Drama

To study performing is to study all human communication at once, and through Drama at Ruislip High School we further our students’ ability to express themselves as communicators. Students learn about a wide variety of cultures and periods of history, and how the context of those people, places and events changed the way people expressed themselves and the way people told stories - because it helps us understand the way we do that ourselves. No matter one’s job, effective communication, confidence and the ability to make yourself known through more than mere explicit instruction are vital - and these are the serendipitous byproducts of our Drama curriculum. 

Key Stage 3

The primary focus at Key Stage 3 is to enable students to develop their ability to present to a variety of audiences with confidence. As they progress, students will study the work of different theatre practitioners alongside different play texts to further open their eyes to the depth and breadth of the subject. In addition, students will explore a range of topics from history alongside current affairs to devise a series of performances which will inherently nurture and develop their cultural capital. By the end of KS3, students will have gained the performance and writing skills that they need for GCSE Drama: important evaluative and analytical skills that will be useful across all subjects and invaluable skills that will prepare them for a variety of pathways that they may wish to choose. 

Year 7
  1. Introduction to Drama – Mime. Students gain a secure knowledge of what drama is and establish explorative strategies, styles and techniques
  2. Beowulf – the exploration of storytelling and introduction to using dialogue
  3. Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations - the exploration of a script and introduction to exploring a character
  4. The Lost Valley - a cross-curricular exploration linking to Cultural Studies.  Students use ‘teacher in role’ and ‘whole group improvisations’ to explore a virtual reality and survive
  5. A Midsummer Night’s Dream – this approaches Shakespeare in a practical way, looking particularly at sound and costume
  6. Comedy – focusing on the use of the voice in Drama. We will be working on poems and excerpts from plays in order to develop proper use of vocal skills
Year 8
  1. Introduction to Theatre History – From Greek theatre to 21st Century Theatre, students explore genre and performance style
  2. Evacuees – this uses historical artefacts such as Chamberlain's speech to create drama and empathise with characters’ situations
  3. Bullying – this explores the theme using a selection of styles focusing on how to create an impact on the audience
  4. Face by Benjamin Zephaniah – Students study how to analyse and evaluate a play text through practical exploration
  5. Commedia Dell’Arte – this explores the genre of Italian renaissance comedy and developing characteristics
  6. Musical Mystery – Students explore this famous genre and the impact that it still has on film, television and literature today
Year 9
  1. Drama Terminology – Students explore stage space, identify technical terminology, content, style and form
  2. Civil Rights/Rosa Parks – this uses historical artefacts as stimulus to explore human rights in different social and historical contexts
  3. Blood Brothers – the exploration of Willy Russell’s script introducing elements of KS4 drama
  4. Live Theatre Analysis– Students watch a series of digital live theatre excerpts from a range of genres and use their analytical and evaluative skills to decode each performance. This helps build onto skills explored at GCSE
  5. Devising - Final KS3 performance. Students create a final performance piece using all the skills they have learned in KD3 Drama
Key Stage 4

GCSE Drama - Exam Board: AQA

Our curriculum at GCSE aims to encourage students to become confident performers, designers, directors and writers. The skills developed during this time will help them if they choose to further pursue Drama at A Level but, whatever option they choose, students will gather many invaluable skills, both theatrical and transferable, to expand their horizons in their chosen field. All students will have the opportunity to devise drama, explore texts practically, and work on two text-based performances. We feel this to be important to enable GCSE students to gain a breadth of knowledge about the subject but also to expand their creativity when devising and also develop their cultural capital. As well as preparing students for their exams, we aim to inspire curiosity, passion and a love for the art form which is why we choose texts which differ in styles. 

Component 1: Understanding of Drama (Written Exam 1hr 45 mins) Students answer three sections of questions on theatre roles and terminology, study of set text and live theatre response. 

Section A: Multiple choice theatre roles and terminology (4 marks) 

Section B: Four questions on a given extract from the set play that you study. (44 marks) 

Section C: One question (from a choice) on the work of the theatre makers in a single live theatre production (32 marks)  

Component 2: Devising Drama (Practical) Students create, develop and perform a devised piece from stimulus material provided by the teacher. The devised piece must be performed using a specific genre. Students must choose one specialism, performer or designer. The devising log is each student's individual record of their contribution to the group process, it is an analysis and evaluation of the work created.  

