Drama

Course Overview: Drama

The Drama department at Cardinal Allen is committed to developing within all pupils a life-long love of the Performing Arts through both our extensive and wide ranging curricular program. It is our intention to develop individual self-confidence by providing all pupils with the opportunity to perform to each other within the classroom and beyond.  With a focus of working imaginatively, collaborating creatively and communicating effectively, pupils will become efficient, proactive learners.


Year 7

Half Term 1

Introduction to Drama

Students begin by learning the basic dramatic techniques required to be able to plan, rehearse and perform a piece of drama. Collaborative learning is encouraged through warm-up games, group work and demonstrations in front of the rest of the class (audience)

Half Term 2

Stage Craft

Examining the aspects particular to performing in front of an audience, entrances and exits, blocking, working stage areas and dynamics. Pupils learn the etiquette of attending the theatre and how to behave when in the audience.

Half Term 3

Text

Examination of a teacher chosen script.  This is developed using techniques such as on-text and off-text improvisation, directing, line learning and performing. Knowledge of vocabulary is constantly monitored as are reading skills.

Half Term 4

Film Trailers

Students are taught how to create a film trailer using IPad software.  Skills developed here include collaborative learning, acting and filming, all based on a chosen genre. Examples of well-known film trailers are discussed and watched.

Half Term 5

Dance/Movement

Students learn the basics of warming up/cooling down and are introduced to a range of different choreography, which is led by their teacher.  Students also have the opportunity to create their own choreography. One of the stimuli used is West Side Story, with cross curricular links for any students studying Romeo and Juliet in English.

Half Term 6

Basic Introduction to the Performing Arts Industry

Students are introduced to the professional world of acting, specifically the requirements of a casting and the roles within TV/Film. They will gain knowledge of how acting in front of a camera differs from theatre acting and have the opportunity to work on genuine soap opera scripts.

Year 8

Half Term 1

Shakespeare

In this module, students develop different styles and techniques within the scripts of either Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet.  Students will hone the techniques of sound collage, devil and angel, persuasion and stage combat, all combining to produce a final performance reflecting a modern take on Shakespeare. Style and language are foci in this module as students are exposed to Shakespeare’s text and encouraged to make scenes ‘their own’.

Half Term 2

Text

Study and performance of a script chosen by the teacher – The Exam by Andy Hamilton.  This is developed using techniques such as on-text and off-text improvisation, directing, line- learning and performance.

A deeper understanding of characterisation is applied to this module, along with larger sections of script performed. Vocabulary and understanding is constantly monitored.

Half Term 3

Performance

Students experience musical theatre in this module.  Led by the teacher, they are directed in the acting and musical areas of an abridged version of a chosen play. Honing skills in characterisation, singing and movement students will work collaboratively to produce a version of Our Day Out by Willy Russell. This will link with later work in year9 and for GCSE English when students will study Blood Brothers.

Half Term 4

Performing Arts Media

Touching on two elements of the three skill areas, students will work on a full media package, linked to their Year 8 performance.  Students are taught the requirements of a marketing campaign; social media, posters, press release, programme and budget. If the opportunity arises, literature can be produced on computers leading to a professional looking final product.

Half Term 5

Script Writing

Building on the experience of working on a published script leading to performance, students will be taught the conventions of script writing.  They will already be familiar with the layout of a script from text topics previously taught. Using chosen themes, students will work collaboratively to produce mini-plays which can then be performed in class in front of an audience.

Half Term 6

Pitch the Performance

Students will be taught key presentation skills needed to pitch a performance idea to a potential commissioner. Work will begin on the voice and how to professionally present oneself to a potential employer. This mirrors the Unit 1 section of the AQA Technical Award studied in Upper School and includes many transferable skills essential for post-16 studies/employment.


Course Overview: Drama

The AQA Technical Award (Level 1/2) in Performing Arts allows you to study in a creative and practical way. You might have experienced some of the skills you will need to succeed – but you may also meet some that are new to you.

Why choose Performing Arts?

