Hellesdon High School

& Sixth Form Centre

Year 8 Drama

Improvising and Devising

Over the course of this scheme you will have a chance to employ your own creative ideas and explore themes and issues that inspire you. We will look at the process of developing original theatre and the various rehearsal and performance methods to structure a performance. You will be given the chance to explore key methods and dramatic conventions through practical work in groups, pairs and as an individual. The whole basis of the course is taught from a practical approach focusing on speaking and listening skills.


By the end of the scheme students should be able to:

  • Develop practical theatre skills of Improvisation and Devising.
  • Understand how to structure narrative using theatrical conventions.
  • Apply the methods and performance strategies of narration, tableaux and thought-tracking, marking the moment, role play and cross-cutting.
  • Respond to theatre and performance with a critical eye offering targets and development strategies to further consolidate practical skills and understanding.


Students will be able to achieve the following:

  • Read stimuli for meaning.
  • Create performance work that interprets meaning from a stimulus into dynamic performance.
  • Interact with poetry, text, music, images, film, set, costume/props to create drama.
  • Explore improvisational games and strategies in groups and as a whole class.
  • Share ideas and listen to the comments made by peers.
  • Fill in scheme booklets with weekly targets to develop making, performing and evaluative skills.


Key words

  • Devising Theatre: A form of theatre development or a rehearsal process where the script is created by a group of people working collaboratively. This is often through improvisation.
  • Improvisation: Improvisation is a spontaneous in role response to a stimulus without prior conversation or rehearsal. It is a useful way to develop theatre and generate ideas.
  • Stimulus: A starting point for devised theatre – could be a picture, a prop, a song, a poem, a film clip or anything that can provide inspiration.
  • Tableaux: Another word for this is a ‘still image’ or a ‘freeze-frame, a tableaux is a useful tool in drama for starting to devise drama and performance.
  • Levels: This is how the actors use the stage as a performance space and their bodies in relation to each other (e.g. sitting, standing, lying down) in order to create a dynamic performance.
  • Characterisation: This is the actor’s development of a role within a piece of drama. To do this successfully you must consider how a character would speak, what words they would use, how would they walk, how would they react to different situations.
  • Status: Status can be represented in performance in many different ways some examples of this might be use of levels, gesture, proxemics, facial expression and blocking. If someone has high status they have more dominance on stage, a lower status character might have fewer choices, less confidence or freedom.
  • Berthold Brecht: A German poet, playwright and director (1898-1956). Brecht’s aims for his ‘Epic Theatre’ were all political. He wanted to distance the audience from any emotional attachment to the characters in his plays so that the audience would focus on his political message. His theatre aimed to change perspectives and educate an audience.