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Drama

Head of Faculty - Miss Nicola Mortimer

Oscar Wilde said, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
Students who study Drama develop transferable skills that will be invaluable when they leave school. They will learn how to work as part of a group, develop the confidence to speak and perform in front of others and hone their leadership skills.
The Drama Curriculum at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School is designed to give students opportunities to perform, create and evaluate their own work and the work of others. The curriculum ambition is for students to develop their practical skills and their knowledge of different theatrical styles from around the world.

We want our students to work creatively, to nurture their confidence in performance and to develop key skills in analysing and evaluating. We strive to create the best performers who will develop a passion and enjoyment for the subject when they leave school.
We help students to develop our key virtues of being eloquent, attentive and intentional in every lesson; how to be eloquent in rehearsal, intentional in performance and attentive as a member of an audience. We teach students to be respectful and that everyone deserves to feel valued.

Drama

Curriculum

KS3

In Key Stage 3, students have one hour of Drama per fortnight and study a variety of topics such as Physical Theatre, Horror and Comedy. They begin to develop their use of physical and vocal skills, learning how to adapt these appropriately to suit the character they are playing. As well as working from a script, students also learn how to devise their own performances using different drama techniques.

The focus of Key Stage 3 lessons is for students to develop skills in the three strands of Drama: creating, performing and evaluating:

Creating

  • Develop good communicative and reflective skills when creating drama and make contributions which significantly improve the effectiveness of the work.
  • Lead others sensitively, keeping a positive working environment during rehearsal.
  • Create original drama which shows a good understanding of genre and style and develop characters to suit a range of purposes.

Performing

  • Perform an original role with creativity, which communicates the group’s ideas and is sustained throughout the performance.
  • Apply and adopt a good range of practical skills.
  • Show a clear awareness of the audience and respond positively to others on stage.

Evaluating

  • Perceptively analyse and evaluate play scripts and different theatrical styles/genres.
  • Recall, select and communicate clear knowledge and understanding of drama processes and techniques.
  • Write analytically, using a range of drama terminology and a high level of literacy.

Tasks Covered
Students complete a range of tasks including low-stakes quizzes and peer/self-assessment tasks. Students offer helpful critique as an informed audience member, using a range of subject-specific vocabulary in their written and verbal evaluations. Students work in a pair or group to create a piece of drama on a given genre or topic and are expected to apply their knowledge of drama techniques in their practical performances.

 

Year 7

Unit 1
Topic: Introduction to Drama

Unit 2
Topic: Physical Theatre

Unit 3
Topic: Commedia dell Arte

Year 8

Unit 1
Topic: Horror

Unit 2
Topic: Comedy

Unit 3
Topic: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

KS4

Overview of Content and Description of the Course

The GCSE Drama course provides dynamic and exciting opportunities to explore Drama. The practical nature of the course stimulates imaginative, creative, cognitive, communication and social skills.

Students will explore many themes and issues relevant to the students in their practical Drama and improvisational work. There will also be the chance to study a selection of plays from a practical point of view, concentrating on relationships between characters and how to translate written text into performance. As performance is an integral part of the course, it is essential that students watch a variety of live productions to widen their knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre.

Why Study this Course

As an art form, Drama develops artistic, aesthetic, social and cultural skills through a reflective and practical process in which social skills and the ability to see another's perspective are of paramount importance. It is therefore a subject that benefits all those who wish to work with others, from medicine to sales work, in addition to a career in the theatre or in teaching. Drama is invaluable in promoting self-confidence, an essential for all careers. 

Links to Specification

Our exam board at GCSE is AQA. Use this link  AQA | GCSE | Drama | Specification at a glance to find the specification and past papers for exam practice.

 

Course Content Outline

Year 9

Unit 1
Theatre in Education

Unit 2
The Holocaust

Unit 3
Teechers by John Godber

Year 10

Unit 1
Component 2: Devising (Mock)
Crime & Punishment

Unit 2
Component 1: Understanding Drama
Blood Brothers 

Year 11

Unit 1
Component 2: Devising

Unit 2
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice

Unit 3
Component 1: Understanding Drama

 

The following Assessment Objectives are assessed during the GCSE Drama course: 

  • AO1: Create and develop ideas to communicate meaning for theatrical performance.
  • AO2: Apply theatrical skills to realise artistic intentions in live performance.
  • AO3: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how drama and theatre are developed and performed.
  • AO4: Analyse and evaluate their own work and the work of others. 

