Drama

Head of Department: Ms N Clark

Overview

The Drama Department at Warlingham School is an energetic, innovative and friendly department. We aim to offer all students the opportunity to experience drama and theatre from both a performance and an audience perspective, as well as enabling students of all ages to learn how to operate the school’s impressive array of professional-grade lighting and sound equipment. In the words of Lewis Carrol, we’re ‘entirely bonkers, but … All the best people are!’

We believe very strongly in the concept of student leadership, and over the years we have established a culture where the older students work with and facilitate the performance of younger ones: A level students coming into lower school lessons and working in a teaching capacity alongside the classroom teacher; GCSE and ‘A’ Level students leading sessions of the extra-curricular drama club, and helping to create sections of the annual school show; tech club is also led by students, with weekly after school teaching sessions where knowledge is passed on to younger students, and new skills are taught by ex-students returning from Drama Schools and employment.

Accommodation and Resources

The Drama Department consists of a large studio with a powered lighting rig and sound system, a small studio with a 4 channel lighting bar, and Drama is also taught in the Front Hall. The Front hall also contains a powered lighting rig and sound system, and backs onto the large studio. The wall between the hall and the studio can be removed, creating a large performance space/workshop space with a raised stage and proscenium arch.

We have a large costume cupboard, numerous stage lights, a variety of microphones and professional grade sound and lighting desks.  There are two ‘tech boxes,’ one in the studio and one over-looking the Hall – purpose built rooms which house the lighting and sound equipment and from which the technical elements of a performance can be operated.

Extra-curricular provision, performances and trips

There are two weekly after school clubs which are open to students of all ages and abilities, and these run throughout the year apart from during performance weeks. Drama Club presently runs on a Monday, and numbers vary between 30-50 students most weeks. GCSE & A Level Students run warm up sessions, and work with small groups of students developing their performance skills and techniques. Tech Club runs on a Thursday after school, and currently numbers about 20 students. The ‘techies’ learn how to use lighting and sound equipment, and put their skills to good use setting up whole school assemblies, running the tech for concerts and performance exams, and also the school show. Membership of the tech crew seems to be a lifelong thing, with older students teaching and organising the younger members of the tech crew, who then go on to do the same thing themselves when they reach 6th form. Technical design can be offered as an option at both GCSE and A Level, and many of the Techies chose to do this, and always do extremely well. A number of ex-students have gone on to study lighting and sound and have gone on to a career in this field, and we are extremely fortunate to benefit regularly from workshop sessions which they come in and run with the current tech crew. We have recently introduced Drama Technician Colours for the students who are a part of Tech Crew.

All of our exam courses involve performance work, which takes place after school hours. In total there are 10 performance exams a year, forming part of the assessment for GCSE, AS Level and A Level. All students who take Drama as an exam subject will take part in these performances, either as a designer/technician, or as an actor. Audiences are welcome for all performance exams.

The Department puts on an annual production, which has ranged from contemporary pieces by modern playwrights to adaptations of classic plays from different eras; from Musicals in collaboration with the Music Department to a number of devised pieces, created by the company. These productions are full scale performances, and are cast after workshop auditions which all students are invited to attend. We pride ourselves on not turning any student away, asking only that there is 100% attendance at rehearsals. We work with large choruses, and casts which are over 50 in number. Design, choreography and often sections of script are all the responsibility of the Company, and the show always plays to full houses. As of next year, we will be awarding Drama Colours to all students who participate in the School Show.

We arrange a number of theatre trips every year: This is usually 2 per year for GCSE students, and between 3 and 5 for AS & A Level students. Shows range from West End productions to new and experimental work in Fringe Theatres. We also encourage students to come and see performance work of other years.

Drama within the curriculum:

KEY STAGE 3

In Key Stage 3 all students are taught 2 lessons of Drama per fortnight. Although we recognise that most of our students will not become actors, we believe passionately that Drama has a great deal to offer to every child. Our Scheme of Work is designed to build confidence, enhance team working and problem solving skills, increase empathy and to enable students to explore issues which are pertinent to modern society without putting themselves at risk, in addition to teaching students a wide range of performance skills. This means that Drama is uniquely placed to underpin student’s Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development.

In each year group there are 4 units of work, and at present these are as follows:

Year 7   

  • Darkwood Manor  - In this unit students will create and sustain a believable character within a small ‘family’ group. They will play their character in a variety of situations, interacting with the other members of their ‘family’ over a number of weeks. They will develop a number of performance skills associated with naturalistic performance  
  • Non-Naturalistic Theatre – This unit will begin with a series of one or two lesson workshop sessions in each of which students will be introduced to a different un-realistic, non-naturalistic performance skill, and then working in small groups students will create a performance piece which utilises all the new skills at once.
  • Green Children – This is an issue based unit which is centred around an old Welsh Folk Story. Working with the role play skills learned in the first unit, students will examine issues of racism and bullying.
  • Scripted unit – The final unit in each year will be based on a published playscript. In year 7 students will be introduced to the skills needed to take a play from the page and bring it to life.

