GCSE Drama is an exciting academic subject that balances the study of traditional scripted drama with the practical application of strategies to devise more modern pieces. Pupils are given the opportunity to see theatre productions at local theatres such as The Mac and Theatre at the Mill, and to attend workshops led by theatre professionals in various disciplines such as Commedia Dell’Arte and Dance Drama. We follow the CCEA examination course which aims to “develop an appreciation of the communicative power of drama in performance”. It builds on the key skills introduced in Drama in Years 8 and 9 and grounds them in a more sophisticated and academic arena. The course is designed to allow pupils to bring their own skills and interests to their work; although experience in performing outside school is useful, it is not essential as all relevant skills are delivered throughout the two-year course.
Pupils study one set text from both an academic and performance perspective, exploring it through practical means as well as researching contextual and design aspects. This forms the basis of one section of the external examination, where pupils write about a design element and about the application of drama strategies (eg. hot-seating, freeze frame) in the development of role.
Two practical units are over the two years giving pupils the opportunity to work with scripts and to devise their own work. In Year Eleven the devised unit is performed to visiting primary pupils. Scripted performance involves the selection and research of a piece of established work which is showcased to parents and an external moderator in the final term of Year Twelve.
The course is strongly practical and involves working closely with others. Pupils are expected to make time for rehearsal outside of class as part of their homework. A commitment to both the practical and academic demands of the subject is essential.
Pupils are assessed throughout Years 11 & 12.
The two practical units make up 60% of the final grade. Pupils are marked on preparation (including contextual research), performance and appraisal.
The written examination, which makes up the other 40% of the assessment, is based on the set text and also asks for an assessment of the final scripted performance unit .
Pupils are expected to keep a Drama Notebook recording their learning experiences which contributes to their continuous assessment and is seen by an external moderator at the end of Year 12.
GCSE Drama is taught in the school’s fully equipped Drama Suite. Classes incorporate workshop style activities, research skills, group work, and examination skills. Students are encouraged to actively direct each other and appraise their own and others’ work. As part of their preparation for their internally assessed performances pupils are given the opportunity to design lighting and sound plots and consider aspects of stage and costume design.
Learning also takes place outside the classroom through workshops and visits to productions in venues such as the Grand Opera House and the Lyric Theatre. In Year 11, pupils have the opportunity to devise a Theatre in Education piece which is performed for local primary school pupils. In Year 12, they showcase their scripted work in a performance for family and friends.