Head of Departement:
Mrs Jessica Ashley

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Year 7
Ground rules are established, focusing on acceptance of and consideration for others and their ideas, the need for personal space and respect and the development of a disciplined and co-operative approach to practical work. Early lessons explore movement and mime in solo, pair and group contexts and introduce the use of tableaux (freeze-frames) and slow motion. Characterisation is explored through the use of types and stock characters as a means of creating a role. Rehearsal and performance are approached through group movement work. Stage fight techniques are used to encourage close co-operation among the participants, to establish the need for disciplined and careful rehearsal, and to develop awareness of the needs of an audience. Finally, physical theatre, soundscapes and choral speaking are introduced and then combined as part of an approach to dramatizing poetry and creating their own scenes.

Year 8
The Rule of Acceptance is introduced as a pre-requisite of effective role-play and improvisation. Simple situations and single-line openings are used to set up initial improvisations. Role plays based on everyday contexts and situations are used to explore the relationships between individuals, and between the individual and the group, at home, at school and at large. When formalised through rehearsal, these sessions also serve as vehicles for the introduction of non-naturalistic methods of achieving dramatic focus, breaking up the action through tableaux, slow motion movement, direct audience address, split scenes and flashbacks. The next unit of work centres on active exploration of a Shakespeare text being studied for English. Currently, this is Macbeth. Lessons include improvisations based on the play, as well as the interpretation and acting of short pieces of text. The final module centres on the creation of tension and humour, with reference to the conventions of science fiction and horror. Attention is paid to timing and positioning, use of the dramatic pause, controlled mime and movement and spoken emphasis and expression.

Year 9
The emphasis continues to be strongly on Drama as an art-form, developing presentational and communication skills. Work in the first unit extends and deepens pupils' knowledge and conscious use of theatre techniques, with attention to both physical and vocal expression. This culminates in the use of ‘loop dialogues’ to develop rehearsal techniques and an awareness of the need for precision. In the second unit, characterisation techniques are revisited and tableaux are incorporated into longer group performance pieces, in order to explore the limitations and possibilities of live theatre. A short play, Joyride, provides the opportunity for further work on the interpretation of scripted drama, then leads into creative group-work. This develops the use of quick, clear characterisation and economical use of space and scenery, whilst exploring social issues and concerns. The final unit focuses on imagination and the development of improvisational skills, while introducing some of the more formal analytical skills and techniques required by the examination course.


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