Drama and Theatre
The principal aim of Drama and Theatre Studies is to prepare students for a career in the creative and performing arts industry such as acting, directing, producing, designing. Drama can also develop transferable skills that are in demand across almost all industries. These include teamwork, working well under pressure and meeting deadlines, critical thinking skills and developing individual’s emotional quotient. Students develop their presentation and verbal communication skills as well as their written communication skills.
The Year 7 & 8 curriculum forms the foundation through exploration of genre, style, practitioner, and methodology. Each unit of work is based around making drama through devising, performing from text, and responding to live theatre. The Year 9 Keystone curriculum centres around a close study of Lord of The Flies by William Golding. Students undertake a practical research project into Modern Theatre which explores contemporary Directors, Performance Styles and Design. This correlates with all 3 components studied at GCSE thus preparing students for taking Drama as an option.
In Years 10 and 11, all students follow the Edexcel GCSE Drama syllabus. Component 1: Devising assesses the students’ ability to create their own original work and record the process in a portfolio. They may take a performance or Design pathway. Component 2 -Performance from Text requires them to select two extracts from their chosen play text to a visiting examiner. Component 3- Theatre Makers in Practice centres around study of DNA by Dennis Kelly as well as a Live Theatre Evaluation.
A-level Drama and Theatre Studies comprises of three components which build on those assessed at GCSE: Component 1 -Devising, Component 2 – Performance from Text, Component 3 -Theatre Makers in Practice.
As a department we fully support and encourage the whole school ethos of kindness, tolerance, and respect. There are many opportunities throughout the school year to perform with other year groups. They form close bonds during these times, some of which are lifelong. Visits from practitioners and visits to Live Theatre make this a highly experiential subject. We also have a cross curricular links with Art, Design, Science, Music, English, History, Psychology, Sociology, Politics and Modern Languages.
Foundation Years: Year 7 and 8
- Introduction to Characterisation: how and actor and director interpret a written text and transpose it onto the stage. Focus is on Kneehigh Theatre Company and Grimm Tales.
- Commedia Dell’Arte: A highly practical course which introduces this heavily stylised form through text and online links with an Italian Practitioner.
- Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet - Elizabethan and Jacobean History and exploration of the Bards’ work. An abridged text is explored and then performed off script.
- Verbatim: Students study the works of Mark Wheeller, In Yer Face Theatre, and Theatre in Education. Students devise their own Verbatim pieces using research into real life events or interviews of family members.
- Naturalism and realism: students learn method acting techniques and Stanislavski System. They look at Screen Acting and compare to Stage Acting. Students are assessed on their ability to learn and perform a monologue or duologue in a Naturalistic or Realistic way.
- Conventions of Epic Theatre: Students study a range of extracts from Brecht as a director, actor, and designer. They work on a creative adaptation of a Shakespeare text, using Brechtian methodology.
- Live theatre evaluation: students attend a local production and write guided notes on all aspects of the performance from the perspective of both a Director and Designer
Keystone Year: Year 9
- Study of a whole text-Lord of the Flies by William Golding an in-depth exploration of this classic text as a designer, actor, and director. Students gain insight into the decision-making process when transposing from page to stage.
- Live Theatre Review – students analyse the Design and performance elements of a National Theatre production.
- Devising- 72 Hour challenge - students are given three lessons to devise a 5-minute devised piece in response to a Stimulus which can be a newspaper article, song, photo, piece of art.
GCSE: Years 10 and 11
Exam Board: Edexcel
The aims and objectives are to enable students to:
- Develop their knowledge and understanding of a wide range of theatrical styles, genres, and methodologies
- Develop their knowledge and understanding of the process of rehearsal, direction, design and audience awareness that goes into producing successful pieces of theatre.
- Develop their ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured responses to questions about theatrical process both as a performer and audience member.
- Engage with questions about the creative intent of Theatre Makers and the dramatic impact on both modern and historical audiences.
- Reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of texts studied, stimuli responded to and feedback received from their contemporaries.
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Modern Theatre as both a business and form of entertainment.
- Demonstrate core skills of group interaction, self-motivation and perseverance, target setting, time management, budget management, negotiation skills when working toward a shared vision.
- Understand the influence of live theatre on individuals, communities, and societies throughout the ages.
- Apply knowledge and understanding, in order to analyse central issues and ideas inherent in Live Theatre and evaluate the impact on audiences.
- Creative and critical thinking skills through analysing and interpreting scripts.
- Presentation and verbal communication through regular performances.
Component 1: Devising
Non-examination assessment - 40% of the qualification
● Create and develop a devised piece from a stimulus
● Performance of this devised piece or design realisation for this performance.
