Drama and Performing Arts
Head of Department: Mrs T. Calvert
Performing Arts is the study of both the practical skills required by performers in the theatre and dance industries, as well as the theoretical study of the development of drama and the creative industry. The study of Performing Arts focus on a range of skills that are needed within the industry and across other aspects of our lives to ensure that we are equipped as individuals to communicate, work effectively with others, and be creative – whoever we choose to be!
In Years 7, 8 and 9, all students study drama and dance; this ensures that all students have the opportunity to explore a range of genres and styles within the performing arts industries. They explore how these genres or styles have been created; how they have developed over time, how they have influenced, and been influenced by, the world around them; and how to analyse them. In their practical studies, students develop their ability to devise and choreograph their own performance work when working collaboratively with their peers and develop their understanding of characterisation when performing from professional scripts.
In Year 7, students explore the foundations of modern theatre, studying Greek Theatre. They progress to the cornerstone of English drama, William Shakespeare, looking at Much Ado About Nothing, and finally consider modern and contemporary drama and dance such as Stomp, Matilda: The Musical, and Bollywood.
Year 8 students explore the dramatic genre of Commedia dell’Arte, drama practitioners such as Bertolt Brecht and Konstantin Stanislavski whose theories have shaped the development of drama over time. They also explore physical theatre and contemporary dance, identifying and exploring how movement and the body influences storytelling and communication.
In Year 9, students study Verbatim where they focus on using real events to create work that educates the audience, they study in greater depth the processes of devising, the various roles within a theatre production, and how the arts have influenced the lives of young people.
At Barclay, Key Stage 4 students have the opportunity to study GCSE Drama. This course provides opportunities for students to understand and create drama as a practical art form. They develop a range of theatrical skills and work collaboratively to generate and communicating ideas and meanings through informed artistic choices. They study this in three sections; devising, performance and theory. Students create their own drama performances by devising in small groups from a stimulus and this is accompanied by a piece of written coursework that documents their research, experiences and progress. They also study professional repertoire through practical experiences where they perform two extracts from a play. Both the devising and performance units can be completed as a designer instead of a performer. Within the theoretical learning, students study one play in depth to gain a full understanding of the content, context and variety of roles that are involved in the production of a play. They also have the opportunity to see at least one piece of live theatre, where they analyse the effects that this can have on an audience member.
In our Sixth Form, students who choose to continue their study in performing arts work towards a Level 3 BTEC. They write an analytical report that compares two practitioners and their works, focusing on how they explore the same theme in different ways. They also develop their own practical development as actors and performers through scripted performances in a variety of theatrical styles, as well as through devised and improvised performance for a specific target audience. The development of skills throughout this course focus on their understanding of the requirements of a performer and their role within the performing arts industry.