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Drama

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 Drama begins by equipping students with an understanding of basic stagecraft, through a series of skills-based lessons (focusing on, for example, vocal projection, the ease with stillness and silence on stage, and basic scriptwriting). Once these have been covered, there is then a move towards more complicated and stylised performances via the study of Epic and naturalistic theatre in Year 8, as well as an exploration of a full-length play (providing students with a more in-depth understanding of dramatic aims and intentions as well as the opportunity to consider contextual influences on a performance). In Year 9, students are exposed to a range of plays and styles and are expected to be able to formulate increasingly complex ideas about what theatre is and what it can be. In each year, there is the opportunity to watch, appraise and evaluate a theatre performance, giving students exposure to a wide range of styles and cultures and the opportunity to watch professional theatre-makers exploring their craft.

Year 7

1.   Baseline Assessment
Students create, rehearse and perform a devised piece, based on their current level of understanding of drama. Their performance is assessed.
2.   Staging Types and Positions
Students learn about various types of staging configuration, as well as the staging positions associated with these.
3.   Performance Skills
Students are taught a range of skills, including use of levels, dramatic pause and eye contact. Each of these skills is utilised in performance.
4.   Script Work: Duologues
Students work in pairs to rehearse and perform a short scene. This performance is assessed.
5.   Live Theatre Review: The Cat in the Hat
Students watch and analyse and evaluate the performances in, the National Theatre's production of The Cat in the Hat.
6.   Devised Work: End-of-Year Assessment
Students create, rehearse and perform a devised piece, based on their current level of understanding of drama. Their performance is assessed.

 

Year 8

1.   Comedy
Students explore some of the principals of comedic acting, including a study of the plays of Mischief Theatre.
2.   Practitioner Study: Bertolt Brecht
Students learn about the theories and practices of Bertolt Brecht, exploring the concept of Epic Theatre. They work towards an end-of-topic performance, which is assessed.
3.   Practitioner Study: Konstantin Stanislavski
Students learn about the theories and practices of Konstantin Stanislavski, exploring the concept of naturalism.
4.   Whole-Play Study: Our Day Out
Students read and practically explore the play Our Day Out by Willy Russell. 
5.   Live Theatre Review: Shrek: The Musical
Students watch and analyse and evaluate the performances in the West End production of Shrek: The Musical.
6.   Devised Work: End-of-Year Assessment
Students create, rehearse and perform a devised piece, based on their current level of understanding of drama. Their performance is assessed.

 

Year 9

1.   Script Work: Extract Study

Students explore scenes and extracts from the following plays:

  • War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford
  • The Wardrobe by Sam Holcroft
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted for the stage by Bryony Lavery
  • Fences by August Wilson
  • A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller
2.   Practitioner Study: Frantic Assembly
Students learn about the theories and practices of Frantic Assembly, exploring the concept of physical theatre.
3.   Live Theatre Review: One Man, Two Guvnors
Students watch and analyse and evaluate the performances in the National Theatre production of One Man, Two Guvnors.
4.   Devised Work
Students create, rehearse and perform a devised piece, based on their current level of understanding of drama. Their performance is assessed.

 


Lessons per fortnight: 1

ILT information: Research and line-learning; specific ILTs set when required

Assessment: Through performance (either of a scripted play or a devised piece) every term; ongoing assessment of subject-specific terminology

Out-of-classroom opportunities: LAMDA exams for selected students; theatre visits and visiting practitioners where possible (sometimes in conjunction with the English department); school productions; Achievement Evening performances

 

Key Stage 4

 

Building on the skills acquired in Key Stage 3, GCSE Drama requires students to work in small groups to create, rehearse and perform their own piece of original theatre (while documenting the process through a written logbook) and interpret scenes from scripts by established playwrights. They study a full-length play as a set text, exploring the design and performance possibilities within it and gaining a secure understanding of the contextual circumstances in which it was created. In addition to this, they analyse and evaluate the performances of professional actors, giving consideration to how these performances were received by the audience.

Year 10

1.   Written Exam: Blood Brothers
Students read and practically explore the play Blood Brothers by Willy Russell.
2.   Written Exam: Live Theatre Review
Students watch and analyse and evaluate the performances in the National Theatre production of Yerma.
3.   Devised Work
Students create and rehearse a devised piece of theatre. Throughout rehearsals, they also keep a record (logbook) of their process.
4.   Trial Exam
Students sit a first attempt at the written exam paper, under exam conditions.
5.   Script Work
Students work in pairs or small groups to rehearse and refine two extracts from a play.​​​​​

 

Year 11

1.   Script Work
Students continue work in pairs or small groups to rehearse and refine two extracts from a play.
2.   Trial Exam
Students sit a second attempt at the written exam paper, under exam conditions.
3.   Devised Work
Students rehearse and perform a devised piece of theatre. They also complete and submit their logbook.
4.   Script Work
Students perform their two extracts for a visiting examiner. 
5.   Final Exam Preparation
Students revise for and then sit their written exam paper, under exam conditions.

 


 

Lessons per fortnight: 5

ILT information: Research, line-learning, Devised Logbook, revision; specific ILTs set when required

Assessment: Through performance (scripted and devised pieces); devising logbook and written exam practice

Out-of-classroom opportunities: Theatre visits and visiting practitioners where possible (sometimes in conjunction with the English department); school productions; Achievement Evening performances

Intent

The Dene Magna Drama department aims to provide each student with the confidence to stand in front of an audience of peers and talk in a clear, engaging way. They will gain an understanding of stagecraft and appreciate conceptually how that might be applied to other aspects of life beyond school (giving presentations, speaking to an audience, etc). They will learn how to work as part of a group, understanding when and how to lead and direct others, and when to listen and react. They will explore situations that require a degree of empathy, sometimes with characters who think drastically different to themselves (including those from different cultures and countries). They will explore how audiences are influenced by a speaker’s words and actions on stage and they will begin to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of different tactics used to this end. For those who then go on to study Drama at GCSE and A-Level, the department aims to provide them with the ability to perform with confidence and sensitivity, enabling them to thrive in an ensemble of actors, as well as giving them an understanding of the dramatic theories and practices currently shaping British and international theatre.  

Implementation

Students develop their drama skills through a variety of practical and theoretical lessons which take place in the Drama Studio, an adaptable classroom with full lighting and sound equipment. Each year, the skills being learnt build upon those acquired the year before, deepening the students’ understanding of theatrical practices. The texts they explore become increasingly complex and demanding, both linguistically and conceptually.

Impact

Through regular assessments, both formative and summative, students’ ability to speak confidently and coherently in front of an audience, empathise with and personify characters from a range of cultures and contexts, and work effectively as part of a team is measured. Students’ literacy and creativity are developed and their social skills are matured.