“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out” Alfred Hitchcock
Overall Purpose of the Subject – Summary:
Drama is often associated with play, especially play that involves pretending to be someone else. This act of ‘play’ is an important element of children’s learning. Drama is playful in that it draws on and develops young people’s aptitude for learning about themselves and the world around them by pretending to be other people in other situations.
Drama is a powerful learning tool for teaching our students about different perspectives, it shows them how to have empathy, and it helps them to learn in a creative and exciting way. Drama is associated with artistic practices and has significance in a diversity of cultural contexts. As a curriculum subject, it give students a practical knowledge of how drama works as an art form and encourages them to recognise how drama is integral to cultures in different times and places.
Drama education is particularly closely allied to other art subjects and to English. It supports their teaching of English by developing communication skills, through practical exploration of texts and stimuli. Drama is the perfect vehicle to develop the vital skills of independence, appreciation, concentration, cooperation, confidence, creativity, communication and critical thinking.
Course Outline and Structure – Key Stage 2
The ethos of the drama curriculum at KS2 is to embed a variety of transferrable skills for our students in Year 5 and 6. The curriculum is rooted in enabling students to develop their confidence and self-esteem. Students explore a range of texts and poetry, themes and characters to support and build their literacy skills. This is linked to British values, the wider community and real world contexts.
Key Stage 3
Students at Priory Academy are taught Drama each week.
Lessons are both theoretical and practical and are centered on developing a range of Drama knowledge, skills and techniques that not only will prepare students for Drama in Key Stage 4 and beyond but are also invaluable across all other subject areas. Students are taught how to engage imaginatively and intellectually with drama forms and conventions through scripted and devised performances.
Year 7 introduces students to the concept of social and performer status before examining the skills necessary to construct thoughtful and believable characters. We explore the art forms of
Shakespearean drama, Comedy and Greek Theatre.
Year 8 builds on the foundation laid in year 7. Students develop their understanding and appreciation of different performance styles and genres. A good working definition of “Style” is how something is done. Students learn that theatrical styles are influenced by their time and place. Students experiment and develop skills in physical theatre, storytelling, verbatim theatre, mime, melodrama, poor theatre and Shakespeare.
Assessment Method – Key Stage 3
Students are assessed using the elements of Embarking, Emerging, Expected, Exceeding and Exceptional in line with the new 9 – 1 assessment.
Student in Year 7 receive a baseline assessment that allows us to assess their current level as they enter secondary education. Throughout KS3 students will develop the essential skills of organisation and communication in both oral and written work. Students are assessed by the teacher and their peers against the following assessment objectives:
- AO1 Creating & Developing. Interpret ideas in drama work relating to the creation and structure of performances through a variety of conventions.
- AO2 Application. Being able to create performances for a range of audiences and purposes.
- AO3 Knowledge & Understanding. Develop a deepening understanding of drama in time, place, culture and traditions.
- AO4 Analysis and Evaluation. Analysis and evaluation of their own work, the work of others and live theatre of significance/importance and discussing how work can be improved and developed.
All of these assessment areas are embedded within the schemes of learning.
Key Stage 4
Course Outline and Structure – Key Stage 4 Year 9
Students study a variety of theatre practitioners including Stanislavski, Brecht and Artaud. They apply the techniques and theories of key practitioners to GCSE play texts. This means that students can create performances for different audiences and purposes using various genres, styles, conventions and traditions successfully by the end of KS3.
Course Outline and Structure – Key Stage 4 Year 10 and 11
Exam board: Edexcel
Students have three lessons a weeks at GCSE in year 10 and year 11. During their GCSE Drama course students will undertake three assessed components. The course emphasises and assesses the drama process as well as the final product.
Component 1: Devising
This component deals with devising, which is an exciting and challenging opportunity to work collaboratively with others to explore a range of stimuli in order to create an original performance piece.
Devising is essential for the development of new theatre and performance; it allows for personal development and exploration. It allows both performer and designer the opportunity to stretch the limits of their creativity and imagination, while exploring a theme or topic of interest to them and their intended audience.
Students will develop skills in group work, research and negotiation, while also developing creativity, performance and design skills. Students will consider the impact that they can make on an audience, as they develop the ideas that they want to communicate.
