“Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it.” – Augusto Boal
“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” – Sean O’Casey
“Drama is thinking out loud; it develops oral language skills as the child defines, articulates, expresses and verbalises thought in the context of improvised activities “. – (Mc Master J.C ‘Doing literacy’: Using drama to build literacy)
“Like theatre, drama in schools can unlock the use of imagination, intellect, empathy and courage. Through it, ideas, responses, and feelings can be expressed and communicated. It carries the potential to challenge, to question and to bring about change.” – Jude Kelly
“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it“– Bertolt Brecht
- Mrs Colclough – Curriculum Co-ordinator responsible for the effective co-ordination and running of the department.
- Miss Johnston – Teacher of Performing Arts
- Mrs Posner – Teacher of Performing Arts
The Drama/Performing Arts Department has two purpose built rooms, the Arts theatre and Year 11 centre. The impact of technology within the Drama curriculum is well catered for at All Hallows. We have sixteen networked computers all running Microsoft Office, The vast majority of our students make excellent use of the technological facilities available in the Department.
The Arts theatre is also used for lessons and acts of worship, concert rehearsals and performances. The Year 11 centre is also used during Exam periods.
- Time-tabled weekly class/set drama lesson
- Drama performances and dancing act as parts of Acts of Worship
- Individual, paired and group work
- Drama and dance performances by pupils and/or visiting actors /dancers/singers
- Cross-curricular themes
Each year group has one lesson each week at Key Stage 3 and 3 lessons each week at Key Stage 4 in Performing Arts.
Within the one lesson (50 minutes) each week, a carousel system of Music and Performing Arts exists.
The Drama Curriculum aims to inspire in all students an appreciation of many different genres and styles of text and performance. It will equip students with a set of essential communication skills for life through highly collaborative and experimental learning experiences. Students will gain a wider understanding of the world in which they live and a wider awareness and appreciation for themselves and fellow humanity. Students will develop their self-confidence, self-expression, empathy and communication skills. The Curriculum aims to develop students’ awareness of social, moral and ethical values, and aims to allow all students to respond creatively and critically to a range of contexts and stimuli. It aims to deepen students’ cultural understanding and exposure. Students will be equipped to reflect, analyse and evaluate a range of ideas, concepts, performances and texts.
The Drama Curriculum focuses on providing quality opportunities for all students to create and develop ideas to communicate meaning for performance. It aims to deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of how Drama and Theatre is developed and performed. Students learn how to use, apply, develop and refine a range of theatrical skills in performance to realise their own artistic intentions. Students will explore creative approaches to interpret a given stimuli or text from page to stage, reflecting, analysing and evaluating at each creative stage in the rehearsal process. Through a wide range of opportunities and experiences outside of the classroom, students should develop an appreciation of the performing arts and grow to understand its value for themselves and for society as a whole. The aim of our Drama curriculum is to nurture and expand our students’ creative minds. We want our students to feel limitless with their imagination and challenge them to present information to a target audience making it relevant, purposeful and engaging.
Through the exploration of carefully selected topics, students will master skills in teamwork, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, confidence, autonomy, tolerance and empathy. Drama student will make, perform and evaluate. Ultimately, we want our students to begin to develop a passion for the Arts and find great joy in this creative outlet.
During Key Stage 3, staff will implement and pupils will have the opportunity to:
Focus on developing skills in performing, making and evaluating drama, dance and theatre through exploration of themes, texts and dramatic practices. We aim to develop individuality, to inspire our students to become reflective and creative individuals that have the confidence to explore and question the world around them as they grow in today’s ever changing society. We aim to encourage students to think and express themselves with flair and confidence and to encourage tolerance and understanding. Students are given opportunities through practical role-play in both script work and devising, and look at the different creative roles and the different styles of drama experienced through their performance work and watching performances of others in class, and those of professionals, with theatre trips and in-house industry workshops and performances. The work studied at KS3 and KS4 allows for these creative skills and transferable qualities to develop. At KS4 in GCSE BTEC Performing Arts the students have the chance to really put their craft into practice for examination purposes, and also to showcase their theatrical knowledge in their coursework components. Pupils always have opportunity to rehearse, refine and share their work, responding verbally to all creativity showcased in the drama space. We encourage creativity and strive to develop empathetic, confident students who can analyse and question the world around them.
