Drama

Welcome to the Drama Department at Wilmslow High School.

Department aims
The Drama department aims to encourage pupils to engage in a wide range of topics and issues and explore them, both through performance work and written reflection. It is important to us that all pupils feel secure and happy in the Drama working environment and feel able to grow and mature as individuals.

Curriculum Overview
Drama is a successful and popular subject throughout all Key Stages. Students undertake Drama once a week at KS3 and can then opt to take Drama at GCSE level should they wish to do so. We also offer A Level Drama and Theatre Studies in the Sixth Form.

KS3

In Years 7, 8 and 9 Drama takes place weekly. Pupils can then opt to take Drama as a GCSE and then an A -Level should they wish.

Aims for Year 7

  • To develop group work: co-operation, decision-making, active listening and discussion skills, respect tforf others and their ideas, self-discipline and concentration, a sense of responsibility and initiative taking.
  • To encourage pupils to take responsibility for themselves and their actions while working within the perameters of the drama.
  • To introduce notions of audience awareness.
  • To develop an understanding of portraying ideas in a dramatic form.
  • To develop the skills involved in characterisation – body, voice, posture, considering the use of space when communicating plot.
  • To develop the ability to offer and accept constructive criticism.
  • To encourage pupils to explore a variety of stimuli for the development of a drama.

Aims for Year 8

  • To encourage pupils to employ appropriate and specialist vocabulary.
  • To encourage the development of characterisation – refining the character.
  • To encourage the pupils to compare work seen elsewhere and at other times.
  • To encourage pupils to clearly communicate plot and narrative.
  • To encourage pupils to use space effectively to communicate meaning.
  • To encourage pupils to devise drama for different purposes.

Aims for Year 9

Building on aims from Years 7 and 8

  • To encourage pupils to work with conviction and concentration both in and out of role.
  • To encourage pupils to develop the ability to match appropriate form and context.
  • To encourage pupils to consider the place of symbolism in drama.
  • To encourage pupils to frame the dramatic action.
  • To encourage pupils to adapt themselves as performers to a variety of dramatic roles.
  • To encourage pupils to analyse how plots are developed and characters portrayed.

KS4

The GCSE Drama course encourages candidates to develop an interest in and an understanding of a range of drama and theatre techniques. The course promotes increased self and group awareness, imaginative, creative, communication and team work skills.

The examination itself is split into two parts:

  • 60% Written coursework
  • 40% Practical exam

There is no written examination which leaves more time to revise for core subject and other option exams.

For the written component students will complete six pieces of written coursework. This is around six thousand words in total.

  • 2 x Response phase
  • 2 x Development phase
  • 2 x Evaluation phase

In the written coursework pupils will:

  • Develop the skill of presenting a clear description of performance from the actor, director and audience perspective
  • Analyse the various skills and techniques employed in performance work
  • Show an understanding of group interaction and individual development
  • Respond to workshop tasks and show how work can be developed
  • Analyse and evaluate performance and productions as a whole, taking into consideration, acting, directing, lighting, sound, costume and so on
  • Use dramatic terminology in their essays to enforce their argument
  • Create essays that show a sound use of grammar and spelling

For the practical exam the students will:

  • Be encouraged to develop appropriate vocal and physical skills that display clarity, fluency, control, appropriateness to character and situation and consideration of pace, projection, vocal and physical flexibility, timing and spatial awareness
  • Work in role and develop a character; offering and accepting ideas, interpret and develop a role, using originality
  • Sustain a role/character and understand and develop working relationships with others
  • Research and negotiate to create a devised piece as part of a group in which they can respond creatively and appropriately for the target audience
  • Contribute to and be involved with the rest of the group through their commitment, concentration, focus and ability to lead and support others
  • Evaluate their contribution to the performance work created
  • Evaluate performances as a whole
  • Experiment with lighting, sound and costume

KS5

A Level Drama and Theatre Studies

The AQA course is a study of drama and theatre which is highly regarded by universities because of its academic focus:

  • Written exam 60% of the final grade.
  • Practical exam 40% of the final grade.

Students will study through practical workshops and theory lessons set texts from specific periods in history. Students will also study a piece of professional performance work and will write responses from the point of view of either the director or the actor. They will also produce a scripted (AS) and a devised (A2) performance which will be performed to an outside audience and an external moderator. The students choose a discipline for the performance section to be examined on; usually pupils choose to be examined on their acting skills. It is possible to choose other disciplines such as lighting, set design and so on (discuss this with the teacher leading the course). To accompany the performance the students will also submit development and preparatory work which is called “The Supporting Notes”.

What qualifications do I need?

It is preferable for you to have a GCSE in Drama but it is not essential. Ideally you will have at least a B grade in English Language and Literature in order for you to cope with the written element of the course.

You must have excellent organisation skills and be a trustworthy and committed individual.

What can I do after the course?

The course offers a wide range of experiences from performance work and the study of literature to working with theatrical ICT. This range of skills could lead to an array of career choices: creative writer/lighting technician/theatrical agent/ arts administrator/drama therapist/actor/teacher/television producer/stage manager and so on.

This course also acts as an advertisement for other skills that the student has developed such as, problem solving, diplomacy, articulacy, public speaking, team organisation and time management.

The Course Outline

Exam Board: AQA

AS

Unit 1 – Written Paper – 1 hour 30 minutes

60% of total AS marks, 30% of total A Level marks.

Section A – response to live theatre seen during the course.

Section B – study of one set play. Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.

Unit 2 – Coursework

40% of total AS marks, 20% of total A Level marks.

  • Group performance of an extract from a published play.
  • Assessment includes preparatory and development work.
  • Marked by the centre and moderated by AQA

Candidates choose from:

  • Directing
  • Acting (This is what is normally chosen)
  • Costume design
  • Mask design
  • Set design
  • Technical elements – light and/or sound

A2

Written paper – 2 hours.

30% of total A Level marks.

Section A

  • A Pre-20th century play Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde
  • A 20th Century play Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker.

Section B

Synoptic. Suggestions for a complete stage realisation of an extract from an unseen play.

Coursework.

20% of total A Level marks.

  • Group performance of devised drama.
  • Assessment includes preparatory and development work.
  • Marked by the centre and moderated by AQA
  • Candidates choose one from:

Directing

  • Acting
  • Costume design
  • Mask design
  • Set design
  • Technical elements – lighting and/or sound.