Component 3: Texts in Practice (Practical) Performance of two extracts from one play. Students may contribute as a performer or designer.  

How will I be assessed?

Component 1: Understanding of Drama. Open Book Written Exam 1hr 45 mins 80 Marks in total. 40% of GCSE 

Component 2: Devising Drama. Devising log – Process/Evaluation. 2,500 words if entirely written. Devising log can contain photographs and sketches. (60 marks) Devised performance – Performance/designer (20 marks) 80 Marks in total. 40% of GCSE  

Component 3: Texts in Practice. Performance of extract 1 (20 marks) Performance of extract 2 (20 marks) 40 Marks in total. 20% of GCSE  

Extra-­Curricular Opportunities

In Year 10 and 11 students attend regular theatre trips. Students will also get the opportunity to assist, act and direct in regular school productions.

Future Careers 

Teacher/Lecturer, Actor, Director and Script Writer, Broadcast Presenter, Advertising, Marketing and PR, Writer, Screenwriter, Playwright, Journalism & Law  

Key Stage 5 

A Level Drama and Theatre - Exam Board: AQA  

Students will have the opportunity to create, perform and respond to drama and theatre. They will develop their creativity and independence to become effective theatre makers. Students will analytically explore a range of diverse classical and contemporary plays and performance styles from the perspectives of an actor, director and designer. The course aims to furnish students not only with a wide range of practical skills, but also with the academic understanding to support them. This course offers a spectrum of skills which are highly transferable to many career paths.  

Assessment: 

Component 1: Drama and Theatre Drama and Theatre Students study two set texts (Yerma by Federico García Lorca and The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht) and develop knowledge and understanding of making, performing, interpreting and understanding drama and theatre. Students will learn how to analyse and evaluate the work of live theatre makers (performers/ designers/directors).

Questions that will be covered include: How do the theatrical processes and practices involved in interpreting and performing theatre impact performance? How is meaning created using conventions, forms and techniques in drama and live theatre? Do creative and artistic choices influence how meaning is communicated to an audience? 

Component 2: Creating Original Drama (Practical) Students will create a group performance/design realisation of one key extract from two different play texts which contrast in style and genre.  

Questions that will be covered include: How do acting styles contrast and change depending on genre? Why are the key scenes so important in each play text?  

Component 3: Making Theatre (Practical) Practical performance exam. Students must also study for this component the work and methodology of one influential theatre practitioner chosen from a list of prescribed practitioners.  

How will I be assessed? 

Component 1: Drama and Theatre 40% of A-level (3 hour, open book written exam)  

Section A: Drama through the ages - Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre, set text 1 

Section B: 20th and 21st century drama – Exploration of set text 2 

Section C: Live theatre production - Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers 

Component 2: Creating Original Drama (practical) 30% of A-level (practical performance exam) 

Working notebook that shows students’ creative and interpretive processes of performance. Students will analyse and evaluate their individual contribution to the success of the final performance piece  

Component 3: Making Theatre (practical)    30% of A-level     

Practical exploration and interpretation of three extracts (Extract 1, 2 and 3) each taken from a different play. Extract 3 will be performed as a final assessed piece (students may contribute as performer, designer or director)

Additional Information 

Resource Websites: 

Theatre History www.theatrehistory.com

 Theatre Crafts www.theatrecrafts.com 

British Theatre Guide www.britishtheatreguide.com 

Official London Theatre Guide www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk 

Higher Education Opportunities: 

Drama and Theatre Studies is not just for those who wish to pursue a career within the Theatre. Students who study Drama and Theatre Studies at university can go on to work in a variety of industries including: teaching, marketing, law, broadcasting, project management and many more.  

Extra-Curricular Opportunities 

In Year 12 and 13 students attend regular theatre trips. 

In Year 13 students will have the opportunity to visit the USA in conjunction with Media Studies and Politics.  

Students will also get the opportunity to assist, act and direct in regular school productions.