Drama

"Theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging

us to fantasise about a world we aspire to"

Willem Dafoe

Performing Arts at Kings Langley School 

Drama is an exciting, experimental and inspirational subject and we teach with the aim to inspire young adults. This practical subject encourages and develops creativity, teamwork, self-confidence, communication and resilience. Drama helps students to develop tolerance and empathy and they will learn to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate confidently and effectively with others. Dramatic exploration can provide students with an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and give them a chance to participate in a range of practical activities that they might not otherwise have means to express. Students will get the opportunity to develop a practical understanding of the world of theatre; what it is like to step into the shoes of an actor, director and designer.

The drama curriculum at school enables all students to gain a practical and a theoretical understanding of a variety of play texts, playwrights, theatre companies and practitioners from different historical periods and contexts. As well as this, they can create their own original work through devising projects. Whether our learners wish to become professional actors, designers or simply wish to develop their presentation, speech and communication skills, our diverse curriculum will be stimulating and of great value in the world beyond education.

Drama is compulsory for all key stage 3 students, it is then optional to continue to study for key stage 4 and key stage 5.  Each programme of study will follow a different set of skills and objectives and will vary throughout the year ensuring that a range of assessment skills are covered. Subject specific vocabulary, design and technical language and different styles of theatre have been embedded during the students’ journey through Key Stage 3. This ensures they have a good understanding for both the practical and written work in preparation for KS4; ultimately leading to KS5. Students will be assessed from Year 7 through to Year 13 using the following assessment objectives:

AO1: Create and develop ideas to communicate meaning as part of the theatre making process, making connections between dramatic theory and practice.
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.

Learning objectives and key aims covered in each programme of study.

Students will:

  • Have a greater understanding of the skills needed to achieve in drama.
  • Have been introduced to key vocabulary and subject specific terminology.
  • Have greater self-confidence, self-belief and stickability.
  • Have developed greater problem solving, time management and discussion skills.
  • Have begun to reflect on their own work and set targets for future success.

Staff:

Miss L Abbott (Subject Leader)
Mr R Flowers (Lead Practitioner in Performing Arts)

Performing Arts KS3/KS4/KS5 Summary:

Year 7 Rationale:

Students join Kings Langley School with a varied knowledge and understanding of Drama, therefore we set out to provide a challenging and enjoyable curriculum for all. We follow a similar pattern that is covered in the GCSE and A Level specifications throughout KS3 and build upon these skills each term. For each key stage we will expand on the skills previously taught. Students will explore practical work in the form of text and devising. The written content that is taught, prepares students for devising logs, studying a text and exploring and reviewing a live performance. All programmes of study (PoS) allow the students to build their confidence and self-esteem through group work, class discussions and exploration of texts. There are four PoS explored in Year 7; students will explore a classical text, articulate their ideas and intentions through devising their own work and study different types of theatre through different time periods.

Baseline testing: Introduction to Drama and Genres

This is the first topic explored and acts as an introduction to drama at Kings Langley School. Students prior knowledge and understanding of terminology and skills can be variable. This unit introduces students to a new skill or technique each week culminating in a short group performance. Students learn to work together, sharing, discussing and persuading. They will also work to a deadline and show self-discipline and self-regulation to achieve. Students need to present in front of the rest of the class and evaluate their own work. This is a skill they will use throughout their study of drama at KLS and we ensure the skills have been embedded early on.
AO1: Create and develop ideas to communicate meaning as part of the theatre making process, making connections between dramatic theory and practice.
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.

Theatre in a nutshell

Students will gain an understanding of western theatre in a nutshell, where they will explore different types of theatre through the years, through research and exploration of scripts. A whistle stop tour learning about the History of Theatre gives the students an understanding of how theatre originated in its’ Ancient form right up to the present day. During this PoS many Playwrights and their work are explored. Time periods include Greek theatre, Medieval, Elizabethan, The Restoration, Commedia dell’arte and many more. Students will explore the different genres in a written and practical manner, broadening their understanding of acting styles associated with each historical time period.
AO1: Students will apply the knowledge they have learnt from the acting style to an extract that they explore.
AO3: A variety of acting styles will be performed and students will be able to comment on how theatre has developed through a timeline and key features of the history of theatre.

