All students have one Drama lesson per week. In these lessons students follow the department’s own schemes of work, developing their understanding of drama skills and techniques whilst, importantly, gaining an awareness of how to work collaboratively and creatively and building their confidence as individuals.
As students progress, they should develop a critical understanding of drama, allowing them to create interesting pieces of theatre, become engaging performers and reflective responders.
These elements link into the three areas of assessment – Creating, Performing and Responding. Specifically we aim to provide students with the means to:
- create imaginative pieces of theatre using a range of drama skills and techniques
- perform confidently making full use of their physicality and vocality
- articulately analyse performances using the appropriate drama terminology
In Year 7, students are introduced to these concepts and begin their drama education by understanding the importance of, and developing their, non-verbal communication skills in their first scheme of work – Silent Movies. They develop their NVC skills, whilst gaining an appreciation of vocal awareness, in their second scheme; Commedia dell’Arte. Students hone their vocality skills in the Storytelling scheme before combining the skills they have developed in ‘Darkwood Manor’ where they are introduced to a variety of new strategies. Our Physical Theatre scheme allows students to communicate meaning through their bodies as an ensemble. Imagination and creativity skills are cultivated in their final scheme, ‘Superheroes’.
In Year 8, students further develop these skills and strategies and, importantly, develop the ability to successfully combine them. Students begin to understand how to create character in our period scheme – ‘Charlotte Dymond’ – before learning about melodrama and how to devise a melodramatic performance. ‘Little Sister’ enables students to hone the ability to create and develop character in a contemporary setting and our WW1 scheme allows students to develop their Creating, Performing and Responding skills whilst learning about the Great War. Students develop an appreciation of Shakespeare in performance with an insight into ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and further new strategies are introduced in ‘Go to the Movies’.
In Year 9, students are thinking about their GCSE options. With this in mind, our schemes are designed to further challenge learners. Students love exploring ‘Blood Brothers’, which is also one of the recommended GCSE Drama texts, while our ‘Devising’ scheme makes direct links with the GCSE examination which demands that students devise a 20 minute performance based on a given stimulus. After Christmas, students explore Shakespeare in performance with a collection of the Bard’s greatest tragedies: ‘Hamlet’, ‘Othello’ and ‘Macbeth’ and the work of playwright and director John Godber is one of our most popular schemes with students developing the ability to play stereotypes and multi-role. We return to ‘Devising’ for the final scheme of the year in order to prepare GCSE Drama students for the AQA course.
There is a weekly Drama Club for Year 7 and Year 8 students. Year 8 and Year 9 students are encouraged to audition for the school production.
Drama is a popular option choice among students of all abilities. Following the AQA Examination Board, we usually have two parallel groups in both Year 10 and Year 11.
Throughout the course, students are exposed to various genres and styles of theatre, a number of practitioners and theatre companies and are led through explorative strategies in order to create their own theatre performances. Specifically we look at Stanislavski and Naturalism, Brecht and Epic Theatre and Artaud and the Theatre of Cruelty. We also explore the work of Physical Theatre Company, Frantic Assembly.
Over the two years, students will study three components:
Component 1 (Understanding Drama)
Students explore ‘Blood Brothers’, from the perspective of a performer and a designer, and write about it in a 1 hour 45 minute written exam. They also analyze a live theatre performance. The examination takes place in the summer term of Year 11.
40% of the qualification.
Component 2 (Devising Drama)
Students create an extended group performance based on a given stimulus. A devising log accompanies their practical performance. The assessment takes place in the autumn term of Year 11.
40% of the qualification.
Component 3 (Texts in Practice)
Students perform two extracts, examined by an external examiner. The examination takes place in the spring term of Year 11.
20% of the qualification.
We choose texts to both challenge students and enable them to showcase their strengths. Plays we have used in previous years have included: ‘Two’ by Jim Cartwright, ‘Shakers’ and ‘Bouncers’ by John Godber, ‘Hymns’ by Chris O’Connell and ‘Pool (No Water)’ by Mark Ravenhill.
Throughout the course there are many opportunities to visit the theatre. Witnessing professional work provides the learners with ideas and inspiration for their own devised work and developing the ability to analyse performances, as stated above, is a requirement of the written exam.
The content of the course provides a smooth transition to A-level courses in Drama and Theatre Studies.