Welcome to the Drama Department
If you have any queries regarding studying Drama, please email email@example.com
The Drama department’s vision is to develop our girls’ creativity and nurture essential life skills such as: effective teamwork, communication, confidence, the ability to present in an engaging and articulate way, empathy, self-discipline, evaluation and self-reflection. In addition we aim to encourage an appreciation for Theatre and the Performing Arts as well as enabling our girls to express themselves and work in a practical and creative way.
The expectations within Drama are high, both in the standard of work and behaviour expected.
All pupils must be prepared to work effectively with every member of their class, regardless of friendship groups, background or faith. We understand that Drama can take many pupils out of their comfort zone and therefore we strive to create a supportive, inclusive environment for all our pupils, enabling them to contribute and participate in an uninhibited way.
The Drama department boasts three practical spaces within the school:
- Hut 68 – a large, ‘black box’ style studio space which is equipped with stage lighting and the department’s costume and prop store. This studio allows students to work in a generous rehearsal space and is also used an intimate performance space for internal showcasing of work.
- Room 44 - is the stage of the school’s main hall. This boasts a lighting rig and black out curtains, allowing for very intimate performances and small group rehearsals.
- Room 47 - is the department’s smallest rehearsal space, which is mainly used by sixth form groups. Another ‘black box’ studio which is ideal for small groups to work practically in.
All Drama studios have access to theatre lighting, music and stage blocks and boxes. These facilities enable our students to work creatively as actors and directors.
Due to the physical nature of the subject and to ensure the safety of all pupils, girls are expected to be in bare foot / indoor shoes for all Drama lessons. Shorts should also be worn under the uniform skirts to allow the pupils a full range of movement.
Recent trips include:
- The Comedy About a Bank Robbery at the Criterion Theatre
- War Horse at the New London Theatre
- Doctor Faustus at the Duke of Yorks Theatre
- Frantic Assembly’s Othello at the Lyric Hammersmith
We also run projects with external theatre companies to offer a wider range of training to our students.
In 2016 we participated in the Donmar Warehouse’s Tomorrow Project, devising a performance based on ‘Faith’ and performing this on the stage of the Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden.
There are a range of useful resources available to our students on line, some of the most interesting websites to visit include:
- National Theatre - http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/treasure-island
- Royal Court - http://www.royalcourttheatre.com/
- Almeida Theatre - http://www.almeida.co.uk/
- Donmar Warehouse - http://www.donmarwarehouse.com/?gclid=COPtxt7mxcQCFasEwwodFoUASA
- Old Vic - http://www.oldvictheatre.com/?gclid=CLW5hMbmxcQCFYnHtAodTUkA4g
- Mousetrap Foundation - http://www.mousetrap.org.uk/
Additional websites / resources that may prove to be useful include:
Drama at Key Stage 3 is currently delivered once a week to Year 7 and 9 students and once a fortnight to Year 8 students. The lessons focus on practically exploring and understanding key Drama vocabulary and Dramatic Strategies, Elements and Mediums. The pupils are expected to work collaboratively to create performances and explore themes in a creative, practical way. Throughout Key Stage 3 Drama students are assessed in three areas:
- Rehearsal & Creation
- Performance & Presentation
- Evaluation & Reflection
Our current Schemes of learning are designed to support students’ progress into Key Stage 4. Below is a brief overview of the curriculum:
- Unit 1 – Darkwood Manor – an introduction to a variety of Drama techniques whilst exploring the mysterious characters who inhabit the fictional house; Darkwood Manor.
- Unit 2 – Evacuees – a practical exploration of how WWII impacted on the lives of young people who were evacuated. This unit uses a variety of historical information as a stimulus for students to practically explore and understand what it was like to be living in 1940s Britain.
- Unit 3 – Exploring Shakespeare – pupils learn about William Shakespeare and explore some of his plays and language, including Macbeth, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet.
- Unit 4 – Mime & Silent Movies – an introduction to the world of silent movies. Students work on using their body language and facial expression to effectively communicate through mime whilst also learning about the early years of Cinema.
