How are the Performing Arts sacred subjects?
The Performing Arts call forth creativity, empathy, good communication and leadership. Engaging with performing arts enables the student to see the world through a variety of different lenses engaging with the big questions of purpose and meaning in life. Self-esteem and thinking skills are enhanced so that the student grows in their ability to recognise their own giftedness and potential as someone who has been created for a definite purpose to challenge and change situations of injustice, discrimination, marginalisation, and poverty in all its guises. Performing Arts seeks to show students how to improve the quality of life and develop a sense of community pride and hope for the future. Performing Arts celebrates diversity through the promotion and understanding of other people and different ways of life. Performing Arts celebrates spiritual and cultural heritage.
In the Drama and Theatre Studies Department we aim to engage and challenge students throughout their time at All Saints. Inspired by innovative companies such ‘Frantic Assembly’, ‘Kneehigh’ and ‘Out of Joint’, we encourage students to create fresh, original theatre at all ages.
Creativity and independence are attributes we aim to nurture from KS3 to KS5 in this high achieving Department. Through carefully tailored programmes of study including devising, improvisation, physical theatre and practical exploration of texts, pupils find the styles and techniques of theatre which suit them best. We firmly believe that watching live theatre is integral to teaching Drama and therefore we ensure that there are regular opportunities to become involved in trips and workshops.
In Drama we have high expectations of all students and the students have high expectations of us! Many hours outside of lessons are spent rehearsing, watching, refining and devising theatre and due to this a real community environment is fostered. Through this mutual dedication to excellence and a focus on valuing the individual, we hope to give pupils the confidence to succeed at school and beyond.
At KS3 our main aim is to enthuse and inspire pupils with a love for Drama and Theatre. In Year 7, pupils have Drama as a discreet lesson once every other week in rotation with Dance. In these lessons pupils are introduced to the fundamental skills of Drama including text work, improvisation, physical theatre and evaluation of their own and others’ work.
Key areas of study
At KS3 students study Drama as a discreet subject, once every two weeks. During these lessons, we study a wide range of skills and train students in the discipline and teamwork required for high quality creative work. During the course of the year, we explore:
- Drama skills: teamwork, focus, creativity, characterisation, physical and vocal skills.
- Physical theatre: introduction to non-naturalistic movement and Berkoff.
- Great expectations: creating group pieces inspired by a classic text
- ‘Macbeth with a twist’: learning to work with a script and exploring dramatic intention.
In year 8 and Year 9, students develop their Drama skills through their English lessons, studying plays such as ‘Noughts and Crosses’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’. As much as possible, students will have practical lessons for Drama units in order to keep their performance skills alive!
KS4 GCSE Drama (AQA)
The AQA course for Drama is both challenging and enjoyable, combining the key performance elements of scripted work and devising with a rigorous written exam. The current AQA specification is not only engaging for pupils and provides the perfect platform for A Level study. In Year 10 and 11 pupils have the opportunity to share their work with parents and peers as part of specific performance evenings dedicated to GCSE Drama pupils.
- Component 1: Understanding Drama (written): Analysis of a Drama Text and Live Theatre Analysis
Written exam: 1 hour and 45 minutes (80 marks 40% of overall GCSE)
- Component 2: Devising drama (practical)
Devising Original Drama and Devising Log (80 marks 40% of overall GCSE)
Internally assessed, externally moderated
- Component 3: Texts in Practice (practical)
Performance of two extracts from one play (40 marks 20%)
Marked by visiting examiner
KS5 Drama and Theatre Studies AS and A Level (AQA)
We currently offer pupils the opportunity to study Drama and Theatre Studies at AS and A Level. The course includes all aspects of performance including scripted work and devising original drama as well as rigorous exploration of key texts and analysis of live theatre performances. We have a wide range of pupils taking Drama from those who go on to Drama schools around the country to those who love the academic study of plays and technical theatre.
Year 12 Drama and Theatre Studies:
Component 1: Interpreting Drama
Study of Ibsen’s ‘Hedda Gabler’ and evaluation of a live theatre performance.
Written exam: 2 hours (mock A Level).
Component 2: Process and Performance (practical)
Performance of a key text in the style of a chosen practitioner to an audience.
Portfolio (essay) exploring the performance process.
Internally assessed (filmed).
A Level Drama and Theatre Studies
Component 1: Interpreting Drama
Study of Ibsen’s ‘Hedda Gabler’, Wertenbaker’s ‘Our Country’s Good’ and evaluation of a live theatre performance.
Written exam: 3 hours (40%)
Component 2: Creating Original Drama
Creating a devised performance from scratch
Portfolio (essay) exploring the process
Internally assessed (filmed), externally moderated (40%)
Component 3: Making Theatre (practical)
Performance of a script in a chosen style
Marked by visiting examiner (20% of A-level)
The Drama Department has a purpose-built performance studio at both Lower and Upper School and the vast majority of lessons take place in them. The studio at Upper School is fully equipped with stage lights and sound equipment and can incorporate a variety of staging and performance styles.
All Saints has a proud history of providing a range of extra-curricular opportunities to performing arts students. As well as a range of theatre trips and workshops, pupils can become involved in whole school productions, studio performances and the end of year Cabaret, celebrating all forms of performance.
Please see our gallery for a range of images from school and Sixth form performances with a Drama focus.