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Drama & Theatre

Curriculum - Third Form

Drama is part of the English syllabus for the Thirds: one lesson each week is given to Drama.

The course involves exploration – spatial, mental and emotional – and is based on observation and movement. We begin with individual activities, then move on to, first, pair-work and then work in small groups. Underpinning the lessons is a programme of skills on which all girls are assessed at the end of the year, but you should not worry about this: these lessons are good, challenging fun, and you will feel as if you are playing games; yet all the time you will be learning from the different exercises we cover each week. 

Work from Drama lessons feeds into school drama in other ways: for example the annual Drama Competition and the Junior Play. Time and guidance are provided during Drama lessons just before the Drama Competition to help your class with the final stages of rehearsal; first year girls keen on drama join the Junior Drama Club and audition for the prestigious Junior Play each summer.

Optional extra Drama lessons

Girls from all year groups can opt to take additional Speech and Drama lessons with a specialist teacher.   These are taught to individuals, pairs and groups, depending on preference, and they take place during lunch breaks, and Sixth Form study periods.  These sessions are specifically about performance skills, including monologues, duologues, polished improvisations and group performances of extracts from plays, from Shakespeare to contemporary dramatists.   Each year girls enter examinations provided by Trinity College London, up to and including Grade VIII, and we have a proud record of excellence.
If you are considering Drama and Theatre A Level or want to audition for the National Youth Theatre or for Drama Schools, then these private lessons are an opportunity to gain specialist guidance.  Girls with larger roles in school productions often work on dialogue and movement with their Speech and Drama teacher.

 

 

Photos of our Latest Productions

The Sound Of Music

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Skellig

Sixth Form Drama

Guys & Dolls

Much Ado About Nothing

Amadeus

Curriculum - A level

 

‚ÄčA level Drama and Theatre 

Course Title: Advanced GCE in Drama and Theatre 9DRO 
Examination Board: Pearson Edexcel

What does this course consist of?

Component 1: Devising 40% (80 marks in total, divided by two)

  • The starting point (stimulus) is a key extract from “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller
  • Your task is to create a brand new piece of theatre, using this extract as your starting point
  • You also learn the techniques of a major theatre practitioner, Konstantin Stanislavski
  • You explore the play from the point of view of a performer
  • The component is internally assessed and externally moderated

Assessment is based on

  1. A portfolio of exploration notes from lessons and workshops, tracking and evaluating the development of your piece and your role(s) in it (60 marks)
  2. A performance in front of a live audience (20 marks) in April or May 2018

 

Component 2: Text in Performance 20% (60 marks in total, divided by three)

  • This is a live performance in front of an invited audience
  • It is assessed by a visiting examiner in the Spring Term 2019

It consists of

  • A Group performance of ONE KEY EXTRACT from a published play; this is worth 36 marks
  • Either a monologue or a duologue forming ONE KEY EXTRACT from a second published play, which must be different in style and period from the group piece; this is worth 24 marks (NB candidates performing a duologue are marked separately)

Both plays are selected or approved by the school.

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice 40% (80 marks in total, divided by two)

This is the written examination. It is 2 hours 30 mins long.

It consists of:

  • Live theatre evaluation (you write in detail about a play you have seen live in the theatre during the course)
  • Two questions on two set texts
  1. The first is from list A: “Machinal” by Sophie Treadwell, which you will study via practical workshops.  The question will be based on an extract from the play and will ask you for your ideas on how it might be performed, using some of the rehearsal and performance techniques you have learned during the course, with particular focus on the work of a key practitioner.  You will need to know the play very well indeed, because this question is closed text – you have a printed extract to refer to, but will not have access to a copy of the play.
  2. The second set text is from list B, all of which are pre-c20th plays.  The question will ask you how the play might be reimagined for a C21st audience.  In answering it you refer to moments from across the whole text, and you will have access to a clean copy of the play in your examination.   There are two texts which FHS may teach: either “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare or “Hedda Gabbla” by Heinrik Ibsen.

What will I cover during the Lower VI year?

