Staffing & Facilities
Drama and Expressive Arts is taught by Mrs J Weatherall, Curriculum Leader, and Mrs R Carmichael. The department has 2 large dedicated studios with black curtains and stage lights as well as the use of a proscenium arch stage with lighting and sound in the main hall.
Drama at KS3 is 1 hour per week
Students learn the basics of performance in Year 7 – group work skills, voice work, communication, creating character, co-operating, improvising. Students in year 8 build upon these skills learning new performance styles and when to use them, planning and performing longer performance pieces.
All the work at KS3 links to other subjects across the curriculum, but especially PSHCE. The students have to explore the feelings and thoughts of characters in lots of different situations, the subject matter is the vehicle that allows students to learn about theatre. If a student is not interested in theatre they still learn about human emotions and situations through the work.
Drama at KS4
Students follow the OCR GCSE drama course over three years for 2 lessons per week. Students initially build upon the performance techniques learnt in KS3, whilst developing written planning and evaluation skills.
Unit 1 ask the students to explore a theme practically through a variety of skills, as a deviser, performer and a director. Students produce 3 assessed pieces of work which can be produced individually or in groups. The students produce a written portfolio of their work as part of the assessment.
Unit 2 is the practical study of a play and students perform an adaptation of that play to an audience. They produce written supporting evidence of the process to produce the play and an evaluation of the final performance after it has been seen by an audience.
Unit 3 is an exam performance assessed by a visiting examiner. The stimulus for this piece is from an exam paper which the academy will receive in January of Year 11. The exam performance requires a written record of the preparation process.
Drama at KS5 – Edexcel A Level Drama and Theatre Studies
In the first year students explore and study 2 contrasting plays in both practical and written form. They also perform a play directed by their teacher. They also chose to perform either a duologue or monologue.
In their second year, students devise a piece of theatre to be performed to an audience independently of their teacher. This has to be devised from a stimulus set by the teacher. Students are required to write detailed notes about the process and an evaluation of the performance. They then study in depth a particular play from a specific time period, and understand the differences in production techniques from that time compared to now. Students will sit an exam and answer questions on this.
The last production was performed in February 2014 ‘Those were the Days’ which included students from years 7 – 11 performing key events from the last century including WW1, the suffragettes, WW2, rationing, the start of the NHS and council housing, the swinging 60, the miners strike and quick fire events from the 1990’s, the millennium, the start of facebook and the London Olympics. The show included music and dances from all eras. The show was enjoyed by both the audience and participants and was another success.
Aims and Ethos
The drama department encourages students’ creativity and performance in a controlled and safe environment allowing them to explore imaginatively and develop a love of theatre. The department creates numerous opportunities for students to see a range of performances on theatre trips, and to be involved in whole school productions.
Drama is a busy place in school and there is usually something going on in one of the two large drama studios at either lunchtime or after school. February to May is a busy rehearsal time for all the many exam groups and from the end of September to January there are usually rehearsals for the academy productions which have been extremely popular, including Bugsy Malone, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Vale Will Rock You!, Sister Act and Oliver, Telling Tales and Those were the Days. There are always many students at auditions for parts, and the numbers of students involved in some capacity is huge. The students are committed to putting on the best show possible and even turn up to one or two Sunday rehearsals to achieve this. The shows are appreciated by large audiences and have included special guest performances from pupils from local primary schools and Vale staff.