Drama

Head of Department: Miss D Lockhart

Overview

Drama at The Matthew Arnold School is an extremely popular subject. There are two teachers in the department and two drama spaces for the students to work in. We cover a range of topics to allow students to develop their drama skills, work as a team and work independently to boost their confidence. Each year we have a school production for all students to get involved in as well as drama clubs, which are run by our talented students. Students will complete a practical and written assessment each half term.

Year 7

In year 7 the students start to learn drama skills through a topic called ‘Kickstart’, where they explore drama through fun activities and drama games. From this we move on to explore topics such as ‘Pantomime’, with a trip to a local pantomime to complement our study. We look at the story of ‘Fairy Tales’ and ‘Shrek’ and watch the live production of ‘Shrek’ on screen. We also explore some scripts from ‘The Lion King’, ‘Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ and ‘Harry Potter’. Students focus on still images, facial expressions, body language and movement skills.

Year 8

In year 8 drama skills are developed even further through focused script work using the drama text of ‘Noughts and Crosses’ and our characterisation skills. We also develop our skills through ‘Genre’, ‘Darkwood Manor’, the true story of ‘Titanic’ and ‘Silent Movies’. The students explore skills such as mime, physical theatre, voice control and character development.

Year 9

As a start to our GCSE course students study practitioners such as Brecht, Artaud and Stanislavsky as a starting point. This allows students to develop their skills and step out of their comfort zone of a role play to drama of the absurd, abstract and realism. We move on from this to focused script work of ‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ where students study character, themes, blocking of scenes and incorporate their practitioner work. Students then look at a range of stimulus material from ‘Let him have it’, Stephen Lawrence’ as well as poetry, pictures and music to allow them to devise pieces of drama based on the ideas given to them from the stimulus. They will also study extracts from ‘Blood Brothers’, looking at this practically and for the written exam. They work on projects to give them an insight into the three units at GCSE.

Year 10 and 11

In year 10 students will start the year looking at a range of stimulus material from the story of ‘Brenda Spencer’ to a topic called ‘Dreams and Nightmares’, which covers issues of slavery, persecution and the horror genre of ‘Woman in Black’.  They also work on their set text of ‘Blood Brothers’ in more detail before moving on to their devised piece of work, which forms 40% of their GCSE Grade (10% practical and 30% written log) in year 11.

Homework

In year 7 and 8 students will be asked to complete practical homework and research.  Year 9 and 10 will be given regular written homework and research tasks, which will need to be completed to a high standard using relevant theatrical terminology. In year 10 and 11 students need to keep a devising log of their performances in order to complete 30% of their final grade for their GCSE. Year 11 will be working towards a written and practical exam and so homework will be attendance at rehearsals and written sessions as well as essay questions for homework. In year 9, 10 and 11 attendance on a theatre trip is compulsory.

Useful Links

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/drama/gcse

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zbckjxs

https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/learning/schools/secondary-and-fe/resources

http://www.costumepage.org/

http://www.mime.info/

Further Study

Students can go on to study drama, performing arts or theatre studies at local colleges, universities and drama theatre schools, both in the local area and around the UK.

Careers

Jobs directly linked: Actor/Actress, Stage Manager, Arts Administrator, Drama Teacher, Drama Therapist, Television production, Presenter – TV / Radio. Other Careers: Community Worker, Journalist, Marketing, Box Office Manager, Teacher, Business.

A drama qualification will be advantageous for any job role because of the skills that you are learning such as team work, independent work, performance skills and building confidence to share ideas and opinions as well as being able to present these in front of an audience.