Drama is a vitally important vehicle to nurture the creativity, passion and individuality of each child at our school. Dramatic endeavour encourages our student body to be inquisitive, spirited and inventive and in doing so enlivens and complements the academic life of the school in a very special way.
Drama is also about appreciating culture, literature and the spoken word. Plays are works of literature and interpreting them supports students’ language development. Performance is a form of storytelling and all human societies use theatre and stories to reflect on their lives and dilemmas. We celebrate and nurture this in Drama.
Our Drama department is proud of its creative partnerships. We work closely with national and local theatre companies like Splendid Productions, The Globe Theatre and Paper Birds. We have built excellent relationships with feeder schools, and take part in national competitions and initiatives such as National Theatre Connections. The Drama Department supports theatre by taking students to see a variety of professional and amateur work and inviting theatre artists to the school. The Department therefore seeks to have a wide impact across the school.
We are proud of our extra-curricula provision. We have a thriving KS3 Drama Club which performs to a public audience once a year, we provide the opportunity for year 10 and 12 students to work together in NT Connections and we perform a whole school production in collaboration with Music and Dance. Dramas inter-relationship with other art forms is important to us. Students can participate in the whole school productions but they also have numerous opportunities to showcase their skills and talents to a public audience.
Alderbrook Drama uses stories/plays to empathetically explore the world in a safe and kind environment. Drama gives Alderbrook students opportunities to be brave- through the creative development of performance materials and their presentation of that work.
The Drama Department aims to:
The curriculum at Alderbrook is based on an understanding that Drama is an art form with a discrete body of knowledge including conventions, history, and working methods.
Drama also proudly fosters an understanding of continuity and change, and of the connections between different times and cultures. The Drama department is proud of its students’ cultural diversity and actively seeks to reflect this in its curriculum and performance work.
Learning experiences in Drama are provided which involve the intellect, emotions, imagination and body, and engage the whole person. Self-confidence, motivation and self-esteem are developed through the devising, workshopping, rehearsing and performing of individual and collaborative works.
Our Year 7 and 8 curriculum draws on the contemporary drama and theatre practice of creating, performing and evaluating drama. These practices are active, experiential, critical and reflective. Our Year 9 – 11 Curriculum is of course influenced and guided by the current examination pathways – AQA GCSE Drama OR BTEC Level 1/2Technical Award in Performing Arts.
The Drama Department is housed primarily within a modern purpose built Arts Centre, ‘The Edge’. It houses a black box theatre (The Gantry), changing rooms, an ICT suite, costume store, box office, foyer and bar area, and dance studio. We also use Malley Hall for larger whole school shows and some Drama lessons. This is an excellent space with a state of the art lighting and sound rig and plenty of performance space.
2022/23 Staffing is comprised of:
Mr D Fewins – Head of Drama
Mrs D Stocks – Teacher of Drama
Miss A Shinnick – Teacher of Drama
Mr C Mander – Performing Arts Technician
Year 7 pupils receive a fortnightly, one hour Drama lesson, in mixed ability groups. The curriculum content focuses on the development of Drama skills in the following areas – Creating, Performing and Evaluating. Schemes of work explore a variety of simple drama techniques, using play texts such as ‘Grimms Tales’ and fictional settings as stimuli.
Year 8 pupils receive a weekly, one hour Drama lesson, in mixed ability groups. Topics of work cover distinct areas of the art form such as the difference between devising and working with script, how to use scripted text as a stimulus or thematic work based on Anne Frank and World War II, or the fictional world of ‘Noughts and Crosses’. By the end of Year 8, those students who do not opt to study the subject at a higher level, cease to receive Drama lessons.
In year 7 students will use their imagination and creativity to explore fantasy environments and stories. The focus of year 7 is the building and development of basic dramatic skills. By the end of year 7 students will have basic proficiency in the following 10 drama skills and techniques. They will also understand their function as part of a dramatic scene or structure;
In year 8, students will refine and develop the 10 skills and techniques learnt in year 7. Through improvisation and rehearsal, they will explore the real world past and present more often than they did in year 7 and there will be less emphasis on fantasy and storytelling. In addition to this, by the end of year 8, students will have basic proficiency in the following 10 new skills:
In Key Stage 4 student can choose one of two course options:
Either GCSE Drama (AQA Specification)
BTEC Level 1/2 Technical Award in Performing Arts.
Students receive two hours of Drama training per week. They attend these lessons in mixed ability groups. Year 9 is an important foundation year for Years 10 and 11 when students follow the GCSE or BTEC pathway.
The emphasis of the Year 9 course is on creativity, practical experimentation, performance skills/knowledge and understanding contemporary developments in professional theatre. Assessment is based on the GCSE or BTEC Drama specification and examination components.
What is assessed?
Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre.
Study of one set play from a choice of six.
Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers.
Written exam: 1 hour and 45 minutes
40% of GCSE
Section A: multiple choice (4 marks).
Section B: four questions on a given extract from the set play chosen- ‘Things I Know To Be True’ (44 marks).