- Unit 5 – The Pied Piper – a practical exploration of the story of ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’. Students are invited to consider the actions of both the residents of Hamelin and the Pied Piper while creating a range of characters and using Drama techniques to explore the impact that the rats of Hamelin had on the town.
- Unit 6 – Greek Theatre – pupils learn about the conventions of Greek Theatre and consider how it has influenced theatre of the 21st Century. At the end of the term all students will participate in a performance as part of the Performing Arts Festival – they will work as a Greek Chorus to present one of the Greek Myths.
- Term 1 – Murder Mystery – focussing on the pupils’ characterisation skills, the girls explore how to create a variety of different characters and build tension in a performance whilst exploring the style of murder mystery and developing their understanding of the British Justice system.
- Term 2 – Exploring Text – pupils will practically explore scenes from Harold Pinter’s ‘The Dumb Waiter’, using a variety of Drama strategies to extend their understanding of the themes and characters.
- Term 3 - TV Genres – students learn about the key conventions of different TV genres including Documentary, Soap Opera, News Reports, Dram-ality and Lifestyle Shows.
- Unit 1 – Annabelle and George – moving from page to stage. Pupils explore how to interpret a piece of script and layer their work with characterisation skills and action whilst experimenting with the structure of their performance.
- Unit 2 – The Seven Ages of Man - a practical exploration of Shakespeare’s “All the World’s A Stage” speech from As You Like It. Pupils have the opportunity to explore how to create and play different aged characters.
- Unit 3 – ‘Saw It In the Papers’ - students practically explore events from the Newspapers, bringing to life different characters and developing their understanding of ‘news worthy’ events whilst exploring how one event can be interpreted in different ways.
- Unit 4 – TIE project – pupils learn about how to engage audiences of different ages. The girls then work in groups to create a piece of Theatre in Education, aimed at a target audience while learning about Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre techniques.
- Unit 5 – Theatre Practitioners – students explore the work of key Theatre Practitioners including Bertolt Brecht, Constantine Stanislavski, Antonin Artaud, Steven Berkoff and Theatre de Complicite.
- Unit 6 – Comedy – Students explore the different conventions of Comedy, tracing comedy back to its Greek roots, learning about Commedia d’ell arte and how this influenced modern comedy styles including, Slap Stick, Absurd Comedy, Black Comedy and Stand Up.
At Key Stage 4 students study the Edexcel GCSE Drama 9 – 1 Specification. This course builds on many of the skills learned throughout Key Stage 3 and offers a balanced weighting between the practical and theoretical components of the course.
The aim of the course is to enable students to develop their appreciation for Drama whilst building on their confidence and ability to work collaboratively with others. GCSE Drama develops transferable skills which will prove vital for students’ success in the future, these include:
- Acting and presentation skills
- The ability work creatively and think ‘outside of the box’
- Communication and social skills; working collaboratively and effectively with different people
- Improvisation skills
- Self-reflection and evaluation skills
Component 1: Devising - 40% of final grade (completed towards the end of Year 10)
Students will work as part of a group to devise a performance based on a set stimulus. Throughout the devising process, students must create a portfolio which tracks the development of their piece and evaluates the final performance. This component is assessed internally and moderated externally. Marks are awarded for the student’s:
- practical participation in the devising process
- performance in the final piece
- portfolio / evaluation
Component 2: Performance from a Text – 20% of final grade (completed throughout Y11)
Students must work as either an actor or a designer to present two extracts from a published play. Students will work in small groups to rehearsal and prepare their interpretation under the direction of the teacher. This component is marked by an external examiner. Marks will be awarded for:
- Vocal and Physical Skills
- Characterisation and Communication
- Artistic intention and style / genre / theatrical conventions
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice – 40% of final grade (a 1 hour 30 minute formal examination which is sat at the end of Year 11)
- Section A (45 mins) – Students will answer questions on an extract from a set text about how they might interpret the text as an actor and director.
