Drama

We believe that at the heart of every child is the desire to “make believe” and although this naturally becomes more complex with age, we aim to deliver the subject in its purest and most creative form, placing great importance on originality and artistry.

We have two teaching spaces: our Drama Studio, fully equipped with lighting equipment and a Youth Centre, which offers a large, bright space, currently being newly equipped, conducive to teaching our younger students and skills that are more physical in nature. 

Three members of staff (one full-time and two part-time) deliver the curriculum. As we each have a particular area of expertise (and passion) we can provide the students with a broad range of experience.

We believe that Drama as a subject at KS3, KS4 & KS5 is invaluable in:

  • Providing an opportunity for creative expression, through the study of a range of thought-provoking topics;
  • Developing the imagination, original thinking and a sense of artistry with reference to historical and current circumstances;
  • Developing confidence and communication skills;
  • Developing the intellect through the exploration of a range of classical and contemporary texts;
  • Strengthening social skills, the ability to work as a team and navigate complex interpersonal relationships;
  • Extending literary reference and developing skills in written analysis.

Extra Curricular:

We run a weekly Drama Club on Wednesdays 3.10-4.10pm in the studio. Our A’Level students assist in running the workshops.

We put on  a cross – curricular Summer Production  open to all students.

Theatre trips are arranged for all. Examination students will see performances as part of their course.

We are fortunate to have the use of the Redbridge Drama Centre and benefit from their workshops and performances.

Expectations/Code of Conduct

In order to maintain a calm and safe environment in which our students can enjoy drama and develop confidence in their ability, we expect students to adhere to the following code of conduct:

  • to behave in a sensible and safe manner at all times;
  • to be aware of health and safety within the drama space;
  • to follow the instructions of their teacher at all times;
  • to remove any items that might be a hazard in lessons, such as keys, loose jewellery, scarves, mobile phones, I pods, etc;
  • to treat each other with respect, acknowledging the range of sensitivities associated with aspects of drama, such as reading out loud and performing in front of an audience;
  • to make their best effort to complete the work set in class and homework.
  • we ask students to sign a homework contract at the start of the year. Homework is set fortnightly at KS3 and at GCSE and A Level this increases to meet the demands of the course.

Key Stage 3

Students have one hour of drama each week in which they explore a range of issue-based and skill-based topics.  Our schemes of work reflect our desire to teach drama skills that students will continue to use and develop at GCSE and even A’level.  We also expose them to a variety of genres and literary references  to develop their intellect and their ability to translate these ideas creatively into their practical work.

In Year 7, students explore the following topics, which include the use of key drama skills:

  • “Darkwood Manor”, the mystery genre;
  • “War of the Worlds”: a science fiction novel, by H.G. Wells.
  • The Wild West: exploring the historical relationship between European settlers and Native Americans;
  • The Silent Movies: the mime of Charlie Chaplin;
  • “The Incredible Illucinations of Ernie”  (an introduction to scripts);
  • “The Tempest”, by William Shakespeare.

In Year 8, skills are further developed within the context of:

  • Michael: (an exploration of bullying);
  • “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer;
  • Story Theatre (storytelling: a multicultural context);
  • “Frankenstein”; “Carrie’s War” or another appropriate text;
  • Macbeth, by William Shakespeare.

In Year 9, skills are consolidated and extended to include those studied for GCSE:

  • Kelly Turner (explores a real life event that explores the issue of racism);
  • Soap Opera and its conventions;
  • Conflict;
  • “Too Much Punch for Judy” (a play which explores the serious consequences of drinking and driving);
  • A Shakespeare Text;

Key Stage 4

Drama GCSE consists of both practical and written work:

  • Sixty percent of the course is practical and written work assessed by teachers within the department;
  • Forty percent is based on an externally assessed practical exam.

Students start year 10 with an introduction to the History of Theatre, which explores the origins of theatre in ancient Greece, techniques used in Elizabethan, Victorian and modern theatre and the influence of the work of famous practitioners.  As well as providing students with an opportunity to understand drama terminology and key skills necessary for GCSE, it also provides an introduction to ideas developed at A’level.

Our recent implementation of a Theatre in Education Project called “Performing for a Real Audience”, allows our year 10 students to gain valuable performance experience.  Taking place either in the second or summer term, the students visit a local primary school, interview KS2 children about their tastes in stories/plays and based on their ideas, devise a short piece, which is performed at the primary school several weeks later.

Coursework starts towards the end of Year 10 and includes at this stage a trip to a live theatre performance and the writing of an evaluation.

In year 11, students undertake two units of work.  Unit one is issue based and involves a six hour practical, assessed workshop, with one piece of written coursework under controlled conditions.  Unit 2 is based on the exploration of a published play and also involves a six hour practical, assessed workshop and two pieces of written coursework, including the theatre evaluation.  Unit 3 is the final practical exam, for which students devise their own piece of drama over a period of eight weeks.  This is performed for a visiting examiner in spring/early summer.

Trips

We like to expose our students to a broad range of theatre styles and techniques and provide theatre trips as part of our syllabus and as a reward for effort.  Students in year 10 to 13 attend at least one trip each year for their courses.  Given stringent health and safety procedures, trips for key stage three children are reserved for smaller groups of motivated and conscientious students.

Workshops

We host a range of workshops throughout the year which enhance the learning of our students.  These include booster courses for our year 9 students choosing Drama for a GCSE option.  Theatre- in- Education companies also visit to help our year 10 students prepare for their project.  Master classes are held to support students in their GCSE and A’level practical exams.  This has been extended this year to include a masterclass, which focuses on the Year 13 final written paper.

We are delighted this year to continue to host workshops by the Redbridge Drama Centre; Frantic Assembly; Actors of Dionysus and Theatre Workshops.

Curriculum Enhancement

Having contributed to the achievement of Artsmark Gold, we endeavour to provide opportunities for our students to gain greater confidence through extra curricular performance. 

Drama clubs for KS3 students are held during lunch and after school to raise student interest and achievement.  Some are focused particularly on the Gifted and talented. This year we are also introducing a dance club.

During Artsmonth, students in KS3, 4 and 5 are encouraged to attend special workshops and prepare pieces for performance.

KS3 students with the help of our year 10s traditionally manage an interactive drama evening with children from our local primary feeder schools.

Our Year 12s traditionally prepare and perform a piece for their GCSE certificate evening.

We usually end the year with a whole school production, which might take on the form of a musical or play.   We see this as an opportunity for our enthusiastic students in KS3, 4 7 5 to showcase their work.