We are an energetic and enthusiastic team working to together to promote drama throughout the school. Through drama we explore a variety of issues that may affect young people today and hope to broaden their understanding and encourage them to think about their choices, while keeping the lessons fast paced and enjoyable.
There are six teachers in the department who teach across Key Stage 3, two of these also teach at GCSE and A Level. The department follow set schemes of work throughout the year ensuring that all students are completing the same topic across the school, this provides opportunity for discussion amongst students.
There are three drama studios within the school with access to lighting rigs, sound equipment and staging. Our main drama studio is situated in the newest part of the school and provides the performance space for GCSE and A level exams.
Key Stage 3
Students are taught in form groups throughout Year 7 and then split into groups in Years 8 and 9. The Key Stage 3 curriculum offers students the opportunity to improve their confidence through performing, whilst at the same time learning a variety of skills and techniques. They are assessed every half term on three different areas Creating, Performing and Evaluating, some of these areas include written assessment, which helps to prepare students for GCSE and A Level.
Year 7 Topics
Introduction to Drama – introducing the students to basic skills and techniques needed to develop their understanding of how to structure performances and communicate their storylines. Students are assessed on their Creating Skills in October.
My Life – using a variety of skills and techniques throughout; students have the opportunities to tell stories from their lives, using memories, stimulus material and various other prompts. Students are assessed on their Performing skills in December.
Greek Theatre – introducing students to the history of theatre and the different conventions used throughout this particular genre. The students will gain knowledge of different types of staging, how to use choral speaking and work with mask through various mythological Greek stories. Students are assessed on their Evaluating skills in February.
Time Machine – using a variety of techniques and skills studied throughout the year; students will have the opportunity to look into different periods in history, as well as being creative about their ideas of the future. Students are assessed on their Performing and Evaluating skills in April.
Commedia dell’Arte – introducing students to the history of theatre and different conventions used throughout this particular genre. The students will gain knowledge of the different stock characters, specific character movements, how to use mask and how to create lazzis through various Commedia improvisations. Students are assessed on their Creating skills in May.
Darkwood Manor – introducing students to different elements of drama to help them understand how to create theatrical effects for their audience. The students will have the opportunity to use lighting and sound throughout this topic to create tension and suspense within their performances. Students are assessed on their Creating and Performing skills in July.
Year 8 Topics
Introduction to Drama – introducing students to higher level techniques and refreshing the skills and techniques covered throughout Year 7. Students are assessed on their creating skills in October.
Melodrama – introducing students to the history of theatre and the conventions used throughout this particular genre. The students will gain knowledge about the acting styles, stock characters, portraying specific emotions and movement to music through the study of a scripted piece; Foiled Again. Students are assessed on their performing skills in December.
Arson About – introducing students to a complete play text, which will be studied over 12 lessons. Throughout these lessons students will: analyse character, understand how to respond to stage directions, create off text responses, learn how to take scenes from page to stage and learn about the dangers of playing with fire. Students are assessed on their performing and evaluating skills in April.
Protest – introducing students to a variety of world issues including racism and segregation, homelessness and war. The students will use different pieces of music as their stimulus throughout each lesson and finally create a Theatre in Education performance, focusing on the story of Rosa Parks. Students are assessed on their creating skills in May
Romeo and Juliet – students will study this play throughout their English lessons and then have the opportunity to create some off-script improvisations of the storyline. Throughout the topic students will use a variety of techniques to try and put themselves into the positions of the characters and understand their feelings and actions. A particular highlight is the whole class performance of Juliet’s wedding. Students will be assessed on their creating and performing skills in July.
Year 9 Topics
Spiking at the Disco – throughout this topic students will refresh the skills and techniques learnt throughout Year 7 and Year 8, while creating and studying their own unique story. This topic deals with a variety of social issues and helps students to understand the different consequences of actions. A particular highlight is the whole class performance they will create depicting the events of the Fright Night Disco. Students are assessed on their creating skills in October.
Stage Combat – students are taught how to use a variety of different combat moves during 8 lessons and will create a whole class performance for their assessment piece linking these moves together to create a believable and safe piece of theatre. Students are assessed on their performing skills in December.