- Section B (45 mins) – Students will analyse and evaluate a live theatrical performance that they will have been to see during the course. They will focus on their director’s and actors’ interpretation of the piece and effectiveness of the lighting, sound, visual design.
Throughout the course, there will be opportunities for students to participate in extra-curricular sessions both inside and outside school, essential for Section B of the examination.
Full details of both courses are below.
Year 11 Specification can be found:
At Key Stage 5 we offer the new Edexcel A level in Drama and Theatre
Throughout the course students will develop their understanding of a variety of different theatrical texts and genres. There will be opportunities for students to work as actors, directors, designers to practically and theoretically explore key styles of Drama. Some of the practitioners studied in the course include: Stanislavski, Brecht, Artaud, Brook, Complicite, Berkoff.
Component 1: Devising
- Students will work collaboratively to devise an original performance piece in response to an extract from a pre-published text. They will also learn about the work of different theatre practitioner and their devised performance will be created in the style of that practitioner.
- As well as rehearsing and performing their piece, all students must create a portfolio which tracks their practical process and evaluated their final performance.
Component 2: Text in Performance
- Students will work in groups to rehearse an extract from a pre-published text and perform it.
- Students will also rehearse and perform a monologue or duologue from a contrasting text
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
Students will sit a 2 hour 30 minute examination in which they will be required to:
- Evaluate a live performance that they have seen.
- Explain how they might practically explore a set text in performance.
- Re-imagine a set text for a contemporary audience
Essential student qualifications/Abilities
- A proven successful background in Drama (not necessarily GCSE)
- A genuine interest in Drama and theatre
- The ability to work autonomously in and out of lessons
- The ability to work with others
- A willingness to spend extra time researching, rehearsing and going to see a range of different theatre, outside of lessons
Desirable student qualifications/Abilities
- At least one B in English or English Literature and Drama (if studied at GCSE)
- A willingness to take an active part in extra-curricular drama activities, either acting or backstage.
Type of assessment
Practical Performance / Written coursework – Internally Assessed and Externally Moderated
Practical Performance – Externally assessed
Formal Written Examination 2 hours 30 minutes
Higher Education opportunities
Drama and Theatre Studies offers a range of skills that will prove to be valuable in all higher education courses. Natural course progression includes Drama, Acting, Performing Arts, English Literature, Media, Psychology, Sociology.
Creative and Arts industries contribute £71.4 billion to the British economy and account for approximately 5.6% of jobs in the UK. Potential career paths include: performing, arts education, working in Media, events planning, marketing, advertising.
Essential Field Trips Involving Financial Commitment
Compulsory theatre trips will run throughout the two year course. Cost of tickets will be kept as low as possible.
The full examination specification can be downloaded at:
General advice to all Key Stage 4 & 5 pupils
In order to extend their understanding and repertoire of Drama and Theatre, pupils should endeavour to see as much theatre as they can. This does not have to be expensive. Many theatres offer heavily discounted tickets to young people. Below are some links for theatres that support and encourage young people’s attendance by offering discounted schemes:
Additional websites / resources that may prove to be useful include:
The Drama department continues to buzz with life during lunchtimes and after school hours. We run internal Drama clubs for Key Stage 3, extension sessions for our KS4 students and a range of rehearsals and intervention sessions for our examination candidates to ensure that they reach their full potential.
Current extra-curricular includes:
- Mondays 1.40 – 2.10pm Year 7 Drama Club with Mrs Dyson in Hut 68
- Tuesdays 1.40 – 2.10pm Year 8 & 9 Drama Club with Mr Beavis & Mrs Dyson in Hut 68
- Tuesdays 3.15 – 4.15pm Coursework Clinic / Supervised Rehearsals with Mr Beavis in Hut 68
- Wednesdays 1.40 – 2.10pm Key Stage 4 and 5 Drama Club with Mr Beavis in Hut 68
Throughout the academic year we run a variety of trips to see a range of theatre. Trips are aimed at complementing the curriculum and offering the pupils first-hand experience of seeing a live performance.