Drama education is at its best when it grapples with ideas and makes sense of experience . This article argues that within secondary schools, the often ignored practice of playwriting provides rich opportunities to develop student’s perceptions of agency. We argue and that it offers students an opportunity to explore ‘big’ ideas and to express, develop and generate their views of the world. Based on an in-depth research project, the paper argues that for the students involved in the study, writing a play contributed strongly to their perceptions of agency and encouraged personal growth. The playwriting process also benefitted student agency by encouraging cultural engagement and an ability to understand and critique social life. Informed by concept of critical consciousness, the article argues that playwriting enables students to intervene in their world in order to change it, concluding by encouraging greater engagement with playwriting in the classroom in order to develop student proficiency and to take advantage of these benefits to agency.