Section C: one question (from a choice) on the work of theatre makers in a single live theatre production. (32 marks)
What is assessed?
Process of creating devised drama.
Performance of devised drama (students may contribute as performer or designer).
Analysis and evaluation of own work.
Devising log (60 marks)
Devised performance (20 marks)
80 marks in total
40% of GCSE
This component is marked by teachers and moderated by AQA.
Performance of two extracts from one play (students may contribute as performer or designer).
Free choice of play but it must contrast with the set play chosen for Component 1.
Performance of Extract 1 (20 marks) and Extract 2 (20 marks)
40 marks in total.
20% of GCSE.
This component is marked by AQA.
This course is aimed at students who are passionate about the Performing Arts but who perhaps find that academic writing is difficult and would benefit more from focusing on their vocational skills and training.
The course is an excellent foundation stone for knowledge of the Performing Arts industry in its entirety. Students can focus on a technical skill such as theatre design if they don’t want to be a performer and all students, regardless of their focus, will learn the key basics of the Performing Arts industry.
The course is taught over three years, but the final component assessments are completed in year 10 and 11 when students are physically and emotionally more mature.
Therefore, students in Yr9 will experience and develop some of the skills and knowledge they will need to be successful in years 10/11 and will be given a ‘mock’ of each component and a predicted grade based on their achievement.
There are three assessed Components. Here is a summary of their content:
Students will explore three pieces of repertoire. These will be an existing professional show. Students will experience variety in the three selected pieces. For example, one piece of popular Musical Theatre such as Hairspray, one contemporary play such as DNA and a piece of devised physical theatre by a professional theatre company such as Frantic Assembly.
Students will explore these three distinct works through practical workshops, but will be marked on a written log of their work and their understanding of the three pieces of repertoire.
At the end of Year 10, students will perform a piece of existing repertoire in a group of between 4-12. Students will have a distinct role or roles in the show. An invited public audience will see the work. Students will be marked on their performing skills (voice and movement), their rehearsal process (creativity and team work) and their ability to evaluate your work (written log book).
At the beginning of Year 11 BTEC will release a selection of stimuli from which students will chose one. Students will then develop, write and create their own original and distinct piece of theatre based on their chosen stimulus. Between September and December, students will be supported to develop the essential skills they will need in devising before they begin working on their final exam piece in group of between 4-7. Students will be assessed on their performance and on three ‘skills audits’ which will be simple written pieces assessing their own skills and the development of their ideas during the devising/creating process. They will also be assessed on a final evaluation of your piece once it has been performed.
The Drama Department has a busy extra-curricular schedule throughout the academic year. Opportunities are provided for all students across the year groups.
This is a great opportunity to refine performance skills and work with teams of dedicated drama students- especially but not exclusively for students who wish to study Drama at KS4. From September, students will begin to rehearse for a show- to be performed publicly in December. In this after school club, students can also elect to take the Drama Bronze and Silver Arts Award, a nationally accredited qualification that gives students extra skills in the arts and enables them to take on the role of director/workshop leader.
Afterschool/Lunchtime GCSE/BTEC/A Level written coursework support. An opportunity for students to have bespoke guided tutoring and the support of their teacher in small groups.
After school rehearsals are also a crucial feature in our students’ success, enabling them to get the focused time and feedback they need outside of normal lesson time when the demands on a teachers’ attention is high. These rehearsals are scheduled at a mutually convenient time for teacher and students.
Students from all Year groups can learn about the technical demands of using Lighting, Sound, Pyrotechnics, Staging. Students are then recruited for productions, performances, assemblies and whole school events.
There is one ‘whole school’ production per calendar year, developed in collaboration with both the Dance and Music departments. This takes place in our largest performing space – Malley Hall, usually in the summer term.
There is also a range of smaller KS4 and KS5 productions which take place throughout the school year in The Gantry Theatre. These productions are usually for exam purposes, but they are often performed to public audiences in showcase events.
Students in year 9, 10 and 12 can also volunteer to participate in National Theatre Connections, responding to and developing a production of a newly commissioned play and performing it internally to a public audience and externally at a professional venue.
We are proud of the varied enrichment trips, both day, evening and residential, that we provide for our students throughout the busy school calendar. We have a strong ethos in the department that centres around students seeing varied professional work regularly, as well as being able to take part in professional workshops. We believe these experiences have a lasting impact on our students and, inspire and improve the quality of their work within the classroom. It also provides students with a vital insight into the performing arts industry and its working practices. Trips are also aimed at providing students a model of performance excellence
Most importantly, students who leave us with a Drama qualification may or may not be interested in a career in the performing arts or film and tv, but they will be equipped with life skills that could take them in a multitude of directions. Any people orientated job/career that requires collaboration, presentation, oral communication, team work or group leadership is well served by our qualifications. We know that Drama will prepare our students well for life and that many of them will have life changing experiences and happy memories under our stewardship. We are also a hub for students who wish to be part of a caring, creative and collaborative community and we hope that this is a model for the world that awaits them when they leave our school.
The Drama Department is proud of its legacy and the contribution it makes to the wider culture of the school and society at large.