Dramatic licence

13th February 1998 at 00:00
Starting with Scripts, Dramatic Literature for KS3 amp; 4. By Andy Kempe and Lionel Warner. Stanley Thornes Pounds 27.50. The GCSE Drama Coursebook (2nd edition). By Andy Kempe. Stanley Thornes Pounds 10.

Drama Lessons in Action. By Antoinette Line. Dramatic Lines Pounds 9.99 + Pounds 1.50 pp from PO Box 201, Twickenham TW2 5RQ.

Purists once regarded the idea that pupils in drama lessons should actually read or perform scripted plays as absurdly authoritarian. How refreshing, then, to find a book that so amply consigns such dogma to the wheely-bin of history.

Beginning with a section that clarifies the difference between plays and other forms of writing, Starting with Scripts goes on to offer the reader a comprehensive resource for the teaching of plays. Chapters on language, lighting, plot, performance spaces, set design, genre, style and reviews are all supported by a wide range of suitable extracts.

Although Andy Kempe and Lionel Warner aim to speak to teachers who are struggling with the drama elements of national curriculum English, their work will suit any teacher of drama conscious that there is dramatic life beyond improvisation and role-play.

And it is good to welcome a new edition of Andy Kempe's popular GCSE Drama Coursebook. While the format and five-unit structure of the 1990 version remains substantially unchanged, the new edition of this highly practical volume contains a wealth of additional material. A proliferation of ideas for research, improvisation, scriptwriting, design and presentation makes this an essential support to the teaching of GCSE drama.

Drama Lessons in Action is described as being for "junior and secondary" pupils, but many of the activities it suggests - miming of furry animals, getting up in the morning and, yes, leaves fluttering from trees - would tax the intelligence of few infants. All very jolly and undemanding.

David Hornbrook is arts inspector for the London Borough of Camden. The second edition of his 'Education and Dramatic Art' has recently been published by Routledge

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