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Drama

All the world's a stage, and the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts…

William Shakespeare.

Intent

Our mission is to engender an appreciation and understanding of drama whilst also providing students with a skillset which they can take with them through all walks of life: creativity, confidence, cooperation, coordination, and communication.

Introduction 

Students are given the opportunity to work on whole class, group and individual performances. A variety of scripts are studied using a range of dramatic skills and conventions, which enable them to create effective theatre. Students will learn to devise coherent narrative, sustain believable character and understand typical conventions of various genres for example; Realism and Naturalism, Expressionism, Absurdism and Musical Theatre.

Examples of cross-curricular links

English:

Non-fiction reading  -  reviews and critiques                                        

Vocabulary strategytechnical vocabulary taught explicitly

Purpose and audience writingcreation of scripts 

Humanities: Historical and social influences; ethical issues addressed in drama

 

Examples of Cultural Capital entitlement from NC

  • Presentation of self and self-identity through body image - a big part of social classification
  • Historically and culturally significant dramatic works
  • History and culture around the development of drama and theatre

Key Stage 3

In KS3 each student will receive one, hour long, Drama lesson a week which is excellent preparation for GCSE and A level. They will learn the appropriate skills for creating, performing and responding. A variety of scripts are used from different genres of theatre and stimuli from other cultures which allow students to create interesting and engaging devised pieces of drama. Each topic lasts half a term, ending with the students being assessed in three main areas; Create, Perform, Evaluate.

Some of the topics that are studied at KS3:

Year 7

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Key Skills

Basic Drama Skills

It's Behind You!

The History of Pantomime

Ernie's Incredible Illucinations

Script

Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Anansi

African/Stories with a Mora

Out of Joint

Theatre Company

Bugsy Malone

Musical Theatre

 

Year 8

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Street Gangs

Basic Stage Combat

Evacuees

WW2

Learning for Life

Focus/Creativity/Team Work

Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Bullying

Theatre in Education

Out of Joint

Theatre company

Our Day Out

Technical Theatre Design

 

Year 9

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Missing Children

Theatre in Education

GB Soap Opera

Genre

Devising

Working with a stimulus

Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Two

Duologues

Hillsborough Disaster

Devised Performance

Max Stafford Clark

Influential Practitioners


Example of skill progression

Students have the opportunity to look at a range of styles and practitioners.  Students learn skills in creating, performing and responding as well as audience etiquette. The topic that are taught at KS3 gives the students a secure knowledge of how to implement a variety of dramatic techniques and terminology to their work for example. Year 7 students learn basic drama skills including the use of voice, body language and facial expressions. They explore a range of techniques, such as mime, thought tracking, and still image and learn how to apply these to a piece of drama. Year 8 students are introduced to the theatre style Theatre in Education and use their skills and techniques to create a thought provoking piece of drama on Bullying. They also learn basic stage combat skills. Year 9 students learn develop research skills as well as enhancing their creating and performing skills, by being introduced to creating drama from a stimulus in preparation for Component 1 of GCSE.

Key Stage 4

At GCSE, students study the EDUQAS/ WJEC Specification. This GCSE specification in Drama is designed to give pupils a broad and balanced experience of drama. Although each of the units has its own assessment focus, it is vital that the content of the specification is taught in a holistic method, so that the skills are not learned in isolation but are integrated, to ensure that candidates learn how to apply knowledge and understanding across a range of dramatic activities. This GCSE specification requires candidates to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Different genres and performance styles
  • The ways in which meaning is communicated through drama
  • A range of staging and performance conventions
  • Drama terminology and how to use it appropriately
  • How plays are constructed and realised through the study of at least one substantial published play
  • How to create, interpret and communicate a role or character
  • Drama within its social, cultural and historical context

The students will study a range of Theatre Practitioners and Genres and will have the opportunity to showcase their exam work as public performances.

Component 1: Devising Theatre

Non-exam assessment: internally assessed, externally moderated. 40% of qualification

Students will be assessed on either acting or design.  They participate in the creation, development and performance of a piece of devised theatre using either the techniques of an influential theatre practitioner or a genre, in response to a stimulus set by WJEC.

