Our Youth Advisory Board has been campaigning for exam boards to extend the representation of writers studied as part of the Drama GCSE.

Members of our Youth Advisory Board, YAB, have been working with Young Agitators at the Royal Court Theatre to broaden the range of writers studied on the Drama GCSE curriculum.

They met with representatives from the major exam boards to discuss why representation is so important for young people and to challenge them about the narrowness of the list of studied authors.

One of the boards, Pearson Edexcel, has now included four new texts to increase and broaden representation of voices and themes on their drama course:

  • A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Tanika Gupta
  • Antigone by Sophocles, adapted by Roy Williams 
  • The Free9 by In-Sook Chappell
  • Gone Too Far! by Bola Agbaje
A woman reads from a newspaper.
Tanika Gupta's adaptation of A Doll's House is now on the curriculum. Her play The Empress (pictured) is also on the English literature syllabus.
Photo by Steve Tanner © RSC Browse and license our images

One of our YAB Members, Ella, aged 14, was chosen to interview Roy and Bola about their plays. These filmed interviews were made available to teachers in June as part of a drive to encourage more teachers to change their exam texts.

Ella said: "I am pleased that Pearson have decided to expand their texts and am glad to hear that there will be things put in place to convince some schools to switch to these texts. I know this will be beneficial to students like me who grow up surrounded by people who are different to them, so that they can see that they’re not alone and identify with the experiences of the characters and events in the plays."

 The YAB will be continuing the work this month as they start a reading group focused on scenes from culturally diverse playwrights, read aloud with actors from a range of backgrounds.