During years 7, 8 and 9, students receive one timetabled lesson each week of Performing Arts –a carousel of music and drama. Throughout the three years we cover basic acting skills in movement and voice, mask work, genres, varied play texts, styles of theatre such as Physical, Commedia, Slapstick, Mime, Stage Combat, Pantomime and Theatre in Education. The focus of these lessons is to instil teamwork, self-control, co-operation, communication, independence, and mutual respect. The lessons always have an engaging context, theme or chosen studied text that best fits the interests, social demographic or locality of the students such as; Circus, Mime and Matilda in Year 7, Gang Culture/Stage Combat, Grease and Blood Brothers, Pantomime and T.I.E , to mention a few. All KS3 pupils will also get the opportunity to see and analyse live theatre, both in house and in a theatre context, which will allow them to start developing the skills required to be more successful at KS4 Performing Arts BTEC if they choose it as an option. Pupil within lesson will always get the opportunity to use role play and develop acting skills and technique, perform to their peers and evaluate performance work.
Year 7 – is a fantastic opportunity for students to get to know each other, learn how to work as a team by developing collaborative skills and engage with exciting topics. We explore a variety of stimuli to enthuse students and support a love of creating and performing Drama. Topics include, Mime, Matilda, Circus and the Greatest Showman, Oliver and The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty. By the end of Year 7, students will be equipped with the essential Drama Toolkit in order to develop and refine their skills in Year 8.
Year 8 – more skills, styles and genres are added to the Drama Toolkit. Students explore different mediums of creating Drama and cover a range of new topics, including Pantomime, Musical theatre, Physical Theatre in the play Face. These schemes of learning offer a broad insight into theatrical history and the styles of theatre that underpin the types of Drama we see today. Students are expected to work at a higher level and use their initiative by adding conventions that will help to both support and embellish their ideas. By this point, we hope that Year 8 students will have developed confidence in their performance and collaborative skills by working well with other members in their group. They must be able to share their appreciation for performance by being an effective analyst and evaluator of performance work.
Year 9 – By the end of Year 9, students should feel fully equipped to start devising their own pieces of theatre which will demonstrate their understanding of a range of style and genres. The Year 9 topics once again offer a well-rounded exploration into different strands of Drama. They begin by considering Stage Combat /Stephen Lawrence and T.I.E investigating how the relationship between actor and audience can be manipulated to evoke different reactions. Students then begin their journey back in time to look at the origins of theatre including Shakespeare- continuing the theme of Stage fighting. Once students have established a thorough understanding of the basis of theatre, they start to explore the works and methodologies of influential theatre practitioners associated with different styles of Theatre. Students should start to see how theatre has been shaped and draw links between the history of theatre and the emergence of new styles and theatrical experiences. These practitioners range from Stanislavski, Brecht and Artaud to more modern Theatre Companies.
The final aspect of Year 9 is to experience what it’s like to study GCSE Drama, looking at the two main practical components of the course. First, students are given a range of stimuli and will devise their own piece of theatre over a number of weeks. They will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform it in front of an audience and receive feedback on their finished piece via the use of peer feedback. Finally, Year 9 students will study Blood Brothers and will stage specific extracts of the play for the final production.
There’s a lot on offer and we hope that students develop a real passion for creating Theatre, develop collaborative skills to become good team-players and finally enjoy themselves.
GCSE students will build on the practical techniques that were covered at Key Stage 3 as well as inherit many new drama skills and techniques as they look more into the theoretical side of theatre. Within the BTEC Performing Arts Musical theatre course we cover a range of dramatic explorative strategies that are investigated practically, in written coursework and in a written exam. The course does require a great deal of commitment to extra rehearsal time, research and written work. The practical work is based on both original ideas and scripts and extends to include set design, costume, props and lighting. Opportunities to showcase student’s practical work occur through lesson based, public and externally examined performances.
What principles have guided our decision making in developing this curriculum? What is distinctive about our curriculum?
- Our curriculum is designed to support the growth of the individual.
- Our drama curriculum allows students to develop a number of essential skills.
- Our expectations are that students consistently challenge themselves and take risks in the creation and performance of drama in their lessons.
- Drama can enable our students to grow into more rounded and self-aware young adults.
- We set high expectations of all students.
- Students become more rounded individuals with a knowledge of the Cultural Capital and Gatsy Benchmark.
Why choose Drama?
Drama contributes as a subject at All Hallows Catholic High School in the following ways:
- Theatre Knowledge (Live Theatre Analysis / Performance Skills Development / Exploration of Play Texts / Development of Devising Techniques / Creation of Original Theatre / Exploration of Theatre History & Genre)
- Career Preparation – Understanding of skills required for Careers in the Performing
Arts. The clubs / events in school and in the community are not only to encourage enjoyment in the arts but also for students to learn about professional expectations and performance discipline.