Students must produce:

  • a realisation of their piece of devised theatre
  • a portfolio of supporting evidence
  • an evaluation of the final performance or design

Component 2: Performing from a Text

Non-exam assessment: externally assessed by a visiting examiner. 20% of qualification

Students will be assessed on either acting or design. They study two extracts from the same performance text chosen by the centre and participate in one performance using sections of text from both extracts.

Component 3: Interpreting Theatre

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes. 40% of qualification

Section A: Set Text

A series of questions on one set text from a choice of five:

1. The Tempest by William Shakespeare

2. The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht

3. Hard to Swallow by Mark Wheeller

4. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford

5. DNA by Dennis Kelly

Section B: Live Theatre Review

One question, from a choice of two, requiring analysis and evaluation of a given aspect of a live theatre production seen during the course.

Year 10

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Development of Key Drama skills, techniques and terminology.
Introduction to Frantic Assembly and Physical Theatre.

Assessment of Physical Theatre Mini-Projects.

Introduction to Konstantin Stanislavski, and Realism and Naturalism.

Assessment of Realism and Naturalism Mini-Project

Introduction to Bertolt Brecht  and Epic Theatre

Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Assessment of Epic Theatre

Introduction to Theatre in Education Mini-Project

Assessment of Theatre in Education Mini project

Introduction to Component 1: Devising Theatre  Stimuli

Creating and devising Component 1 Practical Element- A Final Performance. 

 

Year 11

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Completion of Component 1 Final Performance and Evaluations

Introduction to War Horse and Component 3: Interpreting Theatre

Introduction to Component 2: Performing from a Text

Continuation of Component 2 creating and rehearsing

Introduction to Live Theatre Review.

Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Performance of Component 2.
Continuation of Component 3 practice papers.

Component 3 Revision

 

 

Example of skill progression

GCSE students will have spent time developing and refining their devising skills through Component 1: Devising Theatre. They will have learnt how to create, amend and refine a piece of drama in a number of styles and from a range of different stimuli. They will also have developed their critical evaluative skills through their Performance Portfolio and Final Performance Evaluation. Component 2: Performance from a Text, has given the students the opportunity to develop their interpretation skills as well as their performance skills. This unit has also given them an understanding of how social/ historical/political/cultural context affect Playwrights, how these factors influence them to write plays. Component 3: Interpreting Theatre is a written paper, which focuses on both the performance and technical elements. Not only do the students develop their evaluative skills by writing a review of a piece of live theatre that they have seen, but they have learnt how much of an impact the design element has in a production. They are encouraged to apply this knowledge to designing their own scene from the play War Horse, for which they have to have a good understanding of lighting, sound, costume, set, staging and the use of multimedia to add mood and atmosphere to the scene.  

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5, students study the EDUQAS Drama and Theatre Studies A Level, which leads on from the EDUQAS GCSE. The students have the opportunity to delve deeper into the history of theatre and the social historical context of a number of plays. They can also develop a further understanding of the Playwrights from a range of different times and socioeconomic backgrounds.  The students will again work holistically working both independently, and as part of a group to create, devise, and perform their work and the work of established playwrights.

Component 1: Theatre Workshop

Non-exam assessment: internally assessed, externally moderated.  20% of qualification. 

Students will be assessed on either acting or design.

Students participate in the creation, development and performance of a piece of theatre based on a reinterpretation of an extract from a text chosen from a list supplied by WJEC. The piece must be developed using the techniques and working methods of either an influential theatre practitioner or a recognised theatre company.

Students must produce:

  • a realisation of the performance or
  • design a creative log

Component 2: Text in Action

Non-exam assessment: externally assessed by a visiting examiner.  40% of qualification. 

Learners will be assessed on either acting or design.

Learners participate in the creation, development and performance of two pieces of theatre based on a stimulus supplied by WJEC:

1.    a devised piece using the techniques and working methods of either an influential theatre practitioner or a recognised theatre company (a different practitioner or company to that chosen for Component 1)

2.    an extract from a text in a different style chosen by the learner.  Learners must realise their performance live for the visiting examiner. Learners choosing design must also give a 5-10 minute presentation of their design to the examiner. Learners produce a process and evaluation report within one week of completion of the practical work

Component 3: Text in Performance

Written examination - 2 hours 30 minutes. 40% of qualification

Sections A and B Open book:

Clean copies (no annotation) of the two complete texts chosen must be taken into the examination. Two questions, based on two different texts, one written pre-1956 and one written post-1956.

