Drama and Theatre is an integral part of life at Dubai College. We teach the subject with a commitment to its status as an art form, encouraging imagination, empathy and reflection.

We offer Drama and Theatre Studies from Year 7 through to Year 13. We are a popular and highly successful choice at GCSE and A Level, with students growing personally and academically from their studies.

We also offer a range of opportunities for students to engage in performance, direction and technical theatre skills outside of the classroom. One of the annual highlights in the Dubai College calendar is the whole College production, alternating performances of large-scale ensemble texts with collaborative musical favourites! Past productions include Hairspray, The Tempest, Alice in Wonderland, West Side Story, The Odyssey and Guys and Dolls.

Alongside our big scale productions, we also produce a vast array of smaller pieces throughout the year with multiple devised and text-based examination performances, the popular House Drama Competition, Drama Club and our fantastic school exchange programme with Bedales School in Hampshire, UK.

We are well equipped with a state of the art 900 seat Auditorium for our productions, along with a more intimate and fully resourced Drama Studio. LED lighting, sound systems, mirrored studio space and an extensive costume cupboard all ensure that our Drama lessons are inspiring and stimulating for all students!

Lower School

Drama is taught as an integral part of the school curriculum, once a week to all students in Years 7, 8 and 9.

Year 7 students use Drama as a means of exploration with a variety of different stimuli, ranging from historical events, to stories and play scripts. Students will acquire key performance and rehearsal techniques and will develop confidence in their creativity.

In Year 8, students will continue their Drama exploration through responding to issue-based themes and texts. The work of key theatre practitioners will be introduced and students will be given the tools to become confident in their application of a wide range of practical and theoretical dramatic techniques.

As the transition year into GCSE Drama, the Year 9 course is designed to be both challenging and engaging. Text is analysed in more depth, and the work of contemporary and historical theatrical practitioners is integral to the practical exploration. There is also an emphasis on reflection and evaluative skills, encouraging students to become opinionated and passionate about their ideas.

Throughout Key Stage 3, students are assessed in their ability to create, perform and evaluate.

Middle School

At Key Stage 4 we follow the AQA syllabus for GCSE Drama which enables students to apply the practical, creative and theoretical skills they have been developing throughout Key Stage 3.

Students will work collaboratively devising their own original theatre inspired by contemporary issues. They will also develop their technical acting skills, performing scripted pieces by a vast array of playwrights ranging from Shakespeare to Frantic Assembly as well as detailed exploration of the exam board set text, Blood Brothers by Willy Russell. Students will also interrogate the impact of social, historical and cultural influences on drama texts, evaluating live theatre, and analysing how they would approach a production as a director, designer and performer.

This active engagement in the process of dramatic study will nurture confident presentation, inquisitive and independent enquiry and detailed critical thinking: valuable life skills.

Sixth Form

We continue with the AQA syllabus for Drama A Level, with the focus on combining practical and theoretical exploration to ensure students not only create outstanding work but understand in detail the theory that underpins it.

Fervour and vigour is a must for this course. Students will be exposed to a vast range of contemporary and classical theatrical styles whilst they devise, direct, design, act, reflect, analyse and evaluate.

What makes a good teacher at Dubai College?

Someone who takes the time to really listen to the students and to understand the motivations and stories that underpin what they present on the surface.

As a Drama teacher I am so fortunate that I get to work with the Dubai College students in a creative environment – exploring, processing, taking risks and finding things out about themselves. Crucial in that exchange is valuing the individual experience of every student and appreciating the unique qualities that they bring to their work.

What are you trying to encourage and instil in your students?

Our aim in Drama is to inspire our students to be empathetic and inquisitive individuals who are able to analyse and question the world around them, stepping into the lives and feelings of others and developing their sense of self and understanding as a result.

We encourage independent critical thinking and informed reflections with theatre being seen as a conduit for more than mere entertainment. Through a combination of practical application and analysis our students are empowered to develop, evaluate and present with confidence – skills that will be valuable to them for life.

In your opinion, what makes Dubai College special?

Our students make Dubai College special – they are incredible! They are the lifeblood of the school. Their passion, ambition and the enjoyment they get from learning is inspirational. It is a joy to spend every working day with such capable and generous people.

Who or what inspires you?

The same thing that makes Dubai College so special inspire me – the Dubai College students! Watching them travel through school on their own journeys, building confidence and shaping their futures, is incredibly motivating. I also love to travel. It’s easy to become comfortable and settled, but for me, seeing the diversity that is out there helps me put things in perspective and appreciate the bigger picture.

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.

I am a devoted Trekkie! The optimistic image for the future that Star Trek presents and its open-minded message of tolerance is a great antidote and gives us all something to strive for. By the time this goes live I will have travelled to Las Vegas for the annual Star Trek Convention and absorbed myself in all things Trek. My favourite series is Next Generation and I adore Patrick Stewart, but I identify most with the Vulcan species – I am significantly more rational and introverted than most Drama teachers! Peace and long life.

Mrs S Henderson-Corless, Head of Drama

Meet the staff

Jemma Stilwell

Jemma Stilwell

Titles: Director of Drama
Natalie Madison

Natalie Madison

Titles: Assistant Head of Lower School, Teacher of Drama
Laura Mace

Laura Mace

Titles: Teacher of Drama