 Mrs OakleyMrs Phillips
Autumn Term 2017

Practical skills workshops for components 1 and 2

Introduction to Stanislavski

Live theatre visits and analysis tasks for component 3

Explore 'The Crucible', its context, key moments and ways to approach them

Detailed work on stimulus extract from 'The Crucible'

Introduction to devising techniques

Practical skills workshops for components 1, 2 and 3

Introduction to Brecht

Explore 'Machinal'

Mini monologues/duologue from 'Machanical' to study and perform to a live audience near the end of term

Spring Term 2018

Devising Project

Ongoing documentation of practical sessions for portfolio

Devising Project

Ongoing documentation of practical sessions for portfolio

 

Summer Term 2018

April/May: performance and evaluation of Devised Piece 

Preparation for Live Theatre Evaluation part of the written summer internal examination

April/May: performance and evaluation of Devised Piece

Revision of 'Mechanical' for Set Text question in the written summer internal examination

 

Beyond the Classroom

Major School Productions

We produce a full-scale drama production every Autumn Term. It is is directed by Mrs Oakley and open to girls in the Upper Fourth and above. There are three performances at the very beginning of December, and tickets go on sale just after half term. We alternate between serious plays and musicals, and enjoy collaboration with the music department who provide live music for all drama productions, including special compositions and original arrangements.  Recent productions included Much Ado About Nothing (2013), Guys and Dolls (2014), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2015) and The Sound of Music (2016).  Our next project is Shakepeare’s Twelfth Night for 2017.
Girls audition for parts in September and the cast rehearses at lunchtimes and after school. Each production is stage-managed by a senior girl and her stage crew; teams of girls also create make-up and look after costumes backstage, so there are plenty of opportunities for you if drama is your passion.  The quality of production is extremely high, with professional standards of lighting, sets, costumes and props. The department is very proud of the quality of the performances achieved.

Junior Plays 

In the Summer Term we produce a play chosen specifically for girls in the first two years of the school, who are too young to take part in the major production. Auditions take place at Easter, and rehearsals happen during lunch breaks and after school.  We expect the same level of commitment and hard work from our younger girls, and these productions are lit,costumed and staged to the same high standards as the senior productions. Lasting just over one hour, the junior play is performed over two nights in late June to audiences of family and friends.  Admission is free.  Recent productions have included Skellig by David Almond, Step by Wicked Step by Anne Fine, and Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian.  

Inter-Form Drama Competition

This annual competition involves every form group in the Lower School directing a short 20 - 30 minute play of their choice. This can be an extract from an existing play or an adaptation. The girls are completely responsible for the direction and production of this performance. They perform in year group heats after school and the finalists from these heats go forward to perform in the final which takes place on the School Birthday in February. The final is judged by an invited judge and various prizes are awarded, including the coveted Best Play trophy. This competition is run by Mrs Oakley.

Junior Drama Club

This weekly club is run by Mrs Phillips with the help of girls in the Lower Sixth, and is open to girls in the Thirds and Lower Fourth. This is a lunchtime club where girls enjoy drama games but also develop their understanding of performance techniques, resulting in an informal lunchtime performance just after Easter.  Recent lunchtime mini-plays have included adaptations of Narnia and Toad of Toad Hall.  Girls who attend Junior Drama Club often go on to audition for the Junior Plays. 

Drama and Theatre Workshops

To take the girls’ practical drama skills to another level, we invite specialist practioners to come in to school to work intensively with our A Level Drama and Theatre students.  They bring practical expertise and experimentation with practitioner techniques, and most sessions last for about two hours.  Recent visiting practioners in 2016-17 included Nick O’Brien The Stanislavski Experience, who provided sessions on Stanislavski, Brecht and final stage rehearsal work on scripted and devised drama, and Kerry Frampton Splendid Theatre who delivered an inspiration starter session on Devising Techniques.

Theatre Trips

The Theatre Studies groups are invited to join theatre trips organised by the English Department, such as Othello and Macbeth; in addition they have their own trips designed to expose them to a wider range of theatre techniques, styles and genres, and which they review as part of their Unit 1 coursework. 

Beyond School

We also support girls who audition for The National Youth Theatre and Rada Youth Company.  
Girls who have studied Drama and Theatre at A level in recent years have gone on to read Drama and Bristol, Leeds and Manchester universities, as well as other subjects such as English, Film, Psychology, History and Art Foundation courses. Several of our alumni are actors and stage managers.

Forthcoming Productions

Our next Senior Production will be Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, in the 2017/18 academic year.

Drama Department Staff

Curriculum Drama is taught by Mrs Oakley (Head of Drama), Mrs Phillips, Ms Williams, and Dr de Bono.  
Speech and Drama is taught by Miss Mount and Mrs Leaf.
Extra-curricular Drama is provided by Mrs Oakley and Mrs Phillips.

No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Samuel Beckett

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