The Drama Department at Friesland School aims to provide students with the skills to develop their confidence, leadership, communication, time management, organisation, creativity and self-discipline, all of which are key in helping to shape our students into emotionally intelligent, well-rounded individuals who are confident to explore and question the world around them.
We aim to build these qualities in our students through engaging and creative practical and theory based lessons that encourage students to take risks and seize opportunities. We aim to inspire students to reach beyond their potential, both through classroom learning and through extracurricular activities that will develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of playwrights and theatre practitioners. Throughout their time studying Drama, students will be opened up to a wide range of topics that are either Drama specific or focus on key topics relevant to the society they live in. Students will be given opportunities to develop their mastery in specific areas that they wish to take forward.
The structure, content and assessment of the two year Key Stage 3 is reflective of the GCSE course and builds year on year; thus preparing them for the Drama GCSE option should they wish to take this. GCSE students study AQA GCSE Drama and over three years will continue to build on practical and theoretical knowledge gained at key stage 3 as well as inherit many new drama skills. Throughout, we cover a range of skills and knowledge that are explored practically, in written coursework and in a written exam. The course requires a commitment to extra rehearsal time, research and written work. The practical work is based on both original ideas and written scripts and the written element extends to include set design, costume, props, lighting and sound.
Through doing GCSE Drama, there is a smooth transition to the option of taking up OCR A Level Drama in which students again build upon their Key Stage 3 and 4 skills. The focus here is to also encourage students to become independent learners and mature learners through the studying and detailed exploration of key theatre practitioners, play texts and themes.
Drama is a subject that naturally lends itself to the development and continued growth of students’ cultural capital. Through the studying of Drama opportunities are given to visit a variety of live theatre performances and participate in workshops with professional theatre practitioners as well as in-house productions and after school clubs which allow students to take part in acting festivals and take LAMDA examinations. Each year we stage several school productions where all students are invited to be involved. With these opportunities, students learn to appreciate and value each other and a variety of cultures from around the world, leading to the well-rounded individuals of the future.
At KS3, students work on 5/6 different schemes of work over an academic year. Each SOW lasts roughly a half term which is often between 6 and 8 lessons.
In Year 7 students follow the below plan:
Scheme 1: Introduction to Y7 Drama
Scheme 2: The Battle of Bubble and Squeak
Scheme 3: Joe Olsen
Scheme 4: Tryweryn Village
Scheme 5: Darkwood Manor
Scheme 6: Approaches to rehearsing and performing script
In Year 8 students follow the below plan:
Scheme 1: Introduction to Year 8 Drama
Scheme 2: Timothy Winters
Scheme 3: Physical Theatre
Scheme 4: Scripted Performance – ‘Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations’ by Alan Ayckbourn
Scheme 5: The Aberfan Disaster or The Hillsborough Disaster
Scheme 6: Approaches to script writing
In Year 9 students starting the GCSE Drama course follow the below plan:
Term 1: Introduction to GCSE Drama
Students will take part in bonding/trust exercises, learn about different stage shapes, use Roald Dahl’s revolting rhymes to practically explore these different shapes and have an introduction to stage positioning and drama terminology.
Term 2: Stanislavski & DNA
Students will undertake research into Konstantin Stanislavski, exploring his techniques through a mix of theory and practical. Students will then study ‘DNA’ by Dennis Kelly using Stanislavskian techniques to explore the play theoretically and practically.
Term 3: Practitioner Exploration
Students will take part in practical and theoretical exploration of theatre practitioners such as Frantic Assembly, Bertolt Brecht, Steven Berkoff, Kneehigh Theatre and Gecko Theatre.
Term 4: LAMDA
Students will rehearse and complete their Grade 4 Level 2 LAMDA exam focusing in on monologues, duologues and the combined exam. This will be set up at the end of December/start of January with the examination happening in April.
Term 5: Devised Exploration
Students will spend this half term exploring different ways you can devise theatre using different techniques such as, mask work, use of music, choral work, narration and different styles of theatre to create different theatrical outcomes and responses from an audience.
Term 6: Devised Mock Exam
Students will be put into mixed ability groups and be given a series of stimuli to create a devised mock exam performance from. This performance will have an invited KS3 audience to get the students used to performing in front of a larger audience.
In Year 10 and Year 11, students are required to complete three units over the two years. Component 1 is focused on creating a devised performance whereby students are required to produce a unique piece of drama, and a devised research log tracking and evaluating their performance. Component 2 is an external practical exam and students study two extracts from a play text and then perform these extracts in front of an examiner and a public audience. Component 3 is a written exam that happens at the end of Year 11, split into three sections. Section A is based on general theatre knowledge. Section 2 asks the students questions about a set text studied during the course. The exam is prepared for practically to ensure that students are fully understand the text. Section C is a live theatre review of a performance they have seen.
In Year 12 and Year 13 our A Level Drama students are expected to complete 4 units over the 2 years. Unit 1, ‘Practitioners in Practice’ requires the students to study a set text, practically and theoretically explore 2 different practitioners, create a devised performance and complete 2 pieces of coursework. Unit 2, ‘Exploring and Performing Text’ allows the students to take on the role of actor and director and work towards an externally assessed scripted performance from a script chosen by the centre. Unit 3, ‘Analysing Performance’ is a written exam at the end of Y13 where students write a live theatre review of a performance they have seen during the course in answer to a question set by OCR as well as answer questions on 2 set texts studied during the course. Unit 4, ‘Deconstructing Text for Performance’ is their second written exam which allows them to take on the role of director and write about their own concept and different directorial approaches on a set text studied during the course.