Drama

In Drama lessons at Kendrick, students are encouraged to develop their creativity and imaginations.

They are constantly presented with new challenges and their confidence and performance skills are promoted via the activities involved in a stimulating Drama curriculum.

What is studied at KS3?

What to expect in Drama at KS3

In Years 7 and 8, students receive one one-hour lesson of Drama per fortnight. There is currently no Drama for students in Year 9, but we do offer a range of enrichment activities, such as Drama Club and House Drama, to help students continue developing their skills.

Intent for KS3 Drama Curriculum

At KS3, our aim is to promote a love of learning about drama and theatre in which students are able to understand and explore a range of emotions and feelings characters may experience in plays, how to use their body’s, facial expressions and gestures to enhance these emotions, and how they can use the stage to communicate this effectively. We want our lessons to be fun and enjoyable and help students to empathise with the characters they are portraying, providing them with a greater insight about the thoughts and feelings of those in the world around them.

We aim to provide all students with a good level of knowledge and understanding of how to use verbal and non-verbal techniques to create a piece of devised theatre or scripted work. By the end of the two years, students will be well-versed in creating complex characters and scenes through a range of improvisatory and research tasks. They will become adaptable in working with a range of people and have more confidence in performing in front of others. In doing so, students will have the skills they need to progress to the next stage of their education in Drama should they wish to and/or have an appreciation for this subject in the wider curriculum.

Curriculum Framework at KS3

Year 7

Non-Verbal Techniques:  Most students in Year 7 will have some experience of Drama, but little formal training. With this mind, the Year 7 curriculum is designed to provide an introduction to performance and staging techniques, learning through group work the importance of the ensemble as a distinctive way of working in Drama. We start by looking at how effects can be created with the human body, using tableau, mime, levels, physical theatre techniques etc. We progress to other ways of creating an effect on the audience through the use of sound effects. 

Vocal Techniques:  Finally, we move onto aspects of the spoken word and how this impacts characterisation.  Students will work from scripts as well as devising their own work.  They will also learn how Drama is both a process through which they can explore their selves, their attitudes and characteristics, as well as their creative imaginations, but also a collaborative process with others and with the audience. 

Year 8

Improvisation:  Year 8 begins with the improvisation unit which introduces students to methods of creating effective and believable characters, stories and scenes as part of individual, small group and whole-class activities. The project builds on the prior learning from Year 7 and applies it in a more advanced and creative way, whilst linking to the Year 8 Improvisation unit also studied in Music. Furthermore, students will develop their knowledge of specific dramatic terminology and will analyse their own and others’ work.

Scriptwriting:  The Improvisation unit also forms the basis for the next unit, Scriptwriting.  Students will use skills and knowledge developed in the Improvisation unit to develop a more formally scripted piece of drama through analysis of existing stage and screen scripts, incorporating the appropriate terminologies and conventions of script writing, including stage directions and props. The piece will be based on a historical stimulus, currently the sinking of the Titanic, in order to explore some of the roles of drama and narratives in exploring and understanding the world.

Musicals:  The final unit of work for Year 8 has cross-curricular links with the Music Department as it uses the genre of musicals as a stimulus for a further scripted project, incorporating music.  This project will integrate and develop all skills practised throughout Years 7 and 8, together with students' new appreciation of the dramatic value of music and song, culminating in a student-written scene for a new or existing musical.  This provides excellent grounding for further study at GCSE which requires original work based on a variety of stimuli.

What is studied at KS4? 

What to expect in Drama at KS4

We study GCSE Drama using the Edexcel syllabus. It is split into three separate components as outlined below:

Component 1 - Devising - 40%
Component 2 - Performance from a Text - 20%
Component 3 - Theatre Makers in Practice - 40%

A link to the specification can be found here: https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/drama-2016.html

Intent for KS4 Drama Curriculum

Our intent for those studying Drama at GCSE is to broaden their knowledge and understanding of how to create and direct devised theatre pieces in a range of styles, bring to life a set of extracts from a scripted play, analyse an entire play in a contrasting style and learn about the various aspects that go into creating a performance, such as staging, set design and lighting, through live theatre evaluations.