Shakespeare: The Tempest

An introduction to Shakespeare using the play ‘The Tempest’. Students will gain an understanding of the social, historical and cultural context of the play. They will use selected information to know key facts about Shakespeare’s life and time. They will identify how relationships between characters impact the plot. Students will get the opportunity to not only analyse the language that Shakespeare used, they will bring sections of the play to life and perform key extracts. Students will get the chance to direct and perform in the text and will explore design aspects such as the lighting, sound, costume and props. Students are required to share ideas, work in a variety of groups, perform and then review the performance(s) as a means to improve their speaking and listening. They will build their confidence and learn how to respectfully listen to others and speak with consideration.
AO2: A range of practical skills will be considered when bringing sections of text to life.
AO3: Students will develop the ideas that they have through rehearsals, listening to feedback to set targets and improve each performance.
AO4: Students will evaluate their own work and the work of others in performing, directing and designing.

Introduction to Devising

This scheme builds upon the prior knowledge and skills learnt in the first PoS; Introduction to Drama and Genres. They will expand on the key vocabulary and subject specific terminology that they have already learnt and deepen their understanding of the skills needed to create drama. Students will be introduced to a range of different stimuli each lesson and will devise performances through rehearsed improvisation. Students will reflect on their work each week and make improvements to not only their performance skills but through the consideration of the structure of the pieces they create. Starting points such as song lyrics, newspaper headlines, poems and pictures will spark curiosity and lead group discussions on how theatre can be created and developed.
AO1: Students will create a range of role-play based on a variety of stimuli given to them.
AO2: A wide range of skills and techniques such as mime, narration, still images and thought tracking will be included to communicate meaning to the audience.
AO4: Target setting, self-reflection and reflection on the work of others will happen throughout the PoS.

Year 8 Rationale:

Year 8 is an exciting year as students develop the skills they have been introduced in in their first year at KLS and can confidently use them to discuss, create and rehearse their work. We continue to explore written and practical elements of the course, introducing skills at a slightly more advanced level. There are five PoS covered in Year 8; students will explore melodrama through text and devising their own, study a classical text and bring a text to life as class. They will continue to devise using the skill of Physical Theatre and build upon their presentation skills by the performance of a text.

Melodrama

We begin the year with Melodrama. In Year 7 they were introduced to the genre as one of their theatre history lessons and in Year 8, we continue to look at its history, traditions and links it has to Silent Movies. Students will be introduced to the stock characters and learn how to portray the exaggerated emotions of the characters in the stereotypical storylines. Students will rehearse a Melodramatic script, devise their own role-plays, and create a movement piece to music using placards. ‘What If’ scenarios will help the students to understand this energetic and exciting style of drama.
AO3: Students will apply the knowledge of understanding they have gained to their own Melodrama scenarios.
AO4: Evaluations will take place each lesson after all performances. A written evaluation will be completed at the end of the PoS.

Shakespeare: Macbeth

Students will expand on the work they completed in Year 7 when exploring a classical text by William Shakespeare. Not only will students explore the text practically, but they will also learn about key lighting and sound choices that can be made for a production of Macbeth. Students will have the chance to watch performances and evaluate the effectiveness of them, applying any feedback to their own ideas. Key characters will be analysed and brought to life, where students will consider the characterisation and physicality of them on stage.
AO1: Character profiles and role on the wall will help students to prepare for an accurate portrayal of Shakespeare’s characters.
AO2: Students will analyse existing performances and see how they can effectively portray performance elements in a practical environment.
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.

