GCSESome 30–40 pupils each year opt for Drama at GCSE. We follow the Edexcel specification. This places considerable emphasis on the practical exploration of ideas and texts and leaves us as teachers considerable freedom and flexibility to choose materials, text and focus for the work.
In the first year of the course, pupils are given a basic grounding in the elements of drama and the drama medium (both from a performance and a technical perspective), in rehearsal strategies and in a wide range of drama texts. We also explore key periods of theatre history as well as investigating the principal genres of theatre. This provides the basis for examined workshop and portfolio work, which begins in the Summer Term of Year 10, and for the practical work to be completed in the second year of the course.
AS and A levelEach year we have one set of around 8–10 students for Theatre Studies AS and A2. We follow the AQA specification which we feel has a rigorous academic structure as well as enabling our students to explore the practical side of the subject with genuine creativity.
At AS, the written paper (worth 60%) comprises the study of a text for performance and reviewing live theatre and the practical unit involves studying the work of an established theatre practitioner and staging an extract from a published play text in the light of his/her work. A2 builds on this foundation, but focuses increasingly on the challenges facing a director. The written paper involves the detailed study of two texts from a director’s perspective and the practical is the creation of a wholly original devised piece. We aim to give our pupils a broad experience of a range of theatre styles and practice and part of the course includes anything up to 15 theatre trips per year.
After St Paul’sVery few Paulines go straight to Drama School after leaving St Paul’s, as the majority wish to gain the security of a university degree. However, many continue their acting or directing at university and in recent years a number have then gone into the profession, as actors, directors, writers, critics, producers. One is an outstanding Olivier-winning lighting designer. Other alumni include the actor Jamie Bamber of Battlestar Galactica fame, and the renowned production designer, Ken Adam.
Edward WilliamsDirector of Drama
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