What do you most enjoy teaching?
Miss Bonsall: – I love teaching the Pre 1900’s text, A Servant of Two Masters. This is even a surprise to myself! But I love the style of the play (Commedia Dell Arte – it’s like classy Pantomime). Students have so much fun exploring the play practically, analysing performance decisions and also having a go at becoming director. I also love developing students understanding of a wide range of practitioners – my favourites are John Godber and The PaperBirds. I love Musicals, Physical Theatre and Political Theatre.
Miss Hendry: – The detail and in-depth discussion surrounding different practitioners and the appreciation for the great skill it takes to execute Total theatre is a particularly engaging and fantastic to teach. I love seeing students forming their own opinions of practitioners and being able to critically reflect on the effects the styles create. I love exploring the physical side of total theatre and pushing it to the extreme with exaggeration – like we can while looking a Metamorphosis.
Mrs Rifkin: – I enjoy teaching A Level as it’s exciting working with students as they explore new styles of theatre. I enjoy facilitating lessons where they encounter challenging topics and situations where they have to form their own responses to situations and views on them. It can often shape the adult they become. I particularly enjoy teaching the written element of the course and seeing students have the ‘light bulb’ moment. I also have a huge passion for American plays.
What are the differences between at GCSE and A Level?
At GCSE the expectations are that you have a good knowledge of drama skills, understand a range of style and can analyse text, script and live theatre. However at A Level you explore these areas in much more depth, developing a more succinct understanding of a range of practitioners and their theories in much more detail, whilst exploring at least 5 scripts practically. Students often really enjoy this, but it is different because you have to be much more analytical and apply the work of a practitioner to this work.
Students who have not chosen Drama as a GCSE option can still be successful – we have had students enjoy the musical during their GCSE years and then take Drama at A Level and complete the course with an A.
Can you give us a quick summary of each of the units of work you do?
Component 1 – Written Paper (40%)
Section A – Drama Through the Ages. Exploring a Pre 1900’s Script. – A Servant of Two Masters
Section B – 20th and 21st Century Drama. Post 1900’s text – Metamorphosis
Section C – Live Theatre review
Component 2 – Devising Drama (30%)
Create a piece of theatre from your own choice of stimuli (your teacher doesn’t give you a range to choose from like at GCSE) and link it to the work of your favourite practitioner. During year 12 you explore many more practitioners to add to the small list you explored in KS3 and KS4.
Component 3 – Scripted
Explore 3 scripts from a variety of genres, styles and eras. Perform your favourite to a visitng examiner. This could be. Monologue, duologue or a group piece.
I’m sure your subject will suit lots of different ‘types’ of student, but are there any characteristics that you think can be useful?
Any student who wants to develop their confidence, team work skills or ability to present in front of another group of people. Anyone who wants to be creative, imaginative or learn new skills and techniques. Anyone who enjoys reading, wants to develop their essay writing skills or improve their analytical ability. Anyone with a passion for theatre, the arts or performing.
Can you show us some examples of the type of work that students do?
Please see the video at the top of this page.
Do you have examples of what previous students have gone on to do in your subject?
Students have gone on to do:
- Musical Theatre
- Primary Education
- Secondary Education
- Paramedical Science
“Drama was my escape from the science subjects I needed for the university course I was doing. It was always a passion of mine and I continued to perform at university through the Drama society, even though my career lies in Sciences. I believe Drama helped my team work skills, my leadership ability and my confidence.”
“Taking A Level Drama actually allowed me to realise my change in career path. It was only after enjoying Year 12 so much, that I realized I wanted to be a performer. I am now in my final year at Drama school. “
“I learnt so much in such a short space of time. I felt well prepared for my Drama degree and knew more about practitioners than anyone else on my course.”
“I went on to study History and Politics, but feel Drama helped my presentation skills immensely.”
“I found writing from a designer’s perspective most challenging about the course however the department were really helpful in guiding me on how to write some really strong essays. Studying drama helped me to grow in confidence and when it came to applying to University it was often picked up on in interview as a stand out attribute!”
Comments from some current students:
“What I like about Drama at A Level is having more freedom to make decisions and practitioners we love in depth. The teacher adapts the learning to fit our preferences and performance style.”
“My confidence is building and continuing to build every week.”
“Drama pushes me out of my comfort zone and I enjoy being challenged.”
Some links to click on:
The specification: https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/drama/specifications/AQA-7262-SP-2016.PDF
An example exam: https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/drama/AQA-72621-SQP.PDF
A sample exam answer: https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/drama/AQA-72621-CA.PDF
The exam board section which gives publicity for your subject: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/drama