The Drama Department

The Drama Department is a lively curriculum area where pupils are encouraged to explore the 3 main elements of performance: Creating, Performing and Responding. Pupils are nurtured through a thematic approach where they will develop skills that will prepare them not only for life but also for a career in the arts industry.

Question

Why exactly should Drama be included in the whole school curriculum and what contribution can it make that other subjects can’t? 

Answer

Drama should be included in the school curriculum because it encourages pupils to understand himself or herself and the world in which they live. This element of Drama supports the PSE programme within the school very well.

However, Drama is also a subject in its own right. Therefore, alongside the exploration of PSE issues and themes, Drama is taught explicitly in terms of contemporary and classical plays, famous playwrights, drama theorists, dramatists, theatrical techniques and performance skills. The department is also responsible for covering, assessing and reporting on standards and progression for the Oracy strand of the Literacy Framework.

Extra-Curricular Activities

The department leads a vibrant extra-curricular program which features a Glee Club, Christmas Extravaganza Concert (featuring our very own staff choir!), Bi-Annual School Production and our annual Shakespeare Schools Festival performance showcased in a professional theatre. All extra-curricular activities are accessible to all pupils from every Key Stage.

Departmental Aims

The aims of the Drama Department are to encourage and develop: -

  • Confidence and self – expression
  • Creativity
  • Sensitivity
  • Oracy Skills
  • Knowledge and understanding of drama techniques, skills and forms

A brief description of KS3 course

Pupils receive one hour of drama a fortnight. Throughout KS3, drama lessons take a thematic approach to explore PSE issues whilst learning dramatic techniques and improve performance skills.

In Year 7 pupils explore:

  • Friendship and Bullying
  • Ernie's Incredible Illucinations by Alan Ayckbourn
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare. 

Throughout these topics, pupils have the opportunity to learn basic performance skills such as the “no backs” rule and voice projection.  Pupils also use a variety of drama techniques, such as freeze frames, thought tracking, captions and choral chanting.

During Year 8 pupils explore:

  • Juvenile Crime
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Accidents

During these topics, pupils have the opportunity to experiment with theatrical style and are encouraged to create drama of an abstract nature and to experiment with structure.  Pupils learn a variety of new drama techniques such as narration and action, essence machines, monologues and staging.

Throughout Year 9 we explore:

  • An Actors Approach to Script (GCSE preparation)
  • Prejudice
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Throughout these topics, pupils have the opportunity to participate in both improvised and scripted performances.  Pupils widen their theatrical knowledge by utilising a variety of new dramatic techniques including stylised movement, crescendo/diminuendo, Stanislavski's physical and mental objectives and stage combat.

A brief description of KS4 course

At present we offer WJEC GCSE Drama. The aims of the course are to:  

  • apply knowledge and understanding when making, performing and responding to drama  
    • explore performance texts, understanding their social, cultural and historical context including the theatrical conventions of the period in which they were created  
    • develop a range of theatrical skills and apply them to create performances  
    • work collaboratively to generate, develop and communicate ideas  
    • develop as creative, effective, independent and reflective learners able to make informed choices in process and performance  
    • contribute as an individual to a theatrical performance  
    • reflect on and evaluate their own work and that of others  
    • develop an awareness and understanding of the roles and processes undertaken in contemporary professional theatre practice  
    • adopt safe working practices. 

The course is split up into 3 practical and theoretical units:

  • Unit 1: Devising Theatre 40%

Learners participate in the creation, development and performance of a piece of devised theatre based on either the work of a theatre practitioner or a genre in response to a stimulus set by WJEC.  Learners complete a written evaluation of the devised performance under formal supervision

  • Unit 2: Performing Theatre 20%

Learners participate in a performance based on two 10 minute extracts from a performance text of their own choice

  • Unit 3: Interpreting Theatre 40%
  • Written examination. 1 hour 30 minutes

Section A: Set Text. Pupils wills answer a series of questions on one set text explored as an actor, designer and director. 

Section B: Live Theatre Review One question, from a choice of two, requiring analysis and evaluation of one live theatre production seen during the course.

http://www.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/drama/drama-gcse/gcse-drama-spec-from-2016-e.pdf?language_id=1&dotcache=no&dotcache=refresh

A brief description of KS5 course

Students at KS5 study BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Performing Arts. 

This 2 year course aims to “provide a broad educational base for further training, further education and employment within the performing arts sector. The qualifications will develop learners’ abilities through the knowledge and skills gained in different parts of the programme”.

Throughout the course students are required to complete 6 Units - 2 core Units and 4 optional Units.

Units are selected from the comprehensive list found within the specification and are chosen year on year to cater to the student’s talents and areas of expertise, such as:

  • Performing to an Audience
  • Principles of Acting
  • Developing Voice for the Actor
  • Variety Performance
  • Mask in Performance
  • Musical Theatre
  • Auditions for Actors
  • Theatre for Children
  • Theatre in Education

http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/btec-nationals/performing-arts-2010.coursematerials.html#filterQuery=category:Pearson-UK:Category%2FSpecification

Assessment takes place in a variety of formats, thus being performances, presentations, written assignments, blogs/vlogs and portfolios of evidence.