Teaching & Learning
In Drama we aim to provide exciting and stimulating learning experiences for our students. At the heart of this is our desire to bring the world of the theatre to life in their lessons, whether through the use of lighting and sound in our beautiful studio space, or through Teacher-in-Role activities where teacher and student share in a role-play scenario. Over the years we have also sought to provide access for students to the professional industry through theatre trips and visiting practitioners – breathing life and energy into our students’ own practical work.
Drama at KS3
Drama is a compulsory subject at Key Stage 3; all students work practically, exercising their Creating, Performing and Responding skills – the three key areas of assessment.
In Year 7 we lay the foundations for further study; learning lines, gaining an understanding of theatrical techniques such as improvisation and characterisation; as well as applying explorative strategies such as still images, thought tracks, slow motion and cross cutting. We apply all of this to a range of exciting topics such as ‘Superheroes’, ‘African Theatre’ and ‘The Titanic’.
These skills are then built upon in Year 8 when students are challenged by topics such as ‘Masks’, ‘Shakespeare’ and ‘Melodrama’. The final year of KS3 involves Year 9 experiencing a taster of GCSE studies, preparing them for the exciting practical and theoretical coursework modules that they could go on to experience if opted for at GCSE level. We explore such topics as ‘Fame and Celebrity’, Frantic Assembly’s ‘Chair Duets’, Theatre practitioners, and ‘Grand Guignol’.
Drama at KS4
At Key Stage 4, students follow the OCR GCSE Drama syllabus. The course carries a 30% controlled assessment weighting where students practically explore themes, topics and engaging stimulus in a supported environment before developing a devised performance and accompanying portfolio.
In Year 10 students are assessed during a variety of practical topics such as monologues, duologues, Theatre Practitioners and scripted performance. Another part of Year 10 involves a theatre trip to see a live theatrical production in which students must write a written response to the action. This preparation work will go onto support the live theatre review section of the written exam that students sit in year 11 (40% of the course). Throughout the 2 GCSE years, students will study extensively Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers’, taking both a practical and theoretical approach to how an actor can engage with the scripted text. There is also an externally examined practical performance which is 30% towards their final GCSE. This unit involves students performing 2 extracts from a scripted play and performing these to a visiting examiner.
At KS3 students will have the opportunity to involve themselves in extracurricular activities, such as the Broadoak Theatre Company and our annual Key Stage 3 school production, which is extremely well received and is a highlight on the school calendar. We also stage an annual whole school musical in which students from all year groups are encouraged to get involved, both on the stage and backstage, last year we successfully stages ‘The Wiz’, the cooler retelling of Dorothy from Kansas and her trip down the yellow brick road, and this November, we step back in time, with ‘Back to the 80’s- a jaunt through your favourite 80’s tunes, complete with single white glove.
Students’ experiences in Drama are also enriched by visiting local theatre companies and colleges. For example all GCSE Drama students have the opportunity to visit both Bridgwater and Weston College to gain an understanding of what further education within Drama and the Performing Arts would be. Often, these students will watch a BTEC or A-level Drama performance and then take part in a practical workshop, as well as a Q&A with students and staff at the school.
As part of the GCSE course all Drama students will attend a number of theatre trips: there is an annual trip to see Blood Brothers (our set text at GCSE) and this year, we are taking a group of 70 to see the pantomime at the Bristol Hippodrome. Previous trips have taken in ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Stratford upon Avon and ‘The Woman in Black’ at the Fortune Theatre, London.
At Broadoak we are fortunate to have the use of one black box Drama studio equipped with a data projector, sound system and state of the art stage lighting facilities and a mirrored dance studio as an additional performance space. Students have access to computers to use for research purposes, as well as having access to a very well stocked props and costume stock room.
We also have a large number of rostra (stage blocks), Trestle Masks, stage combat equipment and a variety of technology; including video and audio recording equipment.