“We do not go to the theatre like our ancestors, to escape from the pressure of reality, so much as to confirm our experience of it.” – Charles Lamb
The Drama curriculum is exciting and is planned around the needs as well as the interests of the students. The teaching covers technical skill as well as theatrical traditions from other cultures. It includes work on genre, storytelling, real-life issues, physical theatre and masks. We offer trips available to all year groups which enable them to build on the knowledge gained within lessons and experience the magic of theatre.
The department has produced and directed many highly creative productions over the years, using the skills of students across all year groups in everything from make up and costume, sound and lights to playing in the orchestra and performing on stage. We have a varied range of extra–curricular activities where students really gain a further appreciation of the subject as well as of each other.
Years 7 and 8
Year 7 – Building basic skills in role-play, still image, as well as understanding stories, style and structure.
Year 8 – Specific traditional theatre styles are explored through Clowning skills, Melodrama and Silent Film and pantomime with an introduction to mask work in Summer. For 2020 and due to Covid-19 we are currently exploring the techniques used by Unicorn theatre and developing work in their style instead of clowning skills.
Year 9 – Assessment at this stage begins to focus on response, development, performance and evaluation, linking KS3 to GCSE. We are focusing on Blood Brothers by Willy Russell, Youth Crime and a brand new Theatre-in-Education project based on the play Game Over by Mark Wheeller.
GCSE drama (Edexcel)- Years 10 and 11
Year 10 – The whole year is designed to be a mock version of Year 11 with three assessment phases taking place over the course of the year. Students are encouraged to see, as well as take part in public performances to expand their range and confidence within the subject.
Year 11 – Assessments take place over three units based on script understanding, script performance and theatre devising. All groupings are mixed in terms of gender and ability. We study DNA by Dennis Kelly for the written exam (plus a live theatre show that is reviewed as part of the exam). We make our own choices for the group and monologue performances for Component 2 and complete a student devised piece of theatre for Component 1 which is supported by a portfolio of process evidence.
A Level (Edexcel)
Component 1 – Using the style of theatre practitioners, Frantic Assembly, students create a devised performance piece using an extract from a play of our choice as stimulus. This is supported by a written portfolio.
Component 2 – Students perform a monologue and group piece of their choice to a visiting examiner.
Component 3 – The written exam is based around Woyzeck by Georg Buchner and Equus by Peter Shaffer which will have largely been studied through Year 12. Students also conduct a live theatre review as part of the exam based on a production they have seen during the course.