New Zealand Scholarship Drama Proposed Changes for 2018

This is an outline of some proposed changes to the Drama Scholarship examination requirements.

Please consider the proposed changes, then go to our online survey to register your feedback.

The survey will be open until Friday 19 May 2017.


The New Zealand Scholarship Drama examination assesses candidates against the Drama Performance Standard 93304.

The aims of the changes are to:

  • ensure that the examination continues to reflect developments in drama education and in the wider theatre world
  • offer the best way of assessing a candidate's ability to demonstrate their knowledge of drama processes, texts, and theories, and to perform and critically analyse challenging and creative drama works (as required by the standard).


The format of the examination has remained largely unchanged for several years. It comprises of three performances and oral rationales that are recorded on camera on the day of the examination. The candidate prepares two of the performances beforehand, and a third impromptu task is given to them on the day.

An NZQA Drama review team have proposed relatively small changes to two of the three parts of the Drama Scholarship examination. If approved by NZQA, no change would be made until the 2018 examination.

Proposed Changes

PART 1 – Text Based Performance


  • The candidate selects one text from one of the Prescribed Playwrights as set out for the Level 3 achievement standard 91514.
  • The candidate gives an oral introduction to explain their interpretation and performance choices.
  • See 2017 New Zealand Scholarship Drama Assessment Specification.


  • A broad range of appropriate excerpts will be provided for candidates to choose from. These excerpts would be selected from the currently prescribed playwrights.
  • The candidate selects and performs one excerpt, providing an oral introduction that outlines the significance of the extract to the play it has come from, and the candidate’s reasoned interpretation and performance choices.

PART 2 – Self-devised piece performance


  • The candidate devises and performs a piece that shows the influence of one of three theorists (Artaud, Brecht, or Stanislavsky).
  • The candidate responds orally to a question about the ways in which the theorist's ideas are used.


  • Widen candidate choice by allowing devised work to show the influence of ANY established theorist or ANY established theatre practitioner or ANY recognised theatre company. ‘Established’ = widely published or critically acclaimed
  • The self-devised performance must be significantly different to the Part 1 selection in order to show a wide range of candidate abilities.
  • The candidate delivers a prepared rationale for their work.

PART 3 – Impromptu Performance

No change: The candidate receives the impromptu task and the focus of their justification on the day of the examination.

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