Drama

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”.

Drama is a key part of life at SVS. Whether students take part in productions, choose the subject for examinations or just engage in academic lessons, all students will gain important skills and make lasting memories in the Drama department. Like many other practical lessons, Drama is an excellent opportunity for students to express themselves in a creative way. They learn to develop confidence, teamwork, problem solving and resilience both inside and outside the classroom.

In addition to helping pupils achieve their potential in formal examinations, we also encourage our pupils to explore their creativity and find their own individual ways of overcoming the obstacles placed in front of them. Group work is a crucial part of achieving excellent results on stage, and students are constantly challenged to work together to produce engaging and thought-provoking pieces of Theatre.

To succeed in the subject a student must have:

  • resilience
  • a strong work ethic
  • willingness to try new ideas
  • ability to work effectively with others
  • an eye for detail
  • a reflective approach to their own work
  • an interest in the Performing Arts
  • fearlessness

Junior curriculum and the Third Form

In the lower years of the School, the focus in drama lessons is to increase pupils’ confidence and allow them to develop a ‘toolbox' of skills and techniques that will help them express themselves clearly, both on and off stage.

As well as exploring play texts such as Macbeth and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, students explore social issues and historical events using Dramatic devices. Group work is a key element to performance and they will be expected to work in a variety of groups in order to produce the best possible outcomes.

Practical assessments take place every Term with students assessed on the progress they make in creating, performing and analysing performances.

IGCSE Drama

Board: Cambridge

As part of smaller and more focused classes, pupils face tasks such as scripted monologues, group scripted pieces and grgroup-devisedork. These help them further explore their capabilities as performers and collaborators. Their theoretical knowledge is developed in each course and is exhibited in a final examination. The level of written analysis becomes much more important in this course, as students are expected to explain the reasons behind their acting choices and stylistic decisions.

Components

Coursework: 60% - This is made up of three performances; individual scripted piece: one three-minute monologue, group cripted piece: one section of a published play and group devised piece: a short performance of pupil-createdd work.

Examination: 40% - 2.5 hour written examination

A Level Drama and Theatre

Board: Edexcel

The level of quality raises again as students approach the A Level syllabus. This demands that students are self-motivated, committed and experimental practitioners. As well as beig proficient actors they must be able to devise, direct and design an audience’s experience from start to finish; whilst at the same time being articulate enough to explain their reasons for the creative choices made.

They will create a devised piece, with a devising log that explains the decisions that they have made. They will also be expected to take part in a performance of scripted work, both individually and as part of a group. At the end of the course they will sit the Examination which will give them the opportunity to demonstrate all that they have learned over the two years.

Components

Devising Drama: 40%

Scripted Performance: 20%

Examination: 40%

Productions

Every year the School stages two major productions in the Theatre. The Senior production involves the students in the latter years in the School and is an excellent opportunity for them to show off everything they have learned in the department or even to showcase a hidden talent.

The Junior production allows students in the lower years of the School their time in the limelight. Giving them the chance to gain more confidence on stage. Each production is open to all students in the relevant year groups and all levels of experience are considered.

All productions are supported excellently by the SVS community and are a real sense of pride for all of those involved.  

In addition to this, the department leads numerous trips to the Theatre every year, making the most of our proximity to London and various local theatres.

Scholars

Our Drama Scholars are the representatives of our department across the School. They receive free one-to-one LAMDA lessons as well as being first on the list to Drama excursions and workshops. In academic lessons they are expected to model excellent practice and behaviour to other pupils.

Practical Workshops

In every academic year, we invite professional companies to perform for our students or to run workshops in the Baughan Theatre. Not only does this give them the opportunity to see high quality, innovative and exciting theatre, but it also gives students an insight into how the companies work with actors and directors.

Companies will often offer post-show talks and pre-show workshops, which also allow pupils to develop their understanding further.

In recent years we have hosted The Fall of the House of UsherHenry VThe Merchant of VeniceA Midsummer Night's Dream and Metamorphosis. We have also had taken part in workshops with Punchdrunk, Propeller, Men with coconuts and Frantic Assembly.

The best way for pupils to develop their own ideas is to take inspiration from others and visiting companies allow our students to do this with ease. 

Technical Team

Joining the Technical Crew is open to all pupils.  They learn about lighting and sound in a very practical way. All this knowledge will quickly be applied as there is a regular stream of productions demanding technical support. Of course, some pupils want to take on more creative tasks such as designing and making sets for the School production. Being part of a team and the buzz of a production make it all worthwhile. Whether it is moving props on and off stage or operating the follow-spot for a musical, every “techie” wants to be involved.

The Technical Team are a valued part of every production and frequently show us that you don’t need to be a typical ‘drama person’ to be a valued member of our department.

Staff

Mr Ben Fewson holds a BA (hons) in Drama from the University of Hull and a Postgraduate Diploma in Acting from the Liverpool institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). He brings his professional acting experience to the classroom as well as that of his teaching career, which has spanned over six years. His first Senior production of ‘Hamlet’ was one of the highlights of the last academic year.

Miss Emily Davies has a BA in Theatre & professional practice from the University of Coventry. She has worked at SVS for four years and helped produce excellent outcomes throughout her time. Notable successes include directing an excellent production of Disney’s ‘Mulan’ and taking the School’s first 6th Form group to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Miss Laura Williams joins the department full time from English in order to assist with the need for greater written accuracy in Drama examination courses. She is passionate about Theatre and has worked with various practitioners including Punchdrunk and Frantic Assembly. She has an English Literature & Language BA from the Open University.

 

Mr Ben Fewson

Director of Drama

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