We aim to foster creativity and promote confidence in self-expression, whilst developing key universal employability skills. We challenge pupils to consider the world around them and the experiences of a diverse cross-section of society, theatre styles and genres. Pupils are given a safe space in which to find and foster their own voice, whilst also becoming skilled in collaboration, problem solving and creative thinking. In an increasingly technological world we aim to provide pupils with opportunities to refine their interpersonal skills, responding to real-time pressure situations, as well as preparing to deliver content for a specific audience.
We offer a variety of enriching opportunities for our students to experience theatre, through our extra-curricular programme, including the Key Stage 3 Company and annual school production, as well as various theatre trips which are organised throughout the academic year. Pupils can also experience working with industry partners such as Down Stage Write, The Theatre Royal, The Barbican Theatre and PPAA (Plymouth Performing Arts Academy).
To introduce the key concepts of character, performance skills and dramatic techniques which differentiate naturalism and epic theatre, through exploring a playtext, as well as devising drama for an audience.
Key knowledge to be learnt in Year 7:
- Characterisation, objectives, obstacles.
- How voice can be modified to reflect changes in mood and atmosphere.
- Different ways in which facial expression and body language can be used to convey meaning to an audience.
- Key stage positioning terminology.
- How to understand the layout of a playscript.
- Difference between naturalism and epic theatre.
- Different techniques dramatists can use to break a sense of naturalism, including tableaux, cross-cutting, thought-tracking, narration, gestus, episodic construction, spoken stage directions.
- Reasons why a dramatist would want to break the fourth wall.
To develop the appreciation of different forms of theatre which break the fourth wall, including exaggerate mime, physical theatre and choreographed movement theatre. Pupils will explore and produce work in the style of theatre group Frantic Assembly and the expressionism genre.
Core knowledge to be learnt in Year 8:
- How body language, facial expression and movement can be used symbolically to create meaning or enhance mood and atmosphere.
- How modification of pace/pause/stillness and tempo can convey meaning to an audience.
- How to develop devised choreographed movement.
- How music can be used to enhance the purpose, meaning, mood or atmosphere of the actor’s use of physicality.
- How exaggerated physicality can be used to entertain an audience.
- How direct address can be used to contrast dialogue to create humour.
Pupils will have the opportunity to explore the ways in which an actor prepares to perform a specific character role (from a published play) in order to convey subtext to an audience. Pupils also collaborate in a group devised performance project, in a specific style of their choice from their lower school studies.
Core knowledge to be learnt in Year 9:
- Strategies for approaching a stimulus and developing a creative idea.
- Strategies for developing collaborative approaches to group work and time management.
- How to refine a performance through the use of rehearsal strategies.
- How subtext is created and conveyed to an audience.
- How the social, historical and cultural contexts of a play directly impact characterisation.
- Ways in which mood and atmosphere can be enhanced through the use of voice, movement and interaction.
- The importance of stage positioning to avoid blocking and masking.
Pupils practically explore the context, themes and characters of the play ‘Blood Brothers’. Pupils devise, refine and realise a piece of theatre in a specific genre for an audience, before reflecting on their achievements through a final evaluation.
Core knowledge to be learnt in Year 10:
- The context of living in Britain under the Thatcher government, and how social inequality affected working-class and upper-middle class families in different ways.
- How performance skills and production values can be used to convey meaning to the audience (including subtext).
- How to structure a written answer for examination questions of varying length.
- How to answer examination questions to ensure there is a focus on the demands of the question.
- The importance of negotiation, refinement, resilience and collaboration when developing a new piece of work in a group dynamic.
- To understand and apply subject specific terminology.
- How verbatim text and research can be used to create authenticity in devised work.
Pupils experience, analyse and evaluate a professional theatre in a live environment. They research, interpret and realise a performance of a role from an existing published play, showing how a character evolves across two contrasting extracts. Pupils develop costume, set and lighting concepts for their set text, ‘Blood Brothers’.
Core knowledge to be learnt in Year 11:
- How to critically evaluate the ways in which a professional theatre company have used performance and production values to successfully create meaning or enhance mood and/or atmosphere for an audience.
- How to interpret character, theme, context and subtext to realise a successful performance of two scripted extracts in performance.
- How to apply wider subject knowledge in both practical and theoretical contexts including performance, directorial and design perspectives.
- How to control and channel nerves effectively when performing in examination conditions to an audience.
Years 12 and 13
Pupils are introduced to the key principles of a variety of theatre practitioners, styles and genres, exploring their origins, context and purpose. Pupils develop two rehearsed performances influenced by at least one of the key Drama practitioners or styles, to apply their knowledge. Pupils use their emerging understanding of theatre to approach ways in which to transfer action from page to stage.
Core knowledge to be learnt in Years 12 and 13:
- Demonstrate creativity and imagination in interpreting set texts.
- Apply independent thinking in the evaluation of a live theatre production.
- Explore how collaborative skills can be applied in analytical thinking, research and devising.
- Understand and apply the key features of a range of theatre practitioners and companies, genres and styles.
- Interpret character, theme, context and subtext when approaching set texts.
- Develop, sustain and enhance characterisation when creating a devised performance.
- Apply wider subject knowledge in both practical and theoretical contexts including performance, directorial and design perspectives.
- Control and channel nerves effectively when performing in examination conditions to an audience.