Drama is taught in mixed ability groups in all years. The subject is popular with students at all levels of ability and the department has produced some very impressive results in public examinations.

Key Stage 3: Years 7-9

Drama focuses on a huge range of skill, strategies and techniques in all aspects of group or individual work. All girls are taught drama in years 7 and 8 and then they can select to study it in year 9 and later for GCSE and A- level.

Most of the lessons are taught in the Performing Arts Studio and there are regular opportunities to work or perform in the hall. There are also regular theatre trips and workshops for all year groups

In year 7 it is assumed that the girls are starting from scratch and the focus is on developing a holistic understanding of drama rather than just seeing drama as a means of preparing for performance. The work generally focuses on non- verbal communication, improvisation, two minute performances, introduction to scripts and peer assessment.

Drama in year 8 and 9 is very much focussed on themed work. A range of stimuli is regularly offered from video and DVDs to music, newspaper articles and poems. The girls are expected to work in small groups and create interesting and innovative drama for a target audience. The application of existing skills is enhanced by teaching new more complex techniques and concentrating on the quality of the work rather than quantity. The aims are to develop ensemble work and acting skills through a range of strategies and techniques.

At the heart of all work is the need for the girls to appreciate the importance of independent study and thought as well as working within an ensemble.

Key Stage 4: GCSE

GCSE AQA Drama is a popular option which is based on practical knowledge of acting and directing combined with technical skills. Year 10 develops the student’s character and acting skills, introduces a range of strategies and approaches leading to the devising of an original piece of theatre and performance of an established script. Students also study a set text, currently ‘Noughts and Crosses’ and prepare for a live theatre evaluation.

Key Stage 5: AS and A level

For the Edexcel Drama and Theatre Studies A-level girls study a range of texts and practitioners as well as learning to work and think as actors, directors and designers. They perform to an examiner and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the process of practical preparation for a performance. They also have to undertake written tasks including detailed coursework and a written paper covering theatrical reviews, detailed analysis of their own work, detailed study of a set text and social, cultural and historical knowledge of all texts studied during the course.

Degrees in theatre studies, English or literature, media studies as well as psychology, social studies and law are available as a result of taking theatre studies. Any career requiring management, personnel, or social skills or specialising in the field of theatre is possible.

Many of our students have gone on to study drama, dance and or performing arts at a range of specialist performing arts schools. Theatre Studies gives students confidence in their ability to listen, to make decisions, to understand other people and to maintain a positive and creative way of working whilst constantly keeping ideas fresh and innovative.

Extra-curricular Activities

Girls are welcome to take up instrumental and/or speech and drama extra- curricular lessons. The exam boards are Associated Board of Royal School of Music, Trinity Guildhall and LAMDA.

The department regularly holds termly whole school concerts, plays or musical theatre productions. These performances showcase the talents of the students taking extra-curricular lessons as well as the many ensemble clubs and groups that happen each week. Ensemble activities cover a wide range of skills and disciplines in the performing arts.

Theatre trips and visits and workshops form a regular feature of the drama programme of study.

Girls also participate in the Arts Award Scheme which is assessed by Trinity Guildhall. Year 7 participate in the Shakespeare Challenge Bronze level Award. This has been set up by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Trinity Guildhall as part of the World Shakespeare Festival.