Drama as an academic subject should be totally engaging, mostly enjoyable, oftentimes challenging and, at is best, life-changing. This is the mission statement upon which it is taught here at Gordonstoun.
The Performing Arts course is an exciting and practical course that explores Drama and Dance both as individual subjects and together. Each form has a weekly lesson, which is led by a specialist teacher and sometimes team-taught. The course aims to develop creativity, stimulate the imagination and encourage performance and interest in the performing arts.
The course centres on group work and the overall philosophy is that the performing arts are fun and that they develop enthusiasm, give opportunity for inspiration and lead to heightened creativity. The course covers basic skills in all three areas and goes on to explore themes and issues as well as the notion of story telling.
The four strands of the syllabus are:
- Fostering an understanding of the processes which produce performing arts
- Creating and shaping materials into relevant form
- Selecting the appropriate language, music, sound and movement for effective communication
- Interacting sensitively and constructively with peers
GCSE Drama gives the students the opportunity to develop speech, time management and confidence skills whilst learning what it is like to be in another person’s shoes. Students will have the opportunity to play many different roles in a variety of different situations, they will create their own dramatic performances as well as looking at the work of other people both in class and through visiting live professional performances.
The course is split into three parts:
Part One - students will develop drama work from a range of stimuli, devising performance pieces whilst learning to work with others in a group situation.
Part Two - students will perform in or design for two key extracts from a published performance text.
Part Three - students will study and practically explore one complete performance text and attend at least one live theatre performance which they will evaluate.
The examination for the GCSE exam is a written paper worth 40% of the total mark. Students will be required to review a piece of live theatre and answer questions on a text which has been explored practically in their classes.
The remainder of the course is divided between Devising (worth 40% of the final grade) and Performance from Text (worth 20% of the total).
Performance from text is assessed by a visiting examiner whilst Devising is assessed internally by the teachers in the Drama Department.
DRAMA AND THEATRE STUDIES (EDEXCEL)
The A Level Drama and Theatre course demands practical, creative and communication skills in almost equal measure. Students will extend their ability to create drama and theatre, either in a performing or production role. They will write about drama and develop their powers of analysis to become informed critics. The course will involve taking part in drama productions, as well as studying plays and playwrights.
The course is divided into three components:
Component 1: Devising (40% of the qualification) This is a practical component marked internally and externally moderated
- Devise an original performance piece.
- Use one key extract from a performance text and a theatre practitioner as stimuli.
- Centre choice of text and practitioner.
- Performer or designer routes available.
Component 2: Text in Performance (20% of the qualification) This is a practical component marked by a visiting examiner.
- A group performance/design realisation of one key extract from a performance text.
- A monologue or duologue performance/design realisation from one key extract from a different performance text.
Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice (40% of the qualification) 2.5 hour written examination based on practical exploration work done in class.
- Live theatre evaluation - choice of performance.
- Practical exploration and study of a complete performance text - focusing on how this can be realised for performance.
- Practical exploration and interpretation of another complete performance text, in light of a chosen theatre practitioner - focusing on how this text could be reimagined for a contemporary audience.
Students interested in A Level Drama and Theatre need to be curious about issues and ideas and have a creative instinct for communicating their views through drama. They may be keen on acting, writing or on the visual and technical side of theatre and wish to develop their skills in some or all of these areas. Equally they will be interested in going to the theatre to see plays performed by different theatre companies.
GCSE Level Drama is useful but not essential. Students will need to have good written skills. It is important that candidates are interested in gaining a greater understanding of how theatre and plays work and are keen to be involved with performances.