Festival of Drama

This PoS will run for the whole of the Spring term, giving the students time to explore, rehearse and perform a play. This scheme gives every single Year 8 student the opportunity to perform a play and design the relevant technical elements for the piece. Each class will be assigned a different GCSE play. Students will undertake a variety of classroom based technical activities where they will design the technical elements to enhance their show (Lighting, Sound, Costume, Set and Prop design). Students will perform at the end of the unit in a “Festival of Drama” where they will be assessed by a visiting judge and awards will be distributed for the various categories. After the performances (to an invited audience of friends and family members) students will undertake a written evaluation of the unit, setting targets for future development.
AO2: Students will apply a wide range of theatrical skills in a performance. They will consider, directing, performing and design elements and how they will work best in a live performance.
AO3: Every member of the class will gain an understanding of how a performance is put together through the rehearsal stages to the final performance.
AO4: Each form will work as a production unit to improve their piece throughout the rehearsal stages.

Devising: Physical Theatre

Students have the opportunity to explore the use of the ‘physical’ throughout drama. They will explore concepts such a status and body language and how different practitioners have explored physical theatre in their work. Students will be able to develop effective and appropriate body language for different characters. Throughout this PoS, students will rely on working well in groups and improving their ability to communicate with others and develop ideas. This topic has a very practical nature and students enjoy showcasing their work to their peers and observing what others have done.
AO3: Students will use a variety of skills and techniques to devise their own role-plays focusing on the physical nature of their characterisation.
AO4: Students will improve their work through analysing and evaluating the work that has been performed.

Text Study: Who was that Lady I saw you with?

This unit introduces students to a new skill or technique each week culminating in a short group performance of a play. They will be using marking the moment and using persuasive techniques. They will be multi-rolling which is a valuable skill and used often in KS4 and will be creating different characters showing power and status. Students learn to work together, sharing, discussing and persuading. Students must work to a deadline and show self-discipline and self-regulation to achieve. This PoS gives all students the opportunity to analyse and perform a text. They will also write detailed responses on their analysis of the text.
AO1: They will develop ideas, making connections between dramatic theory and practice.
AO4: Students need to present in front of the rest of the class and evaluate their own work.

Year 9 Rationale:

The focus for the Year 9 programme of study is to prepare students for the skills they will be using if they decide to continue studying Drama at GCSE. They will get the opportunity to explore more technical design work and students will gain the confidence in analysing and evaluating work like a GCSE student. Students will be completing more written tasks and each PoS is designed to challenge and intrigue students. There are six PoS explored in Year 9, students will develop their devising skills, learn about the technical pathway in Theatre and continue to study text based work.

Devising: Stones

At the start of year 9 students will be tested on their devising skills and challenged to create short scenarios based on a range of stimuli. At this stage students are expected to be able to discuss their work in both a verbal and written manner and key vocabulary is expected to be used when justifying points that are made. Some students may wish to take on the role of designers and discuss ideas that they might have for the pieces that have been created.
AO1: Students will share ideas that they have in small groups and with the rest of the class. They will be able to discuss the work that they have done in a written evaluation.
AO4: For each devised piece, students are expected to analyse and evaluate their own work and the work that has been created by their peers.

Technical and Backstage theatre

The Drama department recognises that not all students want to be actors. However, there are a vast amount of additional roles and careers within the industry in technical and design work. This PoS serves as an introduction to the backstage work in the theatre exploring the technical and design elements and will expand their creative thinking and artistic skills. It also acts as reminder that GCSE Drama has a number of pathways (acting, technical and design based). Workshops for each design element will take place and students will gain a great understanding of theatrical terminology associated with Technical Theatre. They will have the opportunity to use the lighting and sound decks as well as design costume and set for performance.
AO3: Students will gain an understanding of how theatre is formed through technical and design elements.

Theatre in Education

Theatre in Education is a style of theatre that uses interactive theatre to help to aid the educational process. This PoS allows students to explore Theatre In Education and encourage them to develop empathy skills. They will explore a range of differing needs for an audience, selecting an appropriate theme and style of performing. Students will be able to use different design elements to make their pieces truly entertaining. Students will aim to create performances that encourage learning for KS2 students, ensuring the performances are engaging and get a certain message across.
AO1: Students will use effective examples that have been shown to devise and write their own TIE performances. Their pieces must use facts and information and make it as entertaining as possible.
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.

