Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to perform, design and direct play texts to a range of audiences, as well experiencing a range of live performances. With a perfect balance between academic and practical learning, Higher Drama will not only benefit those interested in a career in the performing and creative industries but develop both their key intra and interpersonal skills.


This course is beneficial in preparing young people for entry to University/College giving them a solid foundation on which to build.


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Higher Drama


1 Year full time/

6 periods per week 




Question Paper – 2 hours 30. 

Practical Performance


Excursions to the Theatre


Mr Paterson


This course makes a valuable contribution to your general education and personal development by providing you with a broad range of skills which incorporates practical experience of understanding, analysing, designing, directing and performing drama. It also allows you to develop and extend your interest in theatre and acquire more specialist skills in areas of interest to you such as directing, acting and - designing set, lighting, sound, costume or make up and to choose which role you will be assessed in.


Skill Development Scotland state: 

Around 100,000 people are employed in the creative and digital industry in Scotland. 


Drama prepares you for this world by combining creative learning with the practical demands of theatre production, giving you the responsibility of creative decision making as part of a team. You can set your own goals and measure your own achievement against clear standards. Whether your strengths lie towards acting, design or direction, if you enjoy taking on a role as part of a team this is the course for you.


What are the benefits of taking drama in and beyond the classroom, including academic progress?


What opportunities and benefits are there in the creative industries?



What is happening now and in the near future in the areas such as film, tv and performance in Scotland?



Drama courses incorporate active learning to engage pupils through activities such as creating, presenting, and understanding drama. Core teamwork tasks in addition to independent work suit all styles of learning and prepare students for the world of work. 


This style of active learning is also very popular with students and most enjoy, and look forward to, going to their classes. 


Taking drama will give pupils the opportunity to explore all areas of theatre production including acting, direction, and design roles as well as theatre visits to expand their capacity to understand and analyse the nature and process of live performance. There is a focus on interpreting a key text through the roles of director, actor and designer and understanding and analysing live theatre via these roles and the social, historical and cultural context that created it.

The course assessment consists of: 

Each candidate chooses either acting design, or direction and carries out all requirements under examination of their role. This includes a short written preparation for performance in which the candidate outlines the process by which prepared for this production. This is marked a visiting SQA assessor.


Acting - practical performance of a two different acting roles in extracts from different plays chosen by the candidate to an audience.


Design – the design of a set for a production of a chosen play in a specified space with an additional supporting role of: lighting, sound, props, costume or make-up and hair.


​Direction – the direction of a group of actors in a rehearsal of an extract from a chosen play of an extract of 8 pages from which 2 pages are chosen by the examiner on the day.


A question paper testing in:

Section 1 understanding and interpretation of the key text in as either a Director, Actor or Designer.

Section 2 explanation of  specific direction, acting and design decisions about a section of the key text

Section 3 the analysis of a live theatre production in terms of its direction, acting, design and performance space


This is sat under exam conditions in May and marked by SQA.  


Everything you need to know before selecting this course

entry requirements

Entry to Higher Drama requires an A or B pass at National 5 Drama. Some candidates would be capable of achieving Higher Drama without achieving National 5 - please speak to the Principal Teacher of Performing Arts if this is the case. Higher qualification or entry in related subjects such as Art and Design, History, Modern Studies, English and Music would support this.

what will you get?

Higher in Drama

The course is graded  

A: Band 1, Band 2 

B: Band 3, Band 4 

C: Band 5, Band 6 

D: Band 7


Everything you need to know about future pathways from this course


my world of work

Some typical careers that you might immediately think of include actor, dancer, presenter, director or a theatre technician in sound or lighting as well as stage manager and in film and television production, an area that is expanding in Scotland. Make -up artists, costume and production designers in theatre, film and T.V. but there are a whole range of jobs in the creative industries at entry level such assistants in wardrobe, production, direction, camera and sound as well as sound engineer, rigger, playworkers and stagehand.


There are a whole range of careers in related fields such as drama therapist, psychotherapist, drama teacher, events management, journalist, advertising copyrighter, writer, HR manger and especially lawyer.


However, most careers that involve working with others even if not directly linked to performing arts benefit from a grounding in drama allowing young people to become more rounded individuals, strong assets to a team with strengths in dealing with people and being creative problem solvers.


Primary teacher, doctor, nurse, dentist, orthodontist, beautician, sales, vet, nursery nurse, receptionist, restaurant manager, IT Analyst, librarian, local government project officer, project manager, trainer, finance, management positions and college/university lecturer are only some examples. 

Skills developed through Drama: 


Problem Solving:  working independently, resilience, time management, positive work ethic, creative ideas in response to stimuli, structure and staging solutions, conducting focused research and using technology creatively.

Leadership: continual opportunities for taking leadership in workshops and exercises, building confidence in presentation, directing others, organisational skills. All drama courses require you to complete coursework which demands you take responsibility for your own learning and have a proactive, motivated attitude towards your studies. 

Teamwork: creating and performing in a group, planning with others, understanding roles and relationships, goal setting and negotiation.

Communication: performing in a group, presenting to an audience, creating mood and atmosphere, interaction with others, using clear and concise and technical language to effectively express your thoughts and ideas when analysing theatre and in planning and reviewing your drama.


Other: design and graphic skills, spatial awareness, vocal, movement, memory, literacy and literary skills.


This link will take you to an excellent resource on MyWOW which looks at potential career routes when you select a combination of subjects. 

Linda underground map.JPG


Information from pupils who have studied this course as to how they feel it was.


I really enjoyed the Nat 5 course last year so I decided to further my studies and take the Higher course.  I have enjoyed the acting pieces this year, we were allowed to choose our own pieces so you have more freedom for what you want to do compared to Nat 5.  Even though some of the pieces can be challenging it is always good fun trying to get the accents, movement etc.  The elements I found surprising was the amount of writing, the exam is way different from Nat 5 you now have to do two essay: one on your chosen text (ours this year is Macbeth) and an essay on a production you have seen.  You also have some Nat 5 questions in there as well.  I would recommend the course as it is different from other course e.g. Languages and Social Subjects as it is more practical and it is a lot of fun when you get into it.  All in all it’s a good subject as it’s just very different from other subjects in school and it’s a good break from your very hard subjects.

Film Set