Drama & Theatre Studies
The Drama department and its students are a lively, friendly and supportive community of actors, designers and technicians.
We have also helped the school to gain the Artsmark Gold Award with results being consistently high across the school and nationally.
The department endeavours for every pupil it teaches to become more confident, comfortable in front of an audience and culturally aware. Even the pupils who do not take the subject beyond KS3 will develop stronger presentation and interpersonal skills
You can see more of pupil's work and support materials for the learners at our website - BGSperformingarts
In Drama pupils will develop the following skills-
Higher Order thinking skills
We strive to constantly challenge students’ creative and evaluative skills in Drama. These are listed as the two highest orders of thinking.
Every performance is evaluated afterwards, with pupils identifying how the acting skills have created atmosphere/ show relationships. By year 9 most pupils are able to comfortably evaluate theatre.
Pupils are given the freedom to create their own work, this allows them to express their creative skills and allows those who are not as effective in their written work shine in lessons.
Pupils are constantly having to work in groups, with different members of the class and within different dynamics
They need to showcase both leadership and empathy to work together for shared aims. The material is always focused on the needs of the audience and this challenges the pupils to discuss different approaches to find the best outcome.
Pupils work is constantly focused on an audience’s needs, including the need for eye contact and the effect of controlling/ varying the voice.
All pupils will constantly performing their work, sometimes preparing inpidual work. This makes them feel comfortable in front of an audience, aiding both in future theatrical work- but also will aid them in presentations throughout the school and professional life.
In the last 5 years, 4 of the senior prefects have taken Drama/ Theatre Studies to KS5
Listening skills/ Empathy
In order to create in a group and evaluate work, pupils develop strong listening skills- the knowledge that their work will be constantly assessed pushes them to pay close attention to instructions, their peers and performances.
By engaging with complicated real life issues explored through their performances pupils learn to empathise with complicated emotional situations and are able to explain how others have used their acting skills to bring these across.
Through Drama lessons pupils gain an advanced knowledge of many play and other Literature- especially Shakespeare.
Pupils are given opportunities to see professional theatre and appreciate its cultural impact.
GCSE Drama (AQA)
Practical work (performance) 60%
Written Exam 40%
During the course you will undertake 4 assessed performances; in Year 10 there will be 2 Devised (Meaning you work in a group to create your own play collaboratively) which will respond to a stimulus set by the teacher. In Year 11 there will 2 performances of Scripted Plays, where the final performance at the end of the year is performed in the evening to your parents and friends.
One of these scripted plays will be The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, which will be explored practically in lessons in preparation for the written exam. There will be a Theatre trip to The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time in London.
Most lessons are practical, but bare in mind this is an academic course and you will need to prepare for a written exam.
The Written Exam
The written exam is 90 minutes long and will ask you how you performed in your devised piece to create specific effects for the audience. The second section of the exam will give you a choice of writing about either your own performance of Curious Incident or the performance you saw in London.
Rehearsing after school
The majority of homework for Drama involves rehearsing outside of lessons. This should not be more than a couple of hours a week and only in the weeks leading up to a performance exam. In the week immediately before the exam, rehearsals will obviously become more frequent, however you will rarely be expected to stay after 5.00 pm.
Why choose Drama?
Drama will provide you with excellent communication, presentation, teamwork and independent learning skills. When you study the IB you will need all of these skills to be successful (regardless of which subjects you choose) and these skills will serve you well in any profession.
The Drama department is one of the most successful departments in the school, gaining over 90% A*- B grades. With commitment and confidence, you can be successful in this subject and perform, see and discover many excellent plays from a variety of creative dramatists. See our youtube channel for playlists showcasing the exciting work current drama students are producing – youtube.com/bgsdrama
New AQA A Level Drama and Theatre Studies.
This 2 year course is assessed across 3 units
- A Devised performance and portfolio Notebook (30% of overall grade)
- 3 scripted Acting Performances and Reflective Report (30% of overall grade)
- Written- covering 2 texts and a Response to Live Theatre (40% of overall grade)
- The Devised performance is up to 30 minutes long and created in a group of up to 6 cast members. This work should be in the style of a specific practitioner. Click Here for examples of previous Devised pieces (hyperlink or embed video of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCWN0QForLk&list=PLl7VBwJ7PfUDmYLKKun3vY8xdVX-JSeP4 )
- Alongside this, you will keep a Notebook of the Devising process which accounts for 2/3 of your marks.