Students will be encouraged to develop critical thinking skills and become effective and independent learners. With the focus on working imaginatively, collaborating creatively and communicating effectively, the course provides a solid foundation for post-16 studies. Learners will be well prepared for further qualifications in Performing Arts, Drama, Dance, Music and Media Studies among other vocational opportunities.

What Can I Expect?

Through a combination of internally and externally assessed modules, learners will research different disciplines within the Performing Arts industry and show/reveal their creativity when developing ideas for a performance. The course will require candidates to have self-discipline, motivation and commitment – key elements that are all needed for further study.

Year 9

Half Term 1

Performance

Students will rehearse a musical number, leading to a LAMDA Musical Theatre qualification- department to pay class entry. Initial focus to be performance ready for Open Evening.

Students to undertake exam style questions for homework while embedding knowledge of the industry and theatrical terminology.

Half Term 2

Performance

Students will work towards the next ensemble qualification of the LAMDA Musical Theatre exam with a New Year entry. A comprehensive study of the text will be undertaken by examining character work, staging, performing in alternative settings and multi-roling. Students will investigate the written elements linking with the final Tech Award; Evaluation, Reviews, Media, Set and Costume. 

Half Term 3

Knowledge & Understanding of the Industry

Students are to revisit elements of work begun in year 7 focusing on the Performing Arts Industry and specifically options available to them post-16 and as a career. Students will become fully equipped to enter the professional world of performing by practicing completing CVs, mock headshots, casting sessions and working with casting scripts from both TV and theatre available to theatrical agents.

Half Term 4

A review of the technique of improvisation will be undertaken for the first few lessons of this module while students become familiar with spontaneous improvisation from a range of stimuli and themes. We will take the opportunity to examine simple monologues and students will learn these with a view to mocking up an audition for theatre school. With a CV from the previous module and by practicing interview techniques, students will be equipped with the knowledge of applying to colleges post-16/18.

Half Term 5

Vignettes

Using elements of the school production script, pupils will first refine their Musical Theatre performance skills visited in Term 1. With a knowledge of casting, a mock audition process can take place and students will be assigned roles. In small groups, students will look to produce a vignette of the overall performance and write their own introduction to the piece putting it into context of the entire play.

Half Term 6

Unit 1 ‘Unlocking Creativity’

Students will develop the skills taught on key presentation skills needed to pitch a performance idea to a potential commissioner, introduced in year 8.  Additionally, students will have the opportunity to investigate some technical elements of performance such as lighting and sound, with a view to including this knowledge  in their final pitches.  The stimulus used will be the one set by the teacher..

Year 10

Half Term 1

Introduction and Review of Techniques

Introduction to course with a revision of dramatic techniques and skills learned in previous years but developed in a more sophisticated manner and using higher order themes.

Students to complete a task where they are given an opportunity to produce a piece of scripted work for Open Evening.

Half Term 2

Practitioners and Working to a Brief

Students are to examine through performance and homework the teachings of Stanislavski, Artaud and Brecht. Workshops will be delivered and students will have the opportunity to explore practitioners’ methods through group work and evaluation. Techniques of monologue, physical theatre, flashback, slo-mo and use of sound/SFX will be taught/refreshed.

Half Term 3

Practicing the Pitch

Working on presentation skills, pupils are to pitch the performance of the next school production. They will choose three suitable sections of the script (to last no longer than 10 minutes) The vignettes will accompany a comprehensive pitch to a mock panel of commissioners while students focus on both the performance and production elements of a school show. 

Half Term 4

The Casting Process

Students will have been exposed to the requirements of a casting in year 8/9 so this section will be a progression from what they already know by putting the process into practice and auditioning for the school production. Rehearsals for ‘Cinderfella’ – annual school production will follow during class time (which may ultimately feed into Unit 2 of the final exam)

Half Term 5

Rehearsals for show and performance over two nights/knowledge and understanding of the production process.

All students to be involved with the school show.Those who are not performing will be expected to undertake production roles; stage manager, runners, lighting, backstage, make-up and front of house.

