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Students during a performance

Drama

Curriculum Intent:

Drama students gain and develop their creativity to follow their dreams and reach for the stars.

Our intent is to nurture an enjoyment and understanding of Drama through practical experience and to develop both subject specific and transferable skills that empower students. We focus on encouraging teamwork, creativity, reflection and communication. We aim to engage students and build confidence in a safe and inclusive environment.

Drama should inspire students to develop inquisitive minds. It should develop their understanding of the function of Drama in civilisation and equip them for life with the necessary skills to become reflective, responsible adults with the ability to make a positive contribution to society.

Drama is offered as:

  • Core subject Years 7, 8 & 9
  • GCSE Option Years 10 & 11
  • IB Theatre Studies Year 12 & 13

Key Stage 3 Drama

Curriculum Overview

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 7 Introduction to Drama Skills Introduction to Drama techniques Greek Theatre The Tempest Evacuation Pick ‘n’ mix to recap all units and skills
Year 8 From Rosa Parks to Antigone Brecht Barry the Bully Commedia Dell’Arte Loneliness The identification – Poetry as a stimulus
Year 9 Theatre In Education Trinity Speech and Drama exams preparation Speech and Drama exams and intro to text work – DNA Physical Theatre Stylised Realism Devised Theatre final performances

 

Year 7

Students receive one lesson per week, through which they are introduced to the key drama skills and techniques, 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.

Year 8

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.  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

Students receive one lesson per week, exploring a ‘big question’ which provides a focus for the unit and the opportunity for personal enquiry. Students will use their Drama skills acquired throughout the course to create and perform a devised piece of theatre to a visiting Trinity examiner, resulting in students completing a Grade 5 Group Devising qualification. In year 9 students will also explore more theatrical styles to offer breadth of performance. Embedded within the course is the development of thinking skills. Much of what we do in Drama utilises and supports the development of independent thinking skills and we are able to make the development of these skills explicit in the teaching of Drama.

Assessment

Drama is a practical subject and, alongside the school assessment guidelines assessments will be made of the pupils’ performance and written skills as we move through the year. Frequent constructive verbal feedback will be given to pupils throughout lessons from the teacher and through peer assessment. In addition to this pupils will be expected to display their knowledge and understanding in reflective discussions and extended writing opportunities at key moments. Pupils will also be encouraged to assess their own and others’ work in performance using a common set of criteria, as well as develop their critical and reflective skills in response to performance.

In addition to the Key Stage 3 knowledge and skills, 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 future GCSE performances.

Further Reading/Resources

-Current events in UK theatre, a great source of information on productions, actors, courses and opportunities: http://www.thestage.co.uk

-Although aimed at GCSE students, the BBC Bitesize website details some of the techniques Key Stage 3 will be introduced to this year and is fun and accessible: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/drama/

-The Theatre Museum collections formerly held in the Covent Garden premises are now held by the Victoria and Albert Museum, and their website is interesting and extensive http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/t/theatre-and-performance/

Splendid Productions are a fantastic Brechtian inspired theatre company who perform a live performance to RGS students each year https://www.splendidproductions.co.uk/

 

Key Stage 4 Drama

Curriculum Overview

Students at Key Stage 4 have two periods a week studying the Eduqas GCSE Drama qualification

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 10 Brecht Technical Theatre and Trinity Speech and Drama exams preparation Trinity Speech and Drama performances and set text exploration Written exam Preparation Devising Theatre Component 1 exam preparation Devising Theatre Component 1 exam completion
Year 11 Written exam Preparation Intro to component 2 performance from a text – text research and analysis Component 2 development of characters and performances Component 2 development and performance exams Written exam Preparation  

 

 

Year 10

Students recap their knowledge of Brecht from KS3 and see more live theatre performed by Splendid Productions. They explore technical theatre, gaining knowledge of our lighting and sound equipment, as well as designing set, costume, hair and make-up. Students may elect one of these design options rather than acting for the performance exams, and every year we have several students who elect to follow this pathway.

Students will complete the first of their examined components in terms 5 and 6 of 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.

