Drama

Drama

At Torpoint Community College the Faculty of English and Drama work in partnership to deliver an engaging, practical and theoretical drama curriculum.

The new style GCSE and A level courses have been the driving force behind the radical changes to the drama curriculum, leading key stage 3 students through devising, performance, critical analysis and technical elements. Each year group will embark on an exciting range of drama schemes of work designed to build their confidence in the speaking and listening element of English as well as developing their skills as young drama practitioners.

Year 7: Skills based, practical workshops cover basic drama language and skills such as mime and characterisation. Students get the opportunity to perform as part of a group in a circus performance as well as devising from a range of stimuli. The most important aspect of this year is the development of the drama space as a safe, creative environment. By the end of year 7 all students will have experience of designing masks, performing in small groups and analysing the work of others.

Year 8: Building on the skills learned in year 7 the students undertake schemes of learning which develop their understanding of drama as a medium for thought-provoking work. The first term centres around devising work using stimuli from world war one, culminating in a powerful piece of slow motion group work based on the battle of the Somme. Throughout the year the students will develop their understanding of genre, performing in their own pantomime, including selecting appropriate costume.

Year 9: As experienced young performers the students embark on a series of new challenges each designed to replicate an area of GCSE focus. Commedia Dell’arte allows each young person to design and create a traditional mask or this iconic genre. Students are then able to connect these characters with the work they did in year 7 and 8 (mime, slapstick, pantomime and Shakespeare) and develop Lazzi of their own. They go on to  explore naturalism through soap opera style characters and finally the year culminates in a cross curricular History/Drama devising project. This project runs alongside the work that the students will be doing with our UCL practitioner, using artefacts and survivor testimony to create issue-based, thought-provoking work.

KS4 GCSE Drama:

Students who opt to take GCSE study an exciting two year course. There are routes or both performers and designers (costume, lighting, sound, set/props) and both routes lead to the full GCSE accreditation. The course at Torpoint is designed to lead young theatre practitioners from potential to  true realisation and every minute of time in the practical and theory lessons in precious.

Component one: Devising

Students are given a series of stimuli and work as a group of performers and designers to create a performance in response to this. Performances in the past have focussed on Autism, addiction and mental health issues but each group have the freedom to develop the work in whatever way they choose. A written portfolio accompanies the performance.

Component two: Performance

Each student performs in or creates a design realisation for two extracts of a play. This could be as part of a group, a pair or a monologue. In the past students have performed extracts from plays such as Blood Brothers, The Children’s Hour and Bouncers.

Component three: Written exam

All students study the modern play DNA by Dennis Kelly and answer questions in a written exam as a performer, director and designer. They will also answer analysis and evaluation questions on one piece of live performance they have seen as a class. Past performance have included, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Othello, War Horse and Hairspray.

During year 10 GCSE students will undertake a mock component one project to develop their devising and group work skills, explore and perform extracts of DNA to develop a knowledge of the play and their practical skills and visit the theatre ready for their mock component three exam in the summer term. Year 10 also have the opportunity to work with outside practitioners from local theatre companies and showcase their work at open mic sessions in College.

Key stage 5:

The demands of the new A level Drama and Theatre course provide both challenge and thrill. In many ways the A level is an upskilled, up-scaled version of the GCSE with focus on practitioners and developing academic, critical response to their own work and that of others in the industry. Again there are routes for designers as well as performers but at A level there is an expectation that young people will be developing their skills outside lessons. Links with outside theatre companies are made throughout the course to encourage this.

Component one: Devising

Students study a set text selected by the College and a specific extract is given to the students as a stimulus. Students can then choose to take this devised piece of work in whatever direction they choose with the influence of a selected practitioner. Past texts have included A streetcar named Desire and Animal farm. A written portfolio accompanies the performance and is heavily weighted in this component.

Component two: Performance

Each student performs in or creates a design realisation for two extracts of two plays. One monologue or duologue and one group performance. In the past students have performed extracts from plays such as 4:48 Psychosis, Henceforward and Goodbye Charles.

Component three: Written exam

All students study the play THAT FACE by Polly Stenham and answer questions in a written exam as a performer and designer. They also study the classic text WOYZECK and answer questions on a performance concept in light of the theatre Practitioner Bertholt Brecht.

In addition to this alive theatre critique on a play they have seen completes the written exam. Past performance have included, The Tempest,  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and  Othello.

Year 12 is a vital part of the course where students develop their own response to a chosen monologue to develop their performance skills and widen their knowledge of a range of plays, explore Stenham’s That Face and visit the theatre on multiple occasions, ready f their mock exam. They will also begin work on the exploration of the text ready or the  devising process in component one. A huge amount of preparation and research is required by the student outside their lessons to enable them to engage fully with the practical and theoretical aspects of the course.