Within our department we strike a balance between teaching through drama and teaching about drama.
At KS3 we explore a range of issues whilst developing students’ drama skills in preparation for GCSE.
At KS4 drama is taught to the Edexcel specification: themes, issues and texts are explored through the medium of drama during lessons and performance / production support skills are assessed in a final practical exam.
At KS5 we teach to the AQA specification: Drama and Theatre Studies combine to create both an academic and practical A level: at this stage there is more emphasis on the process of theatrical presentation.
Learning through drama
Drama plays an important role in the social, cultural, moral and spiritual development of students. Through active learning it encourages them to identify with others’ points of view, to listen to others and to consider issues from different angles. Students are given the opportunity to explore issues relevant to their lives within an environment of social interaction and co operation.
Learning about drama
Drama, as a corpus of written material and a whole cultural heritage, is an important part of history from which we can learn a lot about humankind. Students have the opportunity to learn about drama and theatre from different periods and cultures . Drama is also an art form in its own right: the creative potential for students in making theatre is vast. An important part of our work is enabling students to develop their own skills in drama, both through lessons and the extra curricular programme. We are an inclusive department and it is our intention that all students of all abilities and talents can enjoy making theatre.
This year has seen an extensive re-modelling of Extra-Curricular Drama at Dame Alice Owen’s School. Since I joined the school in September I have created opportunities for all years to take part in live performances.
In the Winter Term I started a Year 9 Drama Club whereby students who did not usually take Drama had the opportunity to extend their knowledge from Year 8. Many of these students then took part in ‘The Insect Play’ by the brothers Capek. The play was divided into three Acts which enabled the Year 9 and 10 actors to play a wide range of characters including Tramps, Beetles, Crickets and Ants! Although essentially a moral play about the effects of war it was also a very humorous study of human behaviour and a real challenge for the students. Next December I will be putting on something a little larger and as yet have about three plays in mind.
In the Spring Term the Senior School Musical was ‘Guys and Dolls’ and involved a huge amount of students with a wide range of talents; musicians, singers, dancers and actors. This was the culmination of around 6 months of work led by the superb team of Mr Werner (Musical Director), Ms Lia Commissar (Choreographer), Ms Makepeace-Lott (Vocal Coach), Mrs Marion Barron (Stage Manager), Lighting and Sound Crew (Mr Gartner.) This was a lively and fast-paced performance and I found directing the play incredibly enjoyable as the students were so welcoming and innovative in rehearsals. This year I included around 6 Year 10s in the production and the idea is that next year there will be the opportunity for more students from different years to audition too. We are going to be exploring plays that may be closer to home this year…so watch this space!
In the Summer Term there is going to be a Junior Play featuring students from Years 7 and 8. This will be ‘Lord of the Flies’. I had 110 students audition for this play which demonstrates the huge amount of interest that the students have in the subject. As a result I have decided to divide the play up between three different casts which gives the opportunity for so many students to perform. Competition has been fierce, but the students have been incredibly supportive of each other and I believe that they have enjoyed the whole process. The play will take place in the penultimate week of term which gives the students 6 weeks to turn this around. I am sure that they will rise to the challenge!
Behind the scenes is also a fabulous Crew Club. This requires a disciplined and organised team of students ranging from Year 7 to Year 13. The Stage Manager for all productions is the hugely experienced Mrs Barron. Crew Club is held on a Monday after school between 4-5pm and we create all the set, props, costumes that are required for a production. A Sound and Lighting Crew Club is going to be held on another evening after school in the future so that younger members of the school can be trained up to take the places of the older more experienced students when they leave too.
Should you wish to be involved in any aspect of the extra-curricular programme, please come and talk to me about the opportunities available for next year.
Miss E Govier (Head of Drama)
Further information for current parents and students can be found on the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). Log-in via the link above, click on Departments, then Drama. Parents are reminded that they share log-in and password details with their child.
Back to top