Drama & Theatre Studies
“The theatre is one of man’s most ingenious compromises with himself. In it he performs and entertains, shows off and amuses himself, and yet it is also one of his most powerful instruments for exploring and attempting to understand himself, the world he lives in and his place in that world.”
Aims & Philosophy of Drama
Drama at Heathfield is housed in our state-of-the-art St Mary’s Theatre, which provides a fully-equipped, exciting space for a range of drama work from whole school productions to examination performances, House plays and the Junior Showcase, and, given that the word drama comes from the Greek word ‘dran’ meaning ‘to do or act’, we feel that it is fitting that the space is constantly buzzing with activity. Under the guidance of the Director of Drama, all members of the department are not only highly experienced teachers but also have first-hand theatre-industry experience. The girls have plenty of opportunity to get involved in Drama activities throughout the school year and we are also fortunate to be able to invite professional companies in for workshops and performances as appropriate.
The school also offers a well-established and flourishing programme of extra-curricular lessons leading to LAMDA and Dance examinations. Frequent theatre visits are an integral part of school life as part of our highly successful GCSE and A Level courses as well as simply for the joy of it, and we are ideally placed for visits to London and further afield. There is also an annual interhouse drama competition with performances written, directed and performed by students.
All girls in Forms I-III have 70 minutes of class Drama a week. We hold to the premise that Drama embraces not just actors but writers, designers, engineers, architects, psychologists and scientists and it is the aim of the department that the girls are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in a range of activities that will allow them to develop the skills necessary not only to go on to study Drama at a higher level if they so wish, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to nurture a love and understanding of Theatre that will stay with them for life. Whilst the focus of the lessons is very much on having fun whilst learning through practical work, we believe that it is important that the girls also learn to be critical thinkers and to understand the value of working as a member of a group.
Examination Board: WJEC
GCSE Drama demands more than an enjoyment of acting; it also requires academic skills and a real interest in literature and theatre-making. It is our intention that pupils will learn more about the subject and its contribution to social and cultural commentary and will come to appreciate that Drama, whether intended for audiences or not, provides significant opportunities for expressing cultural and personal identity.
We also aim to nurture the candidates’ creativity, personal growth, self-confidence, communication and analytical skills through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and understanding and the exercise of the imagination. Working with a range of texts throughout the course, pupils will be given opportunities to participate in and interpret their own and others’ drama. They will investigate the forms, styles, and contexts of drama and will learn to work collaboratively to develop ideas, to express feelings, to experiment with technical elements and to reflect on their own and others’ performances.
Our choice of examination board is determined by a desire to introduce them to a written paper that will gently introduce them to the type of study that they will experience at A Level.
Examination Board: AQA
Drama and Theatre Studies
It is our aim that through the course the girls should develop as confident and independent interpreters of Drama and Theatre. They should assimilate theatrical concepts through practical and analytical exploration of different dramatic styles and theatrical methods. As a group and individuals they become able to recognise the importance of co-operation and discipline within practical drama and theatre projects as well as acquiring practical skills
The A2 course broadens and deepens the knowledge, skills and understanding they acquired in the AS course and enable them to develop further the appropriate production and performance techniques to realise the specific demands of their chosen play in production. Candidates should be able to appreciate and make connections between different theatre practices and dramatic forms and to comment analytically upon their significance. They should be able to appreciate different styles of drama and approaches to theatre and to apply these appropriately in their writing.
The structure of the specification at each level, AS and A2, is one written unit (60%) and one practical unit (40%).