Pre-1956

  • The Trojan Women by Euripides
  • As You Like It by William Shakespeare
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • Machinal by Sophie Treadwell
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

Post-1956:

  • Saved by Edward Bond
  • Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo
  • Racing Demon by David Hare
  • Love and Information by Caryl Churchill
  • Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood

Section C Closed book:

The extract of text required for answering the questions will be printed on the examination paper. A question based on a specified extract from:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens. 

Details of the 10-15 minute extract will be released during the first week of March, in the year in which the examination is to be taken.

Year 12

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Introduction to Component 3: Text In performance: Cat on A Hot Tin Roof and Saved.
Introduction to Steven Berkoff and Total Theatre.

Choosing a text and creating Component 1: Theatre Workshop performance. 

Continuation of Component 3 text revision

Amending and refinement  of performance element of Component 1

Continuation of Component 3

Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Amending and refinement  of performance element of Component 1

Continuation of Component 3

Performance and written evaluation of Component 1. 
Introduction to Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.

Introduction to Component 2: Text in Action.

 

Year 13

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

Research EDUQAS Stimulus for the creation of the Devised and Scripted pieces for Component 2.

Creation and development of Devised and Scripted pieces Component 2.

Continuation of Component 3 practice questions.

Creation and development of Devised and Scripted pieces Component 2.

Continuation of Component 3 practice questions.

Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Refinement and performance of Scripted and Devised pieces. Written Evaluation
Continuation of Component 3 practice questions.​

Continuation of Component 3 practice questions.    

 

 

Example of skill progression

During the A Level course, the students will refine the skills that they learnt in KS3 and KS4. Students will study their five different plays from a range of eras and playwrights to give them a broad knowledge of a range of Playwrights and of the factors that influence their writing; they explore these in both a practical and written way.  Again, they will be creating their own work from a stimulus, both devised and scripted, and they will create their own reinterpretation of a text in the style of an influential theatre practitioner’s during Component 1 and 2Component 3 allows the students to analyse three plays. They will demonstrate their sound knowledge of the social/historical factors that influenced the writing of these plays and will put them into context for a contemporary audience. Knowledge of technical skills are also refined through this course, as the students have to integrate the technical conventions of an influential Theatre Practitioner or Theatre Company both through their performance and written work.

 

Careers and progression

Qualification pathway

The Performing Arts department has responded to student requirements by broadening the offer at KS5 to include Performing Arts Level 3 BTEC as well as A level Drama and Theatre Studies and A level Dance.

GCSE Drama progresses naturally to A level Drama or the Performing Arts Level 3 BTEC, both of which can lead to further study at specialist Higher Education providers and a career in professional drama, directing, theatre design and performing.

Example of successful progressions

4 students from Y13 progressed to higher education/careers in drama related area in 2019.

Examples of links to Gatsby benchmark 4 (Linking curriculum to careers) 

Case studies of professional actors

Case studies of play writes

Case studies of directors

Case studies of set designers

Examples of link to Gatsby benchmark 5 (encounters with employers)

Opportunities to work with professional theatre companies through visiting workshops. For example, Frantic Assembly, a world-renowned physical theatre company.

Employability skills

Communication, creativity, cooperation, analysis & evaluation, cooperation & teamwork, leadership.

Extra-curricular

Students will have many opportunities to see live performances, both professional and local theatre groups, which will enhance their understanding for the theatre and the application of acting/design and directing skills. They will also have the chance to participate in workshops with outside companies. Some of the most recent trip and workshops are listed below:

  • London trip to phoenix theatre to see Come from Away
  • Northampton trip to the Royal and Derngate, to see Arthur Millers A View from a Bridge
  • Workshop with world-renowned Physical Theatre Company Frantic Assembly.
  • Workshop with Punchdrunk Theatre Company

Students can also get involved in school productions/musicals where they will have the opportunity to be a performer or part of the technical team. Over the last few years students have also created festive pieces to perform at the Thrapston Light Switch on and have created evenings, such as the Winter Variety Show and For One Night Only which were both a huge success and a fantastic opportunity to showcase the talent of students that we have in the school.

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