"Drama is exposure; it is confrontation; it is contradiction and it leads to analysis, construction, recognition, and eventually to an awakening of understanding." - Peter Brook.
The drama curriculum at Putteridge High School is developed to help pupils live out their lives with dignity, faith and hope by embedding skills and knowledge learners need to become well rounded citizens. By rehearsing a range of texts and performances, learners will develop critiquing skills and how to behave in a dignified manner both on and off stage. They will have faith in themselves to memorise lines of dialogue and stage directions. The drama curriculum is rich with explicit links to English, dance, media and social sciences enabling students to develop their drama skills whilst drawing from a wide range of experiences. Students arriving with us from our main feeder schools have had a varied approach to their drama curriculum and will have the benefit of a broad and structured approach in Year 7 to improve their confidence when performing; in their ability to communicate in a staged environment and to understand that they all have the capability to perform. Our students will, by studying drama, develop an understanding for the value of the performance arts and develop a sense of creativity that they will be able to apply as a key skill throughout their lives.
Key Stage 3
Throughout Year 7 drama, students will build upon skills that they have explored in primary school. Students will explore the language of characterisation, stock characters, Lazzi, historical performance, voice control, movement statements and hot-seating. By exploring the styles of commedia dell’arte students develop an understanding of how the work of dramatists is communicated effectively through performance and how alternative staging allows for different interpretations of a play. The academic learning culminates in an exploration of The Tempest.
Students will spend time exploring tableaux, thought tracking, narration, basic storytelling, accepting and blocking, scene building, spontaneous and planned, improvisation and status. Students are then introduced to the basics of improvisation and are able to apply this to given stimuli that will embed an understanding of how to create theatre. Students will develop a comedic performance. In the final half term, we explore the application of mime, narration and chorus.
Throughout the curriculum, a differentiated approach is provided to ensure that all students are able to engage in the curriculum from a performance, directorial and designing perspective to ensure engagement of all abilities. The application of these skills and abilities enable our students to improvise, rehearse and perform play scripts and poetry in order to generate language and discuss language use and meaning, role, intonation, tone, volume, mood, silence, stillness and action to add impact to their performances. This forms a clear link to the English curriculum.
As the Year 8 lessons develop, students are able to link their learning within drama to history and geography in the development of our knowledge of protests and the ways in which these have played an important part in shaping our understanding of the modern world. Students will then explore physical theatre through Jaques Le Coq’s 7 Levels of Tension and Frantic Assembly. They will further demonstrate their understanding of how the work of dramatists is communicated effectively through performance and how alternative staging allows for different interpretations of a play. Students further explore classical theatre in Antigone and will then practise, in greater detail, the ways in which the academic curriculum of drama is understood by completing linked sections of the examining body.
Improvisational skills which were explored and applied throughout the Year 7 curriculum are now applied in devising their own murder mystery performances. Working in small groups, students will explore the virtues outlined throughout the academy and create a tableaux performance based around social justice issues. They will link these issues to Fundamental British Values and explore the ways in which theatre can influence the modern world. Students will use their previous performances as a basis for further developed performance and summative assessment using technical skills that they have developed and established as part of their performance repertoire from year 7 and earlier in year 8.
Students will explore the working of Shakespeare’s Globe and absorb live performance further developing their cultural capital from Year 7 to nationally and internationally recognised theatre. All students will be invited to engage in this activity as part of their curriculum which will, in turn, support their further learning in their English curriculum.
Students across all levels of ability are able to engage with this curriculum by participating in structured performance, directorial and design activities allowing them an equitable opportunity of engagement within the arts. This will allow the students throughout Year 8 to have truly developed a broader understanding of the drama curriculum and through these applications they will be able to engage successfully when developing their knowledge of Stanislavski and Brecht in Year 9.
In Year 9, students build upon their previous knowledge and skills through a combination of improvised, devised and scripted performance. By exploring the key concepts of practitioners such as Stanislavski and Brecht, students will gain cultural capital and develop an appreciation of this art form. Students will understand how the work of dramatists is communicated effectively through performance and how alternative staging allows for different interpretations of a play. They will appreciate societal perspectives and approaches to situations, whilst exploring political theatre and the ways in which the arts can provide a voice for the voiceless. An element of technical theatre is integrated into work on lighting, staging and vision with careful awareness of the stark differences between performing for stage and performing for television.
Students will be able to improvise, rehearse and perform play scripts and poetry in order to generate language and discuss language use and meaning, using role, intonation, tone, volume, mood, silence, stillness and action to add impact to further their essential skills within English language and beyond.
Key Stage 4
In Key Stage 4 students will explore the ways in which devised theatre is created under the exploration of identified practitioners and the use of stimulus. They will explore theatre from different cultures and engage in their own created work ensuring that a well rounded and secure piece of art is created. They will explore texts and their meaning to recreate known works to a high standard worthy of sharing to an audience whilst reflecting on their own artistic intentions. And, finally, students will explore set texts and live theatre to ensure they are able to interpret artistic meaning in the world of dramatic art enabling them to become well rounded and critically informed.
Actively engage in the process of dramatic study in order to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds and work imaginatively and creatively in collaborative contexts, generating, developing and communicating ideas. They will be able to reflect on and evaluate their own work and the work of others whilst developing and demonstrating competence in a range of practical, creative and performance skills. This will be shown as a basis for their future role as active citizens in employment and society in general as well as for the possible further study of drama and they will consider and explore the impact of social, historical and cultural influences on drama texts and activities.
Exam board name: RSL
Exam board website: https://www.rslawards.com/