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A new survey of 250 teachers of English and drama in the UK assesses the impact that access to live theater has on the ability to study dramatic texts. – SP News


Brand new exclusive data, surveyed by 250 teachers of English and drama, show that watching live theatrical performances and broadcasts is essential for a better understanding of the core curriculum texts; gives the best chance to get the best grades in English and drama

  • 78% of teachers say that students are more involved in dramatic texts after watching a play
  • 72% of teachers say that watching live or recorded performances helps students memorize context, meaning and quotes – all necessary for exams
  • More than half of teachers cite key factors that deny access: price barriers + lack of resources

DIGITAL THEATER + announced today a study involving 250 teachers of English and drama who intend to give a deeper understanding of the importance for students of access to performances of dramatic texts that they study.

Background information

  • By law, dramatic texts make up at least 25% and often up to 50% of the GCSE English curriculum.
  • Digital Theater + spoke exclusively with people in the field – teachers of English and drama – to discover the perceived educational benefits when students can access the theater live or broadcast.
  • A previous study (2017) of the Shakespearean Globe found that “Half of teenagers have never been to the theater”.
  • Today, Digital Theater + spoke with teachers to understand the major barriers that prevent them from witnessing live performances.


Factors that prohibit trips to the theater:

For many students who do not have the opportunity to witness performances of the plays they study, the two key factors that most prohibit this are:

  • Barriers to spending for schools and parents (defined by 58% of teachers)
  • Time / lack of teacher resources due to the current additional pressure on art subjects (54% of teachers)

Advantages of watching live or broadcast performances:

  • 78% of teachers said that students are more likely to engage in dramatic texts after seeing them in a theater or film adaptation, rather than just reading the text in a book.
  • 72% of teachers said that watching theatrical or film adaptations, rather than simply reading the text, helps students memorize context, meaning and quotes, which is very important for exams.

Tasks for students when reading text plays rather than watching them perform:

  • Problems with attention or long sitting in place when reading the text – 52% of teachers considered it a noticeable problem
  • problems with understanding the language of old texts – 51% of teachers considered it a significant problem.

Neely Patel, CEO of Digital Theater and Digital Theater +, said:

«These findings show that unless major priorities are changed, many students will never have a chance to get better grades in a major English subject.

It’s no secret that the government has chosen an education policy that focuses on STEM subjects to the detriment of the arts – but GCSE English is still considered quite important in the world – almost all university courses require a minimum of 4 for standard admission or 5 for “good score” or higher, and a passing score is also required by many employers.

If current English literature statutory requirements mean that 25-50% of the GCSE in English Literature is based on the ability to understand and interpret dramatic texts. And if we have solid evidence that the vast majority of teachers of English and drama believe that students see the performance of these texts live or live as necessary for their teaching. It’s incredibly sad to see this due to budget and time constraints – despite the commitment to teachersschools are unable to help their students get better grades.

Complete survey data here

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