Drama & Theatre

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Drama is very popular at The Leys, both in the classroom and the wide variety of school productions each year. The department is housed within Great Hall, our purpose-built Theatre and Performing Arts Centre, opened in September 2013. Dedicated drama facilities include the Middleton Studio Theatre, a large rehearsal room and two classrooms.

Drama is compulsory in Years 7-9 and an option for GCSE and A Level. Many pupils also take individual LAMDA speech and acting lessons, in which we achieve particularly good results.

Academic Drama involves both practical and written work. Theory and practice combine to give a greater awareness of the theatre arts and ways of lifting a play "from page to stage". Pupils are expected to have a lively and keen interest in some aspect of theatre, as well as being enthusiastic about reading and studying literature/plays, delving into theatre history, visiting the theatre and most importantly, working as part of a creative team.

Drama is ideal for developing communication, presentation and confidence skills. We make regular trips to theatres in Cambridge, London and elsewhere, and all pupils are encouraged to participate in the extra-curricular productions at the school. Workshops with visiting theatre practitioners are also integral to pupils' learning.


GCSE

The Cambridge IGCSE course enables pupils to explore a wide range of theatrical performance techniques and styles of theatre. Pupils learn how to use body language and voice, both in improvised and scripted drama. Lessons encourage increased self and group awareness, and the ability to appreciate and evaluate the work of others. The course seeks to develop creativity, self-confidence, self-discipline and communication skills.

The approach is essentially practical, and in lessons pupils will physically experiment with acting texts and ways of creating small group improvised performances. Pupils also have the opportunity to develop skills in lighting, sound, set design and costume. Theatre visits are an integral part of the course; pupils should expect to attend a school theatre trip at least once per term.

As well as performances, there is an important written element, and pupils will acquire skills in researching the background to dramatic work, explaining and analysing the rehearsal process, and evaluating performances.

Course Content

Practical Coursework (60%)

Over two years, pupils will work in small groups on a number of different performance projects. Ultimately, they will be assessed on:

  • One monologue performance of an extract from a play;
  • Two group performances: one an extract from a play and one original devised piece.

The performances are internally assessed and externally moderated.

Written Exam (40%)

Candidates are required to answer questions on one devised performance and one scripted performance which they have created, based on material released by the exam board. They will answer questions on acting as well as the other production elements (Set, Props, Costume, Make-up, Lighting and Sound).

Specification (CIE)


A Level (AQA)

Whilst acting is an essential part of the course, there are also options for technical and design modules, allowing students to fully make use of the professional theatre facilities we have available within Great Hall. Lighting and sound work is closely supported with one-to-one tuition from our in-house Drama Technician.

Course content

Component 1 - Drama and Theatre (40%)

  • Externally assessed 3 hour written exam with two questions on two set plays from a performance and production perspective; and one question on a live production.

Component 2 - Creating Original Drama (30%)

  • Practical devised theatre project which is internally assessed and externally moderated. Students are assessed through a working notebook (20%) and their individual final performances (10%).

Component 3 - Making Theatre (30%)

  • Practical exploration and interpretation of three extracts each taken from different plays. The methodology of a prescribed practitioner must be applied to extract 3. Extract 3 is performed as a final assessed piece (students may contribute as performer, designer or director) and is worth 20% of the marks. A reflective report analysing and evaluating the theatrical interpretation of the extracts accounts for 10% of the marks. This component is externally marked.

Specification (AQA)

Theatre Studies combines well with other arts subjects, as well as giving useful balance to science subjects. It fits well with most potential careers including the arts, media, public relations, advertising, journalism, education and law.

A steady stream of pupils carry on to study drama at university.


Staff

  • Mr Dominic Bell MA(Oxon) - Head of Academic Drama
  • Ms Lydia Aers - Drama Teacher
  • Miss Megan Mattravers - Drama Graduate
  • Mr Paul Haynes HLTA - Drama Technician

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Main Office

01223 508900

The Leys School

Cambridge

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