We aim to build on the skills gained in KS3, in which students learn about how to use dramatic techniques and tools to create believable characters and plots, thus developing a real passion for studying drama and theatre at GCSE. Furthermore, we aim to build students’ confidence of performing in front of others, both in and out of lessons, their communication and teamwork skills through group work tasks, and give them a range of opportunities to observe professional productions and get involved in workshops with local theatre companies.

Uptake and Results at GCSE

In 2019-20, our student uptake for GCSE has been 15% of the total cohort, although a number of other students have continued to participate in whole-school drama activities, such as House Drama. The department itself continues to grow stronger with last year’s students all achieving grades 9-7.

Curriculum Framework at KS4

Year 10

In Term 1, Year 10 students analyse different theatre styles and genres, both theoretically and practically, and apply some of these to the devising process.  Towards the end of the term, we focus on the tradition of 'Commedia D'ell Arte' which leads into modern-day pantomime.  In Term 2, students devise their own pantomimes using some traditional aspects of the genre. These original pieces are performed to a live audience from a local primary school. Students are required to write a short piece detailing the creative process and evaluate the final performance in preparation for Component 1.  As part of the course, GCSE students also visit a theatre to see a live performance; Year 11 will write about this play in the Component 3 examination.

In Terms 3 and 4, students study their chosen set text for Component 3, The Crucible by Arthur Miller.  They also research and study the historical context of when the play was set and performed.  During this time, they also learn about aspects of theatrical design, such as set, lighting and use of costume.  Most lessons involve practical exploration of the text, where students learn to apply acting techniques and/or design elements.  They also have the chance to assume the directorial role.

In Terms 5 and 6, the focus is on devising an original piece of theatre from a given stimulus, such as a piece of art or music, for Component 1. Students work in small groups, applying skills for creating theatre of which they have acquired in terms 1-4.  Students must research their stimulus/stimuli and keep a diary of the creative process, focussing on their own contributions to the process.  These notes form the basis of their 'portfolios' which are teacher-assessed for Component 1.  Their devised pieces are performed in front of an audience and are filmed for the moderator.

Year 11

In Terms 1 and 2, Year 11 students write up their portfolios for Component 1. They also learn more about production elements which are essential for the analysis and evaluation of live theatre (Component 3).  During Terms 1 or 2, they will have a theatre trip with Year 10. They are required to compile notes on this production, covering acting skills and production values, which they will use in their final examination.  We also revisit The Crucible in Term 2 in preparation for their mock examinations.

In Terms 3 and 4, the focus is Component 2, Performance from a Text.  An external examiner will assess their performances from a published text towards the end of term 4, assessing their performance skills.

In the final term, students revise their set text and further develop their exam technique in preparation for their GCSE which normally takes place in May.

What is studied at KS5?

What to expect in Drama and Theatre at KS5

We offer the Edexcel Drama and Theatre A Level, which encourages creativity by focusing on practical work, thus reflecting 21st century theatre practice.  The course consists of three components:

Component 1 - Devising - 40%
Component 2 - Performance from a Text - 20%
Component 3 - Theatre Makers in Practice - 40%

A link to the A Level Drama and Theatre specification can be found here: https://qualifications.pearson.com/content/dam/pdf/A%20Level/Drama%20and%20Theatre%20Studies/2016/Specification%20and%20sample%20assessments/a-level_drama_spec.pdf

Intent for KS5 Drama and Theatre Curriculum

Our aim for those studying Drama and Theatre at A Level is to continue to build on the skills and knowledge they gained at KS3/4, whilst also introducing them to theatre practitioners, such as Brecht, Artaud and Stanislavski. We look to develop students’ understanding of the impact these practitioners had on the theatrical world and how students may incorporate some of these practitioner’s ideas in creating their own devised piece of theatre.

Encompassing these practical and theoretical aspects of the course provides students with an excellent grounding for further study should they wish to continue with Drama and Theatre at university, as well as enabling them to become confident speakers, creative thinkers and independent learners and researchers, thus preparing them for the world of work.

