Albert Einstein famously said that “imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand”.
The Drama department at Sutton Valence School fully embraces this philosophy. We teach the skills and the theory, we look at theatre through history, practitioners, classical and modern plays. However, we also encourage our students to explore their imagination; we give them freedom to be creative and we help them to overcome the obstacles that they are faced with on the way. Drama is about being able to characterise a role as well as entertaining an audience, but it is also about communicating effectively, working as a team and building confidence.
Miss Davies is our second in the department, she graduated from Coventry University and went on to work professionally within a number of different companies. She also spent some time in Australia teaching Drama and can also turn her hand to Design and Technology. Her impressive dissertation was based around slapstick comedy and students have the opportunity to explore this with her in the Third Form, which is a highlight in the academic year.
Results in 2016 were some of our best yet, with an impressive 100% A*-B grade at both A Level and GCSE.
In First Form students focus on improving basic skills, such a mime, mask work, voice and movement. In Second Form students look at theatre through history and learn to perform in a number of different styles, including Greek theatre, Commedia Dell’arte, Shakespeare and melodrama. Above all else, in the first two years students have the opportunity to work as a team and build key skills such as listening, communicating and presenting.
In Third Form students explore a range of techniques and styles that will help them to prepare for GCSE. These include physical theatre, naturalism, stage fighting and explorative strategies. We also expect students to grasp their use of voice and movement when developing a role and characterisation is a key focus. In addition, we encourage an analytical approach that asks students to evaluate their own work and the work of others.
At GCSE pupils follow the Edexcel syllabus. The course is divided into three units.
In Unit One pupils use a variety of drama techniques to explore ideas and issues in response to different stimuli, such as a piece of poetry, a video or a visual image. In Unit Two students study a complete play, from the point of view of performers and designers. Both these units are examined by the teacher and moderated by an external examiner. Unit Three is worth 40% of the final GCSE and is a practical performance that allows students to work with a script or devise their own work.
Pupils should be interested in theatre in all its forms. They must be prepared to throw themselves into group activities and to act in front of others. Paper one includes a number of written assignments, but there is no written exam at the end of the course.
Drama is an exciting, but a demanding and challenging GCSE.
A Level curriculum
A Level Drama is split into four units. The first two are completed in the AS year and ask students to explore two contrasting play texts, creating exploration notes on the way. Furthermore, students will create two performances for an external examiner. In the A2 year students have the opportunity to devise their own work, before they start the preparation for their written exam worth 60% of the A2, focusing in on the role of the director. The skills you learn as you do the course are applicable to a very wide range of careers. The ability to work as part of a team, to think creatively and to write critically in a clear and cogent manner will be of enormous value in most walks of life. Drama can also help to instil confidence and teaches students to present themselves and their ideas in a positive and creative way. The course is also ideal for those hoping to study Drama or Theatre Studies at university or drama school.
Shakespeare hit the nail on the head when he said that “All the World is a stage”. At Sutton Valence School our aim is to prepare our students for the challenges that they will face during and beyond education, so that they can succeed on this stage that we call life.