Independent day school
for girls 3 - 18 and boys 3 - 11
with boarding for girls from 9

Drama and Theatre Studies

Year 7 Curriculum

Year 7 introduces drama as a studied subject in the senior school. Pupils are given the freedom to explore the subject fully developing personal skills. Technical terms, theatrical language and relevant terminology are introduced.

In Year 7 initially the basic skills used by an actor are taught and developed:

  • Voice
  • Movement
  • Imagination.

Voice:

How voices are used to create character examining:

  • Pitch
  • Tone
  • Pace
  • Accent
  • Intonation
  • Rhythm
  • Use of pauses
  • Articulation
  • Interpretation of simple script.

Movement/Physicality:

  • Awareness of physicality and what it tells us
  • Physical language
  • Finding character through different parts of the body.

Imagination:

  • Creating and playing characters
  • Improvisation
  • The introduction of creating drama from stimuli.

Once the basic skills have been introduced the emphasis moves on to group work:

  • Sharing ideas
  • Working co-operatively and effectively with others
  • Developing critical thinking
  • Interacting with one another
  • Commenting positively and critically on individual work and that of others.

Small performance projects exploring and demonstrating the skills studied are applied:

  • Class assembly
  • PSHCCE linked project
  • Study skills project.

Some simple analysis of script and text may be introduced.

The content of the work will vary according to the composition and interests of the particular year group and the requirements of other subjects.

Year 8 Curriculum

In Year 8 the emphasis in drama is on exploring and furthering what has been learnt in Year 7. There are plenty of opportunities for the pupils to develop their individual creativity. As well as applying their own skills to the creation of drama, the group work they have started in Year 7 continues. They continue to evaluate their work and the work of other pupils in a constructive and informative way.

  • Work produced in class involves a more substantial study of scripted material
  • Related themes and social and historical content are explored in more depth
  • Pupils are encouraged to have greater reflection on the work in progress
  • Pupils are made aware of the quality of their presentations to an audience in terms of vocal clarity and expressive movement.

Further subject-specific vocabulary will be introduced including:

  • Flashback
  • Non-naturalism
  • Hot-seating
  • Annotation.

Year 8 pupils work on two specific performance pieces:

  • One scripted
  • One improvised or devised.

Different styles and genres of drama will be explored.

Some pieces of drama will be shown to an audience during the course of the year. Scripts or themes explored are chosen specifically for the group in question.

An element of homework is introduced in Year 8. This might contain:

  • Learning lines
  • Researching a theme for a devised thematic piece of theatre
  • Some initial attempts at script writing.

Senior School Production:

In Year 8 students are encouraged to take part in the Senior School production which is open to everyone in the senior school from Year 8. This affords the pupils the opportunity to work with a cross section of ages. It also gives them the opportunity to appear on a professional stage.

Year 9 Curriculum

During Years 7 and 8, pupils have concentrated on learning and using basic drama skills and conventions.

In Year 9, in preparation for the possible choice of drama at GCSE, these techniques and conventions are further explored and added to.

Drama skills include:

  • Working on movement and physicality – introducing: gesture/freeze-frames
  • Working on voice and introducing: pitch/tone/rhythm/accent/emotional differences
  • Working on imagination – using stimuli to help inspire a piece of drama using music/photographs/poetry/objects/text etc.

Developing the skills of:

  • Working in a group: co-operation/sharing ideas
  • Improvisation
  • Introduction to text
  • Creating a short piece of drama
  • Performance skills.

Drama conventions (drama techniques). These include:

  • Teacher in role
  • Choral speaking
  • Role on the wall
  • Group sculpture
  • Proxemics.

In Year 9 a research element is added: students are expected to create their own pieces of theatre based on their knowledge of the subject.

These could take the form of pieces of devised thematic work where pupils work from a given stimulus or a piece of TIE (Theatre in Education). Pupils choose a target audience and explore a theme appropriate to that age group e.g. friendships or bullying for Preparatory or Year 7 pupils.

More elements of theatre and theatre history are explored:

  • Commedia Dell’Arte and the roots of Shakespeare and pantomime (study of specific characters and half-masks)
  • Full masks
  • Puppetry.

Pupils are expected to work more with text: writing; comprehending; learning.

Pupils learn more about theatre and production values:

  • Set
  • Costume
  • Props
  • Lighting
  • Stage furniture.

The emphasis in Year 9 is still very much on the group experience and process and the school play or performance evenings allow for showcasing the skills acquired in lessons.

Years 10 and 11 GCSE Drama (optional subject)

Examination Board: AQA
Specification Number: 4240

Why study Drama at GCSE?

The course is very enjoyable and stimulating. Drama develops confidence, self-expression and imagination.

It gives you skills that will benefit you for life.

  • Candidates can develop an insight into and an understanding of a wide range of activities. Drama is an exciting, creative and challenging course
  • The course is heavily practical with marked assignments set over the two year period
  • Candidates are free to choose from any of the controlled assessment options. These include: acting, devised thematic work, improvisation, theatre in education and physical theatre.
  • The terminal written examination is structured to allow candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of drama skills and theatre through a sequence of written tasks.

Examination details:

Written paper: 40%
Practical work (continuous assessment): 60%
  • The written paper will ask you about your skills as an actor and how you have used them throughout your course.It will also ask how you have created and written your practical pieces.Finally it asks about your trips to the theatre and what you have seen.
  • The practical work is divided into four units over the two year period and the marks for the best two are submitted to the examiners.One of the pieces of practical work will be on a specific text chosen to suit those on the course.

In this course you will study:

  • the ways in which performers and designers communicate meaning to an audience through the exploration of drama
  • a range of stage and performance conventions
  • appropriate drama terminology and how to use it
  • how to create, interpret and communicate a role or character
  • drama within its social, cultural and historical context, identifying and establishing how this might impact on any performances.

During the course you will have the opportunity to:

  • visit a variety of professional and amateur theatres to see productions
  • participate in the senior school production which is performed in a professional theatre.

 

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