In KS3, students will explore and develop a range of skills such as mime, masks, script-work and improvisation. They will also learn about key influential drama practitioners: from Stanislavski, the father of naturalism, to the ground-breaking physical theatre of Steven Berkoff. Students will have the opportunity to polish their individual performance skills, as well as improving their communication skills through collaborative work in small groups. The aim of the KS3 programme is to foster confidence, spark creativity, and above all, be enjoyable! After all, Alfred Hitchcock said ‘Drama is life with all the dull bits cut out’.
In Year 7: Students begin by honing their mime skills. They will grow in confidence as they begin performing in front of an audience of their peers, learning the art of constructive feedback. They will build on the trust gained in establishing this safe environment to undertake ‘The Script Challenge’, where they can choose their own level of challenge, depending on their confidence in performing. The year ends with students nurturing their creativity as they explore characterisation through improvisation – designing their own contestant to enter a reality television show and exploring key rehearsal techniques through this concept.
In Year 8: Students will continue to develop the characterisation skills that they explored at the end of Year 7, but this time under the influence of the famous theatre practitioner, Stanislavski. Then, building on the mime work they explored in the previous year, students will hone their communicative skills through experimenting with masks. By the end of the year, Year 8 students will have begun to build up a glossary of dramatic terms, learnt through practical workshops focusing on the effect of intonation, subtext, contrasting silence and sound and/or movement and stillness, as well as the impact of different dramatic styles and genres, such as comedy and tragedy.
In Year 9: Students will delve into the world of physical theatre, inspired by modern practitioners such as Steven Berkoff and Frantic Assembly. They will use these skills as inspiration to devise their own short pieces of drama as their first experience of what the devising process is like at GCSE. As the Year 9s begin to make decisions about their KS4 choices, the following terms are dedicated to raising awareness of the plentiful options open to students of GCSE Drama outside of just acting. Students undertake a series of workshops designed to give them a taste of the many technical or design options available to study at GCSE, amongst them: lighting, sound, costume and make-up. As KS3 draws to a close, students learn the art of stage fighting, culminating in producing a short film which is storyboarded, choreographed, directed and produced by the whole class.
Click on the button below to access Key Stage 3 Drama Resources
At GCSE level: Students follow the AQA syllabus for GCSE Drama. This is weighted as 60% practical work, and 40% based on a written exam at the end of Year 11. Students undertake numerous pieces of practical controlled assessment throughout the course, submitting their highest two practical grades (30% each) at the end. They can choose from the performance options of: Devised Thematic Work, Acting (script work), Improvisation, Theatre in Education and Physical Theatre and/or the design/technical options of: Set Design, Costume, Make-up, Properties, Masks, Puppets, Lighting, Sound and Stage Management. The process and understanding of skills development is marked along the way as well as the final presentation in performance. Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to participate in trips to the theatre as well as actor workshops. The written exam comprises of three sections (but students choose to answer from only two of these options): questions based on practical work completed during the course; the study and performance of a scripted play; and the study of a live production seen.
Click on the button below to access GCSE Drama Resources
At A-level: Students follow the AQA syllabus for Drama and Theatre Studies. Both years of study are weighted as 40% practical work and 60% based on a terminal written exam. Throughout the AS year, students will study a set text and see numerous pieces of live theatre in preparation for the exam. For their practical assessment, students work in a group to perform an extract from a published play, using the influence of a specific theatre practitioner. Candidates can choose from the following skills to present: Acting, Directing, Costume Design, Mask Design or Set Design. As well as the practical element of rehearsals, set texts and ideas of different practitioners are also taught through a mixture of practical approaches, including lessons where students explore how to take their ideas ‘from page to stage’, as well as written practice.
At A2, students study two set texts (including a pre-Twentieth Century text) from a performance perspective in the lead up to the final written exam. Again, these lessons will be a mixture of practical exploration and written work. They will also participate in various theatre visits and actor workshops to prepare for their final practical assessment, where they work in a group to devise a piece of drama in their chosen theatrical style. Candidates can choose to present one of the following skills for this assessment: Acting, Directing, Costume Design , Mask Design or Set Design.
Click on the button below to access KS5 Drama Resources