiful new purpose built Morpurgo Studios and is committed to providing students of all ages and abilities with the opportunity to develop and value their creative skills, confidence and understanding of the world around them.

We believe that, as an academy, we have a responsibility to give students the skills that will help them, not only in lessons, but throughout every aspect of their lives. Every lesson in Drama encourages students to collaborate, to work as a team and to understand that we can achieve our best only with the support and dedication of those around us. Students develop the ability to listen and adapt to the ideas of others, to lead by example and to encourage the less able. They are constantly challenged to find new and interesting ways of solving problems in the most creative way possible; indeed, creativity is at the very heart of what we do. Our greatest strength as a species is our ability to adapt, to innovate, to create, and this essential part of what makes us human is constantly being stretched in Drama as well as Music and Dance. Students also develop the confidence necessary to perform at their best under pressure, a skill that is just as applicable to a job interview, or presentation as it is to an actor on stage.

At Key Stage 3 we focus on giving students the skills they need to express themselves creatively in Drama, whether that be creating a character, devising an original performance or exploring professional works. Schemes of learning are tailored to introduce the students to the concepts, techniques and skills within performance and are also structured to prepare learners for the possibility of progression onto examination pathways.  Each scheme is delivered over each of the Semesters.

Students who take BTEC Performing Arts at Key Stage 4 explore professional repertoire from different genres and are provided with many opportunities to see live theatre throughout the course.  Students are encouraged to develop their skills as directors, practitioners, designers and performers; understanding that there is a rich and diverse progression pathway available to them in both their studies and possible future employment within the creative arts industries.

Key Stage 5 is balanced in both theory and practice; creating ‘thinking’ performers and practitioners. There is an option to take either the single BTEC Certificate, equivalent to  a single A Level, or the double BTEC Diploma in Performing Arts, equivalent to two A Levels. Students study the work of a variety of influential practitioners and their repertoire. They extend and refine their skills in performance and explore the vocational context of theatre making.  Students will perform to live audiences throughout the course and participate in the whole academy production. We also organise many opportunities to visit the theatre in order to inspire the students and further expand their experiences of the performing arts

Student Statements

I have been to see so many things at the the theatre already this year.  My favourite was The Little Matchgirl” (Y7)

The academy production ‘We Will Rock You’ was amazing!!  I have never been in anything as good before! I made loads of friends too.” (Y8)

We are so lucky to have such amazing facilities.  It feels so different in the performing arts this year” (Y9)

We are really being challenged now and the new facilities are so fantastic to have our lessons in.  It makes everything feel more professional”. (Y10)

Available Extra Curricular Activities

The Performing Arts Faculty runs a vibrant and continuous extra-curricular program. We collaborate to produce an annual production each year which is ambitious in scale, production elements and material.  We Will Rock You was a huge success as our first Faculty production in our beautiful new theatre.  With 20+ challenging ‘rock’ numbers, complex dance routines and ambitious setting, the students were really challenged both musically and creatively and achieved a fantastic end product.  Our next project is The Greatest Showman where we are adapting the screenplay and orchestrating the songs as well as taking on the challenge of set and lighting design (not to mention aerial work!).  

Aside from the production we run many clubs, workshops, trips and activities.  We are passionate about inclusivity and would actively encourage any student who wants to get involved to take the plunge and ‘have a go!’  We have a professional performing arts technician who is trained in lighting and sound, having worked in theatre and for the BBC. Our ‘Tech’ club has become really popular and allows students to gain more expert knowledge and understanding of the brand new AV equipment in our theatre, recording studio and specialist spaces.  Students are trained to run the equipment independently and lead the technical aspects of productions.

We run a KS3 drama club at lunchtimes and a Senior Company.  We participate in the Shakespeare Schools Festival and the National Theatre Connections.

Year 7

Students begin with an introductory scheme designed to encourage the necessary collaborative skills needed to produce quality Drama whilst honing basic techniques and performance discipline.  Schemes of learning also explore the demands, performance styles and techniques of practitioners and link practical exploration to professional work and repertoire.

Year 8

The year 8 curriculum is designed to further develop and build upon the skills and knowledge gained from year 7.  Students explore how tension is created in performance and consider the different production elements available to create this.  This maximises the use of our fantastic facilities, reminds students that not all drama is about ‘acting’ and opens the students eyes to possible career pathways in the creative arts industry.  Students also explore script work and examine the process of the director in taking a performance from page to stage.