● Analyse and evaluate the devising process and performance.
● Performer or designer routes available
Component 2: Performance from Text
Non-examination assessment - 20% of the qualification
● Students will either perform in and/or design for 2 key extracts from a performance text.
● Performer or designer routes available
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
Written examination: 40% of the qualification
● Practical exploration and study of one complete performance text.
● Choice of 12 performance texts.
● Live theatre evaluation – free choice of production
- Introduction to human context - a close look a roles and relationships, context, and subtext
- Dramatic tension - status and power dynamics within a scene and links with objectives throughout the life of the play.
- Dramatic focus - how specific moments are heightened to direct the focus of the audience. The challenge of focus within the given circumstances of the play.
- Place, space and time - socio-economic, historical, political, and scientific influence on the given circumstances of a text.
- Ingredients of drama - influential actors, directors, and designers.
Performance from text – students direct, design for and perform an extract from their chosen text at either Christmas Cabaret or similar public event.
Live Theatre Evaluation- students visit an array of live theatre and write 500 words covering key scenes, directorial vision, socio historical context, design elements and characterisation.
Devising- students respond to three stimuli and spend three weeks devising a fully cast, designed, and scripted piece. They keep a working notebook of their modifications and feedback. This will be performed at one of the public events on the school calendar.
Page to Stage- research into the 2000s gang culture, ASBOs and developments in forensics centring around DNA by Dennis Kelly. Students begin to engage with this text directing each other, considering how to mark specific moments through performance and design.
- Students build on their experience of responding to stimuli, developing scenarios, building characters, and introducing conventions of theatre. A wide range of issues are explored from politics, war, technology to eating disorders and addiction
- A portfolio of work tracking the process is either recorded or written or a combination of both.
- Students can choose a Design or Performance pathway. Both are responsible for the explorative and development phases. These are performed to an external examiner.
Performing from Text
- Students select a second extract from the text they selected to perform from in Year 10.
- Both extracts are performed to an external examiner.
Theatre Makers in Practice
- Students deepen their research, practical exploration and designing for DNA by Dennis Kelly and their response to Live Theatre
- Develop their exam technique through regular practice exam questions, exemplar essays and feedback underpin this process.
A Level: Years 12 and 13
Exam Board: Edexcel
The intent of this course is to prepare students for university study, placement in the creative arts industry and has many transferable skills which are valued in the world of work. Texts cover a wide range of issues at a forensic level and really challenge the student’s ability to develop strong lines of enquiry.
Devising - 40% of the qualification
- Students focus on the work of Splendid and experience two workshops over the two years with the founder Kerry Frampton
- Students are guided through the devising process in preparation for their final piece assessed in year 13. Opportunities for performance to a live audience will take place in both Year 12 and 13
- Written portfolio 2500-3000 words
Performing from text – 20% of the qualification
- Students learn one monologue or duologue in Year 12. They will also select their group performance text
- Performed at Christmas Cabaret and Summer Showcase
- Refined in Year 13 and performed to an external examiner
Theatre makers in practice – written examination 40% of the qualification
- Students explore the set text of Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe and Equus by Peter Schaffer
- The chosen practitioner is Steven Berkoff
- Students attend at least three live theatre performances (usually one adaptation of a novel, a Shakespeare play and an immersive piece) over the course of the 2 years
Year 7 and 8 Junior Institute of Performing Arts (J.I.P.A) meets every Tuesday lunch 1:15-1:45 pm in the Drama Studio. Passes for early lunch are available. This club enriches learning already delivered through the curriculum in senior student and teacher led workshops. The aim is to have “Serious Fun!” Pupils are encouraged to prepare their work to performance standard and often perform at public events throughout the academic year.
Year 9, 10, 11,12,13 Senior Institute of Performing Arts (S.I.P.A) meets Thursday and Friday lunchtime 1:15-1:45 pm in the Drama Studio. Pupils use this time to prepare for practical assessments, castings, forthcoming performances or to gain new methodologies.
Musical Theatre Club – This is aimed at all year groups who have been cast in our Biannual Musical Productions. Dance, Music, Singing, Acting and Design are all developed during these sessions. This runs every Wednesday lunchtime 1:15-1:45 in the Music and Drama rooms and every Thursday after school 3:30- 5pm in the Main Hall
Workshops and Theatre Visits – There are visits to see live theatre performances throughout the school year and the selection of the shows is bespoke for each year group. Professional practitioners from the world of Theatre , Film and Design are invited to come and work with students to build on taught lessons and give industry standard insight.