 

KS5

Overview of Content and Description of the Course

The Pearson Edexcel Drama and Theatre A Level qualification has been developed to inspire and develop an appreciation of Drama and theatre studies. The course aims to:

  • develop students’ interest in drama and theatre as participants and informed members of an audience
  • develop students’ knowledge and understanding of major influences in theatre
  •  offer students a range of opportunities to develop drama and theatre skills creatively and imaginatively
  • integrate theory and practice

 

Links to specification

This link will take you to the specification, resources and past papers for exam practice: 

A Level Exam Specification: https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/drama-and-theatre-2016.html

Course Content Outline

Year 12

Autumn Term
Introductory Workshops
Our Country’s Good

Component 3: Set Text A
Machinal

Spring Term
Component 1: Devising
Five Kinds of Silence

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
Set Text A
Machinal 

Summer Term
Component 1: Devising
Final Performance & Portfolio

Year 13

Autumn Term
Component 2: Text in Performance
Monologue & Group Performance

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
Set Text B
Woyzeck

Spring Term
Component 2: Text in Performance
Monologue & Group Performance
Final Exam

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
Set Text B
Woyzeck

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
Section A:
Live Theatre Evaluation

Summer Term
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
Written Exam 

 

Assessment Details

KS3 Assessment details

 At the end of each Key Stage 3 topic, students complete a practical assessment. They also complete regular vocabulary tests based on the Knowledge Organiser. In Years 7 and 8, the assessments are used to rank students and determine their attainment grade for the progress reviews.

KS4 Assessment details

Component 1 – Understanding Drama (40%)

This is a 1hr 45min written exam in which students are assessed on their knowledge and understanding of how drama and theatre are developed and performed, including in connection to a set play, and on their ability to analyse and evaluate the live theatre work of others. The paper constitutes 40% of the GCSE. The paper is divided into three compulsory sections:

Section A: Theatre roles and terminology
Section B: Study of set text
Section C: Live theatre production.

Component 2 – Devising Drama (40%)

This is a practical component in which students are required to devise a piece of drama from a choice of stimulus items. As part of their assessment, they are required to produce an individual Devising Log documenting the devising process and contribute to a final devised duologue or group performance. The Devising Log is marked out of 60. Each student's contribution to the final devised performance is marked out of 20. Component 2 constitutes 40% of the GCSE. It is marked by teachers and moderated by AQA.

Component 3 – Texts in Practice (20%)

This is a practical component in which students are required to prepare and perform two substantial extracts from a scripted play. Component 3 constitutes 20% of the GCSE. Each student's contribution to each key extract performance is marked out of 20. It is marked by AQA.

KS5 Assessment details

The Drama and Theatre A Level is made up of three components:

Component 1: Devising 40% (internally assessed/externally moderated).

In this component, students will develop their creative and exploratory skills to devise an original performance. They will work in a group of 3-6 performers and create a piece of drama lasting between 20 and 30 minutes. The final performance is worth 25% of the marks for this component. The starting point (stimulus) for the devising process is an extract from a performance text and an influential theatre practitioner.

Students are also required to document, reflect upon and evaluate the process and final performance in their written portfolio which is 3000 words in length. The portfolio is worth 75% of the marks for this component.

Component 2: Text in Performance 20% (externally assessed).

In this component, students will learn how performance texts are constructed to convey meaning. They will demonstrate understanding of how to use the performance space to convey relationships between performers and audience, and how to use appropriate design elements to enhance meaning in performance.

In Section A, students perform either a monologue or a duologue. In Section B, students contribute to a group performance. Both performances are assessed by a visiting examiner. For each performance, students are required to write a brief explanation of their intentions in performance. The statement of intent must not surpass 250 words and is seen by the visiting examiner.

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice 40% (externally assessed).

This component, taking the form of a two and a half hour written exam, requires students to consider, analyse and evaluate how different theatre makers create impact. Throughout this component, they will consider how production ideas and dramatic elements are communicated to an audience from the perspective of a director, a performer and a designer.

Two play texts will be practically explored, in order to demonstrate how ideas for performance and production might be realised from page to stage.

They will also experience a live theatre production and reflect on their experiences as an informed audience member.

 

Why study French?

As well as a single degree subject at University, Drama and Theatre can also lead to careers in acting, design and directional work in film and theatre.  It is widely regarded as a beneficial subject when seeking employment as it shows students possess vital qualities such as teamwork and presentation skills.

 

Extra-curricular activities

As part of their preparation for a practical assessment or formal examination, Key Stage 4 and 5 Drama students are given the opportunity to attend after-school rehearsals.

At STACS, there are endless opportunities for students to perform and share their talents. Since 2012, the Performing Arts Faculty has staged full-scale productions including Bugsy Malone, The Little Shop of Horrors, High School Musical Jr, Born For This and Mary Poppins Jr.

Drama students are encouraged to participate in performances and trips to the theatre. A Level students regularly go to see plays in Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham. We also like to allow our younger students the opportunity to experience professional theatre productions. Some of our recent trips have been to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre to see The Lovely Bones and Faustus: That Damned Woman, and to Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre to see As You Like It