Drama and Dance

Drama and Dance

There are many opportunities to participate in drama and dance at Clifton College, whether you are an academic drama student or simply enjoy performing.

Those choosing Drama as an academic course at GCSE or A Level will have the chance to develop their acting skills and understanding of stagecraft. Those selecting Dance will have the opportunity to learn a range of techniques and, as part of the A Level course, will study both physiology and anatomy.

Studying drama and dance encourages pupils to develop their teamwork and communication skills, as well as to build their confidence and become accustomed to public speaking.


As well as learning the practical skills of performance, drama students will study playwrights including Shakespeare and Dario Fo, along with some more contemporary playwrights such as Laura Wade, Miller, and Bernard Shaw and participate in workshops throughout the year.

Teaching in year 9 focuses on building an understanding of performance, terminology and acting skills, with units in both scripted and devised performance.

At GCSE, students will study a range of practitioners and genres in year 10, along with their exam set text, and will in year 11 complete components in both devising and scripted performance prior to sitting their summer exam.

At A Level, students will further explore a range of practitioners and theatre companies in preparation for their two practical units, one of which is the reinterpretation of a scripted extract in a practitioner or theatre company style, and the other involving two performances (one devised and one scripted) to an external examiner. In addition, they will study three set texts in preparation for their final written exam

Our staff have the experience and qualifications to support students in their applications to Drama schools.

Why Study at Clifton College?

The department has use of the College's own 300-seat proscenium arched theatre and two purpose-built dance studios. We work closely with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Bristol Hippodrome and Shakespeare's Globe in London.

The academic study of drama and dance at Clifton College is complemented by the wide variety of co-curricular opportunities and House activities available to all pupils. 

The Annual Musical is a huge event at Clifton College, with students tackling all elements of putting on a big show under the careful direction of Rhian Orzel (Head of Drama) and Dan Robson (Director of Music)..

As well as singing in either a lead role or in the ensemble, pupils can also play in the band that accompanies the show, while others help with the PA system or run the sound desk. Over the last few years, the College has put on Les Miserables, School of Rock and Little Shop of Horrors.

In May, students in years 9, 10 and 12 can audition for the May Production, which has more recently included Carrie's War and Swallows and Amazons.

In November of each year, a group of students takes part in the Shakespeare for Schools Festival, performing a short version of one of Shakespeare's plays at the Tobacco Factory Theatre.

The Drama department also runs and coordinates the House Play Festival, which runs for a week in February each year. Each boarding house will select, cut, cast, direct and rehearse a thirty minute play, for performance at the Redgrave Theatre during the week of the festival.

The Summer Arts Evening draws together Art, Music, Drama and DT for an evening of performances and exhibitions. Performances take place in and around the quad in the early summer's evening.

Dance students participate each year in the Stages festival, with dance groups performing at a Bristol Theatre/Performance space.