Half Term 6

Preparation for Open Evening in September.

Students to work on a theme set by the teacher and working collaboratively in groups to produce a final performance suitable for a specified target audience. Knowledge of ‘working to a brief’ will be revisited and refreshed.

Year 11

Half Term 1

Open Evening/The Industry

Students will refresh, rehearse and perform work begun at the end of year 10 for Open Evening. Following this, classwork will focus on past papers and embedding knowledge of the industry through workshops, past papers, exemplar responses and examining how a show is put on its feet. Theme for Unit 1 will be discussed and students will form groups based on initial resposnes to the stimulus. Vignette planning begins.

Half Term 2

Portfolio for Unit 1 and Rehearsals leading to Pitch Presentation

Using one lesson per week, students are to complete tasks suitable for inclusion in the Portfolio. During rehearsal sessions, groups are to continue structuring their pitches to include specified details and vignettes of their devised performances. The term will conclude with a recording of their pitches and a written exam during mock week.

Half Term 3

Unit 2 Planning, Rehearsal and Performance. Completion of learning log.

Using an opportunity to liaise with post-16 providers, it is anticipated tutors will deliver workshops based on themes for the fimnal Unit 2 performance. Final showcase to be shown to a live audience and filmed for moderation purposes. Possibility of primary liaison and/or CA students to watch performances dependent on suitability.

Half Term 4

Preparation and revision for final written exam (40%) in May.

Pupils to work on areas requiring improvement from the mock exams as a starting point then work through past questions in class time. Various methods employed to help embed knowledge; revision race, knowledge dumps, use of websites testing understanding of terminology.


Course Components

This qualification is modular and is split into three units. One is an externally assessed exam and the other two are internally assessed.

Subject content

Unit 1: Unlocking creativity

Unit 2: The production/performance

Unit 3: The performing arts experience

Assessments

Unit 1: Unlocking creativity

This unit assesses the theoretical content of the learner%APOSTROPHE%s chosen discipline (performance or production). Learners are required to ‘pitch’ a performance to a panel of commissioners. Aspects of the pitch will include both performance and production elements of their chosen piece based on a brief set by the exam board.

Internally assessed

60 marks              30% of Technical Award

Unit 2: The production/performance

This unit provides the opportunity for learners to be assessed on the theoretical content of a holistic production or performance, both as an individual and as a member of a group.

Learners will be assessed on a key performance role in a showcase based on one of five performance briefs set by the exam board also the transferable skills of teamwork.

Internally assessed

60 marks              30% of Technical Award

Unit 3: The performing arts experience

This unit is a written exam sat in May during the GCSE period. Learners will respond to questions testing their knowledge and understanding of the performing arts industry and practical considerations of putting on a performance. Questions are a combination of multiple choice questions, short answers, extended responses, design/devising questions.

Externally assessed

Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

80 marks              40% of Technical Award

Course Information

Course Name: Drama
Qualification Type: GCSE
Awarding Body: AQA
Specification code: 3745

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The mainstay of this subject is a thriving theatre company, BRAVO! which is currently running at over 100 members spanning all five year groups. Formed in 2010, the aim of the company was to eliminate the need for lengthy auditioning processes leading up to musical productions. To date the company has produced a musical every year since its formation, some of which have included works written specifically for its members.

  • BRAVO! workshops usually begin in the term prior to a full school performance and begin on Thursday lunchtimes. Rehearsals increase once the show is cast and can cover four evenings a week, Mon-Thurs 3.05 – 4.30pm
  • GCSE catch up sessions are available one evening a week until 4.30pm in the LRC (evening to be decided dependent on which member of staff is available)
  • Residential and evening theatre visits are available for students who show a particular interest in the performing arts. Local visits to Blackpool Grand and the Winter Gardens have taken place in the past as have visits further afield to London and latterly, New York.
  • The Studio is available to students before, during breaks and after school for rehearsals, dependent on availability. All children must have adult supervision during practices.