Drama

Intent

The holistic and cathartic nature of the Performing Arts adds richness and joy to the school curriculum. Creativity, individuality, and a sense of humour is celebrated and encouraged, which inevitably improves students’ confidence and self-esteem. Students learn to appreciate the importance of positive relationships, as they collaborate during group tasks, rehearsals, and performances. At the beginning of their studies, students form a production company comprised of the various roles within the arts industry including director, stage manager, lighting designer and costume designer. Over several weeks, they work to create a successful theatre production and learn what engages and audience.

During lessons, students are navigated through a range of historical, political, social, and cultural topics, as they examine set texts and devise performances using stimuli found from recent events or observations of the world around them. This helps to foster knowledgeable and empathetic young people who want to promote positive social change; a notion, which is echoed in Bertolt Brecht’s statement:

Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.

Drama is a multifaceted subject and thus lends itself to other subjects in the curriculum including English, history, sociology, psychology, dance, and music. Students often find their progress and understanding in the aforementioned areas are accelerated and strengthened, having explored a relevant topic in their drama lessons. Furthermore, taking part in drama promotes teamwork and leadership skills, which is invaluable in any career.

Drama and other performance-based subjects have been adversely affected by the recent pandemic. The drama department are delighted to have students back in the workshop and on stage, working and performing together, at long last! It is our aim to raise the profile of the department at Loreto College and have more students enjoying the wealth of benefits and happiness that drama in education brings.

Implementation

Key Stage 3

Drama is embedded within the English curriculum in Key Stage 3, allowing students the opportunity to focus on script writing, set design, improvisation and role play.  They also practically explore and perform extracts from a range of Shakespearean plays.  Students learn to work collaboratively, developing shared pieces of work, and thereby increasing their confidence in playing numerous roles.  At the end of each school year, every tutor group takes part in our prestigious Drama Festival, performing in front of one another and also a competition judge with theatrical expertise. The performances are written, directed and performed by the pupils and celebrates the collaborative, creative and cathartic nature of the Performing Arts.

GCSE Drama

Component 1: Understanding drama (written)

What’s assessed

  • Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre
  • Study of one set play from a choice of six
  • Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers

How it’s assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Open book
  • 80 marks
  • 40% of GCSE

Questions

  • Section A: multiple choice (4 marks)
  • Section B: four questions on a given extract from the set play chosen (44 marks)
  • Section C: one question (from a choice) on the work of theatre makers in a single live theatre production (32 marks)

Component 2: Devising drama (practical and written)

What’s assessed

  • Process of creating devised drama
  • Performance of devised drama (students may contribute as performer or designer)
  • Analysis and evaluation of own work

How it’s assessed

  • Devising log (60 marks)
  • Devised performance (20 marks)
  • 80 marks in total
  • 40% of GCSE

This component is marked by teachers and moderated by AQA.

Component 3: Texts in practice (practical)

What’s assessed

  • Performance of two extracts from one play (students may contribute as performer or designer)

Free choice of play but it must contrast with the set play chosen for Component 1

How it’s assessed

  • Performance of Extract 1 (20 marks) and Extract 2 (20 marks)
  • 40 marks in total
  • 20% of GCSE

This component is marked by AQA

A-Level Drama and Theatre

Component 1: Drama and theatre

What’s assessed

  • Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre
  • Study of two set plays, one chosen from List A, one chosen from List B
  • Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers

How it’s assessed

  • Written exam: 3 hours
  • Open book
  • 80 marks
  • 40% of A-level

Questions

  • Section A: one question (from a choice) on one of the set plays from List A (25 marks)
  • Section B: one three-part question on a given extract from one of the set plays from List B

(30 marks)

  • Section C: one question (from a choice) on the work of theatre makers in a single live theatre production (25 marks)

Component 2: Creating original drama (practical and written)

What’s assessed

  • Process of creating devised drama
  • Performance of devised drama (students may contribute as performer, designer or director)

Devised piece must be influenced by the work and methodologies of one prescribed practitioner

How it’s assessed

  • Working notebook (40 marks)
  • Devised performance (20 marks)
  • 60 marks in total
  • 30% of A-level

This component is marked by teachers and moderated by AQA.

Component 3: Making theatre (practical)

What’s assessed

  • Practical exploration and interpretation of three extracts (Extract 1, 2 and 3) each taken from a different play

Methodology of a prescribed practitioner must be applied to Extract 3

  • Extract 3 is to be performed as a final assessed piece (students may contribute as performer, designer or director)
  • Reflective report analysing and evaluating theatrical interpretation of all three extracts

How it’s assessed

  • Performance of Extract 3 (40 marks)
  • Reflective report (20 marks)
  • 60 marks in total
  • 30% of A-level

This component is marked by AQA.

Impact

The Drama Department offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities for any student wishing to get involved in the Performing Arts, irrespective of age or ability. We run frequent trips to the West End, for students to be entertained and inspired by the magic of live theatre. So far this year, Loreto students have had the opportunity to watch the following productions: Rockets and Blue Lights at the Dorfmund Theatre, Blood Brothers at the New Wimbledon Theatre and Women in Black at the Fortune Theatre. Upcoming theatre trips include: Our Generation at the Dorfmund Theatre, Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre, The Play that Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre and Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre.

There are currently two drama clubs running on Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtimes. These are organised and facilitated by the Drama Prefect Team and have been extremely popular. Both groups intend to produce a piece of theatre to perform in the summer term.

Statements from current Drama students

I have studied Drama at Loreto for 3 years now, and have been performing for over 10 years. Overall, I have found studying Drama at Loreto a truly enjoyable and memorable experience. Studying drama enhances our artistic and creative ability and gives us a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Drama develops confidence, self-discipline, and team work. What I enjoy the most about acting is that it is a way to explore life and human emotion. I love observing behaviour and reflecting it in my characters on stage. To play another character you have to know yourself well, and at times it can be a very scary process but also very rewarding.

Claudia Costa, Drama Captain and Drama and Theatre Studies A-level Student

I found that studying Drama at Loreto has helped me build my confidence and creativity while acting. The lessons are focused and interesting which adds to how enjoyable my experience of Drama is. In Drama we learn about not only acting but the creative side to theatre such as set design, lighting, and costume design. I love that I can ask questions easily with my teacher’s full focus and gain confidence and ideas from my peers. Drama has allowed me to grow as an actor and work on my creative skills for the future, it has inspired me to try something new and step out of my comfort zone.

Amy Novelle, Senior Drama Prefect and Drama and Theatre studies A-level Student

Overall, I have found studying Drama at Loreto a truly enjoyable experience. I love how it allows us to be both independent and creative letting us craft our own pieces of theatre, centred around issues that are important to us. In Drama not only do we learn about performing but we also look at the set design, lighting and costume aspect of the theatre .Additionally, we study several plays and go on trips to see a wide range of theatre.

Mia Kenny, Senior Drama prefect and Drama and Theatre studies A-level Student

Drama & Careers@Loreto

Drama is a versatile subject, with far-reaching skills, it offers a breadth of talents that can be applied to any career path our students choose to take. Be it continuing study in the Performing Arts sector, to law, to writing, to customer relations, the communicative, and collaborative aspects of the subject help ensure our girls are ready for the wider world.

Want to find out more about Drama work skills, then check out this infographic poster, which can also be found in the canteen.