Drama is based in the Antony Barnard Hall, a 230 seat theatre with a green room, workshop and prop and costume store.
Drama works on many levels: our emphasis is the aesthetic but we do not ignore the social aspects of our discipline and it is through this that we can foster the atmosphere from which great creativity can flourish.
Aims and Objectives
We aim to offer a wide ranging and stimulating syllabus that encourages performance and understanding hereof. All students should work in solo, pair and larger group work. Students should be encouraged to realise the academic side of the subject not just in a written sense but also in a practical sense. We aim to ensure that every student that studies the subject has the opportunity to think of themselves as an accomplished practitioner of the dramatic art.
Drama is a lively, active and practical subject taught to all pupils in the first three years of the senior school.
The major aims are to create, understand and appreciate a variety of theatrical genres, alongside developing social and communication skills. Boys will explore the history of theatre from the Greek’s to contemporary performance practice through text and improvisation work. Whilst working on dramatic projects they will learn to work together imaginatively and cordially. This will enhance their negotiation skills and those associated with presenting an argument or an idea to their peers. Showing these performances to the rest of the class will improve their self-presentation and increase their confidence in this most necessary aspect of personal development. Working like this, the boys will also develop their voices for everyday and theatrical use, and learn to make the most of their capacities for physical expression.
Drama gives the chance to explore, in a dynamic way, complex social, personal and artistic issues as well as the emotions and ideas of the individual. It provides time and space to step into the other man’s shoes and see things from his point of view.
In Year 9 the course begins to focus more on the sort of work undertaken at GCSE, including an introduction to practitioners such as Stanislavski and the opportunity to explore design elements.
In addition to the course we aim to provide at least one opportunity per year for pupils in each year group to perform in a major production. Hundreds do and many more become involved in set-building, prop-making, lighting and sound as members of the Stage Crew.
The initial Drama course leads on to the challenging GCSE, AS and A2 level examinations as pupils move up the school.
Michaelmas Term – Storytelling
Lent Term – Greek Theatre
Summer Term – Mystery and Morality
Michaelmas Term – Elizabethan Theatre
Lent Term – Commedia Dell Arte
Summer Term – Naturalism
Michaelmas Term – Political Theatre
Lent Term – Physical Theatre
Summer Term – Theatre in the 21st Century
All students will develop skills in the following areas of drama techniques:
Small Group work
Whole group work
Spontaneous and Prepared improvisation skills
Dramatic Shape/ Structure
Relationship between the individual and the group
During the first term of Drama, pupils should be engaged in schemes of work which build their knowledge and skills of the explorative strategies that they will be expected to use to create and explore and reflect on the drama created in their examinations.
Role Play (Improvisation)
Marking the Moment
At the end of Michaelmas Term, pupils will collaborate on a group performance in order to provide them with some performance experience and demonstrate the skills that they have developed in all areas over the first term.
During this term pupils will begin to work with script extracts and will learn group devising skills.
Performance skills should be reinforced throughout and pupils should now be developing a much stronger awareness of the audience in the work created and performed.
This is the term where pupils will complete their first controlled assessment. The exam will last six hours and will require a written response to the examination which will be completed in controlled conditions.
Practical lessons will focus on building improvisation and devising skills in preparation for the second controlled assessment based on Improvisation which will take place before the half term break. As in Year 10, the controlled assessment comprises of a six hour practical and a written response.
During this time students will take their GCSE Unit 3 group practical exam. This requires pupils to take on a performance role or a performance support role (lighting, sound, set, costume or masks/make-up) in a group student devised play or edited version of an existing script, based on a theme, selected by the examination board.
Theatre Trips and Workshops
With the diverse range of theatre on our doorstep in London students are able to see a wide range of theatrical genres to practice their review writing skills for examinations and to inspire their practical work. GCSE classes will write at least one controlled assessment theatre review each term.
Workshops with professional theatre companies (such as Frantic Assembly, pictured, and Splendid and Complicite) are arranged to develop pupils' understanding of their working practices or theatrical genres.
Co-Curricular Activities and Performances
Co-curricular work in Drama is seen as essential to the success of the department providing opportunities for all of our pupils to take part in performances if they wish to. Every lunch time and each night after school there is a rehearsal of some kind taking place in the Antony Barnard Hall and frequently the dance studio too.
Each year there will be a range of opportunities for students to be involved in. Events include:
The department has three teachers and a team of technicians: