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Drama

Introduction

Drama is an exciting, ever emerging subject which helps builds confidence and the ability to connect with an audience.  Students study drama in Year 7 and then can opt to study it in Years 8 & 9. GCSE Drama is offered in Years 10 & 11.  We explore a variety of styles and genres from Naturalism to Physical theatre and many of our schemes are heavily influenced by practitioners such as Stanislavski, Brecht and Frantic Assembly.  Over the two years students will further develop and hone their use of drama techniques as well as deepening their understanding of theatrical conventions.

Year 7

Students begin their KS3 exploration of Drama with an Introduction to basic skills including group work.  In this first term we prepare the students for the type of work they will study throughout the year focussing on basic skills such as speech, facial expressions and physicality in acting.

We then begin a scheme where the students study Pantomime.  Within this scheme we focus on large characters and comic-timing.  Students research Pantomime conventions and we develop these further in the lesson.  Nearer to Christmas time the students then have the opportunity to go and watch a Pantomime at the Thameside Theatre.

At the start of the Spring term we look at Childline which explores SMSC subject matter such as cyber-bullying, victimisation and the struggles of starting at a new school.  The scheme follows a fictional character Sam and her experiences at school.

This is followed by Greek Theatre.  Within this scheme we focus on Choral movement and speech developing the skills of working within a group.  The girls also research Greek Theatre in detail looking at the historical background and researching and performing extracts from Greek Mythology such as Theseus and the Minotaur.

Finally Year 7 finishes with an introduction to script work studying ‘Charlie & the Chocolate Factory’.  Students have the opportunity to develop characterisation, learn a script and perform this.

Year 8

The start of Year 8 is a chance to build upon the skills students have learnt in Year 7.  We study aspects of Drama and Theatre history through Commedia & Melodrama and introduce the concept of stock characters.  This develops the skill of physicalising characters and slap stick comedy.

Following on from this this we explore the script ‘Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations’ by Alan Ayckbourn.  This is a chance for the students to develop their script work but we also focus on skills such as characterisation, physical theatre and group devising.

During the final term we look at Physical Theatre in more detail developing group work, movement and co-ordination skills and give the students a chance to tell a story using this skill of Physical Theatre which is excellent prep for what is to come in GCSE.

To finish the year we study William Shakespeare and explore such plays as Macbeth and Twelfth Night focussing on ways to make Shakespeare fun!  During this term we team up with the English Department to create our Shakespeare Summer Event where there is an opportunity for a small performance.

Year 9

Year 9 is an opportunity for students to enhance their previous skills as we start to explore drama techniques in more detail in preparation for GCSE.

This course starts with Mask work.  Students use the Trestle masks and learn and develop core skills of the genre.  Students develop their movement and mime throughout this scheme.

This is followed by studying the script ‘Blood Brothers’.  Within this scheme we learn skills such as split screen, proxemics, narration and students are given the opportunity to perform a piece of text to the class much like GCSE.

During the spring term we explore the adventure novel ‘The 39 Steps’.  This is a fun and exciting scheme that explores comic timing, multi-role and lots of high energy physical work!

We then finish KS3 with an introduction to theatre practitioners including Brecht & Stanislavski.  This scheme is catered for soon to be GCSE Drama students.  We look closely at the idea of naturalism and epic theatre and how they differ.  We use script and devised work and apply the skills learnt to this which again is mirrored in the GCSE course.

Year 10 & 11

GCSE Drama is an exciting and dynamic course which builds on the creative and inter-personal skills developed at Key Stage 3 using the WJEC/Eduqas syllabus.  Students will develop their use of drama techniques and deepen their understanding of theatrical convention and styles.

The components studied will introduce students to the conventions, forms, techniques and strategies of drama. Through a range of workshops and explorations they will learn:

  • how drama is created, including all the acting and staging skills that are needed to realise a piece of drama in performance
  • how to create a character and maintain it in a performance
  • a number of skills that are highly valued in any walk of life including teamwork, creativity & imagination and being able to confidently present yourself in front of others.

Topics include: Childhood; Theatre Practitioners; Drama genres; exploring drama through play texts such as ‘Two’ and ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time’; watching and reviewing live Theatre Performances and devising performances using a range of stimuli - including literature, music, newspaper articles and pictures.

The assessment for Drama is divided into three Components:

  • Component 1 (worth 40% of the final exam grade).  Students will produce a piece of devised theatre (using the key techniques of a theatre practitioner or a genre) in response to stimulus set by the exam board that is then internally assessed.
  • Component 2 (worth 20% of the final exam grade).  Students study two extracts of text and participate in a performance which is externally assessed by a visiting examiner.
  • Component 3 (worth 40% of the final exam grade).  Students will answer questions on a studied set text and write a review of a live theatre performance they have seen during the course.