Applied theatre in action

This is an interesting article from the BBC which looks at the work done by Tim Robbins in prisons in the US:

In California, six out of 10 inmates will return to prison within three years of being released. But a drama workshop run in prisons by Hollywood actor Tim Robbins appears to cut this recidivism rate in half – by giving prisoners a chance to explore their emotions, and to gain some control over them.

There is also radio broadcast exploring this work, which can be listened to here.

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Why study Drama?

There has been increasing buzz in the education world over the past few years about the importance of creativity in schools. Resources such as Ken Robinson’s now famous 2006 TED talk Do Schools Kill Creativity? are frequently used to highlight the importance of equipping students with the skills needed to thrive, survive and succeed in a range of unexpected scenarios – skills that Arts subjects would seem to teach in abundance.

At this time of year many students are thinking about what courses to choose for the next stage of their studies. We offer GCSE Drama and are intending to extend this to AS-Level Theatre Studies next year. Here are some resources to help students and parents decide whether Drama is a subject for them:

14 Ways Being A Drama Kid Can Help You As An Adult – while the focus is very much on American schools where ‘Theater’ is focused on creating public performances, the ideas in this article still apply to the Drama curriculum we offer at Harrow Hong Kong.

Creative people’s brains really do work differently – an accessible look at some of the research behind creativity, which includes this rather striking assertion:

The common traits that people across all creative fields seemed to have in common were an openness to one’s inner life; a preference for complexity and ambiguity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray; the ability to extract order from chaos; independence; unconventionality; and a willingness to take risks.

The Real Neuroscience of Creativity – a review of some of the scientific research into creativity.

How frustration can make us more creative – another TED talk; this one focuses on the ways that creativity can be born out of restrictions and problems. Drama and other creative subjects force students to confront mistakes and problems, to embrace frustration and to find creative ways to a range of different solutions.

And finally, two videos which are directly related to the subject choices students face at this time of year. The first video shows the importance of the Arts in education: while the images focus primarily on the visual arts, the voiceover is absolutely relevant to Drama. The second film focuses on the importance of the skills developed through studying GCSE Drama. Both are worth watching.


Assuming it is accredited, our plan is to offer the new AQA GCSE Drama course from next year; you can read the syllabus by following this link. In the meantime, here is a basic breakdown of the way the course is assessed:

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