Drama and Theatre Studies

Summary and Vision Statement

Drama and Theatre Studies at Chelmsford County High School for Girls should inspire students to develop inquisitive minds and teach them how to explore life through the arts. It should develop their understanding of the function of Drama in society and equip them for life with the necessary skills to become reflective, responsible adults, with the ability to make a positive contribution to the wider world. Drama is an important component in creating a well-rounded person, giving essential opportunities for growth and challenge beyond the mere subject content.

The Drama and Theatre curriculum empowers students to explore a complex range of characters and circumstances through a variety of dramatic forms. We aim to create bold and dynamic performers as well as reflective, critical and analytical academics.

Key Stage 3

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum serves multiple purposes. It provides students with the foundation skills to be successful as a Drama student. We explore a variety of different topics, themes, scripts, and characters while using a range of Drama mediums and forms. Moreover, we also focus on developing students’ theatrical skills, ensuring they can portray a range of emotions and character motivations.

Our curriculum also provides students with the transferable skills to be successful beyond the Drama curriculum. We are passionate about creating well-rounded students who are able to interact and collaborate confidently and effectively with others. Our aim is to ensure that leaners are equipped with the interpersonal skills to be successful in their school life and beyond.

Below are a selection of topics and schemes of work taught in:

Year 7:

  • An Introduction to Drama; The Tempest by William Shakespeare; My Arts Inspiration Speech; Mime.

Year 8:

  • Melodrama; Theatre in Education; Rosa Parks; Mask Theatre.

Year 9:

  • Physical Theatre; ‘Teechers’ by John Godber; Epic Theatre; Noughts and Crosses.

Key Stage 4

Our GCSE curriculum provides students with the opportunity to explore devised and scripted work which effectively prepares them for the formally assessed elements of the course. In addition to the schemes of learning that explore scripted and devised forms of theatre, we continue to place a heavy emphasis on developing our students’ theatrical skills and ability to communicate character interpretations to an audience.

In addition to the practical skills and techniques developed at Key Stage 4, we also explore the academic side of the Drama. We review the theatre roles and responsibilities associated with professional theatre; explore design and performance analysis in context of the GCSE set text, Blood Brothers; and begin to critically review and appraise Live Theatre.

Below are a selection of topics and schemes of work taught in:

Year 10:

  • Blood Brothers; Devising Tools and Strategies; Bouncers by John Godber.

Year 11:

  • GCSE Devising Log; Evaluating Live Theatre; Blood Brothers.

Key Stage 4 Schemes of Assessment:

  • GCSE Devised Performance; GCSE Devising Log; GCSE Scripted Performance; GCSE Written Examination.

Key Stage 5

The A Level course continues to develop the creativity and confidence of our students in a challenging and engaging learning environment. It is an academic course respected by Universities and Higher Education Institutions. Our curriculum effectively builds upon the knowledge taught at GCSE, where the students have built up a strong skill base to extend their studies. Learners in Year 12 and 13 have the opportunity explore a variety of people who have influenced the theatrical world, these include: Stephen Berkoff, Bertolt Brecht and Konstantin Stanislavsky. These theatrical practitioners are studied in the context of both devised and scripted performance work.

In addition to the practical elements of the course, students are required to study two set texts, those being: Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker and Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen. Moreover, students continue to appraise and evaluate the work of others through live theatre evaluations.

Below are a selection of topics and schemes of work taught in:

Year 12:

  • Our Country’s Good; Hedda Gabler; Bertolt Brecht and Epic Theatre; Konstantin Stanislavsky and Naturalism.

Year 13:

  • A-Level Working Notebook; A-Level Reflective Report; Evaluating Live Theatre.

Key Stage 5 Schemes of Assessment:

  • A-Level Devised Performance; A-Level Working Notebook; A-Level Scripted Performance; A-Level Working Notebook; A-Level Written Examination.

Extra-Curricular Activities

There are a wide variety of extra-curricular provisions for students to involve themselves in. We provide a range of trips and activities through the school’s enrichment curriculum. These include: a theatre trip for Year 7 to the pantomime; a theatre trip for Year 8 to see Matilda the Musical; and a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe to undertake a tour and workshop in Year 9.

There are also a variety of clubs and societies taking place in the department. We have a Year 7 Drama Club led by our Year 10 and 11 prefects; we also run a Year 8 Joint Drama Society in collaboration with King Edward IV Grammar School, which is run by Sixth Form students in both schools.

We are a very active department, and we organise a large number of theatre trips and have regular visits from theatre companies such as Paper Birds, Stage-Ed and Splendid Theatre Productions.

Arguably the most important event in the Drama extra-curricular calendar is our school’s Whole School Production. Each year in the early part of the spring term, students from all year groups come together to showcase their artistic talents. In previous year’s we have produced largescale musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Oliver; and play productions of Antigone by Sophocles and A Mother’s Voice by Chris Owen. Our next school production is due to take place in February 2023, and is the musical Little Shop of Horrors.