Whilst many students may have extra-curricular experience of Drama or will have experienced learning through the medium of Drama when they join in Year 7, study of the subject as a discrete academic subject and art form will be new to most. As such, the Year 7 curriculum is designed to introduce and explore fundamental Drama and Theatre skills with students, such as characterisation and narrative, whilst being sequenced to progressively build upon students’ skillsets through each topic. This culminates in an independent devising topic where students apply their knowledge and skills learnt throughout the year on form and content, the aim being to promote independent and risk taking theatre makers.
In Year 9, students are encouraged to think beyond their previous curriculum experiences of Drama during our TPM enrichment lessons. Students are given an opportunity to experiment with a range of new theatrical skills and consider the breadth of skills required in theatre making, from lighting design to physical theatre.
As students progress into GCSE, the outward looking approach is continued as they explore an array of new practitioners and styles within their specific contexts throughout the history of theatre. Following the Eduqas specification, the GCSE course is structured to allow for a substantial time to develop creativity and critical thinking in Year 10 before revisiting and refining ideas in Year 11. By the end of Year 10, students have developed an original piece of theatre in a chosen style, combining all of their skills learnt in the first year of the course. Practically, students are supported to step out of their comfort zone and confidently make independent creative choices, in both their own original work and in the development of mature characterisation in existing texts from a variety of time periods, contexts and styles. Throughout the course, students experience a range of engaging texts and live theatre performances whilst being taught how to critically analyse them, and questioning the meaning-making process and the audience experience in theatre.
Drama & Theatre Studies at A Level is designed and run with a broad but detailed focus on the academic and practical knowledge of Drama, introducing new, higher level thinking concepts whilst furthering and challenging existing knowledge in a more sophisticated way. Students have a greater choice over the styles and texts they perform over the course of their three A Level performances, rather than studying a limited, prescribed course. Similar to GCSE, students analyse and explore play texts from a range of time periods and styles but the number of texts is larger and their study involves a deeper investigation into the plays’ context and playwrights, from economic policies to political movements. Visiting workshops with key practitioners and thought-provoking theatre trips help stimulate ideas and question students’ perception of theatre. Furthermore, students are exposed to practitioners, playwrights, critics and academia beyond the exam board specification, not only to challenge students but ultimately to make them well-rounded discerning theatre practitioners. Our hope is to produce confident young people who think outside the box in all aspects of their work and help to inspire some of our students to pursue this subject at university and beyond.
Drama at Pate’s is also unique for its unwavering commitment to Drama outside the classroom. Aside from the learning that takes place within lessons, students from all year groups continue to develop their bold and independent approach to Drama through a variety of opportunities, such as: House Drama, directed, written and choreographed by students, the annual whole school production and a number of practical, skills-based, student-led clubs, such as improvisation club and musical theatre club.Year 13 Drama Curriculum