Drama

In years 7 and 8, Drama lessons are primarily practical, and concentrate on developing practical exploration and performance skills.

 

In Year 7, during Term 1, students work on the theme of evacuation in World War 2. They use explorative devices to devise their own performances, and also work on a scripted play, either Archie Dobson’s War or Kindertransport.

 

In Term 2, students look at the theme of globalisation and sustainable development, using drama to follow the journey of a pair of trainers from the factory where they are made to the feet of the kids who wear them. This process allows us to consider the lives and conditions of a range of characters, and helps students to access important social and cultural ideas.

 

In Term 3, students develop their understanding of the history of theatre, and of how actors and directors engage audiences in their stories. They learn about the conventions of Greek theatre, and rehearse and perform a short play based on a Greek myth for an audience of Year 6 students. They also learn about creating dramatic tension, through the exploration of a modern play, Setting the Fuses.

 

In Year 8, during Term 1, students begin by studying the history of Civil Rights, and the means by which people protest. Through this, they are introduced to drama techniques, such as re-enactment, caption-making, narration, etc. Their second topic this term continues their education in the history of theatre, introducing them to melodrama, and tracing a line through to modern Pantomime. This work culminates in a whole class performance of a pantomime.

 

In Term 2, students work on developing their individual performance skills, by each learning and performing a monologue. The lessons take the form of exploratory workshops, teaching students a range of rehearsal techniques and methods for developing and researching a character on stage.

 

In Term 3, students use a children’s picture book, The Savage, as a stimulus for devised drama, focusing on the idea of a fractured identity, and the ways in which theatre can represent the different aspects of a character. This focus of this work is to teach students about symbolism and abstraction in drama, and to develop their understanding of different performance styles.

 

In Year 9, while the majority of Drama lessons are still practical, students are introduced to some theoretical ideas about theatre, and begin to use these to shape their own work.

 

In Term 1, they focus on developing their acting skills, starting with the performance of a duologue. Lessons take the form of rehearsals, and students are introduced to the theatre practitioner, Stanislavski, and his methods for developing a naturalistic acting style. They then begin to devise a piece of work using a current news story as a stimulus, and are introduced to a second practitioner, Brecht. Students are taught to compare and contrast the two practitioners’ ideas, and to apply these to their drama.

 

In Term 2, students continue their study of Brecht, this time applying his theories to help them devise a piece of Theatre in Education. After that, they begin the exploration of a whole play (such as Kes or Blood Brothers - this varies from year to year).

 

In Term 3, students begin to learn about Physical Theatre, and to explore the possibilities offered by this  style of performance. They will study the work of a range of Physical Theatre companies, e.g. Frantic Assembly, and create their own dramas using this style.

 

In Years 10 and 11, students study Drama GCSE, following the OCR specification. The first two terms of Year 10 are spent in preparation for the assessed units, developing students’ knowledge and understanding of theatre practitioners (Stanislavski, Brecht, Artaud, et al) through practical exploration of play texts and devising work. Students are required to watch a range of plays (through theatre trips, visiting theatre companies, and recorded versions of live theatre), and to develop their ability to write critically about what they see. They also learn about the roles of a director, a designer, a lighting technician, etc.

 

The assessed work is divided into three units:

 

Unit A581 - From Page to Stage

In this unit, students study a whole play, and work in groups to create a performance of a selected section of text. This year, students are studying DNA by Dennis Kelly, but this will vary from year to year. As well as rehearsing and performing the extract, students also need to write a ‘working record,’ showing their understanding of the drama concepts explored, as well as an evaluation of what they have achieved. The mark breakdown is as follows:

 

60 marks total:

- 40 marks performance

- 20 marks working record

30% of the total GCSE marks

 

Unit A582 - Drama in the Making

In this unit, students develop their understanding of devising techniques, and - using a stimulus - prepare three distinct items for Workshop Presentation. They need to show understanding of a range of theatre practitioners, and - as well as the performances - also need to complete a working record, explaining and evaluating the work they have done. The mark breakdown is as follows:

 

60 marks total:

- 40 marks workshop presentation(s)

- 20 marks working record

30% of the total GCSE marks

Internally assessed and externally moderated by post

 

Unit A583 - From Concept to Creation

 

Practical Examination

For the practical exam, students work in groups to create a drama inspired by one of four briefs set by the exam board (deriving from a text extract and a stimulus item). Their ideas are developed and rehearsed before being performed to a visiting examiner. As above, they also need to keep a written record of the work they have done, explaining and evaluating their progress. The mark breakdown is as follows:

80 marks total:

- 60 marks brief

- 20 marks working record

40% of the total GCSE marks