Mr. R. Walters – Head of Drama/ Specialist College
Mrs. A. Jackson – Teacher of Drama and Dance
Mrs. E. Dandy – Teacher of Drama
The vision of the Drama Department reflects the school’s status as a Specialist Performing Arts College. We always strive to nurture the confidence, abilities and talents of all our students. The Drama Department has a strong ‘Arts for All’ philosophy which permeates the school community through the curriculum, extra-curricular and enrichment activities. The strength and success of the department is based on excellent standards in discipline, a curriculum which is varied and engaging and ensuring that all students are challenged to make progress and achieve their true potential.
Learning and Teaching
Drama is concerned with developing communication skills, promoting creativity and encouraging pupils to learn about themselves and the world around them. There is a structured curriculum which encourages students to develop a greater understanding of themes and issues through practical exploration, performance and evaluation. All Drama work facilitates the opportunity to work together using co-operative skills which are vital for effective communication.
As part of the whole school curriculum, students are provided with a rich and diverse learning experience of the historical, cultural and practical aspects of Drama. The Drama curriculum ensures that students are taught how to create, perform, and respond to Drama by working with a variety of stimuli from different sources and traditions.
Students will be given frequent opportunities to watch and learn from peers and professionals. Every possible opportunity to invite professionals into the school is taken and every student will be given the opportunity to experience live theatre performances. Students are encouraged to fulfil their individual potential and to reflect critically on their own achievements and those of others.
All students study Drama for one lesson a week at Key Stage Three. At Key Stage Four, students are taught for three lessons, studying the Edexcel Drama GCSE course.
The department has a 180 capacity theatre, equipped with lighting and sound equipment. This is in addition to a purpose built drama workshop. With many opportunities to perform their work, students learn the importance of individual, pair and group work, whether supporting peers in a classroom performance or as a member of a cast of 150 in a full school production.
In addition to the large scale annual school production, students are given a wide range of opportunities to develop their experiences through Drama. Links have been established with a wide range of theatre groups, agencies and organisations. Students are encouraged to experience Drama in its widest sense, participating in community projects and supporting organisations including the Greater Manchester Police.
Students are regularly given the opportunity to experience live theatre through the residency of touring groups and visits to local and regional theatres. The Performing Arts visit to London provides students with the opportunity to experience live musical theatre. The Manchester Actors and Waterfall are regular visitors to the Drama Department. Students have had the opportunity to work with DIY Theatre, a group which encourages collaborative work between our pupils and learning-disabled performers. Most recently, our partnership has developed with Wish FM, enabling students to work in a professional radio station. Roles have been varied including writing, presenting and marketing.
There are links with Drama schools and colleges, including ALRA, Runshaw and St John Rigby Colleges who present their performance work. These mutually beneficial partnerships are valuable in enabling students to share their work.
GCSE students present their practical work in an evening showcase and there are additional opportunities including ‘Fisher Factor’, and the Christmas and Summer Concerts. Drama provides an opportunity for students to work with resident performers and artists, through a range of exciting and engaging workshops. This has included practical workshops from stage combat to theatre/special effects make- up.
At Key Stage Three, students are assessed regularly in the areas of Devising, Performing and Evaluating. Innovative teacher, peer and self- assessment is regularly used to enable students and teachers to reflect on learning and progress. Students are provided with the opportunity to be assessed individually, in pairs and in groups. All lessons are based on a thematic, issue or topic approach and are scheme based. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own potential for future progress, through a dialogue with the teacher. In addition, students are set bespoke targets to support future attainment. These current and aspirational levels are recorded formally by the student and teacher.
Key Stage 4
The AQA GCSE in Drama encourages students to:
• develop a personal interest in why drama matters and be inspired, moved and changed by studying a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study
• work imaginatively and creatively in collaborative contexts, generating, developing and communicating ideas
• consider and explore the impact of social, historical and cultural influences on drama texts and activities
• reflect on and evaluate their own work and the work of others
• develop and demonstrate competence in a range of practical, creative and performance skills
• develop a basis for their future role as active citizens in employment and society in general, as well as for the possible further study of drama
• actively engage in the process of dramatic study in order to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds.