WJEC Drama embracing diversity and inclusion
WJEC Drama embracing diversity and inclusion

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

Pupils taking our 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 2021 onwards. The texts have been chosen due to their varying genres, their inclusivity, and their contemporary themes to maintain the specification’s relevance.

Inclusive themes

The new texts tackle a wide range of themes, from acceptance of LGBTQ+ and gender non-conformity to ethnicity, migration, and coming-of-age. We always try to include a wide range of interesting and challenging texts from different historical periods and different genres, however, this year we 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.

Feedback from the teaching community

The text selection was extensively researched and discussed. Schools and colleges were surveyed to gain feedback regarding the proposed set texts, and our 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, our Principal Examiner for GCSE Drama, who represented us 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 WJEC 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 WJEC’s 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 WJEC 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 WJEC further with their commitment to an inclusive specification which promotes dignity and belonging for all students.”

Wyn Jones, our 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. I am especially pleased that new contemporary Welsh playwrights such as Dafydd James, Gwawr Loader, Bethan Marlow, and Alun Saunders have been added to the specifications. 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.”

FREE support and guidance

To support our qualifications, we 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.

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