Head of Teaching & Learning: Mrs K Robertson
Miss S Green
Drama at Downlands is an exciting, fun subject taught throughout the whole school. It helps to build confidence, improves public speaking, specialises in team-work, and encourages a range of other skills needed for life during and after school.
Drama is taught fortnightly to years 7 and 8, and once a week to year 9. Students in Key Stage 3 focus on some of the fundamental key skills of the subject, studying Voice, Facial Expression, Body Language and Gesture. Topics cover Mime, Stage Combat, Soundscape, Improvisation, and the beginnings of Shakespeare. During year 9, students are able to transfer all of their dramatic skills in to whole performances. Work schemes include Melodrama, Theatre in Education, and other scripted works. Assessment focuses on those skills.
In February, students embark on a carousel of the Creative Arts. Students focus intensively on either Drama, Music, Art or Media for 6 weeks, finishing their project with a show-case, before moving on to the next subject. The themes for each project will change every 6 weeks. This year, we are going to be looking at Horror, British Identity, and Circus/Carnival and combining the final project with the opening ceremony for Sports Day.
Drama productions are very popular, and have included a range of performances. Over the last three years, there have been two large whole-school musicals, Grease and Oliver, and one Key Stage 4 musical, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, Shakespeare evenings, a promenade production that took place outside of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and involvement in the prestigious Shakespeare Schools Festival.
Enrichment and trips have been organised regularly and have included dance trips to the Pineapple Studios, theatre trips to see ‘Stomp’ and ‘Wicked’, and most recently a circus workshop for year 9.
Students who decide to take Drama GCSE can benefit from many more school trips. In the past, we have visited many theatres including the National Theatre, the Globe Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith, and seen productions from outstanding theatre companies, such as Kneehigh, Frantic Assemby, 1927, Traverse. We aim to visit the theatre once every couple of months. All the trips are optional and aim to see diverse, inspirational, ‘off the West End’ productions, rather than mainstream. Students have also taken part in various workshops, most recently the cast and Director of Action to the Word, who provided a challenging, physical workshop for a group of year 11 students.
During Key Stage 4, students follow AQA, which has had outstanding success in the last three years, with students gaining 97% A* to C most recently. This includes studying five topics of Drama: Devising, Scripted, Improvisation, Theatre in Education, and Physical Theatre. We aim to put on between five and six performances over the two years of study, with their top two marks going forward to make up 60% of the GCSE. 40% of the GCSE is an exam that covers a performance that they have acted in, a scripted piece, and a play that they have seen.
For more information about events and schemes of work, please visit the Drama Moodle site.
Awarding Body: OCR
OCR GCSE Drama
Scheme of Work for Years 7, 8 and 9: