Drama was first introduced at Key Stage 3 back in September 2004, and since then the department has gone from strength to strength.
Throughout Years 7 – 9, students take part in a variety of activities as part of their curriculum, designed to develop their communication and cooperation skills, as well as their self-confidence. In Years 7 and 8 students are taught in mixed ability groups. They receive an hour of Drama each week.
In Year 9 Drama can be chosen as an option and students have two lessons a week. At the end of Year 9, should they wish to, students can then opt to study Drama at GCSE level during Years 10 & 11. The course is enhanced by regular trips to the theatre and drama workshops.
Each year, the Drama department stages a lower school and an upper school production. Auditions are open to absolutely anyone at the school, regardless of previous experience and involvement. It is an excellent opportunity to get to know people in other year groups.
This year there were three productions:
- The upper school production of “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare
- The lower school production of “Demon Headmaster” by Gillian Cross adapted by Adrian Flynn
- The whole school musical production of “Grease” by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.
Year 7 students study Greek Mythology. They have the opportunity to develop their improvisational skills through exploring and creating different aspects of the Greek myths. They learn to use physical theatre and soundscape to create mythological creatures. The students also learn to modernise the stories of Pandora’s Box and/or Orpheus and Eurydice, as well as considering the social, moral, spiritual and cultural significance of the stories. Year 7 use their improvisational skills to explore the language, imagery and storylines within poetry. They also learn to use the conventions of radio to create an alternative ending for the radio play “My Alien Sister” by Judy Upton.
Year 8 students learn the key features and conventions of making a news programme. They research current events and news stories, play anchor men/women, on-the spot reporters and learn to conduct interviews with open and closed questions. Year 8 learn to perform with the neutral mask, using the techniques of clocking the audience, passing the focus, pulling the focus, mime and using exaggerated physical expression. Year 8 also learn how to investigate and solve the mystery of a character called Joe. They use the drama techniques of hot-seating, whole class improvisation, mantle of the expert and flashback to build a backstory for Joe and present an improvisation which explains what has happened to him.
Year 9 students explore the theme of emotions and relationships through improvisation, culminating in an episodic assessment piece on a runaway teenager. They use a variety of techniques such as split stage, voice-over and dramatic irony, and employ their own ideas for lighting and sound to enhance their final performance. Year 9 also study film and television genres such as Westerns, Murder Mystery, Spy, Pantomime, Gangster, Horror. They learn the conventions of each genre and the acting styles involved and apply them in their own improvisations with costume, lighting and sound. Year 9 also explore a variety of issue-based poems via improvisation.
In Year 10, the students work on a Theatre in Education project based on an issue or theme which they perform to a target audience. The students keep a log book of the practical work they complete in lessons, which is marked as a piece of coursework. They also study the set text “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” from an actor and designer perspective. Year 10 also evaluate a live production and work on 2 scripted pieces.
In Year 11 the students work on two GCSE practical assessments. They devise a project based on a theme or issue which can include extracts from a text e.g. play script, newspaper, novel, letter, diary, short story. They also study and perform a scripted piece. Revision for the written paper will involve work on practice papers from March to May.
School Productions 2013-2017
- Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations by Alan Ayckbourn
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (as part of the Shakespeare Festival at the Mumford Theatre)
- Twelfth Night revisited
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
- Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross adapted by Adrian Flynn
- Grease by Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey
- The Snow Queen
Recent Trips and Enrichment Activities
- Theatre trips to the Cambridge Arts Theatre, The ADC and The Mumford Theatre
- Shakespeare Schools Festival
- Theatre Centre Actors workshop on “Rise Up” by Lisa Evans with Years 10 and 11
- Theatre Centre performance of “Layla’s Room” by Sabrina Mahfouz and actors' workshop for Year 10 and 11 drama students
Names and contact details of staff:
Mrs J Emmans (Head of Expressive Arts): email@example.com
Mrs S Vanderstay (Head of Drama): firstname.lastname@example.org