Drama

Welcome to the Drama department at Arthur Mellows Village College. The following information is intended to give an overview of the work of the department and its aims.

Drama is essentially a practical subject which relies on the ability of participants to communicate and express their ideas and feelings in creative ways. Therefore Drama enables students to develop an understanding of themselves and others through the creation of a range of imagined situations. The topics and themes covered by the drama curriculum enable young people to develop their sensitivity and understanding of a multicultural society.
 
Through participation in a range of drama activities students develop their interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.  The curriculum is designed so that students can express opinions, develop their teamwork skills, negotiate, compromise, analyse, and accept and respond to constructive criticism which are all key life skills.
 
As well as being an invaluable tool for the development of the social, moral and emotional intelligences of young people, drama also challenges students to use their physical and vocal skills to create complex characters. The development of improvised or scripted material for performance also challenges students to demonstrate their understanding and awareness of a range of drama techniques and performance styles.
 

Key Stage 3 Drama

Through the study of Drama in Years 7, 8 and 9, students explore a range of social, historical and cultural topics. Each Unit results in a practical assessment and a written evaluation which directly links to the structure of the GCSE course. The schemes of work practiced by the department at Key Stage 3 enable the students to meet the levels criteria as outlined in the Arts Council of England ‘Drama in Schools’ document.
 

 

GCSE Drama

 The GCSE course is a creative and challenging choice of study for anyone who enjoys Drama and working as part of a team. Through the study of GCSE Drama students will:
 
i) Explore a range of drama styles and practitioners.
ii) Develop a greater understanding of how to use a range of drama styles.
iii) Evaluate their own work and that of others.
 
GCSE Drama is not only for the next Emma Watson or Johnny Depp.  The study of Drama at this level will enable students to read ‘in-between-the-lines’ of human interaction through the analysis of physicality, voice and emotion.   GCSE Drama is, therefore, a valuable qualification for anyone who is considering a career in a field that will require the ability to communicate with a wide range of people.
 

The Course

Unit A581: From Page to Stage 30%
The focus of this unit will be on how a published text is animated and brought to life for an audience. The emphasis is on working to the intention of the original playwright and not on devising. 
 
Candidates will work on a selected text through workshops and undertake a controlled test in which they perform an extract from the text and complete a working record. The text is selected by the centre. 
 
This unit is internally assessed by the teacher and moderated by postal moderation.

 

Unit A582: Drama in the Making 30%
The focus of this unit will be to explore and develop candidates’ understanding of the devising process using stimulus material. They will explore and gain an understanding of the key principles and concepts of devising a piece of drama. The stimulus is selected by the centre. 
 
Candidates will explore a chosen stimulus item through workshops and undertake a Controlled Assessment in which they will deliver a Workshop Presentation and complete a working record. 
 
This unit is internally assessed by the teacher and moderated by postal moderation.

 

Unit A583: From Concept to Creation 40%
The focus of this unit is to explore and realise one of four briefs set by OCR. The briefs will use either the text extract and/or stimulus provided as a starting point to develop skills through a series of workshops exploring the functions of Deviser, Designer, Director and Performer. At the end of the unit, candidates will undertake a practical examination, comprising of a preparation/rehearsal period and a practical outcome. Candidates will be assessed on their performance/presentation and their planning, and working record. 
 
The practical examination is externally marked by a visiting examiner.

 

Skills Required

As well as developing their acting, improvisation and creative skills through study of the GCSE Drama course, students will also need to develop their communication, inter-personal and evaluative skills. 
 

A Level

Why should I study Drama?

 The Drama and Theatre is a practical, intellectual and artistic subject.  You will explore the structural elements of theatre from the page to the stage.  In order to be successful and enjoy this subject, you need to have keen interest in the history of drama study of practitioners, theatrical forms and conventions that make theatre such a compelling and exciting subject.

You must be able to analyse and critically deconstruct the work studied, created and witnessed.  It is expected that a good level of English Literature / Language are achieved due to the critical evaluation required within the written work.
 
What will I do during the Course?
 Lessons are a healthy combination of practical learning supported by the necessary academic theory needed to understand the work being studied.  Learning takes place through the following:  practical workshops, researching background material on a playwright, written research (social/cultural/historical/political), rehearsal of a production, participating in improvisation, devised work and class discussion. These methods increase understanding of the subject and provide you with more detail and substance to your work.
 
The style of homework varies according to the unit of exam work.  Research, essay writing and rehearsals are all integral to the course.  Four to five hours of private study/rehearsal per week are expected at AS in addition to timetabled lessons.
 
AS:  Unit 1 – Exploration of Drama and Theatre
Through theory and practice.  Written coursework and practical assessments following in-depth study of two full-length plays (30%).  In addition, you will complete a written critical evaluation of a professional production you will have witnessed and studied through a series of guided workshops / lessons (10%).
 
AS:  Unit 2 - Theatre Text in Performance
Section A is an in-depth study of a full length play culminating in an externally examined unit.  You will be asked to provide a written concept of the interpretation of their chosen roles or designs.  Section B is the completion of a written concept and externally examined performances of monologues/duologues (60%).
 
A2:  Unit 3 – Exploration of Dramatic Performance
Devising and performance of an original piece of drama which is conceived, researched, adapted, edited and directed by the students.  You will be assessed on the research and development stages of your work as well as the final performance in front of an identified audience (40%).  You will be required to complete a set of 6 essay statements as written coursework (20%)
 
A2:  Unit 4 – Theatre Text in Context
An externally examined written paper requiring the detailed study of one set play text, and one prescribed historical period of theatrical development.  This essay paper requires you to explore the chosen play from the point of view of a director in both an academic and a practical way.   You will also be required to critically evaluate a live performance from a chosen period and make critical comparisons to the original staging conditions of the play (40%)
 
How will I be assessed?

 

AS Level

A2 Level

Coursework

30%

20%

Practical work

60%

40%

Written Evaluation/Exam

10%

40%

 
 
Where can it lead?
This course can lead you to study Drama at university, Drama school or Performing Arts College.  Many students go to study Drama and Theatre Studies or Performing Arts at a higher level and progress to working in theatre, television, film and video.  It could be invaluable in the journalistic, teaching and legal professions.
When students study Drama and Theatre Studies at A Level it invests the individual with invaluable skills in articulating thoughts, exploring ideas, sharpening communication skills and providing the ability to work within a group situation both in practical and academic setting.  All of these transferable skills can be used in all subjects and in all careers.
 
Drama is life with the dull bits cut out’ – Alfred Hitchcock
 
 
What qualifications do I need to start?
This exciting but demanding course requires great commitment and thinking skills and above all a passion for drama in all its aspects – reading, directing, designing and acting. Teamwork is vital. Drama and Theatre Studies is one of the only AS subjects where your final result depends on the work of others - and vice versa.
 
A grade C or above in GCSE Drama and GCSE English Literature is also essential to support the critical and analytical aspects of Drama theory.
 

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