Radio Play

Students will produce a Radio Broadcast exploring a variety of different styles, genres and techniques. They will be given the opportunity to produce a variety of work associated with a Radio Broadcast. In this PoS, students will complete a podcast, a radio advert, a news report and a DJ link. They will be given the chance to consider their vocal skills and the use of sound effects. This will give all students an opportunity in a different style of performing, all students will be performing their work but not acting in front of the class, resulting in a different skillset being used.
AO2: Students will look at examples of Radio plays, analysing and evaluating them and applying these skills to their own recorded work.
AO3: Each week they will develop different sections of Radio gaining an understanding of how work can be developed and performed.
AO4: Analyse and evaluate their own work and the work of others.

Text: Our Day Out

In GCSE drama, students sit a written exam where they study and practically explore a text. We prepare them for this section during this PoS in Year 9. We explore a play that is written by the same playwright (as the selected play at GCSE) and start to explore essay questions that they could answer for this text. Students are guided on developing their knowledge and understanding and characteristics of the whole play. They will also explore ideas of how the play can interpreted in a practical way but will also be recording their findings in a written format. Not only will they explore how the characters could be performed but they will also explore the set design, costume, make up, lighting and sound.
AO2: Students will consider how the text can be performed using performance and design elements.

Stage Combat

The final PoS of Year 9 and the end of KS3 finishes on a very practical and physical unit. In this PoS students can develop individual physical skills and group trust. They will be taught the basics of unarmed, single sword (plastic) and quarterstaff stage fighting techniques in a series of workshops. They will then apply these new skills to selective pieces of text and devise their own pieces. This application sees students linking their acting and performance skills with the necessary choreographic skills of stage combat to produce a piece of theatre that is engaging, interesting and exciting.
AO3: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how physical drama skills can be developed and performed.
AO4: Analyse and evaluate their own work and reflect on the improvements made not only throughout the academic year but the whole of KS3.

KS4 Rationale:

Drama is an exciting and wide-ranging subject at GCSE level. Students will develop skills of creativity, self-confidence, concentration, self-discipline, and communication. The course will appeal to those who are interested in performing and/or the technical side of theatre. The content of the course in this subject encourages students to develop their interest in the enjoyment of drama and theatre, both through their development as performers and through experience as audience members. They will gain an understanding of a wide range of play texts and other styles of dramatic presentation. There is also the opportunity to study set design, lighting, sound, makeup and costume.

Aims and learning outcomes of the course. Students will:

  • Apply knowledge and understanding when making, performing and responding to drama.
  • Explore performance texts, understanding their social, cultural and historical context including the theatrical conventions of the period in which they were created.
  • Develop a range of theatrical skills and apply them to create performance.
  • Work collaboratively to generate, develop and communicate ideas.
  • Develop as creative, effective, independent and reflective students who are able to make informed choices in process and performance.
  • Contribute as an individual to a theatrical performance.
  • Reflect on and evaluate their own work and that of others.
  • Develop an awareness and understanding of the roles and processes undertaken in contemporary professional theatre practice.
  • Adopt safe working practices.

Component 1: Understanding drama (40%)

Students sit a written exam which is 1 hour and 45 minutes long and is split into three sections. Section A is multiple choice and they gain an understanding of performance conventions and space. They also gain an understanding of drama and theatre terminology and how to use it appropriately. In section B, students study and practically explore the text Blood Brothers and answer four questions based on it. Students are guided on developing their knowledge and understanding and characteristics of the whole play and they will explore ideas of how the play can interpreted practically. In section C, students answer one question from a choice about a live performance that they have seen. They learn to analyse and evaluate the work of live theatre makers. They explore the key messages that the company and production might be trying to communicate and look at both the skills demonstrated by the performers and the design skills and how successful they were at communicating meaning to the audience.

Component 2: Devising drama (40%) 

In this component students will workshop a variety of styles and genres in which they can devise in. This will include the working practice of a variety of different practitioners. They will be assessed on the process of creating devised drama. Students will be awarded marks for the performance of the devised piece and their analysis and evaluation of their own work. Students must choose to be assessed as a performer or a designer (lighting designer, sound designer, set designer, costume designer or puppet designer). The devised piece will be based on a range of stimuli presented by the teacher and chosen by the students. Individuals will produce a devising log where they document the devising process.

