The Drama and Performing Arts department, where creativity is embraced and nurtured. Drama and Performing Arts opens up new dimensions of emotional experience, gives young people a safe environment to explore differing situations and indeed enables us all to learn to be accepting and understanding of other cultures, religions and situations.
Exploring the Theatre from the very beginning to current day, equips the Bishops family to build confidence and be inspired to truly think outside the box, giving a foundation of creativity and imagination that truly knows no bounds.
The drama department also aims to create enthusiastic and confident performers who have an understanding and appreciation of the possibilities of drama and theatre and how it not only benefits those that wish to go into the Industry but also those that wish to go into Law or Sales and Marketing. It is our intention to connect classroom drama to the theatre’s long and diverse history as a cultural form.
In all years drama is part of the curriculum and there are multiple opportunities for students of all ages to get involved in shows, with the first being our showcase that we are preparing for in July, or in the drama studio with the performances created for examination courses. If you’re interested in seeing how the professionals do it, we also organise visits that take advantage of London’s rich theatrical life, as well as inviting practitioners to run workshops in school. Most recently we have visited ‘Curious incident of the dog in the night time’ also a theatre experience where we spent the day experiencing The Globe theatre and the students took part in a professional workshop, then going on to experience the a performance at the Royal Court Theatre of ‘ Unreachable’ and we also have a theatre journey experience planned for our A Level students this year, a residential for our gifted and talented and a whole school trip to The Lion King.
Drama fosters creativity and collaboration, but also demands great analytical skill and the ability to approach new ideas critically and with an open mind. Students explore all aspects of the theatre and find out what they enjoy doing best, whether it’s directing, designing costumes, creating sets or props, stage management, acting, singing or dancing.
For those that want to pursue drama academically we are delighted to offer courses that are accessible to all, BTEC Performing Arts and Edexcel Drama GCSE at KS4 which provides a wide variety of challenging opportunities to students beyond the remit of any GCSE drama courses currently on offer. At A level we follow the Edexcel A Level Drama syllabus which will prepare our students to go on and study the industry or indeed Drama feeds into many subjects and is publicly recognised by the Russel group universities as a subject that prepares students for good outcomes at University.
The KS3 curriculum moves from the origins of theatre to contemporary practice over the three years to give our students an overview of how theatre has developed and changed over the centuries and provide an understanding of the different functions of theatre – beyond just to entertain. Each year group will study one practitioner, one genre and one full play text at the same time as exploring different theatrical aspects. Study at KS3 includes: Greek Theatre, devising, ‘Ernie and his incredible illucinations’ by Antony Ayckbourn, The 39 Steps by John Buchan adapted by Patrick Barlow, The Woman In Black by Susan Hills adapted by Stephen Mallatrat, the practitioners Stanislavsky, Bertolt Brecht and Stephen Berkoff, and contemporary theatre companies including Frantic Assembly, DV8 and Gecko.
For GCSE Drama, students can choose to take a production route or performance and are able to mix this throughout the two year course. GCSE Drama Assessed through a combination of a 40% written exam and 60% Non-Examined Assessment (NEA). Students to study one complete and substantial performance text and two key extracts from a second contrasting performance text. The texts must be studied to gain a practical understanding of drama. Students to participate in a minimum of two performances, one devised and one from a performance text which has been studied as part of the course. Students will also attend theatre trips to enhance their learning.
Also in KS4 we offer BTEC Performing Arts, First Award Acting Pathway is available to KS4 students. This course content is currently in the process of being reformed by the examination board. Some changes are likely for 2019 certification. At present the course runs as follows; Unit 1: Individual Showcase (Externally assessed – 30 credits) In this unit students will learn how to apply, prepare and perform for an audition. Students learn about the journey a professional will undertake to reach their goal of becoming a performer via acting, dance or musical performance. Unit 2: Preparation, Performance and Production (Internally assessed – 30 credits) In this unit students will learn how to develop a performance piece as a member of a fictional performance company. Students will need to devise and script their own play, develop their acting role and also produce the play taking on a stage production role as well. Unit 3: Acting Skills (Internally assessed – 60 credits) In this specialist unit students will be introduced to important acting skills and will learn about the specific demands that acting makes on the body and mind. Students will build on professional performance skills whilst learning about the traditions of Drama and theatre and apply these to develop existing scripts and performances. This is a two year course.
At KS5 we offer a two year course of A level Drama and Theatre will be assessed through a combination of a 40% written exam and 60% Non-Examined Assessment (NEA) Specifications require students to demonstrate a practical understanding of: • a minimum of two complete and substantial performance texts and at least three key extracts from three different texts placed in the context of the whole text. Students must study the work and methodologies of two influential theatre practitioner (individual or companies). Specifications in drama and theatre require students to participate in: A level – a minimum of two performances, one devised and one from a performance text studied during the course.
I think it’s fair to say that some students comments that really reflect what drama is all about ‘ it’s fun and engaging, a family unit that works with creativity and building self esteem and confidence, a safe environment to try out new ideas’ a student who joined us only really ‘I like performing and acting and just feeling like, I can be another person, just by some gestures and voice and acting’
I am proud to say that students also performed at RWISDA at Theatre Royal Stratford, having worked extremely hard for the previous term they created a piece that received a standing ovation and showed what being part of Bishop Stopfords is all about, being able to truly be who YOU are and not fit a stereotype. We are looking forward to defend our title this Summer when we will be back with a new piece of theatre.
Extra curricular not only includes trips to the theatre but also ‘Take the Stage’ on a Wednesday lunchtime, where there is a mixture of Karaoke, dance off’s and mic battles, ‘Backstage Crew‘ on a Wednesday after school, where students are learning the aspects of being part of the unsung heros when it comes to performance, the production crew and what they have to do and ‘Curtain Call’ on a Friday after school, where we are preparing for our next school show.
The Drama and Performing Arts department are an evolving department with exciting new adventures at all points and like theatre keeping up with what is new in education and the theatre is important and putting our students at the centre of everything we do is paramount.
Whether it’s in class, the annual school plays or productions students put on themselves, there’s always a wealth of drama taking place at Bishops. Miss Dorrington looks forward to welcoming you to our department and remember ‘there are no small parts only small actors’ Stanislavski