Bang Out of Order – introducing students to a complete play text, which will be studied over 12 lessons. The script deals with the issue of anti-social behaviour, following one teenage boys descent into trouble. Throughout these lessons students will: analyse character, understand how to respond to stage directions, create off text responses, learn how to take scenes from page to stage and learn about the consequences of actions. There are also opportunities for the students to study real life newspaper articles about anti-social behaviour to further their understanding. Students are assessed on their performing and evaluating skills in April.
Craig and Bentley – students will study the true story of Craig and Bentley. They will develop a variety of skills and techniques throughout the topic and will be challenged with some difficult and thought provoking material. Students are assessed on their creating Skills in May.
GCSE Unit 1 (Riots) – introducing students to the practical tasks that will be delivered throughout the GCSE course. Those students progressing onto Key Stage 4 drama will gain an insight into the key terminology and techniques that will be used, the performance style and commitment required. The challenging and thought provoking material that will be issued and important skills in leadership. Students are assessed using the GCSE criteria in July.
Key Stage 4
GCSE classes are mixed ability and will follow the Edexcel Specification. Throughout the course, students have the opportunity to be assessed as performers or designers. The course is divided into three units:
Unit 1 – exploration of a topic/theme/issue. Six hours of practical controlled assessment (40 marks) and six hours of written controlled assessment (20 marks). This will be assessed by the class teacher.
Unit 2 – exploration of a complete play script. Six hours of practical controlled assessment (30 marks), six hours of written controlled assessment (10 marks). For this unit students will also attend a live theatre performance and complete a 2000 word review. This will be assessed by the teacher.
Unit 3 – final exam performance. Working for an assignment brief created by the exam board students will create a piece of theatre and perform to an external moderator between February and May. The students have a variety of different performance options, which include, working from a published text, devising new and original material, creating a Theatre in Education piece and more.
Students are encouraged to work independently outside of lessons on performance work to ensure the highest grades possible are achieved. GCSE Drama students are required to visit West End performances to enhance their understanding of theatre, which is just one of the highlights of this course.
Key Stage 5
The number of students completing Drama and Theatre Studies is growing each year. Students follow the Edexcel Specification. Throughout the course, students will explore play texts practically and complete written coursework based on their experiences, complete scripted and devised performances as performers or designers and finally complete an exam based on a script chosen by the centre. Drama and Theatre Studies also gives students the opportunity to visit the theatre and complete workshops to develop their understanding and skills further. The complete A Level is divided into four units:
Unit 1 – Exploration of Drama and Theatre. Students will study two complete plays through a variety of practical workshops, which look at specific aspects of the play. They will then create a set of Exploration Notes (3000 words) based on the work that they have covered, consolidating their understanding of the play and the activities completed. This will be assessed by the teacher.
Unit 2 – Theatre Text in Performance. This is the practical exam for the AS course and students can choose to be a designer or a performer throughout. There are two parts to this exam:
Performers complete a monologue or duologue from a fully published play and perform this to a visiting examiner and an audience.
Designers assign themselves to a performer and demonstrate their skills in lighting, sound, costume, make up or set to help the performer develop their performance. Designers are expected to produce a portfolio of evidence for their concept and present this to the examiner on the exam day.
Performers complete a 15 – 60 minute performance of a published play and perform this to a visiting examiner and an audience.
Designers assign themselves to a performance group and demonstrate their skills in lighting, sound, costume, make up or to develop the performance and realise their vision. Designers are expected to produce a portfolio of evidence for their concept and present this to the examiner on the exam day.
Unit 3 – Exploration of Dramatic Performance. Students are expected to create a unique piece of theatre based on a stimulus which is provided by the centre. Each year students are provided with challenging material to ensure they can gain high marks. They are assessed internally on four different areas; Research, Development and Structure, Performance and Supporting Written Evidence Document.
Unit 4 – Theatre Text in Context. This is the final written exam for the A2 course. It is split into three different sections. Sections A and B focus on the Greek play Lysistrata, students look at the play through the eyes of a director, creating their own concept as well as providing rehearsal strategies for their actors. Section C focuses on a Shakespearean performance chosen by the centre, allowing students to view the performance and compare it to the original production.
The Drama department offer a variety of extra-curricular activities to the whole school. One of the activities on offer is Drama Club, which runs during lunchtimes once a week. This has proved popular with Key Stage 3, as well as actively involving our Drama and Theatre Studies students, who take on the challenge of assisting and directing the students throughout. Each year we also collaborate with other departments within the school to create our whole school show. This event brings students from all age ranges together and allows them to showcase and celebrate their talents.