Aim and Philosophy
1. THE DRAMA DEPARTMENT : AIMS and OBJECTIVES
Education is a pleasure. We aim to guide and encourage students across the years to receive and give pleasure from the sheer versatility of Drama as a creative and expressive art form and for its participants to prosper as individuals from its many benefits, creatively, imaginatively and in sheer terms of confidence, initiative and leadership.
Theory is not taught in a vacuum but via application. With our focus on the craft of acting, directing and writing plays, our approach is predominantly practical with especial concern for learning and theorising through dramatic activity, exploration and performance, providing the students, individually and collectively, as much space as is viably possible to take the lead in the lesson, subject to the dictates of our agreed syllabus, rather than seeking to be spoon-fed or becoming over-dependent on the teacher leading from the front. Indeed, this approach complements the demands and expectations of the WJEC syllabus at GCSE with its emphasis on the devising and staging of group productions, and the understanding of various dramatic practitioners through practical exploration, discovery and performance application.
The social, moral, psychological, cultural, professional and even therapeutic gains in studying Drama are well documented, let alone the cross-curricular assets of our subject. Drama contributes towards a student’s sense of confidence, self-esteem, leadership, initiative, ingenuity and teamwork. It nurtures and vitalises the creative and imaginative potential of all its participants. In the words of one student, “Drama makes you feel better”. And, of course, Drama – in tandem with TSS’s Lamda courses and Public Speaking events – promotes and aids the development of students’ verbal communication skills. Effective communication requires skill in dealing with people in all types of situations, as particularly demonstrated by members of the political, legal, commercial and media professions.
2. SUMMARY OF SYLLABUS
Year 7 and Year 8: The primary aim is to lay the foundations for effective drama activities and experiences, enabling young actors to enjoyably make the transition from their private world of ‘make-believe’ and pretence to one connecting communicatively and publicly with their audience. Exploratory and creative exercises in both the craft of acting and directing are used, as well as drama games, short sketches, plays and script composition. Emphasis throughout is on performance and its necessary skills: spatial and vocal awareness; diction and articulation; physical control and movement; role playing and simple characterisation; manipulation of form and structure; co-operative and interactive participation; and learning to give critical and evaluative feedback to others. In addition, students are taught the basics of lighting and the use of live and recorded music and dance.
Year 9, Year 10 and 11: DRAMA as a GCSE option
GCSE Drama starts in Year 9 at a preparatory level with in which the WJEC syllabus is more freely followed to allow students to adapt to its creative and analytic demands - culminating in our entry to the ISA Drama competition, thus paving the way for more fluent and imaginative input at Year 10 and Year 11 when students, internally examined, fully devise a play in the style of their chosen practitioner (eg Stanislavsky, Brecht, et al); and, in their final year, perform from a published play to an external examiner. Practical work counts for 60% of the overall marks, the remaining 40% being achieved through coursework and the final written paper on creative interpretation and evaluation.
A LEVEL DRAMA
Demand arising, our elected syllabus would be the AQA which concentrates on both the theoretical, critical and practical works of the major dramatists with particular concern for the ideas and works of Ibsen, Stanislavsky, Bertolt Brecht and our contemporary theatre. Practical work counts for 60% of the overall marks, the remaining 40% being achieved through project and written examination based on set plays and the interpretation of an unseen extract from a director’s point of view.
We have our own theatre company (The SSTC). Performances are given in-house and we are regular participants in the annual ISA Drama Competition which we have won on a number of occasions. We treasure our collaborations with the PA, Art abd English Departments, as well as enjoy close and supportive ties with the LAMDA and Public Speaking activities at the school. Theatre outings to the West End, the Fringe and the provinces are regularly organized.