As well as being an academically rigorous subject, drama is an extremely creative and collaborative activity.
Drama is one of the most effective ways to develop emotional intelligence in young people. The sharing of ideas, workloads and responsibility fosters independent learning and enhances communication skills and confidence.
Some 30 pupils each year opt for Drama at GCSE and we follow the new Eduqas specification. Over the first year of the course, pupils explore the methodology of key practitioners such as Stanislavski, Brecht and Berkoff and learn how to perform in both naturalistic and physical theatre performance styles. We also look at the holistic process of theatre-making and discover how lighting, sound and set design contribute to creating the world of the play. Towards the end of the year, we introduce text-based work in preparation for the study of the set and performance texts in the Sixth Form (Year 11).
Although the second year is dominated by specific preparation for the exam components, we aim to ensure that this happens through a wide range of varied and exciting approaches: pupils create their own group devised performances, and have the choice of specialising in a performance or a technical option for their scripted piece.
Each year we have one set of around five to ten students for Theatre Studies A Level. We follow the AQA specification, which we feel has a suitably challenging academic structure, as well as enabling our students to explore the practical side of the subject with genuine creativity. The new specification strongly encourages the in-depth practical and theoretical exploration of a number of practitioners and we see the first year as an opportunity to lay very broad and wide-ranging dramatic foundations, enabling pupils to increasingly take ownership of the work which will feed into the A Level assessment in the Upper Eighth Form (Year 13).
During the Lower Eighth (Year 12), work engaging with practitioners as varied as Katie Mitchell, Alecky Blythe and Artaud will lead to a number of small-scale performance opportunities throughout the year. Alongside this we introduce pupils to the role of the director in all its complexity, and focus on the study and practical exploration of a number of related texts. In the Upper Eighth, the focus will shift to the detailed preparation of the key components of the exam itself- the reviewing of live theatre, study of texts; devised and text-based practical work.
There is a thriving drama community at St Paul’s that regularly put on plays in our two theatres. With more than ten productions each year, there are ample opportunities for pupils to try something new or to hone existing skills. See our full range of activities here.