Curriculum Leader: Mrs C Pugh

Subject Teachers: Mrs C Pugh, Mrs N Best, Miss M Crocker

Drama is life with the dull bits cut out

Alfred Hitchcock

Overall Purpose of the Subject - Summary:

Drama is often associated with play, especially play that involves pretending to be someone else. This act of ‘play’ is an important element of children’s learning. Drama is playful in that it draws on and develops young people’s aptitude for learning about themselves and the world around them by pretending to be other people in other situations. Drama is a powerful learning tool for teaching our students about different perspectives, it shows them how to have empathy, and it helps them to learn in a creative and exciting way. Drama is associated with artistic practices and has significance in a diversity of cultural contexts. As a curriculum subject, it give students a practical knowledge of how drama works as an art form and encourages them to recognise how drama is integral to cultures in different times and places. Drama education is particularly closely allied to other art subjects and to English. It supports their teaching of English by developing communication skills, through practical exploration of texts and stimuli. Drama is the perfect vehicle to develop the vital skills of independence, appreciation, concentration, cooperation, confidence, creativity, communication and critical thinking.

Course Outline and Structure - Key Stage 3

All Key Stage 3 students at Cove are taught Drama for 1 lesson each week. Lessons are both theoretical and practical and are centered on developing a range of Drama knowledge, skills and techniques that not only will prepare students for Drama in Key Stage 4 and beyond but are also invaluable across all other subject areas. Students are taught how to engage imaginatively and intellectually with drama forms and conventions through scripted and devised performances.

Year 7 introduces students to the concept of social and performer status before examining the skills necessary to construct thoughtful and believable characters. We explore the art forms of such as characterisation through story-telling, devising work and begin to analyse and evaluate a piece of live theatre. Students are taught team-working skills, listening skills and performance and presentation skills.

Year 8 builds on the foundation laid in Year 7. Students develop their understanding and appreciation of different performance styles and genres. A good working definition of "Style" is how something is done. Students learn that theatrical styles are influenced by their time and place. Students experiment and develop skills in acting – physical and vocal skills, Brechtian techniques, working in role and devising skills. Pupils continue to learn how to analyse and evaluate theatre by identifying design skills and understanding the importance of semiotics.

Year 9 Students study a variety of theatre practitioners including Stanislavski, Brecht, Berkoff and Artaud. They apply the techniques and theories of key practitioners to GCSE play texts: Blood Brothers, Dan Nolan (and other Wheeller plays) and Metamorphosis. This means that students can create performances for different audiences and purposes using various genres, styles, conventions and traditions successfully by the end of KS3.

Course Outline and Structure - Key Stage 4                                 Exam Board: OCR

“GCSE Drama is an excellent course that really stretches your knowledge and skills within the subject. Since starting the course, I have learnt so much and developed my ability to work with others creatively” Lily Wheeler Yr. 11

Students have five lessons a fortnight and during their GCSE Drama course students will undertake three assessed units. The course emphasises and assesses drama process as well as the final product.

GCSE Course Outline

Unit 1: Devising Drama: The focus of this unit is to explore and develop understanding of the devising process using stimulus material provided by the exam board. Ten different stimulus, such as music, images, art, newspaper articles and poetry are the basis for their work.

Unit 2: Presenting and Performing Texts: The focus of this unit is how a published play is brought to life for an audience and performed / staged to a visiting examiner. Plays will contrast with the Unit 3 text studied below.

Unit 3: Drama: Performance and Response: This is a written exam in two parts. Part A is an analysis of a play, ‘Missing Dan Nolan’, and how this could be staged from a variety of perspectives. Part B is a review of a live theatre performance.

Assessment Method:

Devising Drama – 30% of the GCSE:

  • Working Record: journal that charts exploration, rehearsal process and final performance.
  • Performance of a devised piece between 5 and 15 minutes long or design for one performance group, consisting of lighting, sound, set or costume.

Presenting and Performing Texts – 30% of the GCSE:

  • Concept Pro forma: A short document that sets out the vision for performance of a published play.
  • Performance of two scenes from a published play between 5 and 15 minutes long or design for one performance group, consisting of lighting, sound, set or costume.

Drama: Performance and Response - 40% of the GCSE:

  • Section A – analysis of a play studied practically in lessons with written suggestions as to how it could be realised practically.
  • Section B - a review of a previously seen live theatre performance.

Assessment objectives:

  • AO1: Create and develop ideas to communicate meaning for theatrical performance.
  • 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.

The OCR specification can be found here:

Extra-Curricular Activities / Clubs

The drama department passionately believes in making live performance available for young people. Drama trips are run often to support student’s classroom understanding. Key Stage 3 students are also involved in our fun filled extra-curricular activities which include a Key Stage 3 Drama club. Each year there is one major school production, which is offered to all pupils across the school. There are opportunities for pupils to act, sing and dance as well as help backstage with costume, set, lighting and sound design.

Key Website to Support Learning / Useful Resources:

Subject Documents Date  
Drama Overview of KS3 09th Dec 2021 Download