Drama at Marlborough is committed to telling important and engaging stories; plays from the past that comment on the present, works from contemporary authors and new writing that gives Marlburians the opportunity to see how they could shape the future. We are committed to excellence, variety, experimentation and entertainment.

Working under the direction of the Head of Drama, the Department employs two full-time teachers, as well as a production manager, lighting designer and costume designer. We enjoy working with talented professional artists who are engaged to coach our pupils in specific projects; these include fight directors, choreographers, musicians and directors.

Drama is proud to work across two well-equipped theatres. The Ellis Theatre is a unique and flexible space with a distinctive balcony, nestled at the foot of the Marlborough Mound, and the Bradleian studio, right in the centre of Court, is a versatile black box space hosting a variety of independent and experimental work.

Drama is offered at both GCSE and A level. They are demanding courses with practical and written assessments requiring pupils to master their creative and critical skills in the analysis, evaluation and realisation of performance. Both courses include devising theatre, text in performance and the study of contemporary and classic plays. Pupils are given the opportunity to study acting, directing, writing and design in courses which explore the collaborative art form of creating theatre.

There are several public performances in both courses, giving pupils the opportunity to share their work and to test their ideas in practice. We facilitate regular theatre visits to develop critical evaluations and to experience a wide range of styles and influences. Our drama courses culminate in a written exam in both the Hundred and the Upper Sixth which are summative assessments of how ideas are developed and realised in contemporary theatre.

Drama is a popular co-curricular activity and the Department’s production schedule includes two full school plays a year. These are supplemented by a host of other performance projects; the Shell play, Remove and Hundred plays and an eclectic range of studio productions independently written and directed by pupils. Unique to Marlborough is our innovative TinyByte programme which allows our pupils to create original, short and experimental work that is shared in informal performances through the year. This work is written, directed and performed entirely by pupils but fully supported by experts and has produced some outstanding pieces of pupil-led work.

Marlborough has an enviable professional connection with the Manhattan Theatre Club who encourage the production of new work in collaboration with the artists in New York. Drama at Marlborough has inspired many to go on to professional training at drama schools such as RADA, Guildhall, LAMDA, Drama Centre and Rose Bruford. We are proud of our strong relationships with OMs in the industry who regularly visit to deliver lectures and workshops, inspiring the next generation of actors, writers and directors.