The mattering of drama

by Sally Mackey | 1 May 2018

Drama is the first and most effective subject in conjuring productive activity in young people

First published in the May 2016 Scene issue “Why drama matters”.

My thoughts on this article in 2018:
Having been asked to preface this with any additional or changed thoughts for a drawing together of key articles from Scene it is intriguing – and quite shocking – to see how swiftly politics have changed in under two years since first writing this piece. I have been baffled, and sometimes sleepless, at the extraordinary voting decisions in the United Kingdom (Brexit) and the United States (Trump) and the potential of further right wing political leaderships. I’m still optimistic for the arts in schools and for the power of our field to shift mindsets and promote wellbeing. The United Kingdom’s fight against the monopolisation of the curriculum by the non-arts EBacc continues (and not without threads of hope) and applications to undergraduate courses continue to rise. This latter suggests a redoubtable defence of the importance of the arts in schools by UK drama teachers: I salute you. The main points of this article remain: the mattering of drama and what can be achieved.

In 1992, I had my first – and very short – article published in a magazine called 2D (referring to Dance and Drama). In it I argued for a balance of Drama in our UK curriculum teaching, entitling the piece Not the Drama Quarrel. Many grounded and ground-level drama teachers had been finding the intense critical debates and yes, quarrels around “drama as social process” or “drama as theatre” wearisome.

To continue to read this article please login to your ISTA account

This article is for ISTA members only, if you would like to find out about becoming a member please contact us at