The theatre… is the art of reflecting reality’ C. Stanislavski
Studying drama requires emotional maturity, and gives pupils a deep understanding of themselves and the world in which they live. As it involves using not only their voices and bodies, but also emotions and creativity, it is able to engender a deep sense of self-esteem. It is also a subject that requires a great deal of peer trust, and so it plays an important role in teaching communication, listening and empathy skills. Studying drama is demanding, and teaches pupils that success only comes from hard work.
The skills that are learnt by studying drama are invaluable in later life. For example, being able to speak and present confidently in front of people, and the skill of planning that is required in any production, are useful in many careers. Drama can be a good basis for a career not only in the theatre, but in advertising, the film industry and even in events planning, among many others.
S1 and S2 visit the drama department once a week to explore many different topics and develop a variety of skills including mime, improvisation, character building and script writing. After course choice in S3, the pupils visit the department three times a week, honing their skills in drama and exploring new production skills such as Lighting, Sound, Make-up and Hair, Costume, Set and Props. Choosing Drama in S3 enables pupils to deepen their understanding of the subject and explore topics in a focused and supportive environment.
Pupils follow a variety of short units aimed at developing drama skills. Pupils are engaged in a variety of group and individual activities including speech, movement and Theatre Arts tasks.
Pupils are encouraged to work co-operatively in groups and to develop their communication and problem solving skills.
Units of work include:
- Into to Drama, including confidence building games and activities.
- Mime skills, including object and character mime. Leading to a presented bank robbery scenario with stock character types, presented with music to the rest of the class. The tone and content of the presentations focus on exaggeration and comic portrayals.
- Mask skills, including neutral and character masks. Deepening their understanding of body language, posture, gestures, use of space and use of levels. Lessons focus on non-verbal communication.
- Stage combat unit. Expanding their physical awareness, character skills and self-discipline.
- Role-play unit. The whereabouts of teenage runaway ‘Danni’ is investigated. The character is an S1 pupil who is finding the transition to secondary school challenging. Pupils take on roles of family, friends, community members and police officers. The exploration follows the interest and focus of the class discussions. Belief and concentration in role is encouraged, language and register is explored appropriate to the role.
Pupils follow a variety of units aimed at expanding their Drama skills. Voice and movement skills are the foundation of the course, with pupils regularly creating characters, developing their roles and presenting work to the rest of the class. Pupils are also encouraged to develop their skills in Theatre Arts such as lighting, sound, set, props, makeup and costume design.
S2 pupils are encouraged to work co-operatively in groups, developing their oral and written communication skills.
Units of work include:
- Script Unit. Working on the script “Twisted” to explore teenage themes and issues, develop characters through voice and movement skills and experiment with structural conventions, forms and staging styles.
- Theatre Arts Unit. Developing their skills and abilities in set, prop, costume, sound, lighting and hair/makeup design and application.
- Improvisation Unit. Small group and whole class activities to further promote confidence, creative thinking and self/peer evaluation.
- Stimuli Unit. The final unit in S2 Drama challenges the pupils to create a presentation to a targeted audience. This could be scripted or devised and enables the pupils to work as a production team to meet the needs of the Drama and the audience.
Pupils who decide to study Drama in S3 will:
- Be able to respond creatively to a variety of stimuli and express ideas and opinions through drama.
- Have the opportunity to lead negotiation and decision-making in-group work.
- Be able to work with others to devise, rehearse and refine dramas and scripts.
- Explore the use of theatre arts technology to enhance tension, mood and atmosphere in drama.
- Be able to demonstrate sensitivity, precision and depth in the portrayal of character
- Be able to confidently convey relationships and situations in a variety of settings to different audiences.
- Be able to respond to the experience of drama by discussing thoughts and feelings and give and accept constructive comment on my own and others’ work.
- Develop analytical skills exploring technical aspects of script work.
Units of work include Drama Skills, Production Skills, Monologue Writing & Directing.
In National 4/5 Drama pupils use the knowledge and understanding gained in the S3 course to create original work and begin to develop an understanding about professional theatre and production skills. There are many opportunities to enhance literacy and numeracy skills through the completion of folios and practical production skills.
The aims of the Course are to enable learners to:
- generate and communicate thoughts and ideas when creating drama
- develop a knowledge and understanding of a range of social and cultural influences on drama
- develop a range of skills in presenting drama
- develop knowledge, understanding and the use of a range of production skills when presenting drama
- explore form, structure, genre and style
The N4 course is assessed within class. The N5 course is assessed by means of a written paper (40 % of grade) and a final performance where pupils can specialise in either an acting or production design role (60% of grade).
In Higher Drama pupils use the knowledge and understanding gained in the National 5 course to create original work and performance from text while gaining a depth of understanding about professional theatre and production skills. Opportunity to enhance literacy and numeracy skills is also provided through essay composition and practical production skills.
The Higher course is assessed by means of a written paper exploring textual and production analysis (40% of grade) and a final performance where pupil can specialise in an acting, directing or design role (60% of grade).
Advanced Higher Drama
The course aims to develop extensive knowledge and understanding of 20th century/contemporary theatre theory and practice and builds students’ academic research skills and theatrical repertoire to facilitate their transition into further study.
The Advanced Higher course consists of two mandatory units – Drama Skills, Production Skills. The course is assessed by means of an externally marked and grade Dissertation (research) project which the students must plan and research independently (40% of grade) and final performance where pupil can specialise in an acting, directing or design role (60% of grade).
Extra-Curricular Drama Opportunities
- Inter House Drama Competition
- Drama Festival
- Sewing Club (run in association with the Art Department)
- Audition sessions for anyone applying for Drama related further education courses.
- Theatre Visits (planning for a creative arts trip to London in Nov’ 2018 is underway)
For information on course content and assessment information please visit; www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/45712.html