- The Scripted Acting Assessment incorporates 3 different extracts from 3 different plays (chosen by the pupils/ teacher each year to suit the talents of that group). The first two can be directed in any style and form the pupils wish. The final performance is assessed by the Exam board and must be in the style of a specific practitioner. Previous A Level performances can be seen here (hyperlink or embed video of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5ZFL0MNOjM&index=1&list=PLl7VBwJ7PfUDLFWxwY1-2_il_wVkKTHnr )
- Alongside this you will create a Reflective Report, comparing the 3 performances that will be worth 1/3 of the marks
- ou will study 2 texts A Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldini and Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker.
A Servant of 2 Masters by Carlo Goldini
Comic Italian play in the ‘Commedia Dell’arte’ tradition (recently updated for the West End production One Man, Two Guvnors)
Dim witted Truffaldino finds himself serving two different masters, one of which is pretending to be her murdered twin bother and the other, her boyfriend, was the murderer of her brother… yet both have no idea the other is around, let alone that they share a servant- With hilarious consequences!
In the exam you will be asked questions to answer 2 questions which will ask you to discuss how you would act specific characters, direct or design the play.
Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker
A play with a message about Reform and the power of theatre
Has a mix of comic and Epic elements
The play is set in the first convict colony in Australia in 1789, where a young Lieutenant puts on the first ever play in Australia, using the convicts as his actors.
In the exam you explain how you would direct a given extract and then answer a further question on how you would either act or design another section.
You will also write a Response to live theatre, where you articulate how a performer used his acting skills to create specific effects, character/atmosphere/ relationships etc, for the audience. In previous years we have visited West End productions such as- The 39 Steps, The Play That Goes Wrong and excellent Fringe shows by companies such as DV8, Complicite, Frantic Assembly and Kneehigh
Quotes from former A-Level students undergoing the course:
“If you are a Drama A-Level or IB Theatre student, you get so many opportunities to go on theatre trips that Mrs Mitten and Mr Otley organise. Going along really develops my understanding of theatre not just being about musicals, but about other styles. It is also lovely to bond with other members of the year group on these events.”
“I really enjoy using a range of high quality techniques. I believe it has helped my skills of directing and teaching and improved my skills as an actor. Also critically analysing texts has supported my English A-Level and made me into more of a critical thinker. I didn’t realise I would enjoy analysing texts/ scripts from different periods, as much as I do.”
“Being involved in the department encouraged me to help out / set up a Drama Club. This has come on so much after forming it at the end of last year. Instead of having about ten people like we did at the start, we now have more than thirty every week, as well as many more sixth formers involved in running it. It’s brilliant to see the amount of enthusiasm and enjoyment that has come out of a tiny idea a few sixth formers had a year ago.”
“Drama is the highlight of my week. We’re really lucky to have a group of such lovely, enthusiastic, imaginative and talented young people who enjoy both theory and practical elements of the course.”
Drama club is every Friday after school, and is open to all pupils in year 7 to 9. It si run by sixth formers and has a friendly and inclusive ethos
Christmas Drama Production
At the end of Every Christmas term a large scale performance is put on in the Hall.
The play contains actors from every year group, and all the technicians are pupils too (lighting designer, stage manager, soun engineer)
Shows have included- A Christmas Carol, Our Day Out, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Alice in Wonderland
KS3 Shakespeare production
We have some wonderfully talented pupils in year 7 to 9, this production gives them a chance to shine in leading roles as well as learn the beauty of Shakespeare.
We have performed in The Unicorn Theatre (Southbank) and Greenwich Theatre.
Past productions include- Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, The Tempest and in April 2015 As You Like It
Cinelive are a professional theatre company (working alongside the British Film Institute) that create immersive theatre pieces to help improve children's literacy. Our pupils are used as their actors for performances in the South East.
The Pupils have performed at- The Barbican, The Gulbenkian Theatre (Canterbury) and Capron House (Surrey)
Performing Arts Tent
At The Summer Fayre, some gifted and talented pupils are hand picked to perform to the general public. Last year this included both devised work and extracts from script.