Subject Leader – Miss S Taylor ([email protected])
“Art is not a mirror to be held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it”
* Bertolt Brecht (German Theatre Practitioner)
Drama at The Manor Academy in an exciting and engaging subject, lead and taught by people who are passionate about creating dynamic and thoughtful Theatre. At KS3 students are invited to take part in the subject and develop their own confidence, creativity and thinking skills through a range of different topics studied. Students are then given the opportunity to continue their studies in Theatre through Year 9 and finally to GCSE level. At KS4 students are given chance to work from a range of texts and to create their own performances through devising and improvisation. Over the course as a whole, students are always encouraged to view, question and challenge the world we live in and to create theatre and performances which are thought-provoking as well as entertaining!
Key Stage 3
At KS3 students study a wide range of topics, which help to build up their confidence in performing. Each topic of study is designed to be fun and engaging and to help students understand and explore, in a practical way, a range of different forms and styles of Theatre from Ancient Greek performance to the modern day Musical. Throughout Years 7, 8 and 9 students will focus on building up their key skills in performance, preparing them for GCSE but also providing key skills in communicating, working in groups, confidence and communication. In Years 7 and 8 students study Drama for 1 hour per week, this is increased in Year 9 to 3 hours a week.
Through Year 7 students will be introduced to the subject of Drama and performance. Starting with a look at Murder Mystery, which is designed to give students basic skills for performance, and then moving onto Theseus and the Minotaur, where students can gain an understanding for Ancient Greek Theatre, and finally finishing the year by look at the story of Narnia, where students can put into practical all they have learned. In this first year of this subject provides students with a curriculum that is exciting and engaging.
Year 8 sees students start to introduce new topics and genres of Theatre into their growing understanding and knowledge of the subject. Students begin the year by looking at the play Romeo and Juliet, a classic play that encourages a love for Shakespeare and his works as well as allowing students to create theatre that is as relevant today as it was in the 1600’s, students then study another famous play, albeit of a very different genre, in The Woman in Black, a famous ghost story that has many themes that still affect the world around us. Through both of these topics of study students are encouraged to use and build on the performance skills they learned in the previous year. Year 8 finishes with The Final Project, a small scale musical production created, written and directed by the students themselves and open for parents to watch.
In Year 9 students will look at a range of topics that will directly prepare them for their coming GCSE. They begin with a Devising project where they are given a theme or story from which to create their own performance or play. In previous years we have looked at such topics as bullying and human trafficking, issues which affect our modern day world. Students then move onto a skills based project where they look at the exciting performance skill of Stage Combat, the art of fake fighting, which has always proven very successful and enjoyable! Students then study a whole play in a GCSE style, previously we have looked at Our Day Out by Willy Russell and Patrick Barlow’s adaption of The 39 Steps. Through this, students are given their first insight into what a GCSE really will entail and will need to perform extracts of the play as well as exploring key themes and ideas. Finally, students finish the year with yet another Devised performance, this time on a GCSE scale including tech, set and costume, and open for parents to watch at the end of the project.
GCSE Drama is an exciting and diverse subject. Over the course of 2 years students are invited to look at and challenge the world around them through the medium of Theatre. The GCSE sees students study a range of plays; The Crucible, Blood Brothers, and Macbeth to name a few, and create their own pieces of Theatre with which they can “shape the world”. Over the course of these 2 years students are given the chance to explore the world around them in a practical sense and to create pieces of Theatre which reflect what they see. During their GCSE years, students can be assessed as either performer, set designer, costume designer, lighting designer, or sound designer meaning that those who are less comfortable in performing, or who may find more interest in the technical and design aspects of Theatre are able to explore those passions.
GCSE Scheme of assessment:
Year 10 – Devised Performance (40% of GCSE total)
Students complete a piece of devised performance which is assessed by the Academy and is a total of 20% of their final GCSE. This performance is accompanied by a Devising Log which is also assessed at 20% of the final GCSE grade.
Year 11 – Texts in Practice (20% of GCSE total)
Students study and perform extracts of a play chosen by the Drama Department which are assessed by and external examiner.
* Understanding Drama (40% of GCSE total)
Students must complete and final examination in Drama. This is a written exam paper which will be completed at the end of Year 11. The students begin preparing for the paper at the start of Year 10 and continue to work on this aspect of the GCSE throughout their years of study.
Facilities and resources
The Manor Academy has excellent resources for the subject of Drama including a fully functioning Theatre which includes 170 seats, staging, lighting and sound equipment and plenty of pieces of set and costume! We are also lucky enough to have 2 studio spaces at the academy, including one black box studio which also include lighting and sound equipment.
Students are often engaged in out of curriculum performances. Each Year the academy aims to run one full-scale production or pantomime and at least 1 other smaller scale production. These are always very well received by audiences and students are encouraged to get involved in all aspects of the performance, whether it be as an actor, director, lights, sound, set, costume, stage manager, marketing or anything else they might have an interest and talent for!