Year 8 

  • Character – This unit is a skills based unit, in which students will be given the opportunity to build on the naturalistic character work they did in Year 7 and to add to these skills by learning new ways to create roles, including the use of stereotypes.
  • The Great Game of Power – This unit is based on the theatrical techniques of Augusto Boal, and uses image theatre to examine power within communities, whilst enabling the students to create realistic characters and make ethical and emotional decisions in role, and to understand the reasoning behind decisions which might be different to the choices they would make themselves, developing their empathy and understanding.
  • I Saw It in The Paper – This is an issue based unit which explores concepts of social responsibility, and mental health problems. It uses a poem as its stimulus, and enables students to recreate situations whilst in role and explore a number of possible responses and their likely consequences.
  •  Scripted Unit – Students will work on a more complex script than that studied in Yr7, and continue to develop their performance skills.

Year 9 

  • Runaway  – This unit is an issue based unit, which also builds on the skills developed, as the students strive for emotional truth in their performances whilst also exploring the reasons why young teenagers run away from home and look at whether other choices and options might be available.
  • Commedia D’ell Arte – A skills based unit, which also looks at theatre history, as the students are introduced to the origins of comic performance from 16th & 17th Century Italy. They will be given the opportunity to create an extended performance piece which will be a modernised version of a stock commedia plot and will utilise highly stylised performance techniques such as slapstick and clowning.
  •  Crimewatch – This is a multi-media unit, which combines many of the skills developed thus far, and also gives the students opportunities to act, plan, direct and film their work, using a genre they are all familiar with from the TV.
  • Scripted Unit – In this unit, students will work with short sections of a full length script, possibly a Shakespeare play, and begin to learn how to show character development over the length of a performance piece.

KEY STAGE 4

We offer the AQA GCSE Drama syllabus.(4240) Students have 6 lessons a fortnight and the practical work covered will include Improvised, Devised and Scripted Acting performance work, along with the opportunity to develop technical and design skills if desired. We have had students submit lighting, sound, costume and set design work in addition to performance work with great success in the past.

We offer students the opportunity to visit the theatre at least twice a year.

The assessment structure is 60% practical exam and 40% written exam.

The practical mark divides into 2 pieces of work in which both the performance and the preparation are graded. Over the two years of the course, students will complete up to 6 pieces of practical work, from which the best two marks will be chosen. Students who wish to enter a design element will be offered the opportunity to do so in Year 11.

The written exam requires students to write analytically about the performance work they have done, and to write an evaluation of either a piece of performance work they have seen or a script that they have worked on.   

GCSE Drama 

Edexcel Specification (1DR0)

The new GCSE Drama Specification has 3 components: Devising, Performance from Script, and a written exam. These are worth 40%, 20% and 40% of the total marks respectively.

DEVISING: (1DR0/01) Students will create, develop, rehearse and perform/design for a devised piece from a stimulus. They will also create a portfolio in which they record and evaluate the exploration, rehearsal and creative process, which will contribute to their marks along with the final performance. This unit is internally assessed and externally moderated, and is worth 40% of the mark for this qualification.

PERFORMANCE FROM TEXT: (1DR0/02) (scripted performance work & coursework)            
Students create and perform/design for two extracts from a performance text. Each extract can be a group performance or a monologue /duologue Students can work as actor or designer for either or both pieces.
This unit is externally assessed by a visiting examiner, and is worth 20% of the qualification.

THEATRE MAKERS IN PRACTICE: (1DR0/03) 90 minute written exam
Student s will answer questions in two sections.

Section A “Bringing Texts to Life” – Students will practically explore and study a set text, then answer one question broken into six parts, requiring both short and extended responses
Section B “Live Theatre Evaluation”  - Students will answer two questions, analysing and evaluation a live theatre performance they have seen. They are allowed to take a maximum of 500 words of theatre evaluation notes into the exam.
This unit is assessed through an externally marked written exam, worth 40% of the total mark.

Our Year 10 students are also having 6 lessons a fortnight and they are studying the latest syllabus.

KEY STAGE 5

We currently offer the EDEXCEL Drama and Theatre AS and A2 (codes 8DR01 & 9DR01).

Students have 9 lessons a fortnight, and will be expected to put in a reasonable amount of additional rehearsal time, particularly when performances are pending. This is not a course for clock watchers!

AS Level Drama and Theatre  1 year course
Edexcel Specification (8DR0)

The new ‘AS’ level Specification has 2 components: Devised performance and process, Scripted performance with a written portfolio, and a written exam. These are worth 60% and 40% of the total marks respectively.

TEXT IN PERFORMANCE:(8DR0/01) (scripted performance work & coursework) 

Using two different scripts, students create and perform both a group performance, and a monologue or duologue for an assessed performance. They can work as actor or designer for either or both pieces.  They will also create a portfolio in which they record and evaluate the exploration, rehearsal and creative process, which will contribute to their marks along with the final performance.
This unit is internally assessed and externally moderated, and is worth 60% of the qualification.

