Beaconsfield High School

Beaconsfield High School

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Drama

At Beaconsfield High School, Drama is offered as a:

  • Core subject Years 7, 8 & 9
  • GCSE Option Years 10 & 11
  • A Level Subject - Drama and Theatre Studies - Year 12 & 13

 Opportunities for participation in extra-curricular Drama activities include a lower school lunchtime Drama club run by the Drama Prefects, Shakespeare Schools Festival, Mock Trial and other festivals / competitions.

At the end of the summer term we will be presenting a whole school musical theatre production.  This year’s production is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.  Auditions will take place in January 2017.

Performance and live theatre experience are key to studies in Drama. KS4 and KS5 students are given opportunities to showcase their work to a live audience with their performance assessments. Additionally, a number of theatre trips are arranged for each year group, as it is important to show Drama students the world of theatre. Recent trips have included:

  • KS3 Students: One Man, Two Guvnors, 39 Steps, War Horse, Bugsy Malone
  • GCSE Students: Woman in Black, Hangmen, Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • A-Level Students: Frantic Assembly’s Othello, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like it, Pomona, Outpost, Beautiful Burnout, The Firewatchers

Key Stage 3

YEAR 7

All students in Year 7 have a one hour lesson of Drama per week. The course is designed to build theatrical knowledge, skills and confidence. The students will look at a Historical form of Drama, Process/Issue Based Drama and Practitioner throughout the year, with performance assessments at the end of each term. Our current units of study are:

  • Practitioner: Welcome to the Theatre - Stanislavski
  • Historical: Greek Theatre
  • Process/Issue Based: Caterpillars & Butterflies – Beauty vs. Ugly

YEAR 8

All students in Year 8 have a one hour lesson of Drama per week. The course is designed to develop the students’ theatrical knowledge, skills and confidence. The students will look at a Historical form of Drama, Process/Issue Based Drama and Practitioner throughout the year, with performance assessments at the end of each term. Our current units of study are:

  • Historical: Commedia dell’arte
  • Practitioner: Non-Naturalistic Theatre – Brecht
  • Process/Issue Based: Lord of the Flies - Bullying

 YEAR 9

All students in Year 9 have a one hour lesson of Drama per week. The course is designed to master and challenge the students’ theatrical knowledge, skills and development. The students will look at a Historical form of Drama, Process/Issue Based Drama and Practitioner throughout the year, with performance assessments at the end of each term. Our current units of study are:

  • Process/Issue Based: Craig & Bentley – Capital Punishment
  • Practitioner: Surrealism & Dali – Artaud
  • Historical: Shakespeare

Key Stage 4 GCSE : Year 10 & 11  

Drama is offered as a GCSE option.   Current Year 11 students are completing the syllabus set by AQA, though we have moved to Edexcel for existing Year 10 and future students.  

Year 11 (2016-17)            GCSE Drama (AQA)  

  1. Our current students are studying the play “The House of Bernarda Alba” and will be performing this as a practical exam in November. Students will also be preparing for a written exam on this text, where they are asked to reflect on how they have prepared for the performance considering:
  • Characterisation
  • Performance Techniques
  • Staging Decisions / Interpretation  
  1. Students will also prepare a devised performance – based on a given stimulus – to be performed at the end of March 2017  
  1. Students will be attending the theatre production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” at the start of February. The written exam in June  will ask students to evaluate the success of the live theatre production considering the range of production values:
  • Overall Design Concept
  • Use of lighting and sound
  • Set and Staging
  • Acting Techniques  

Year 10 (2016-17)             GCSE Drama Edexcel

Year 10 students are studying a new course which is separated in the following way:

20%       Practical Exam – performing 2 extracts from one set text.  In this section the students are very much directed by the teachers in terms of appropriate characterisation and interpretation.   These performances will take place in Year 11 (around March) and are externally assessed by a visiting examiner.

10%       Devised Performance.    We will start this in the summer term of Year 10, ready for performance in the Autumn Term of Year 11.   Students will be given a stimulus by the teachers who will guide the devising process and direct some aspects; students are encouraged to develop and shape their own ideas for the final performance.

30%       Written / videoed presentation - reflecting on the creative process of preparing a devised performance.   Students may prepare a written document to a maximum of 2000 words, or may video record their observations over an edited 8-10 minute presentation.  It is possible to offer a combination of the 2

40%       Written Examination reflecting on a live theatre production and an unseen extract from a selected play – likely to be “DNA” by Dennis Kelly.  

Throughout year 10 we will be consolidating a range of performance skills including the following:

  • Direct address to the audience
  • Naturalistic acting
  • Ensemble work / clocking
  • Applying choreographed movement to devising
  • Offering variety in the voice
  • Developing characterisation through non-verbal communication

We will be developing text analysis skills through the reading of the play “Shakers” by John Godber/