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Students during a performance

Drama

Drama offers students the opportunity to develop their understanding of how meaning is communicated in theatre and to work creatively to communicate ideas through a theatrical medium. It is a primarily practical subject which also enables students to develop life skills, such as working co-operatively with others, presenting their ideas with confidence and developing skills of empathy and understanding.

Drama is taught as a discrete part of the curriculum from Year 7. Students will also have opportunities to participate in drama activities in their English lessons, and also across the wider curriculum.

Students can opt for Drama GCSE, where emphasis is on performance and working creatively, as well as exploring technical theatre (lighting, sound, costume, hair, make-up and set design). Students will also participate in theatre trips in order to write in an evaluative and analytical style about theatre.

Drama and Theatre Studies is offered at both A level and IB. It is an exciting and challenging subject which develops students who are confident about working independently and who communicate effectively with others, qualities which are highly valued by universities and in the world of work.

Additionally, there are many opportunities for extra-curricular participation in Drama; We offer a Drama Club for younger students, as well as a Whole School Production. Each year group also has the opportunity to observe live theatre either at school or at the theatre.

Course Offerings

Course Title Qualifications Obtainable Awarding Body
Key Stage 4 Courses
GCSE WJEC Edugas
Key Stage 5 Courses
A Level WJEC Edugas
IB IBO

Students undertake all 3 assessed components this year.Component 1 enables students to devise a piece of drama based on a stimulus set by the exam board. This is supported by a written portfolio and evaluation. Students may choose to be examined on either their acting or a design element.

Year 7
Curriculum Content: Students receive one lesson per week, through which they are introduced to the key drama skills, including Still Images, Thought Tracking, Hot-Seating, Monologues, Cross Cutting, Narration and Role play.

Students develop their team-work skills and work both independently and as part of a larger group as they explore a range of themes and issues in Year 7, including joining a new school, Greek Theatre and The Tempest.

The students also begin working towards Bronze Level Arts Award, a nationally recognised qualification which assesses the students on 4 main areas;

Part A: Exploring the Arts as a participant

Part B: Exploring the Arts as an audience member

Part C: Arts Inspiration

Part D: Arts Skill Share

Year 8
Curriculum Content: Students receive one lesson per week, through which they develop the key drama skills, including Still Images, Thought Tracking, Hot-Seating, Monologues, Cross Cutting, Narration and Role Play. The students also complete their Bronze level Arts Award which they begin in Year 7.

Students develop their team-work skills and work both independently and as part of a larger group.

Students explore a range of themes and issues in Year 8, including bullying and peer pressure, as well as exploring different approaches to building and developing a character.

Year 8 Drama students also observe a visiting theatre company who perform in a new theatrical style.

Year 9
Curriculum Content: Students explore different theatrical genres, including Physical Theatre and Theatre In Education.

Students are given the opportunity to work with scripts and to devise their own improvisations based around various themes.

An introduction to technical theatre skills is also covered, giving students an initial awareness of creating a more rounded performance.

Students will also take part in theatre trips in order to experience live theatre and to further their knowledge and enjoyment of the subject.

In addition to the GCSE qualification, students will work in groups to sit a Grade 5 Group Devising Speech and Drama Exam in order to give them the opportunity to perform in front of an external examiner and prepare further for GCSE performances.

Year 10
Curriculum Content: Students explore two new theatrical styles, ‘Stylised Realism’ and the Theatre Practitioner Brecht, resulting in devised performances based on both styles. Students will also receive a visit from a Theatre Company who will perform in a Brechtian style and deliver a workshop to continue practically exploring the practitioner.

This year students will also all sit a Grade 6 Solo Speech and Drama Exam, in which they will perform 2 contrasting monologues, a spontaneous improvisation, be hot-seated as a character and discuss the monologues performed and the preparation process with an external examiner.

Year 11
Curriculum Content: Students undertake all 3 assessed components this year.

Component 1 enables students to devise a piece of drama based on a stimulus set by the exam board. This is supported by a written portfolio and evaluation. Students may choose to be examined on either their acting or a design element.

Component 2 allows students to perform in two extracts from the same text to a visiting examiner. Again, students may choose to be examined on either acting or design.

Component 3 assesses the student’s holistic knowledge of theatre, through which they examine a set text from the point of view of an actor, director and designer. They also refer to live theatre observed. This is examined through a 90-minute written examination taken in the summer.

Year 12 A Level
Curriculum Content: Students will explore a range of theatrical styles and genres, including Brecht, Stanislavski, Berkoff and Physical Theatre. Additionally, we explore technical theatre in more depth, allowing students to take on a directorial and designer role in class.

Component 1 is completed towards the end of the year, which requires students to devise a piece of theatre from an extract of studied text in a theatrical style explored earlier in the year. This is supported by a written log. Students may choose to either be examined on their acting or a design element.

This year students will also explore one of the set texts, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ in preparation for the written examination in Year 13.

Year 12 IB
Curriculum Content: The Theatre course is an incredibly varied and enjoyable course which is 100% coursework and performance based. There is no written examination on the Theatre course. Students can tailor the course towards their areas of interest and enjoyment.

In Year 12 Students explore the work of a range of theatrical practitioners, including Boal, Berkoff, Stanislavski and Pinter. We will explore topics including political theatre, and work with both devising and text based stimulus. Additionally, students will gain knowledge and confidence with various technical and design elements, including set design, lighting, props and costume. Students will also work both independently and as part of a larger group, gaining experience of both performance and presenting.

One assessment unit will also be completed this year, the Director’s Notebook. This requires students to select a text and develop their own directorial vision.

In addition, throughout both Year 12 and 13, we will go on several theatre trips to enable students to see a wide range of theatrical styles. Students will also work with theatre practitioners, such as Splendid Productions.

Year 13 A Level
Curriculum Content: Building on the knowledge gained in Year 12, students will explore their two set texts and explore techniques employed by directors to use in rehearsal. Students will also take inspiration from live theatre and use this to create their own visions for their set texts. This will be examined through Component 3, a 2 ½ hour written examination taken in the summer.

Students will also take part in Component 2, which requires them to perform in two contrasting performances – one extract from a text and one piece of devised theatre based on a stimulus set by the exam board. Students support these performances with a written evaluation. This component is examined by an external examiner.

Year 13 IB
Curriculum Content: In Year 13 students are able to build upon the knowledge gained in Year 12, starting with a ‘Collaborative Project’, through which students devise a piece of theatre and produce a written project which outlines the research, development and evaluation stages of the project.

Students will also produce and deliver a presentation which teaches other members of the class about a world theatre tradition. This presentation enables them to research a new and interesting aspect of theatre and demonstrate practically how an element of their chosen theatrical style can be applied.

Students at Higher Level will also produce a ‘solo project’, which can be geared towards their chosen area of interest. In the past this has included Stanislavski inspired performances, creation of puppetry inspired by Julie Taymor, and video projection work inspired by Robert Lepage. This project is started in Year 12 and completed in Year 13, culminating in a final performance and written coursework project.

Last academic year (2017-18) our students achieved 50% Level 6 and 50% Level 7. A fantastic result which was well deserved and reflected the wonderful ideas and hard work that our students (and staff) put in.