This review of some early infl uences upon the relationship between drama and play is necessarily brief and selective. Its purpose is to provide a conceptual map with which to chart the response of early twentieth-century practitioners to the possibilities afforded by drama pedagogy. I want now to focus upon three important texts: one written just before the First World War, one at its height and one several years after the end of the Second World War. I have chosen them because, as well as being published in proximity to a time of global confl ict – a point that is not insignifi cant – each of the three texts shares the fact that its author was a classroom practitioner, and that each author had a particular interest in the ways in which drama principles and strategies might enhance the teaching of English, which had itself only emerged as a compulsory subject of study for state schools by Board of Education Regulations in 1904.