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Devonport High School for Girls

Name of Head of Department

Mr T Newman, NPQML+, BA (Hons), PGCE

Introduction to the department

Drama and Theatre Studies is an exciting subject that challenges students across the board. The Drama Department strives to develop and nurture enthusiasm for theatre and performing arts across the age range, offering many opportunities for involvement and creative input. Drama is a subject that focuses on the self-development of the individual, developing resilience, confidence and self-esteem.

Key stage 3 (Year 7 and 8)  

From September 2017, Year 7 and 8 students will have one term of Drama lessons in each academic year, as part of a subject rotation with Food and Textiles. This will enable all students to identify and develop the key performance skills which underpin the GCSE and A-level courses.

There are also plenty of other opportunities for Years 7 and 8 students to get involved with Drama. In Key Stage 3 students can enjoy opportunities in Drama through their English lessons as well as in their Citizenship and Tutor time activities.

Key Stage 3 students are also able to audition for parts in the School Production, performances taking place in the Summer Term to celebrate the hard work the students have put in over the year. With the Drama and Music department working closely together, along with staff who volunteer their time, DHSG's summer musical production will not be an opportunity you want to miss.

Key stage 4 (Year 9, 10 and 11) 

In Year 9 students develop an understanding of the fundamentals of the actor’s craft and how design and technical elements can enhance a production. Students develop and perform both original material, such as a monologue or scenes in pairs. Students also explore ways to develop characterisation from scripted texts, in preparation for their final assessed GCSE work in Years 10 and 11. Students are also introduced to the key practitioners they need to study, to produce a range of performances in contrasting styles; this includes exploring the work of Stanislavski, Brecht, Steven Berkoff, Frantic Assembly and Le Navet Bete. Students also begin developing the evaluative skills needed for evaluating their own devised work (Component One) and also the live theatre element of the written exam, by analysing a live professional performance they have seen at the theatre (Component Three).

In Year 10 students begin working on the set text for their Component Three exam, by exploring how as an actor they would perform key text, how as a director they would select appropriate rehearsal techniques, and as a designer how they would use costume, set and lighting to bring the play from ‘page to stage’. In the summer term, students are given their exam stimuli for Component One, and work to create an original devised performance, supported by written observation, analysis and evaluations. This work will be examined at the end of the summer tern allowing students to complete 40% of their GCSE as they launch into Yr 11 ready to begin the examined scripted performances for Component Two.

In Year 11 students complete their final assessments in Components Two and Three; in the first half of term one, students will re-engage with their Component Three play-text and practice writing a review of Live Theatre, for the final written exam, after seeing as much streamed and live theatre as possible. In the second half of term one and into term two students prepare for their Component Two text performance of two selected extracts from the same play. The final part of the academic year is spent revisiting the set text for Section A of the Component Three written exam, as well as refreshing the students' skills in analysis and evaluation to answer a live theatre response (Section B) based on the live theatre production the students have seen throughout their GCSE Drama course.

More details about the specification DHSG’s Drama Department use at GCSE level can be found on the Eduqas website, via the link below:

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the WJEC website GCSE Drama Specification

Extra-curricular activities 

The School’s Summer Production is open to all students, not just GCSE & A Level Drama students, to audition for. Auditions generally take place between Christmas and February half-term, with rehearsals beginning for lead speaking/singing parts then bring in the entire ensemble as the year goes on.

For GCSE and A-level students, a series of additional support sessions are run outside of lesson time, at lunch time and after school continuously through the academic year.

The department also arrange a variety of trips and visits annually. These include going to Theatres to watch professional productions. We have also hosted visiting Theatre Companies such as Downstage Write and The Barbican Theatre, who have run workshop activities for our students.