Drama and Theatre

Staffing

Miss D S Coates - Head of Drama
Mrs S McWilliams

Department Overview

Drama thrives within the school. There are senior and junior drama clubs which run weekly. Pupils from the school have achieved places with the National and Regional Youth Theatres. There are annual productions within which it is possible for pupils to become fully involved in performing, set building, or lighting and sound. We run a drama festival during the Summer term which involves many pupils in Street Theatre performances.

Theatre Visits:
Visits to high quality theatrical productions are a feature of the extra-curricular life of the school. At all levels, we encourage making the most of opportunities to visit the theatre as part of English and Drama Studies but also as a part of a wider education. In particular there is an A-Level theatre visit to London consisting of productions, lectures and backstage tours. We make every effort to take students to worthwhile productions of Key Stage 3, GCSE and A-Level set texts.

The Drama Studio:
The Drama Department has exclusive use of the Drama Studio, situated on the first floor of the main school building. The Studio is equipped with lighting, sound and staging suitable for all practical work.

Adjoining the Studio is a reference room and resources area housing scripted texts, reference books, video and audio tapes, all widely used by the Advanced Level Theatre Studies students. A new addition to the department is the design and technical studio, now situated below the school canteen. This offers facilities for GCSE and A-Level students to create model sets, masks and properties as well as sound recordings.

All students are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular drama. The annual school production involves most year groups and there is a great demand from students to be part of the cast or back-stage crew. This year we will have a Christmas Variety Evening and Summer Street Theatre performances.

The Drama Department organises termly theatre visits and touring companies regularly perform within the school to year group audiences. Students have recently returned from London having watched three theatre productions and spoken to the designers, stage-crew and actors, as well as participating in back-stage tours.

KS3

Within the lower school, Drama is taught as part of the English National Curriculum with emphasis on speaking and listening skills. English classes explore important themes and issues through the use of role-play, discussion and improvisation. The study of a Shakespeare text is an integral component of Key Stage 3 English.

GCSE

GCSE Drama and Theatre Arts

Why study Drama and Theatre Arts?

Drama is an enabling and enriching subject in which students gain many transferable skills. They learn to cooperate, communicate their ideas, listen to others, problem solve, be part of a productive team, show leadership, be organised and meet deadlines. For those with good IT skills, students can use sound, video editing and lighting software. For those with design, art and textile skills, it offers the opportunity to design and construct costumes and sets.

Features of the course:

Lessons are a mixture of practical and written work.

The practical constitutes 60% of the total course. It involves a number of components: acting, set, costume, lighting and sound design, of which students can opt to specialise in one or more. They apply their chosen skill to a scripted play which is performed for an audience. They also devise their own performance and learn to improvise, script write and direct.

There is some written work in these practical lessons which consists of an individual diary, logging the development, refinement, and creative decision making during the rehearsal period and the audience response to the final performances.

The written paper consists of a series of short essay style questions on a set text, devised work they have performed, and live theatre previously seen. The set text is practically explored in lesson via workshopping, acting, design and technical ideas as well as annotating the text.

Enrichment:

There is the opportunity to take part in large arts events such as the Winter Droving as well as street theatre. The department organises evening theatre trips, live screenings at the cinema, workshops run by professional actors, designers and directors and back stage tours. For students in receipt of pupil premium they are entitled to funding for curriculum trips.

What opportunities for progression does it offer?

The course is an excellent foundation for those students who are aspiring to study A-Level theatre studies and/or English literature. It is a multifaceted course that enables students to offer an individual skill within a group setting and thus work to the strengths of individual students. The analytical, evaluative and reflective skills learnt are an asset to many other courses that students may be studying.

Key information:

Topics for Study:

Acting, design, lighting and sound

Assessment summary

Practical assessment (60%)

1 x  1 hour 30 minutes examination (40%)

Exam Board

AQA

A-Level

A-Level Drama and Theatre

Why study Drama and Theatre?

Students of AQA drama and theatre develop skills that are not just essential for drama but applicable to a wide range of higher education subjects and in the workplace. This specification refines students' collaborative skills, their analytical thinking and their approach to research. Students grow in confidence and maturity as they successfully realise their own ideas. They learn to evaluate objectively and develop a sound appreciation of the influences that cultural and social contexts can have on decision-making. Whatever the future holds, students of A-Level drama and theatre emerge with a toolkit of transferable skills preparing them for their next steps.

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

Students need to demonstrate that they have an interest in drama and the theatre. You need to read widely and be able to reflect on the impact of theatre in different contexts. There may be opportunities for optional visits for which there would be additional costs.

Features of the course:

This qualification emphasises practical creativity alongside research and theoretical understanding. Students learn through experience, seeing theatre and making theatre for themselves. Students are introduced to a wide range of theatrical styles and contexts as they explore plays practically and devise and work on performances.

Students choose to develop as a:

  • performer
  • designer (lighting, sound, set, costume)
  • director
  • combination of these.

Whichever option they choose, students will gain many invaluable skills, both theatrical and transferable, to expand their horizons.

Key information:

Topics for Study:

Three components:

  • Drama and theatre
  • Creating original drama
  • Making theatre

In the practical components students may specialise in performing, lighting, sound, set, costume, or directing.

Assessment summary

1 x 3 hour written examination (40%)

1 x Creating original drama practical, group assessment including working notebook (30%)

1 x Making theatre practical, individual or group assessment and reflective report (30%)

Entry requirements

Grade B in GCSE Drama or a Grade 6 in GCSE English plus an audition/interview

Exam Board

AQA

 

 

 

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