Coursework: 40% of the qualification (60 marks)
- Create and develop a devised piece from a stimulus (free choice for centre).
- Performance of this devised piece or design realisation for this performance.
- Analyse and evaluate the devising process and performance.
- Performer or designer routes available.
- AO1, AO2 and AO4 are assessed.
- Internally assessed and externally moderated.
There are two parts to the assessment:
1) a portfolio covering the creating and developing process and analysis and evaluation of this process (45 marks, 30 marks assessing AO1 and 15 marks assessing AO4).
The portfolio submission recommendations are:
- can be handwritten/typed evidence between 1500–2000 words, or
- can be recorded/verbal evidence between 8–10 minutes, or
- can be a combination of handwritten/typed evidence (between 750–1000 words) and recorded/verbal evidence (between 4–5 minutes)
2) a devised performance/design realisation (15 marks, assessing AO2).
Component 2: Performance from Text
Performance texts have been at the core of drama since the inception of theatre. The need to hand down stories has been fundamental to human development and for thousands of years, people have written, performed, watched and enjoyed innumerable plays.
Understanding a performance text is fundamental to the subject, as this provides students with opportunities to explore plot, structure, narrative and stories from around the world and from different time periods. It encourages them to develop empathy skills, as they consider different characters and develop methods of communicating ideas and themes.
This component deals with developing knowledge, understanding and skills in exploring and performing from a performance text. Students will interpret this text and rehearse and refine two key extracts, leading to a final performance. They will demonstrate and use a wide range of acting and/or design skills to communicate their interpretation in performance.
Coursework: 20% of the qualification (48 marks)
- Students will either perform in and/or design for two key extracts from a performance text.
- Centre choice of performance text.
- Performer or designer routes available.
- AO2 is assessed.
- Externally assessed by visiting examiner.
- Centres are free to cover the performance/designing of the two key extracts in any way.
- This freedom caters for centres with different cohort sizes and allows them to choose group, solo and/or partner-based routes for assessment.
- Performance/design realisation covering both key extracts is worth 48 marks.
- If two separate performances are done covering two key extracts, then each performance/design realisation is worth 24 marks.
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice
This component focuses on the work of theatre makers and the theatrical choices that are made by crucial members of the creative and production team in order to communicate ideas to an audience. As theatre makers, students will be develop their knowledge and understanding of the ways in which drama can create meaning for an audience through performance.
Students will explore practically how a complete performance text might be interpreted and realised from ‘page to stage’. This exploration will give students an insight into how texts may be brought to life for an audience and the creative roles within this process.
Students will also analyse and evaluate their experience of a live theatre performance as informed members of the audience. They will develop skills to recognise the meaning created in the theatre space in order to communicate ideas to an audience. This will give them a more critical and varied approach to their own work as theatre makers.
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes – 40% of the qualification (60 marks)
- Practical exploration and study of one complete performance text.
- Choice of eight performance texts.
- Live theatre evaluation – free choice of production.
Section A: Bringing Texts to Life
- 45 marks, assessing AO3.
- This section consists of one question broken into six parts (short and extended responses) based on an unseen extract from the chosen performance text.
- Performance texts are not allowed in the examination as the extracts will be provided.
Section B: Live Theatre Evaluation
- 15 marks, assessing AO4.
- This section consists of two questions requiring students to analyse and evaluate a live theatre performance they have seen.
- Students are allowed to bring in theatre evaluation notes of up to a maximum of 500 words.
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 is developed and performed.
AO4: Analyse and evaluate their own work and the work of others.
The Drama Department passionately believes in making live performance available for young people. Drama trips are run often to support student’s classroom understanding. Our GCSE cohort has recently seen ‘The Woman in Black’ at the Fortune Theatre in the West End. This trip benefited greatly students in understanding how a play text/ novel is adapted for stage.
Key Stage 3 students are also involved in our fun filled extra-curricular activities which include a Key Stage 3 Drama club, and the opportunity for all Year 7 students to go to the theatre to see a Pantomime. Gifted and Talented Drama students also have the option of attending an additional Drama Club with older students GCSE helping to developing student directors and student leadership at KS4.
Each year there is one major school production for KS2 and KS3 Students. Last year’s school production was ‘Once on this Island’.