The drama department is a vibrant and innovative department. We pride ourselves on inspiring a strong work ethic amongst the students, both as individuals and as members of a group. With this at the heart of the department it allows us to produce work of the highest standard at GCSE and A level.
This is not only down to outstanding teaching but having the means to create an inspirational environment. We have a multi-purpose theatre with excellent technical facilities. At exam level the students are given the opportunity to explore the potential effects of sound and lighting.
Across the curriculum students are introduced to a range of different theatre styles and genres and this inspires their own devising work. There are regular theatre trips for all exam groups. We build on strong relationships with professional theatre companies. We introduce new and exciting opportunities in the form of workshops. The enthusiasm for the subject begins to build in Year 8 and grows stronger as the students make their way through Key Stage 3. Drama has the ability to build confidence and empower students, which allows them to make mistakes and solve their own problems. Student teacher relationships are based on providing a secure learning environment where communication is fundamental to achievement.
Key Stage 3 is about experiencing what is possible within the realms of your imagination and with a little bit of structure. The work is fun and inclusive and focuses on building key skills, such as communication, collaboration and co-operation. It ranges from puppet theatre in Year 8 to Trestle mask work in Year 10. Those who opt for GCSE drama will follow the AQA Drama and Theatre Studies course which allows the students to fully embrace the subject and develop their knowledge and understanding of theatre from a number of different perspectives.
At St Mary’s we have an exceptional extra-curricular programme for our drama students. We have a Junior Drama Club which revolves around a public performance in front of parents and friends. The school productions involve working with a professional theatre team, where the discipline required to be an actor is premised. The school connects with professional production companies such as ‘Production Services Ireland’, to provide students with opportunities to develop advanced technical skills. AS and A level students have the opportunity to go on the popular annual London drama trip to witness the best of the West End.
Students receive one lesson per fortnight, through which they are introduced to the key drama skills, such as tableaux, mime puppets, stage fighting, staying in role.
Students receive one lesson per week, through which they develop the key drama skills, including Still Images, Thought Tracking, Hot-Seating, Cross Cutting and Narration.
Students develop their team-work skills and work both independently and as part of a larger group.
Students explore different theatrical genres, including Physical Theatre. Students are given the opportunity to work with scripts and to devise their own improvisations based around various themes.
|Course Offerings||Qualifications Obtainable||Awarding Body|
|Key Stage 4 Courses||GCSE||AQA|
Key Stage 5 Courses
Drama and Theatre Studies
Students explore the Theatre Practitioner Brecht and devise their own performances based on his style. Students will also attend a live, professional theatre production, which will provide the evidential basis for written examination study.
Mock projects are undertaken to continue preparing the students for their examinations taken in Year 11. Students will have the option to specialise in performance or a technical skill to be assessed in.
Unit Two (60%) - Practical Performance.
This may involve acting, devising, make-up, costume, lighting, set design or puppets.
Unit One (40%) - Students sit a 1½ hour exam which is split into two sections:
- Evaluation of both their preparation for performance and the final assessed performance itself.
- Analysis of a live professional theatre performance
Students all sit 2 Units this year:
Unit 1 (40%) - Exploration of Drama and Theatre.
Students will explore 2 contrasting texts practically in class, and then complete ‘exploration notes’ at the end of this exploration period. Students will also evaluate a piece of live theatre. Students are assessed on their practical, in class exploration, as well as their exploration notes and the theatre review.
Unit 2 (60%) - Theatre Text in Performance.
This unit is split into 2 sections. Students may either act or take a technical option for this unit.
Students explore a range of Theatrical genre and practitioners, including Stanislavski, Brecht and Artaud. Students will draw links between plays and theatrical styles and will be involved in performances in both acting and technical and design roles.
Students will also explore at least 2 World Theatre practices. Students will undertake ‘mock’ projects in all areas in which they are examined in the final year.
Students all sit 2 Units this year:
Unit 3 (40%) - Exploration of Dramatic Performance.
Students will work in groups to devise an original performance based on a stimulus set by the teacher. They may either act or take a technical option for this unit. Students are assessed on the devising process, the performance and a Supporting Written Evidence Document.
Unit 2 (60%) - Theatre Text in Context.
Students will sit a 2 ½ hour written examination which requires them to explore a set text from the point of view of a director, designer and actor and to compare a live performance they have seen to how it would have been performed in its original historical conditions.
Students will sit all 4 examined units this year. Each unit is worth 25% of the overall mark.
- Research Investigation – Students carry out dramaturgical research into an unfamiliar theatre practice. They will write approximately 2000 words plus supporting visual materials.
- Practical Performance Proposal - Students will create a vision for an original performance in response to a stimulus provided by the IBO. They will submit a 250 word proposal plus a range supporting visual documents.
- Theatre Performance and Production Presentation – A 30 minute oral presentation with images in which the students will synthesize and present the essence of their learning and development throughout the course.
- Independent Project and Portfolio – Students will practically pursue an independent interest which has arisen during the course. This is assessed through a 3000 word portfolio about the independent project and its links to the core syllabus.