A new "decolonised" drama GCSE has been launched by one of the country’s leading exam boards with four new plays exploring race and identity added to the curriculum.
Edexcel, which is owned by Pearson, announced that from September, schools would be offered a new suite of plays to choose from which were written by authors from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
One of the new additions is Gone Too Far!, a play about race identity and youth culture by Bola Agbaje, who is of Nigerian origin. Another is a North Korean-based drama called The Free9, written by In-Sook Chappell, who was born in Korea.
The third new play is an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which was originally set in a small town in Norway towards the end of the 19th century.
However, the adaptation by Tanika Gupta, who is of Indian heritage, is based in colonial India and the protagonist is an Indian woman who is married to an English man working for the British Colonial Administration in Calcutta.
The final addition to the list of set texts is a contemporary adaptation of the Greek tragedy Antigone by Roy Williams, who has Afro-Carribean heritage.
The four new plays will be added to the existing list of eight possible set texts that schools can choose from, which features classics such as Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
Drama GCSE is the latest school subject to be “decolonised”.
In 2019, Pearson announced a series of changes to English Literature GCSE which would mean schools are offered more poems, plays and novels to choose from including those written by authors from BAME backgrounds.
In addition to the works of William Wordsworth and Robert Bridges, the GCSE poetry anthology will now include the Pakistani-born Imtiaz Dharker and Grace Nichols, who is Guyanese.
Meanwhile, the post-1914 Literature paper will feature plays by Benjamin Zephaniah, whose parents are from Barbados.
Katy Lewis, head of English, drama and languages, Pearson said: “We are committed to working with schools and young people to drive change and create learning environments that reflect the diversity of the modern world.
“We want all learners to see themselves in the literature they study; to find belonging, understanding, and value through representation, and to see our whole society fairly reflected. Our work does not stop here.
"As part of our drive to improve diversification, we will also be considering adding playwrights that give us greater representation across gender, heritage, LGBTQ+ and disability.”