Improvement of Literacy Skills:
- Textual Analysis
- Essay Writing (forming an argument)- GCSE BTEC research tasks for Assignment briefs
- Learning and Spelling of Subject Specific Terminology- Knowledge Organisers/Entrance Memory skills
- Reading- 5 Minute Reading
Development of the Whole Person
- Development of Life (Social) Skills
- Independent Learning
- Analytical Skills
- Creative Thinking
- Understanding of human emotion
- Collaboration and Cooperation
Appreciation of the Arts
- Live artistic experiences can be enriching in a way that may not be achieved through a textbook
On a personal level:
- It contributes to the whole person (Life Skills / Personal Development and Enrichment)
- It prompts creativity
- It inspires talent
- It provides a sense of escapism
- It provides an opportunity to make sense of the world
- It can promote tolerance and understanding of the wider world
- It aids individuals in developing personal opinions (Political / Social)
To the Performing Arts Industry:
- The Film and Musical Theatre /Dance Industry is massively important to the British economy.
- The study of Drama matters because it prepares students for involvement in a thriving industry.
Drama helps young people achieve because:
- Every child has a Talent-Performance is one area in which an individual can experience success, whether it be through excellence in performance/production, or developing confidence.
- Skills learnt in Drama are applicable to all Careers-
- Independent Learning
- Literacy / Analytical Skills
- Creative Thinking
- Understanding of human emotion/empathy
- Collaboration and Cooperation.
- KS3 and KS4 Drama Club: Year 7-11 Drama students are invited to attend Drama Club, which runs throughout the year. The students explore additional Drama Skills to further their curriculum learning and work on scripts as a solo performer, duologue performer or group.
- GCSE Drama students are provided with the opportunity to develop skills for both performance and written examination purposes. They can rehearse and develop performance skills for practical performance examinations in one to one sessions and group sessions when working on scripts during lunch times and after school.
- Theatre visits: The Drama Department strives to provide opportunities for students to have theatre enrichment experiences throughout their school journey. This may involve Theatre Visits and Workshops, as well as opportunities to be involved with the Whole School Production.
- Visits abroad –Performing arts and Science trip to New York and Florida to experience the Performing Arts – theatre productions on Broadway and in Universal studios in Florida –giving pupils an experience of being part of the culture of Performing Arts.
Examples of opportunities in recent years include:
- Whole school Production-Hairspray. All years.
- Workshop/performance- Year 9-11- UCLAN
- Dance workshops – UCLAN
- Theatre Visit to Ice Show Circus –Year 7 Curriculum
- Theatre visit to Chicago – Year 10 and 11
- Christmas enrichment Assembly
- Form assemblies
- Year 7 Mass of Welcome –performance pieces
- End of year Assemblies
- Transition Primary feeder days
- Primary School Roadshow
- Lowry theatre company – Dance workshop
- Dance student placements from UCLAN in All hallows KS3 Lessons
- Performing Arts clubs weekly and lunchtime clubs
- Visits and workshops from Newman College Performing Arts students and from Runshaw College
- Transition days for feeder Primary schools
- Alumni -visits from former pupils to host workshops and rehearsals
Participation in extra-curricular Drama activities enriches the core curriculum for Drama and allows pupils the opportunity to share interests and experience performing with others.
- Dance group for each Year group
- Singing lessons with LMS –Lancashire Music service
- Community networks – Players, Create drama team, PQA academy, Preston Musical Society
- Performing Arts Club School Productions
- Assemblies – Christmas and Easter –Chaplaincy team
- Year group Assemblies
- Transition days with Primary feeder schools
- Workshops with UCLAN and Runshaw and Newman FE Colleges
- Strong links with Alumni
What should students get from this subject?
- Students should enjoy, engage and experience achievement in
- They should be challenged and
- They should be supported to develop key, transferable skills which prepare them for making a positive contribution in society and to the workplace.
- Ensure they leave feeling more confident and happier as individuals from when they first started
- Continue to engage in a lifelong interest in the Arts –Alumni Instagram account
What forms do assessments take?
Assessment of the pupils’ work, skills and knowledge may be made using:
- Performances-video evidence and staff feedback
- Whole class, group or paired
- Self-evaluation and peer
- Reflection on own working
- Teacher questioning and feedback (written and verbal)