Staff: Mr K Hansen (Head of Department)
Miss C Booth
Why Study Drama?
The Drama Department aims to help all students be creative and confident. From year 7 all the way throught to year 13 students are encouraged to be inquistive and questioning as they develop their skills and understanding of drama.
We see that performance is essential learning tool, as well as being fun, and offer many opportunities to perform in school, at performance eveings and also taking part in national festivals. In the past years students have performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece.
Lessons in Drama are one hour and taught once a fortnight
In years 7 and 8 students take a practical approach to drama. They learn a broad range of skills and concepts that underpin drama.
Year 7: Practical introduction to Drama through basic skills and storytelling, interpreting a play and devising their own word using a range of styles
Year 8: Urban Myths & Total theatre – how all the design elements of drama combine to create mood, tension and atmosphere through the performance of a thriller/urban myth. Status and scripts: simple methods of how to use status as key to understanding scripts. They also study a play “The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty” and perform scenes to show their understanding. After that they progress to Theatre in Education and explore how they can use drama to raise awareness of issues and finally they study Melodrama; a distinct style that they study devise and perform.
In GCSE Drama we aim to build upon skills learned in Key Stage 3 and develop them further through challenging and exciting lessons. Students will create and perform their own plays, learn to bring scripted plays to life and understand what makes a great piece of theatre. They can do this through performing, or by choosing technical areas like stage design or lighting. We follow the WJEC syllabus.
The course is assessed through practical performances and a written exam at the end of Year 11. Practical assessment can be performing or taking up a technical element. There will be several practical assessments throughout the course giving students every opportunity to apply and extend their knowledge through performing with one assessment being a public performance. Practical assessments make up 60% of their marks. A written controlled assessment to support the practical learning makes up another 20%.
The written exam will assess their skills, knowledge, understanding of a play studied. The exam makes up 20% of their GCSE. Trips to the theatre are an essential part of the course and numerous theatre trips are organised during the year to further extend their knowledge.
AS/A2 - AQA Drama and Theatre Studies
What will I study in Drama and Theatre Studies?
You will study how plays create drama and meaning and consequently how theatre is shaped by a production team, to convey meaning to an audience.
You will also study the work of at least one significant theatre practitioner whose ideas have influenced modern theatre and apply these theories in your own performance. This will be done through a range of practical workshops and seminars where you get to explore different techniques and ideas to help broaden your critical approach.
We follow the AQA Drama and Theatre Studies course. The course is 60% written and 40% practical. There are written exams for both AS and A2 as well as practical assessment.
At AS students sit an exam in the summer term. This assesses your knowledge and understanding of the set play and your appreciation of a live theatre production. Unit Two, the practical assessment is taken in the spring term. Here your knowledge and understanding of performance is assessed through group performance a scripted play.
In A2, the course builds on and extends your knowledge from AS. You will take one written paper, Unit 3, in January. This will assess your knowledge and understanding of two set plays. Unit 4 is the practical assessment. It consists of a devised group performance. All practical assessments incorporate written commentary and reflection on the development of the group practical work. These are referred to as supporting notes.
At St John Fisher, we look to offer as many opportunities as possible for students to be involved in extra- curricular activities. In November we have the school show, often a musical, which has a whole school focus as we encourage all students, regardless of ability to take part. We also take part in the SHAKESPEARE SCHOOLS FESTIVAL and perform at the Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds. We organise regular theatre trips and also take students to London on a residential trip.
There is a Key Stage 3 Performing Arts Club which is extremely popular and is run jointly between the Drama, Dance and Music Departments. For the last 3 years they have produced a musical at the end of the year. Their last year’s performance of JOSEPH AND HIS TECHNICOLOUR DREAMCOAT was a great success.