Drama provides students with the opportunity to develop their communication and problem-solving skills while increasing an understanding of themselves and those around them through practical activity. At Our Lady of Sion School we believe passionately in the value of Drama for all, not just those who want to pursue a career in the performing arts. The skills acquired and developed in drama lessons are both subject specific and life skills, sometimes referred to as ‘transferable skills’. We also aim to build an appreciation of Drama and theatre performance and its social, cultural and historical context.
We assess all the students at various points throughout the academic year. Students are regularly given the opportunity to self and peer assess – most lessons involve whole class and group discussion, group work, sharing of practical work and evaluation of some kind. Students are given feedback that set appropriate targets and give them next steps to take. Summative assessments are made in line with the school reporting cycle.
We have a purpose built Drama Studio, which is versatile for performance work and a suitable space to work in for lessons. GCSE exam performances take place in the School Hall where we have a traditional proscenium arch stage and the facility to use theatrical lighting and special effects. In the past the space has been used for theatre-in-the-round, traverse and promenade performances. We also use this space for larger scale productions such as “The Crucible” “Our Town” and “We Will Rock You”
Working closely with the Music Department, we stage a whole school musical every other year. Auditions are held at the end of the Summer Term and rehearsals start in the Autumn Term for a performance week at the end of March. We usually have between 50-60 students involved either as performers, back- stage crew, technical crew, set designers and builders or musicians. The production is an important event in school life and we always aim to make it a quality piece, we take it seriously and aim high. Students really value the experience of being involved both in terms of the skills and experience they acquire but also socially, as many friends are made across the year groups and great fun is had by all. It is hard work too of course! Previous productions include;
- We Will Rock you-2016
- Our Town-2014
- Cindy- 2012
- The Crucible-2010
- Twelfth Night-2008
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream- 2006
Drama Club – at the start of the Autumn Term we run a Drama Club for the Year 7 and 8 students. They create small pieces of drama which are then performed in our very popular Sound and Vision evening alongside Music and Dance pieces. The evening provides a platform for creative talent and an early opportunity for students to stretch their dramatic ability. This year we focused on Witches and Fairytales including scenes from the West End musical “Wicked”.
Students also have the opportunity to take LAMDA speech and Drama exams.
Drama works closely with the English department; running a trip to The Globe once a year and drama workshops.
GCSE Drama club
Student’s exam work is rehearsed at lunch times and after school. This offers students an opportunity to rehearse any other pieces that are being prepared for Sound and Vision or school productions.
Students are encouraged to take part in local festivals and regularly take part in both Worthing and Brighton festivals.
We also invite theatre companies and theatre professionals into the School. Most recently an ex-Blood Brothers cast member ran a workshop based on the musical with Year 9 and 10 students.
We feel that it isn’t possible to develop into really successful drama students without regular trips to the theatre. We are located very close to our local theatres; The Connaught and the Pavillion Theatre and make regular visits to the Theatre Royal, Brighton, Chichester Festival Theatre and the National Theatre, London to see a wide range of performances there such as “Kindertransport” “Teechers” and “Blood Brothers” “The Woman in Black” “DNA” and “Mother Courage” Most recently the performing arts team went to London to see “Wicked” and at the end of the Summer Term we had an overnight visit to London which included a West End musical workshop and a visit to see a production of “Annie”.
Years 7 & 8
Students have one lesson of drama a week and are taught in their tutor group. Over the two years they have the opportunity to develop subject specific skills with regards to performance, directing and devising. Skills such as the use of physicality, vocal expression, facial expression and movement are explored regularly. Students nearly always work in groups and so group work skills are also encouraged and developed.
Students study drama in rotation with art – they have 6-7 week block of lessons twice during the academic year. During these lessons, the students explore and develop in more depth a wide range of drama skills such as improvisation, roles and characterisation as well as the use of voice and movement. Year 9 Drama is an excellent preparation and foundation for taking GCSE Drama in Year 10. In addition there are opportunities to watch professional theatre companies.
Drama also helps students develop important life skills, including learning to work successfully with a wide range of peers, negotiation, compromise, diplomacy, leadership, problem solving and empathy. These skills are also crucial to the student’s success in other subjects.
Drama lessons provide the students with numerous opportunities to expand their communication skills including listening, speaking confidently, discussion and debating. In addition, students will be challenged, asked to use their imagination and be creative.
Years 10 & 11
GCSE Drama is all about practically exploring and acquiring skills and techniques to appreciate and perform drama. Students have the opportunity to create their own work as well as look at plays written by other people. At the moment we explore ‘DNA’ by Dennis Kelly and “Blood Brothers” by Willy Russell. GCSE Drama allows students to develop the skills learnt in Years 7 to 9. Students will enjoy the course if they want to study a subject that is both practical and creative and if they like working as part of a team as Drama involves a lot of group work.
The course is demanding and challenging and is not to be viewed as an easy option. There will be written work to complete and a written exam at the end of the course.
Studying Drama teaches students how to communicate effectively and solve problems with creativity. We are currently using the OCR exam board.