THEATRE MAKERS IN PRACTICE: (8DR0/02)(Written Exam with 2 Sections)

Section A is a Live Theatre Evaluation, for which students will need to have been audience members for a live performance. They will be able to take a maximum of 500 words of notes into the exam with them.

Section B is Page to Stage: Realising a Performance Text, for which students will practically explore a set text focusing on performance and design aspects. They will then complete two extended response questions on how they might interpret an extract in performance, from the perspective of an actor and a designer.
This unit is externally assessed by a written exam, and is worth 40% of the qualification

This unit requires the creation of ‘a unique and original piece of theatre’ and builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in the AS units. The unit is internally assessed and externally moderated.

The group production will be created by the candidates, in response to stimulus materials, themes, ideas and/or a published play. They will need to work co-operatively, research and utilise practical rehearsal techniques, and apply knowledge of dramatic forms and genre.

Assessment for this unit will focus on four areas: work during the creation process – or rehearsal; written work, probably in the format of working notebooks in which the creation of the piece is recorded; the actual performance piece; a written evaluation of the piece.

Each of these areas carry an equal share of the marks for this unit.

A Level Drama and Theatre Studies - Legacy Specification

Unit 3: Exploration of Dramatic performance (40% of the A2 year, 20% of the whole qualification)

This unit requires the creation of 'a unique and original piece of theatre' and builds on the knowledge and understanding gained in the AS units.  The unit is internally assessed and externally moderated.

The group production will be created by the candidates, in response to stimulus materials, themes, ideas and/or a published play.  They will need to work co-operatively, research and utilise practical rehearsal techniques, and apply knowledge of dramatic forms and genre.

Assessment for this unit will focus on four areas: work during the creation process - or rehearsal; written work, probably in the format of working notebooks in which the creation of the piece is recorded; the actual performance piece; a written evaluation of the piece.

Each of these areas carry an equal share of the marks for this unit.

Unit 4: Theatre text in Context (60% of the A2 year, 30% of the whole qualification)

This is an externally assessed written exam which lasts 2½ hours.

The unit will focus on practical exploration of a play text in Sections A & B, and Section C will invite candidates to explore and respond to a live performance of a play written in a specified historical period, comparing the modern performance to the play’s original performance conditions.

SECTION A & B: Students will study Lysistrata by Aristophanes developing your ideas for a production of the play from the perspective of a director through practical workshops and research.

SECTION C: Students will study and research the original performance conditions of a play written and performed in the Elizabethan/Jacobian Era. Students will see a live production of a modern production the chosen play and will be required to evaluate the ways in which the medium of Drama is used to interpret the chosen play in a contemporary performance and to relate this to their understanding of its original performance conditions. Students may take annotated copies of the text for section A & B, and research notes for section C into the exam

Each of the three sections carries an equal percentage of the marks for this unit.

A Level Drama and Theatre (2 year course)
Edexcel Specification (9DR0)

The new ‘A’ level Specification has 3 components: Devised performance and process, Scripted performance & a written exam. These are worth 40%, 20% and 40% of the total marks respectively.

DEVISING: (9DR0/01) Using a scripted extract and the work of a theatre practitioner as a stimulus, students create a devised piece, rehearsing and/or designing their work for an assessed performance. They will also create a portfolio in which they record and evaluate the exploration, rehearsal and creative process, which will contribute to their marks along with the final performance.
This unit is internally assessed and externally moderated, and is worth 40% of the qualification.

TEXT IN PERFORMANCE:(9DR0/02) (scripted performance work) Using two different scripts, students create and perform both a group performance, and a monologue or duologue for an assessed performance. They can work as actor or designer for either or both pieces.
This unit is externally assessed, and is worth 20% of the qualification

THEATRE MAKERS IN PRACTICE: (9DR0/03)(Written Exam with 3 Sections)

Section A is a Live Theatre Evaluation, for which students will need to have been audience members for a live performance. They will be able to take a maximum of 500 words of notes into the exam with them.

Section B is Page to Stage: Realising a Performance Text, for which students will practically explore a set text focusing on performance and design aspects.

Section C is Interpreting a Performance Text, for which students will practically explore a second set text from the perspective of a theatre practitioner. They will create a director’s concept for a contemporary production of the play.
This unit is externally assessed by a written exam, and is worth 40% of the qualification

A SELECTION OF SCRIPTS USED REGULARLY IN DEPARTMENT:

Macbeth, The Tempset, A Midsummernight’s Dream – Shakespeare.

Faustus – Marlowe

Blue Remembered Hills – Dennis Potter

 Blood Brothers – Willy Russell

Sorrows of Sandra Saint – Lee Hall

Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down – Richard Cameron

Our Country’s Good - Timberlake Wertenbaker

Huis Clos – Jean Paul Satre

Chat Room – Enda Walsh

Burn – Debra Gearing

DNA – Dennis Kelly

Lysistrata – Aristophanes

Metamorphosis – Berkoff

After Liverpool – James Saunders

 

(updated Sep 2016)