Head of Drama and Dance: Mr Christopher Gould
Girls at Downe House are encouraged to widen their knowledge of performance styles as well as take an active role in engaging fully with performance and theoretical aspects of drama.
In the Lower School, pupils study a wide range of topics to expand their vocal and physical skills as well as their performance terminology. We explore performance work through devising original theatre, producing polished improvisation performances and tackling scripts. The girls benefit from being exposed to a wide range of styles, genres and performance opportunities.
In the Michaelmas term, pupils explore key dramatic foundations including staging positions, mime and basic design elements. In the Lent term, they explore the fundamentals of the devising process by exploring street photography as stimulus material. Girls will develop skills including rehearsal techniques and abstract devices to consider when devising work. In the Summer term, pupils are introduced to navigating a script and considering key features about characters, including objectives, characteristics and subtext.
Girls also start to consider drama from an academic perspective and have the opportunity to develop their descriptive, analysis and evaluative skills through verbal and written tasks. The Remove scheme of work ensures that all pupils gain a basic understanding of the key dramatic principles, whilst stretching and challenging those who have already gained a diverse experience of drama before joining Downe House.
All girls in Remove receive one lesson per week.
Pupils in the Lower Fourth cover two schemes of work, however when they complete each scheme of work is dependent on their term in France. Pupils also continue to develop their verbal and written responses to their own theatre making and that of their peers.
Theatre in Education (TIE): Within this unit, pupils explore how to communicate a message through their planning, developing and performance of a TIE piece. In order to achieve this, they must consider their target audience and develop key TIE skills include marking the moment, hot seating and forum theatre.
Storytelling: Within this unit, we encourage girls to build upon their knowledge of abstract devices from Remove such as narration, as well as exploring more advanced devices such a physicalisation of the text and puppetry.
All Lower Fourth girls receive one lesson per week.
Every pupil taking drama in Upper Fourth will aim to complete a Bronze Arts Award qualification – a level 1 award in the Arts managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England. The mission of Arts Award is to foster an enjoyment of the arts, to support young people to connect with and take part in the wider arts world, developing creativity, communication and leadership. Pupils take full ownership of their qualification, which will hopefully empower pupils and inspire them to develop the skills necessary for success at GCSE. Not only will pupils receive an arts qualification at the end of the academic year, but they will also have developed their communication and leadership skills, whilst honing their independent learning techniques.
The award focuses on four key areas:
GCSE Drama is a popular subject option for the Lower Fifth (Year 10) with many pupils electing to expand their experience of performance alongside their appreciation of live theatre and set text exploration. The Edexcel course allows exploration of a range of stimuli supported by rehearsal and performance techniques.
Drama and Theatre Studies is taught at A Level where an in-depth study into practitioners and performers encourages a new approach to performance, taking into consideration the directors’ and designers’ perspective. We boast a considerable percentage of pupils who take up places at prestigious drama schools and universities followed by successful careers in a number of areas of the creative arts.
We believe that the Edexcel syllabus provides pupils with extensive knowledge and understanding of theatre and find that the structure of the course allows pupils to work independently and collaboratively to explore their creative passions.
Further information about the teaching and learning of drama may be obtained by contacting Mr Christopher Gould, Director of Drama and Dance.
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