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Drama

 

Our Mission

Our mission is to introduce students to the rich variety of theatrical styles, genres and practitioners found throughout theatre history.  We set out to foster an enquiring and receptive mindset in our students, one that is keen to engage with the unknown and resilient in the face of the unfamiliar.  We nurture a deep appreciation of Drama’s power to interrogate socio-political issues and metaphysical questions through storytelling. Through exercising their voice and body, and by exploring their own and other’s emotions, we guide students to become emotionally expressive, self-aware and self-reflective.  Woven throughout all of our work in Drama, is our commitment to engendering the hallmarks of leaders: ingenuity, spontaneity, collaboration and confidence.

Students learn to become aesthetic archaeologists, studying seminal play texts through close-text analysis and situating them within their socio-political context.  Key Stage Three studies focus on the origins and development of western theatre from pre-historic religious ritual through to post-war Britain. Students are encouraged to trace connections between Dramatic art works from across the ages and to consider how major playwrights, directors, actors and scenic artists have influenced theatre beyond their lifetime.  Alongside their analytical work, students learn experientially through practical class-based activities where they test the principles and processes that they are addressing by engaging directly with the physical exercises set out by leading practitioners.

Through these two modes of academic study, students gain the tools to become theatre makers in their own right, crafting an imaginative landscape within which to explore their preconceptions about human nature and society, and an artistic vocabulary with which to express their discoveries.  Theatre-making at CGS cultivates our students’ curiosity about the world, calling on students to create plays dissecting robust subject matter; from current affairs to paradigm shifting scientific discoveries, the world and all of history is the student’s topical oyster.

By gaining an appreciation of the form, content and remit of Dramatic art, students become increasingly aware of the collaborative processes that generate theatre.  Our teaching ethos is to guide students’ learning toward completely autonomous, co-operative creativity.  By the end of key stage three students are adept at generating and shaping ideas through collaborative decision-making.  As an examination subject at GCSE students develop their skills still further, with highly productive group work forming the bedrock of their learning. 

 

Extra-curricular Drama at Chesham Grammar School

There are two major events in the extra-curricular Drama year, the main whole school production and House Drama and Music competitions.  Student leadership is a cornerstone of our extra-curricular offer, with Sixth Formers running a Tech Crew and a drama club, culminating in a show case evening for an invited audience. 

 

Extra-curriuclar Drama

The department leads on an annual whole School Production.  We aim for the highest standards possible and take the view that no show is ‘beyond the reach’ of school-age actors.  We approach texts in the same way as a professional theatre company would – through intensive rehearsals over several months, working on sub-text and through improvisation around the text.  In addition, our productions are aided technically by a professional lighting and sound designer.  Our costumes are all meticulously hand-made by the Textiles Department and the school orchestra provides excellent music.  Productions in recent years have included: Our Country’s Good, Wind in the Willows, Romeo and Juliet, Little Shop of Horrors, The Crucible, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Sweet Charity, Show Boat and The Threepenny Opera and most recently, our sell out production of Grease.

 

Drama at Key Stage 3

Students begin Year 7 with a core unit on characterisation and comedy, introducing students to the physical vocabulary and key conventions of Drama.  They commence a detailed study of Theatre History, tracing the origins of Drama from religious ritual through the zeitgeist playwrights of Ancient Greece, Elizabethan and Jacobean England.  In Year 8, students study the origins of Naturalism as a reaction to Victorian melodrama and explore the influence of Genre on audience expectations in the golden age of Hollywood.

 

Examination Courses


GCSE Drama

Students opt to choose Drama at the end of Key Stage three and embark upon the course in Year 10.  GCSE Drama is a popular choice at Chesham Grammar School, with two substantial teaching groups.  Students immerse themselves in a wide range of  Theatre making in Year 10, culminating in Coursework and performance unit worth 40% of their grade.  Year 11 is dedicated to acquiring robust textual analysis skills, interpreting the work of key playwrights through a performance for an external examiner, worth 20% and through a written exam taken in the summer term alongside their other GCSE external examinations worth 40%.  There is an additional need to experience a wide range of theatre in order for students to be fully prepared for section B in the examination, a live theatre review.

 

Exam Board: Eduqas
Course Title: Drama
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Unit 1           Devised theatre and Written Controlled Assessment   40%
Unit 2           Performance of Text  20%
Unit 3           Written Examination on a Set Text B and Live Theatre Review 40%

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