First we began with the idea of scrapping A-level History of Art, which as an idea was a travesty, but still went through. However in the aftermath of National Youth Theatre leader, Paul Roseby, suggesting that GCSE Drama is irrelevant, it is now being reconsidered as part of the GCSE syllabus .
Reservations about art subjects as part of academic qualifications have always existed, with some universities not accepting certain arts subjects as part of an application. The suggestion from Roseby, is to integrate theatre into the more academic subjects, I have to question how? And what use is that? The best example of that for me, is English. But I still have to disagree, If my only experience of Theatre were the plays that we studied in English, Shakespeare, Priestly, Tennessee, I would have never come to study Drama at University.
As someone, who studied the Scottish equivalent of GCSE’s, National Five, I am not sure, if I am outstepping my place discussing this, however, I can say, with a fair amount of certainty, that I would never have come to study Drama at University, if I did not have the access to studying Nat 5 Drama, or the teachers that supported and encouraged everyone’s passions in our school, be it theatrical or otherwise. For me studying Drama at school became such an important aspect of school for me, socially, academically and basically everything else. Without Nat 5, I would have not pursued Drama, it was so important in introducing me to the world of Theatre, and the idea that I could have a career in it, or at least further my studies in it. Without it, I would possibly be studying a degree that I didn’t want to do, or I would be completely lost. And of course for that, I have to thank my school for having such a fabulous Drama department.
However of course that is not to say the GCSE Drama course is flawless, earlier this year, they dropped the requirement to see a live Theatre performance and analyse it for an assessment, this was replaced by a recording. As good as recordings are, you do not get the same effect, if you are sitting in the audience. I for one, generally think that a good performance will make you feel like a community with the other audience members. You do not get the same atmosphere watching a recording, and it will effect how you analyse a production. And some people, may think the content is irrelevant, or the fact that people see it to be soft or easy, are arguments enough to justify those people thinking it should be scrapped.
It would break my heart, if GCSE Drama was scrapped from the syllabus, people seem to consider it to be a soft subject? I don’t understand this, I think it requires the most of amount of work, from teachers and students alike. If GCSE Drama is scrapped, it would be the beginning of scrapping all drama in schools. Creativity and passion must be nurtured, so it can bloom, not cut at the root.