Component 3: Texts in practice (20%)

Throughout this component students will learn how to contribute to text-based drama in a live theatre context for an audience. Students perform two extracts from one play to an external examiner. They can contribute as a performer or a designer. Students will develop their ability to interpret texts; communicate meaning and realise artistic intention in text-based drama.

KS5 Rationale:

This innovative and creative course allows students to explore a wide range of theatre developing the skills they have been introduced to at GCSE and the foundation skills taught at KS3. They will explore classical and contemporary texts and continue to be introduced to a variety of dramatic styles, theatre companies and practitioners. Our aim is to expose students to cutting edge contemporary performances allowing them to work in the way of current theatre makers.

On the course they will have the opportunity to see a variety of live theatre productions. Students can develop their interest in the enjoyment of drama and theatre, through their development as directors, performers, designers and educated spectators.

Similar to the GCSE course students will explore both practical and written work. The academic content is rigorous and challenging, where students will develop their understanding for making, performing, interpreting and understanding drama and theatre. At the same time the course encourages students to develop presentation skills and confidence, enabling them to converse articulately on many different levels.

Aims and learning outcomes of the course. Students will be able to:

  • Create, perform and respond to drama and theatre.
  • Develop the creativity and independence to become effective theatre makers.
  • Explore the relationship between theory and practice in a range of theatrical styles and periods and historical, social and cultural contexts.
  • Learn how relevant research, independent thought and analysis of live theatre production can inform decision making in their practical work and put this understanding into practice.
  • Experience the ways in which theatre makers collaborate to create theatre.

Component 1: Drama and theatre (40%)

Students sit a written exam which is three hours long and is split into three sections. In the first two sections, students must study and practically explore two set plays. They will develop ideas on how the plays can be interpreted and performed. Students will gain an understanding of how the play has been constructed to be performed and to communicate meaning and how the play is informed by its social, cultural and historical context. In section A, students answer one question (from a choice) on a set text. They will explore the play from a perspective of two of the following roles: a performer, a director and/or designer. In section B, students’ study a second set play and answer three compulsory questions. They must adopt the perspective of a performer, director and a designer and answer a question on each of them. In section C, students answer one essay question (from a choice) about a live performance that they have seen. Students are required to demonstrate their understanding of how theatre makers collaborate to create theatre, communicating meaning to an audience through choices of form, style and convention. Students are expected to give a personal analysis and evaluation of the theatrical elements and how effective they are.

Component 2: Creating original drama (30%)

Students must learn how to create and develop a devised piece. They must study the work and methodology of one influential theatre practitioner. This includes the social, cultural and historical context in which the practitioner is/was working in, their theatrical style and practice and their artistic intentions. Students will also explore the working methods of this practitioner including their theatrical style and the use of conventions.
Students contribute to the devised performance as a performer, a designer or a director. This must be done in a live theatre context for an audience. Students also produce an individual working notebook detailing their devising process. In this notebook they discuss their inspiration for the devised piece and their influences. They will also discuss research that they have undertaken and the ways in which they have applied the works of the practitioner. Students must discuss how they have developed and refined their work. This component is marked by teachers and externally moderated by the exam board.

Component 3: Making theatre (30%)

This a practical component where students apply their theatrical skills to an exploration of three key extracts, each from a different play. They perform one of the extracts to an external examiner and document the process of all the practical work, analysing and evaluating their interpretations. As well as performing to an examiner they must perform to a live audience and ensure they apply the work and methodologies of a prescribed practitioner. Like Component 2, they can be assessed as a performer, a director, or a designer (lighting, sound, set, costume, or puppet). In their written work, students will discuss the opportunities and challenges they met. They will also discuss their theatrical interpretation and how they have used the methods of their chosen practitioner. Students must understand the social, cultural, and historical contexts of the play.