Year 9

Y9 is very much a foundation year for students to equip them with the necessary practical and theoretical skills for the BTEC pathway.  Throughout the year students continually develop their performance skill set and explore different ways of theatre making. The evaluate, refine and improve their practice as they do so, extending their knowledge of theatre approaches, style, directorial intentions and contextual backgrounds.  Students create a final piece at the end of the year, drawing together their skills and perform their work during the Summer Gala.

Year 10 and 11

BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Performing Arts

Description of the Course

The performing arts sector The performing arts are a major part of the creative and cultural industries in the UK. Overall, the industry contributes £3.5 billion to the UK economy. There are 5,480 businesses in the performing arts sector, and 101,593 people working in a wide range of roles from performers, to designers and directors.

What does the qualification cover?

This new course allows you to study acting, dance and/or musical theatre, giving you the opportunity to develop knowledge and technical skills in a practical learning environment. You will examine the roles and responsibilities of different performance artists and practitioners such as actor, dancer, choreographer, director, writer and designer; as well as the different approaches and styles used. such as comedy.

You will also develop key skills, such as being able to respond to and interpret different ideas given to you; and you will be experiencing first-hand the ways in which performance artists work through the development of ideas, rehearsal and then performance. The qualification is the same size and level as a GCSE and is aimed at everyone who wants to find out more about performing arts. It is a practical introduction to life and work in the performing arts industry, which will give you the opportunity to develop performing arts skills and techniques, and to analyse and evaluate your skills both independently and within a group.

How will I be assessed?

You will carry out tasks or mini-projects throughout the course. Your teacher will mark these, which will give you an idea of how you are getting on. Towards the end of the course you will do one larger project in acting or musical theatre, where you use the knowledge, skills and techniques you have learned to devise and deliver a workshop performance to a specific audience from a brief that will be given to you.

Where will this take me?

When you have completed the qualification, you will have developed a practical understanding of the performing arts sector, and the roles and responsibilities of the people involved in performing arts industries. Because you will be building useful skills, which are not generally covered in GCSE courses, you will have a better of understanding of whether the performing arts sector is for you. This will allow you to decide whether this is an area you want to continue to study. The course will also help you to develop specific skills and knowledge, such as self evaluation and group work, which will benefit you wherever you progress to next. After you have finished the course, you may want to go on to further study in BTECs or you might want to find work in performing arts, as an apprentice or a trainee.


You may choose to continue your practical studies in the performing arts at post-16 at Plympton Academy:

  • BTEC Extended Certificate in Performing Arts (equivalent to 1 A Level)
  • BTEC Diploma in Performing Arts (equivalent to 2 A Levels)
  • BTEC Level 3: Extended Certificate in Performing Arts and BTEC Diploma in Performing Arts


The performing arts sector The performing arts are a major part of the creative and cultural industries in the UK. Overall, the industry contributes approximately £4 billion to the UK economy and is a major employer. The UK’s performing arts sector is vibrant, varied and hugely successful. It is a growth industry that offers diverse employment opportunities, for example in dance, drama, music, theatre, film, puppetry, costume design, directing, set design, make­up or special effects, as well as in the support functions and roles that bring these art forms to the fore.

What does the qualification cover?

Students will gain a taste and an appreciation of performing arts through the knowledge and experience of the performance process, and will have the opportunity to develop a range of skills, techniques and personal attributes that will be valuable across all areas of future study and work. Students will explore the professional approaches and repertoire of Frantic Assembly, Steven Berkoff, DV8, Artaud, Stanislavsky, Brecht to name a few.  Lessons will be taught practically whilst students will also need to research, present and evaluate their ideas in writing. Additional units will explore performance skills

Mandatory Units

  • Investigating Practitioners’ Work:
  • Group Performance Workshop
  • Individual Performance Commission
  • Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance
  • Performing Arts in the Community
  • Final Live Performance to an Audience


Optional Units

  • Contemporary Dance Technique
  • Choreography for Live Performance
  • Theatre Directing
  • Writing for Performance
  • Interpreting Classical Text for Performance
  • Acting Styles
  • Developing the Voice for Performance
  • Improvisation
  • Movement in Performance
  • Singing Techniques for Performers
  • Physical Theatre Techniques