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Drama

“Theatre is the primary evidence of a nation’s culture.” James Grover Thurber

Our Philosophy

We believe that Drama gives young people the opportunities to reflect on the world around them and develop their social, reflective and communicative skills as well as gain a practical understanding of how to engage an audience. Drama can be used as a powerful educational tool and theatre and movement have always been central to the development of a community’s identity and how individuals respond to each other. With this central philosophy in mind we have built a dynamic and successful department where our students feel empowered and liberated. We firmly believe in creating an environment where all students feel safe to take risks with their work.

The main function of Drama in a secondary school is to enable students to learn about the world around them and to gain an understanding of the importance of risk-taking. Although we do not train actors we help Sixth Form students with university and Drama school applications and auditions when the need arises and many of our past students have undertaken degrees in related subjects and several recent graduates are now working as actors.

What we expect from our students

You need to be curious about issues and ideas and have a creative instinct for communicating your views through drama. You may be keen on acting, writing or on the visual side of theatre and wish to develop your skills in some or all of these areas. You will need to be able to share your opinions, analyse text, work well in a group and be willing to talk about how improvements can be made to work that you perform and see others performing. We expect our GCSE and A-level students to spend a great deal of time rehearsing outside of timetabled lessons, make detailed notes on this process.

Curriculum

Students begin studying Drama in Year 7 and have one period a week during Key Stage 3, taught by four specialist teachers. It is a highly successful and popular subject at GCSE and A-level with around 60 students each year opting to study it at Key Stage 4 and 25 in Key Stage 5. Results have been consistently high over the last five years.

Staff

The Drama department is staffed by a team of dedicated and highly skilled specialist teachers who have a wealth of subject knowledge and teaching experience between them. We strive to keep up to date with innovative teaching methods and are all qualified solely in teaching Drama. We constantly question our practice to ensure that our students receive the best learning experience possible and firmly believe that they benefit from our many collective years of teaching and professional experience.

 

Key Stage 3

Term Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Autumn 1 Transition work/ key skills and issues Introduction to secondary school Drama  Melodrama skills

Mask skills

Non-verbal communication

Autumn 2

Introduction to Drama

Storytelling skills and naturalism Deconstructing fairy tales

Melodrama text

Mask devising

Movement and physical skills

Spring 1

Text and voice

The Ramayana (Image Theatre) Orpheus in the underworld (Physical Theatre)

Stanislavski/ Mantle of the Expert

Key practitioner

GCSE preparation (AQA) Issue based devising Key terminology and job role
Spring 2 Ensemble and physical skills

Conflict and war devising

Stanislavski

Verbatim theatre

 

GCSE preparation (AQA) Key practitioners Script work
Summer 1

Devising

Stories from around the world

Devising from stimulus

Performance techniques

Drama Festival devising

Summer 2

Drama Festival

Rehearsal and preparation skills

Drama Festival

Rehearsal and preparation skills

Drama Festival

Rehearsal and preparation skills

 

Extra Curricular

Towards the end of the summer term all students from Year 7 – Year 9 take part in the Key Stage 3 Drama Festival where they celebrate their achievements throughout the year by performing a piece of work to their peers. A selection from each year group also perform their piece in a showcase evening to parents.

Key Stage 4: GCSE Drama

Students are assessed in three components:

  • Component 1 – Written paper
  • Component 2 – Devised work
  • Component 3 – Scripted extracts

 

Component 1: Understanding Drama - Written paper, 1hr 45mins, 40% of GCSE 

  • Section A – multiple choice (4 marks) 
  • Section B – four questions on a given extract from Hansel & Gretel (44 marks) 
  • Section C – one two-part question on a live theatre production seen during the course (32 marks)

 

Component 2: Devising drama – Practical, 40% of GCSE 

  • Performance of a piece of drama you have created yourself (20 marks) 
  • Written Devising log – 2500 words (60 marks)

 

Component 3: Texts in Practice – Practical, 20% of GCSE 

  • Performance of two rehearsed extracts from one play (2 x 25 marks)

 

Year 10

  • Devised work based on the child migrants of the British Empire.
  • Practical exploration of the set text Hansel & Gretel by Carl Grose / Kneehigh Theatre Company

 

Year 11

  • Devised work based on the story of Lizzie Borden in the highly physical style of Steven Berkoff.
  • Scripted performance of two extracts from a play of the candidate’s choice, with guidance from the teachers.

 

Recent GCSE scripted performances:

  • Scaramouche Jones by Justin Butcher
  • My Mother Said I Never Should by Charlotte Keatley
  • Bouncers by John Godber
  • Adult Child/Dead Child by Claire Dowie
  • Five Kinds of Silence by Shelagh Stephenson

Both units are examined in accordance to the exam board’s criteria in Years 10 and 11 and the best marks for each unit are submitted at the end of Year 11.

 

Extra Curricular

Each year group benefits from a weekly lunchtime Drama Club and there are opportunities to audition for the main school production. During this process students from different year groups learn how to engage as a theatre company to produce work for the wider community that is consistently creative.

 

Theatre Trips

All GCSE students are taken to the theatre during the course.

Key Stage 5: A Level Drama and Theatre Studies

Level of Study:

  • A Level

 

Description of Course

The course provides opportunities for you to pursue particular aspects of study within the context of general knowledge and experience of theatre. The approach for preparation for the examination will be through related theory and practice.

The A-Level Drama and Theatre specification provides

  • coverage of 4 main areas of study of drama and theatre
  • Preparing, developing and performing your own devised and scripted practical work
  • Studying set texts
  • Exploring the work of important theatre practitioners
  • Responding to live productions you have seen during the course

 

Skills Required and Explored 

The course demands a high level of commitment, concentration and sensitivity. You need to be able to evaluate and appreciate past and current theatrical practice. An ability to reflect on and evaluate the complexity and significance of both content and process is essential. A full commitment to lunchtime, after school and February half term/Easter break rehearsals is also required as is your attendance on a number of trips to experience live theatre.

 

Entry Qualifications

You should have studied Drama at GCSE and obtained at least a Grade 5. A Grade 5 in English GCSE is also advisable. Students from other school need to meet the above requirements and be successful in a short audition/interview.

 

Facilities 

  • Two Drama studios with blackout facilities and lighting rigs and a Dance studio
  • An outstanding team of performing arts teachers with skills in many areas and industry experience

 

Entry Qualifications

You should have studied Drama at GCSE and obtained at least a Grade 5. A Grade 5 in English GCSE is also advisable. Students from other school need to meet the above requirements and be successful in a short audition/interview.

 

Method of Assessment

  • This is a two year A-Level course – there is no option to ‘cash-in’ an AS grade after the first year
  • All assessment is linear, with practical assessments throughout the course and written examinations taking place at the end of the two year course
  • 60% of the A-Level is assessed through practical exploration, which include written reports and 40% through the written examination

 

Educational Progression and Career Opportunities

This A-Level helps to develop both your critical and analytical skills. You learn to work effectively under pressure, in a group situation. The subject gives flexibility of choice for further study. Candidates have gone on to study such diverse subjects as Law, Art History, French, Psychology, English, Information Technology as well as Drama at University and Drama school.

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