Drama

South Wirral High School has a purpose built Drama Studio, practical classroom space and a Hall adapted for a variety of Drama presentations. Through Drama, skills are developed which are vital in the outside world; the ability to express a viewpoint clearly; to present information effectively; to initiate action and ideas and co-operate within a group. Many Drama skills transfer directly into other subject areas, in particular English.

Each year fresh opportunities arise for students to display their talents in Drama. There are countless large and small-scale drama productions, Christmas and Summer Concerts. Every December there is a Dance/Drama Production which takes place over three evenings, with over 250 students from Year 7 – 13 taking part. A significant number of students also assist with technical direction and backstage activities. In spring, examination candidates in Music, Dance and Drama perform their examination pieces to parents. In addition, GCSE Drama students work closely with our primary schools often touring work and devising workshops in drama to welcome our new Year 7 students.

This lively department is continually adding to its performance diary, encouraging whole year groups to perform together and performing out in the community, in school halls and churches. Our calendar is varied and full of the many ‘extra’ experiences we offer, here are but a few: –

  • Year 7 and 8 Drama Clubs – resulting in a Performance Evening in the summer.
  • “Act Up” A Year 9 Drama Company.
  • Year 9 Stand Out Comedy Project
  • A Drama Technical Club offering stage lighting and sound.
  • Residentials at the Conway Centre to explore Performing Arts and resulting in school productions.
  • Entry to competitions and showcase events such as ‘On the Beat’ held at the Philharmonic, Liverpool, “MacBeth” performed at the Chester Gateway as part of the Royal Shakespeare Schools of Festival, a performance based on Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man performed in front of HRH Prince Edward as part of the Duke of Edinburgh celebrations, a school production performed at the Theatre Clwyd and our Yr 11 and 13 students were invited to perform at the Barbican in London as well as Chelsea Football Club.
  • C.A.S.T Ensemble – An upper school production company. The first production of this company was ‘Waiting for Godot’ in November 2007. The second, in 2009 was ‘Under Road’ exploring the connections between Under Milkwood and Road and this year’s is ‘The 39 Steps’.
  • In the summer, students work on a massive project with six other schools, producing a performance for touring. The cast work over a ten day period devising an ensemble piece. The company was also commissioned to create a piece for The Port Sunlight Museum.

We continually seek out new and exciting opportunities for our students. We receive increasing requests to launch business and public sector events with themed Drama performances and have presented numerous sketches for Specialist Schools Trust training days based on educational topics. For this we have been able to perform in conference spaces across the country including London.

The Drama department has gained from the valuable experience of visiting theatre groups. They have included Theatre in Education, the English National Touring Theatre, and the RSC to name but a few. The school completed two residencies with Frantic Assembly during the summer of 2007 and 2008. In 2009 we worked with Periplum Theatre Company, exploring site specific theatre techniques, transforming the school and creating an interactive experience for the audience

Trips are run frequently, locally and nationally by the Drama department including a joint Drama/Science and Geography trip to London. In the past we have enjoyed pantomimes, musicals and classical dramas and they are attended by staff and students alike. 2009 also saw the launch of a LIPA progression programme. This exciting development offers students who have successfully passed an audition stage to access facilities and coaching at LIPA. All years can audition and the programme runs throughout a students’ school career. Upon leaving students are also guaranteed an audition to the college should they desire.

Examination results are excellent rising above 90% A-C at Key Stage 4 and above 95% at post 16. We offer GCSE Drama and Double Vocational Award combining Dance and Drama, worth 2 GCSE’s and A’ level Theatre Studies. This advanced course is receiving excellent results, and offers opportunities for many more public performances – including to date ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’, ‘Hymns’, ‘Vinegar Tom’, ‘The Pilgrimage’ ‘Metamorphosis’ ‘This is a chair’ ‘Crave’ ‘The Permanent Way’ and many more. In addition we offer A’ Level in Performance Studies as a natural progression from Key Stage 4 Performance Studies. Again results are extremely healthy. This course combines Dance, Drama and Music – in this way students are provided with a progression and continued route in the performing Arts Sphere.

Head Of Department: Miss Dutton

Assessment Programmes:

Year 7

 Curriculum contentAssessed work
Autumn

• Group work
• Key drama skills
Key drama skills (Harry Potter and our new school)and Fairy-tales/Pantomime
• Looking at key drama skills such as still images, thought tracking and narration.
• Developing team work skills and individual confidence.
Learning about storytelling and morals.
20% classwork assessment (practical exploration)
• 1 hour practical task in groups (teamwork assessment).
Devising a performance (teacher to give topic) – key skills assessment.
Spring

• Developing a character
• Exploring script work
Creating
Darkwood Manor and Grimm’s Tales
• Developing all drama skills learned so far such as hot seating and mutli-role.
• Exploring the use of space and creation of atmosphere (mediums of drama)..
• Learning what makes a good storyteller.
Consideration of narrative and plot.
20% classwork assessment (group work)
• Group tasks (2 hours) sustaining a character.
H/W – script learning, leading to a final group performance.
Summer

• Responding
Evaluating
Mask, Mime and Evacuees
• Looking at how effective masks are in performance.
• Developing key skills including mime and still images.
Looking at World War and learning to show empathy towards different situations.
20% classwork and 40% final performance
Rose Blanche scheme of work.

Year 8

 Curriculum contentAssessed work
Autumn

• Key skills
• Independent learning
Skill recap, Silent Movies and Slapstick Comedy
• Looking at all of the basic drama skills including crosscutting, still images and thought tracking.
• Learning about the different stage positions.
• Researching Slapstick from the 1920’s.
Responding to the elements of comedy in performance.
20% classwork assessment (practical exploration)
• 1 hour assessment looking at drama skills and their effectiveness in performance
Page to stage H/W task.
Spring

• Script work
Issue based
The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty and Shakespeare
• Developing basic skills and applying them to different situations whilst learning to explore a script.
• Looking at a real life issue/theme and exploring this through the medium and elements of drama.
• Researching the History of Theatre.
Reinventing Shakespeare for modern day audiences.
20% classwork assessment (scripted work)
• 15 minutes scripted performance.
• Discussion and group work.
Summer

• Creativity
• Evaluation and Response
Devising and Urban Legends
• Developing independence and confidence
• Taking charge of own and others work
• Learning to adapt audiences
Learning how to use lighting and sound effects in performance
20% classwork and 40% final performance
• Final performance (10 minutes)
• Lighting and sound effects workshop (design and practical elements)

Year 9

 Curriculum contentAssessed work
Autumn

• Researching
• Developing
Drama practitioners
• Research of drama practitioners including Brecht, Stanislavski and Artaud
Learning what their methods are, practice were and how they used these in performance
20% classwork assessment (presentation)
• PowerPoint presentations
Performance in the style of ‘a’ practitioner
Spring

• Script work
Creativity
Blood Brothers and Status
• Learning about the social, cultural, historical contexts of the play, playwright and Liverpool
• Developing role-play skills
• Learning and developing Forum Theatre techniques.
Knowing the importance of debate.
20% classwork assessment (scripted work)
• Blood Brothers quiz
• Key scene performance
• H/W – ‘I wish I was our Sammy’ monologue
• Status debate.
Summer

• Researching
• Developing
• Creating
• Responding
Evaluating
Speaking and Listening and Theatre in Education
• Researching this form of theatre
• Developing all drama skills learned so far
• Developing independence and creativity
Actions v Consequences
20% classwork and 40% final performance
• PowerPoint presentation
• Performance and student led lesson or workshop.