Our Drama department aims to create opportunities for pupils to explore a range of aspects of theatre while helping to build their confidence, self-esteem and communication skills.
The majority of the subject focuses on group work and collaboration and pupils can opt to explore performance, design or technical aspects of the subject throughout each unit, encompassing the full breadth of what this subject has to offer.
Girls have access to excellent drama facilities, including a drama studio with theatre-style seating, a large performance space in the Centenary Hall and extensive production facilities in the Williams Hall, which boasts a theatre-sized stage area and recently underwent a £250,000 refurbishment to upgrade its sound and lighting technology and enhance the viewing environment for pupils and audience members.
In Lower School, girls have a one-hour lesson of Drama each week.
In Year 7, they study the history of theatre, exploring a variety of topics ranging from Greek Theatre to Commedia to Pantomime and Melodrama, whilst learning the relevant skills associated with both the performing and technical side of the subject.
As girls progress to Year 8, they can try their hand at script-writing, producing their own material for performance and further developing their skills and experimenting with the use of mime, mask, props and costume.
In year 9, pupils study the techniques of different drama and theatre practitioners including Stanislavski, Brecht, Boal, Berkoff, Frantic Assembly and Kneehigh Theatre company.
The Lower School production is a joint venture with the Boys’ School and is open to all pupils from Years 7 to 9. It provides the opportunity for pupils to become their own theatre company with many taking on roles both on stage and off-stage.
Enrichment opportunities are vital for this subject and we organise many theatre trips and visiting workshops with a variety of industry professionals to enhance our pupils’ Drama education.
The GCSE Drama course is made up of three components.
1. Understanding drama (40% of the GCSE)
This component assesses knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre, with the study of one set play from a choice of six. It also involves analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre-makers. Assessment is by a written exam lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes.
2. Devising drama – practical (40% of the GCSE)
This section focuses on the process of creating and performing devised drama. Pupils are able to contribute as a performer or a designer, with analysis and evaluation of their own work. It is assessed via a devising log (60 marks) and devised performance (20 marks).
3. Texts in practice – practical (20% of the GCSE)
Pupils perform two extracts from one play – they may contribute as performer or designer. There is a free choice of play but it must contrast with the set play chosen for Component 1. The performance of each extract is then assessed.
This course suits anyone with an interest in theatre. Students are taken to professional productions in Liverpool, Manchester and elsewhere and receive insight from professional actors who visit the department and run workshops. The GCSE forms a bridge to the A-Level course and also to Drama School for those interested in pursuing Drama as a career.
Drama remains a rewarding, rigorous A-Level and was recently regarded as the qualification of choice by a number of key business leaders in a poll, reflecting the importance we place on effective communication and analytical methodology.
The new course specification asks candidates to explore the work of important dramatists and practitioners and the ability to work from a director’s perspective or from a technical angle complements the more conventional actor’s role.
Assessments are both practical and examined, with the former accounting for 60% of the total award. There is no obligation for girls to have studied Drama at GCSE to be successful at A-Level but they will need to possess an evaluative approach and a methodical attitude to performance and note-taking.
A-Level students invariably take part in whole school productions and many have wider theatrical interests beyond school.
We offer LAMDA courses and examinations from Grade 3 to Grade 8 (Gold Medal), including Acting, Public Speaking and Verse and Prose. Lessons are taught to solo candidates or in paired duologues by Drama and Theatre specialist teachers. For further information on LAMDA courses, please contact: [email protected]
Pupils have the opportunity to be involved in a wide array of productions, regardless of whether they study Drama academically. Shows are designed to not only provide a platform for the outstanding and talented to take their Drama to the next level, but also to urge the apprehensive and shy to experience the thrill of theatre and be a part of something special. The major showpiece of the year is the Autumn Production, where pupils from the senior girls and boys’ schools combine to create a truly extraordinary piece of live theatre. Pupils can participate as actors, musicians, dancers, stage managers, lighting and sound technicians, set paints, prop makers, costumiers, stage crew and front of house staff.
Pupils in Year 7 and 8 are challenged to stage an all-encompassing production where every single member participates in an end of year extravaganza that flaunts the talents and interests of all involved. Meanwhile, Year 9 pupils become their own Theatre Company during the Spring Term as they are given the opportunity to stage a production in a professional Theatre. Girls can opt to take on a wide variety of roles from acting to prop making, lighting and even special effects design.