Our principal aim is for pupils to develop their interest and enjoyment in drama and theatre both as participants and as informed members of an audience.
In addition, we aim to:
- engage and enthuse students about theatre and the performing arts. This includes Drama in the curriculum and the wide range of co-curricular opportunities;
- develop pupils’ performance skills, giving them the opportunity to explore themes and issues relevant to present-day society sensitively;
- endow pupils with an applied understanding of different theatrical styles, conventions, and genres. This will impact upon the pupils’ imaginative and creative powers;
- develop pupils’ personal and social development through creative co-operation and collaboration;
- actively engage pupils with both the practical and written components of the course, with much emphasis being on both verbal and written analysis as a transferrable skill;
- give pupils access to a range of opportunities, such as seeing live theatre performances and practitioner workshops. These experiences are provided to develop a variety of dramatic and theatrical skills, enabling them to grow creatively and imaginatively in both devised and scripted work.
Staff and facilities
Drama is taught by a three fully qualified subject specialists and is housed in three well-equipped studios.
Many of the school’s large spaces are used for extracurricular productions, including the Main Hall, Hallam Hall, the Quads and the new Sixth Form workspace.
Subject time per 10-day cycle
- First and Second Year – one lesson
- Third Year (option) – three lessons
- Fourth and Fifth Year (option) – five lessons
- A-level (option) – ten lessons
Drama in the Lower School
In First and Second Years, pupils follow a curriculum to develop their skills as a deviser, performer, and audience member. Pupils are supported in developing their confidence as they learn a number of key drama skills which they will then use to structure effective performance pieces. Transferable skills such as teamwork, time management, focus and control are integral to each lesson. Depending on the task, pupils work individually, in pairs, small groups and even as a whole class.
Drama may be studied as an option in the Third Year. The course is structured to emulate the GCSE Drama course to prepare pupils to enable them to be successful at GCSE. Here, pupils really develop their skills as confident and engaging performers, creating performance work from a range of starting points and for different audiences. Pupils are also able to develop their understanding and application of technical theatre skills. Homework is varied, and tasks include written GCSE-style responses, independent research, scripting, set and costume design, and individual and group rehearsals that take place out of lesson time.
Drama in the Middle School
As an option subject, pupils study Drama for five hours per fortnightly cycle. Pupils follow the Pearson EdExcel GCSE Drama specification.
In year one of the GCSE course, pupils practically study the set text for their Component Three written exam, which is currently Dennis Kelly’s DNA, from the perspective of a performer, director and designer. Pupils also complete their Component One NEA Devising performance and portfolio, which is worth 40% of their overall GCSE.
In the second year of the GCSE, pupils will build upon learning in the Fourth Year. Pupils will watch at least one piece of live theatre to enable them to complete Section B of their Component Three written examination. Pupils will also perform their Component Two NEA scripted performances in front of a visiting examiner in the spring of Fifth Year. This is worth 20% of their overall grade.
Drama in the Sixth Form
As an option subject, pupils study Drama for ten hours per fortnightly cycle. Pupils follow the Pearson EdExcel A-level Drama and Theatre Studies specification.
In year one of the A-level course, pupils practically study one of the set texts for their Component Three written exam, which is currently Dario Fo’s ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’, from the perspectives of a performer and designer. Pupils also study a further play text and the work of a theatre practitioner to enable them to complete their Component One NEA Devising performance and portfolio, which is worth 40% of their overall A-level.
In the second year of the A-level, pupils will build upon learning in the Lower Sixth. Pupils will watch at least one piece of live theatre and study a further play text, which is currently ‘Woyzeck’ in the light of a theatre practitioner to enable them to complete their Component Three written examination. Pupils will also perform their Component Two NEA scripted performances in front of a visiting examiner in the spring of the Upper Sixth. This is worth 20% of their overall grade.
Co-curricular Drama provides all pupils with the opportunity to be involved in some aspect of Drama, whether as a performer or backstage. It also develops pupils’ abilities to develop other leadership skills and traits associated with the Senior School’s ‘Character Counts’.
Opportunities to be engaged in extra-curricular drama are extensive. We have a weekly Drama Club, where pupils are encouraged to get involved and have fun. A Backstage and Lighting Club meet in the run-up to shows to focus on aspects such as set construction, prop and costume making, stage make-up, as well as how to light and operate sound for a production. Pupils have the opportunity to be involved as performers and backstage in productions and numerous showcases and workshops. Recent productions have included ‘Wind In The Willows’, ‘The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe’, ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘The Production That Doesn’t Quite Go As Well As Expected’. as well as regular collaborations with the Music department including ‘Annie’, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Chicago’.
Sixth Formers traditionally direct, organise and perform a play at the end of the summer term. These productions are opportunities for leadership, teamwork, and enjoyment. Recent plays have included ‘Blithe Spirit’, ‘Lend Me A Tenor’, ‘Present Laughter’, ‘A Chorus of Disapproval’ and ‘Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon’.
The department also offers the LAMDA qualification and leads the Arts Award qualification.
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