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

Students complete the final two components this year.

Component 2 allows students to perform in two contrasting 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.

Assessment at GCSE

  • Component 1: 40% of qualification. Students either act or design based on devising a piece of drama based on a stimulus set by the exam board. This is supported by a written portfolio and evaluation.
  • Component 2: 20% of qualification. Students either act or design based on a performance of two extracts from the same text to a visiting examiner
  • Component 3: 40% of qualification. 90-minute written examination which component requires learners to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of how drama and theatre is developed and performed through the study of a performance text and through responding to live theatre.

Further Reading/Resources

Example stimulus material:

  • ‘All men are created equal’ American Declaration of Independence
  • Handbags and Gladrags by Stereophonics
  • Parsifal I, Anselm Kiefer http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/kiefer-parsifal-i-t03403
  • The Closed Door.

Example component 2 texts:

  • Kindertransport (1995) Diane Samuels
  • Shakers (1985) John Godber
  • The Crucible (1950) Arthur Miller
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (1988) Oscar Wilde

Theatre practitioners:

  • Stanislavski
  • Brecht

The BBC Bitesize website details some of the techniques and approaches specifically examined by the Eduqas exam board, giving tips for all aspects of the course https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zkvm2sg

 

Key Stage 5 Drama

Students at Key Stage follow the IB Theatre course as part of the IB Diploma.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 12 Political Theatre – Boal, Pinter and Brecht Berkoff, Stanislavski and Physical Theatre Technical theatre and Design and Introduction to Solo Project Director’s Notebook Introduction Devising and mock collaborative project Director’s Notebook Completion
Year 13 Collaborative Project Devising Process Collaborative Project and Solo Project Performances Research Presentation Preparation Research Presentation Performances

 

Year 12

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

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.

 Assessment at IB

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.

  • Task 1: Solo theatre piece (HL only) N/A SL                  35% HL

Students at HL research a theatre theorist they have not previously studied, identify an aspect(s) of their theory and create and present a solo theatre piece (4–8 minutes) based on this aspect(s) of theory.

  • Task 2: Director’s notebook (SL and HL) 35% SL                  20% HL

Students at SL and HL choose a published play text they have not previously studied and develop ideas regarding how it could be staged for an audience.

  • Task 3: Research presentation (SL and HL) 30% FL                  20% HL

Students at SL and HL plan and deliver an individual presentation (15 minutes maximum) to their peers in which they outline and physically demonstrate their research into a convention of a theatre tradition they have not previously studied.

  • Task 4: Collaborative project (SL and HL) 35% SL                  25% HL

Students at SL and HL collaboratively create and present an original piece of theatre (lasting 13–15 minutes) for and to a specified target audience, created from a starting point of their choice.

Further Reading/Resources

The same monologue performed in 5 different practitioner approaches can be viewed here, and is an interesting way to compare performance styles https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5DE67813461897E6

An insight into life behind the scenes whilst a performance is on at the National Theatre can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFj4sOHAfVU

Wider reading of plays and theory books, including information on a wide range of theatre practitioners, is always recommended, we have a wide selection in the Drama department which students may borrow and we encourage students to join their local library to access even more.

 

British Values:

British Values in Drama

Democracy: Democracy is explored through the study of Brecht at KS3, 4 and 5. Brecht is a theatre practitioner who presents political and social injustices, including the restriction of liberties based on age, gender, religion, class etc.

Individual Liberty: Students look at fictional and real life examples of those who have stood up for their beliefs, this includes exploring Rosa Parks in KS3. At KS3, 4 and 5 students explore the theatre practitioner Brecht, who highlights political messages through his work – students develop their own theatre to highlight social injustices in their own lives. At KS5 students also explore the practitioner Boal, who explores political oppression through theatre.

Mutual respect: Respect is explored through the sharing of ideas and opinions when devising theatre. This is particularly evident when studying Brecht at all key stages.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs: All theatre lessons at KS3, 4 and 5 enable students to express their views through both performance and discussion on a range of issues. Students frequently draw on their own experiences within devised role plays in all year groups.