Curriculum Framework at KS5

Component 1: Devising: students devise a piece of theatre based on an extract from a chosen performance text, applying the methods of a theatre practitioner.  They are assessed on their practical performance and a written piece analysing and evaluating the creative process. This equates to 40% of the final grade.

Component 2: Text in Performance; students perform one key extract from a published text of their own choice.  They are assessed by a visiting examiner. This equates to 20% of the final grade.

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice: in this 2.5-hour exam, students answer questions on a performance text they have explored practically and an unseen text.  They will also answer a question on a live theatre production they have seen.  Prescribed texts for this component are:

- 'Accidental Death Of An Anarchist' by Dario Fo
- 'Colder Than Here' by Laura Wade
- 'Equus' by Peter Shaffer
- 'Fences' by August Wilson
- 'Machinal' by Sophie Treadwell
- 'That Face' by Polly Stenham
- 'Antigone' by Sophocles
- 'Doctor Faustus' by Christopher Marlowe
- 'Hedda Gabler' by Henrik Ibsen
- 'Lysistrata' by Aristophanes
- 'The Maids' by Jean Genet
- 'The School for Scandal' by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
- 'The Tempest' by Shakespeare
- 'Waiting for Godot' by Samuel Beckett
- 'Woyzeck' by Georg Buchner

This equates to 40% of the final grade.

Extra Curriculum Drama and Theatre  

House Drama:  Every year, Kendrick School runs a House Drama competition. The pieces are devised, written and produced by students, inspired by a common theme and performed for the school and an invited audience. Competition is fierce, and the finished performances are always of a high standard.  Students of all ages and abilities are involved. All performances are adjudicated by an external adjudicator who marks them on aspects such as plot, casting, staging and audience engagement.

House Drama 2020 is built around the theme of ‘temptation’ and the line, “The snake beguiled me and I did eat.” from ‘Paradise Lost’. It was adjudicated by Frank Whately, former Head of School for Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University. He was also one of the founders of the Rose Theatre in Kingston, a former Associate Writer and Director for National Youth Music Theatre for 15 years and is a published playwright.

Musicals and Theatre Productions:  The Music and Drama departments work together to put on a production every 2-3 years at Kendrick. In 2016, students performed in ‘Guys and Dolls’ and in 2018, students from Kendrick School and Reading School worked together to put on a student-led production of ‘We Will Rock You’.

Kendrick School also participates in the Shakespeare Schools Festival. In 2016, they performed an abridged version of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and as part of its 20th anniversary in 2020, students will be performing another of Shakespeare’s plays, again led by student directors.

Pantomimes:  As part of their GCSE course, Year 10 students create a pantomime which they perform for local primary schools, much to the enjoyment of both the performers and the audience.

In Year 12, all students are encouraged to work together to write, direct and perform in their own pantomime for the rest of the school. It has become a staple part of the festive season at Kendrick and one that students and staff alike look forward to.

Drama Ambassadors:  New for 2019-20, two students from each year group have been nominated to act as Drama Ambassadors to promote whole-school involvement in Drama at Kendrick through extra-curricular clubs and activities. They work together to convey the student voice and implement new ideas to enhance the dramatic opportunities for all.

Drama Clubs at Kendrick:  Weekly Drama Clubs are run for the following:

Years 7-8 – by Drama Ambassadors in Year 12-13
Year 9 – by Mrs Cooper
Years 10+ - by Mrs Bishop and Drama Ambassadors in Years 12-13

Live Theatre Trips and Workshops:  Through the Drama, Music and English departments, students at Kendrick have the opportunity to experience live theatre through theatre trips, locally and further afield, and visits from touring companies: we have strong links with ‘South Street Theatre’ in Reading and The RABBLE theatre company.

In the 2017 – 2018 academic year students had the benefit of touring productions of A Christmas Carol and a full-length production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2019 – 2020, students went to see a spoken word production of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and were later visited by The RABBLE Theatre Company who gave them practical advice about how they incorporate this into their own plays. Additionally, we have visits from theatre practitioners who run workshops for us in school and students in both GCSE Drama and GCSE Music are taken to see a musical theatre production, which incorporates aspects of both courses.

Staff

Mrs Catherine Cooper - Subject Leader
Mrs Katherine Bishop - Drama Teacher