Royal Court Theatre, London Theatre Consortium and Representation in Drama announce partnership with Pearson Edexcel to introduce four new set texts as part of the GCSE qualification by Bola Agbaje, In-Sook Chappell, Tanika Gupta and Roy Williams

Published on Thu 15 Jul 2021

In a major step towards inclusivity and decolonising the Drama curriculum, Pearson has added a total of four new plays to its GCSE qualification by Bola Agbaje, In-Sook Chappell, Tanika Gupta and Roy Williams. As a result, a third of Pearson Drama set texts are now by global majority playwrights.

Pearson is also thrilled to announce a partnership with the London Theatre Consortium (LTC), Representation in Drama (RinD) led by Romana Flello (Royal Court Theatre Participation Manager and Chair of the LTC Creative Learning Group) and mezze eade (LTC & CLA Specialist Advisor). Romana and mezze will offer the Pearson Drama team their expert support and will also work with the original producing theatres of the new texts (Lyric Hammersmith, National Theatre, Pilot Theatre, Royal Court Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East) to create additional content for teachers, further strengthening Pearson’s commitments to addressing long-term representation in Drama.

Today’s announcements from Pearson come after close consultation with the London Theatre Consortium (LTC) and the Royal Court Theatre, who in 2020 set a national provocation to all awarding bodies offering GCSE Drama: to include at least two works by global majority playwrights in their set text lists. Pearson has exceeded this target by adding four new texts. 

Following consultation with a range of external partners and drawing on the work of Beyond the Canon, the four plays, published by Methuen Drama, will be added to Pearson’s Edexcel GCSE course as part of a wider move to revise its set list in favour of representation across the board. They are: Tanika Gupta’s India-based adaptation of A Doll’s House; Roy Williams’ 21st century update of the classic tragedy Antigone; Bola Agbaje’s award winning play about race identity and youth culture Gone Too Far! and In-Sook Chappell’s North Korean-based drama The Free9.

Speaking about the updated GCSE qualification, Katy Lewis, Head of English, Drama and Languages at Pearson said: “We are committed to working with schools and young people to drive change and create learning environments that reflect the diversity of the modern world. 

“We want all learners to see themselves in the literature they study; to find belonging, understanding, and value through representation, and to see our whole society fairly reflected. Our work does not stop here. As part of our drive to improve diversification, we will also be considering adding playwrights that give us greater representation across gender, heritage, LGBTQ+ and disability.”

Romana Flello, Participation Manager at the Royal Court Theatre and Chair of the LTC Creative Learning Group, said: “Since 2015, the Royal Court and LTC have worked closely with Pearson to embed better representation of artists from the global majority throughout the teaching and examination of Drama. It is uplifting to see them lead the way in GCSE Drama and we look forward to engaging more student, teacher and industry voices in change within Drama classrooms as we continue to work towards an inclusive Drama curriculum.”

The new texts, available for first teaching in September, are published by Methuen Drama, an imprint of Bloomsbury.

For the full press release, click here.