Twelfth Night – Rhinegold Publishing

Twelfth Night


This is a scheme of work designed to prepare students for the set play section of the AQA drama exam at GCSE. While the focus is Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the suggested approaches are transferable to the other set plays on the syllabus, as well as set texts in other contexts.

Information about the exam can be found in three sources: the syllabus, past papers and mark schemes. All of these are available on the AQA website: The syllabus sets out some ground rules for preparatory work: ‘Candidates would find it helpful to have had practical experience of applying their chosen area either in workshop presentations or full productions of their chosen set play(s).’ In other words, students who answer on acting need to have acted the play and students who answer on design need to have had experience of designing a set which would be suitable for the play. 

The question papers themselves follow a clear format: they offer a choice between a question about how an actor would play one of the roles in a selected scene and a question about how the use of a particular area of design might add to the overall effectiveness of another selected scene.

Before studying Twelfth Night, students should look at examples of the exam paper and read the mark scheme, to understand what is being asked of them. They need to set themselves specific targets in their learning journals related to the needs and objectives of the exams: what do they need to know, understand and consider? Subsequent work should be focused on achieving these targets. It is essential that students know the play thoroughly.

In the exam they will need to be able to:

  • Recall and order the play’s key events
  • Show an understanding of the dramatic potential of the text
  • Explain some of the themes and ideas in the play
  • Demonstrate a dramatic sense of the play as a whole

Scheme sections:

  • Approaching the text
  • Performance
  • Design

Number of Lessons: n/a

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