Faction: How to combine fact and fiction to make drama – Rhinegold Publishing

Faction: How to combine fact and fiction to make drama


In a part-factual, perhaps historical story, facts are supplemented with a certain amount of fiction. Who said what, what occurred behind the facts? The mixture is called ‘faction’ and is necessary to make drama work. The case of Ruth Ellis, the last woman in England to be hanged, offers a retelling of events to shed light on the people and their actions and explore dramatic possibilities.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme, learners will have:

  • Explored turning historical situations into performance
  • Considered how the addition of fiction makes fact workable on stage
  • Developed collaborative and solo characterisation skills.

Scheme in summary

After an introduction to faction, the case of Ruth Ellis is explored with a view to considering both some of the issues raised and to developing a piece of credible, character-driven performance, suitable for GCSE devising work. Going beyond documentary or docu-drama, faction offers insight into people.

  • Lesson 1: Developing faction

Introduction to taking given facts and adding fiction to make them into performance drama.

  • Lesson 2: Ruth Ellis (1)

Using known facts about Ruth Ellis to build four scenes from her life.

  • Lesson 3: Ruth Ellis (2)

Rehearsing four scenes towards a shared performance.

  • Lesson 4: Ruth Ellis (3)

Performance of the Ruth Ellis scenes with faction and self, peer, teacher assessment.

  • Lesson 5: Other ideas for faction

Suggestions for other people, moments, disasters from history to which to apply faction.

Number of lessons: 5

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