Drama is an appreciation of global art forms. It is the ideal vehicle to foster personal confidence, independence and communication skills. We are dedicated to excellent teaching, which seeks to encourage learners to work independently, inquisitively and become artistic risk takers: we facilitate our students to unleash their potential!
Effective communication in the 21st century is at the core of academic and work success. We instil skills of leadership, compromise and persuasion as we promote articulate and balanced young people, able to appreciate the merits of other people’s work. We value excellent performances, be it entertaining or moving. But equally we value those who construct thoughtful pieces of drama alongside those who evaluate what they have seen.
There are many opportunities for students to participate in enrichment and extra-curricular activities. There is a popular weekly Drama Club for Key Stage 3 students. Drama prefects enjoy extra opportunities to stage performances during the school year which complement our whole school productions. This year the Drama prefects staged ‘Face Your Fears’. Our more recent productions have included ‘Grease’, `Alice Through a Broken Lens’ and `Bugsy Malone’ .
Students have recently performed an abridged version of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ at The Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke as part of the ‘Shakespeare Schools Festival’. Last year we followed this by participating in ‘Potted Austen’ with an open air performance alongside other local schools in Alton’s Public Gardens. We visit the theatre regularly and in the last academic year have arranged trips on seven occasions, both to the West End and to local theatres in Southampton.
KEY STAGE 3
Year 7 introduces students to the concept of staging theatre from the eyes of a director. After the initial baseline assessment the core areas of focus are narrative, character, status and proxemics. These subject areas allow a full exploration of storytelling before investigating the skills necessary to construct thoughtful and believable characters. We explore practitioners such as Constantin Stanislavski, Peter Brooks and Frantic Assembly and introduce students to world of theatre that broadens their horizons.
Year 8 builds on the foundation laid in Year 7. Students further explore characterisation in the autumn term by staging scenes from Shakespeare. Students are introduced to symbolism and developing the contextual understanding of a text. Students continue to plan the use of lights and sound to enhance their performance. As well as this we feel it is important to embrace British Values with a Brecht project every summer term to explore what it is to be British in the contemporary age.
Lessons in Year 9 follow our Foundation Option Year curriculum which has been structured to develop skills which are essential for the new GCSE specification for Drama. This now includes a unit on set and costume design; we use the same contemporary scripts that we use for the Scripted Performance component of the exam. Students will explore three of AQA’s set texts, ‘The Crucible’, ‘The 39 Steps’ and’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as well as having the opportunity to explore contemporary scripts that will stretch and challenge the minds and performance skills of our students.
KEY STAGE 4
At Key Stage 4 we study various styles of theatre to broaden and enrich our students’ understanding of how to produce professional and high quality drama, including the work of theatre companies Gecko and Frantic Assembly. The students will experience varied workshops on Berkoff, Brecht, Brook and Stanislavski.
The students are assessed by the AQA exam board, with three core assessments: Component A: Written Exam, Component B: Devising Theatre and Component C: Scripted Performance.
An addition to the new specification GCSE syllabus is the Live Theatre performance in Section C of the exam. This makes it essential and therefore compulsory to attend one of our theatre trips. This is so students can answer the exam question whilst sharing this experience with peers and their teacher. The theatre trips cover a wide range of styles and are not always conventional. This has had an inspirational influence on our students’ work, with some outstanding productions.
The set text at the moment is `Blood Brothers’ which is explored practically but is assessed in Component 1 in the final written exam. The students perform a range of scripts from classical contemporaries such as Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter to through to more recent practitioners such as Tim Firth, Caryl Churchill, Mark Ravenhill and Phillip Ridley, which is examined by an external visitor as part of Component 3.