The Drama department’s primary aim is for pupils to enjoy their work and study in a completely different way to other subjects. Emphasis is on independent group work, practical exploration of key practitioners and styles, developing dramatic skills and confidence building. We explore diverse and challenging topics and texts at all stages, as well as a good dose of comedy! Drama is taught as part of Performing Arts at KS3 and as a discrete subject to GCSE and A Level students.
GCSE Drama follows the WJEC GCSE specification involving 60% practical work, 20% written portfolio and a written exam (taken at the end of Year 11) worth 20%. Pupils are regularly assessed through performance of devised pieces and scripted play extracts. We are launching the Silver Arts Award as part of the Year 10 curriculum which fosters arts appreciation and encourages independent work.
As part of the GCSE and A Level written work, pupils must write about live productions that they have seen. We go on a large number of trips each year, to a wide variety of plays. Recent trips have included: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Rebecca, A Christmas Carol, Our Country’s Good, The Woman in Black and many more. Our trips focus on local theatres such as the Cheltenham Everyman and Oxford Playhouse, however, we aim to visit London at least once a year. An interest in live theatre is essential if pupils are to study the subject at GCSE or A Level. We also run dedicated trips for KS3 and in 2015 began a link with Propeller Theatre who perform live in school.
AS and A2 Drama also follow the Edexcel specification with practical work worth 40% of the qualification and a written work (examination and portfolio) worth 60%. At AS level, students study ‘Our Country’s Good’ and ‘Fear and Misery of the Third Reich’ as set texts and write a live theatre review. They perform a monologue or duologue and a group piece from a scripted play. At A2, students study ‘Woyzeck’ as a set text and complete a comparison of Elizabethan and modern performance techniques in their written paper. Pupils create a devised performance which can explore any topic and any style of theatre. These performances attract large audiences and are always of an excellent standard.
Our results at GCSE and A Level maintain an excellent standard, with 100% A*-B at A Level, 100% A-C at AS Level and 96% A*-C for GCSE in 2015.
Extra-curricular Drama opportunities involve showcases, KS3 performing arts club (run by 6th formers), trips and the Inter-house Performing Arts Cup. The highlight of the year is the school production.
Productions range from musicals to straight plays, offering a wide range of opportunities for involvement in all areas of the production. Past productions include: Oh! What a Lovely War, Coram Boy, Godspell, Little Shop of Horrors and Singin’ in the Rain.