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Performing Arts

"We know what we are, but not what we may be" (Ophelia, Act IV, Scene V, Hamlet)

Vision

Our students will be able to reflect on their Performing Arts experiences in years to come and have the best memories. 

Performing Arts builds on a capacity for using the imagination which is vital in the progression from childhood to adulthood. 

Our vision is to equip, encourage and inspire our children and young people to become confident performers, creative innovators, critical thinkers and culturally aware individuals. 

As a curriculum team we embrace inclusivity and appreciate the value and contribution of all students regardless of their unique profile. 

Through a curriculum that celebrates diversity and champions difference, we are able to nurture the core values of kindness and decency. At the same time we promote academic success by instilling a strong work ethic in our students.

Curriculum Intent

  • We offer students a number of opportunities to devise their own pieces, to interpret existing works and to create work based on a specific genre, musical style or practitioner.
  • The curriculum ensures that performance skills are given a high priority and they get up and they do. 
  • The promotion of oracy is woven throughout the curriculum, providing authentic opportunities for students to develop both confidence and skill when articulating their ideas.
  • The Performing Arts Learning Journeys are carefully sequenced to ensure progression of knowledge, skills and understanding, introducing key vocabulary and techniques through topic-based work. 
  • KS3 is more about breadth and enabling the students to build a solid and secure foundation thus making the GCSE curriculum more accessible, whereas KS4 includes much greater depth. 
  • The curriculum embraces and complements the whole-school Character and Culture Curriculum, including the promotion of our Shared British Values (SBV). Built into the curriculum are a range of opportunities for young people to express themselves creatively and explore the issues in the 10 Things to Remember thus promoting positive mental health. 
  • In addition to core knowledge, the curriculum seeks to promote hinterland knowledge through links to other subjects, for example history, mathematics and English.
  • The curriculum provides opportunities to explore potential pathways the performing arts offers at post-16. 

Dance

The three key areas of Performance, Choreography and Dance Appreciation are incorporated throughout all Schemes of Work.

Within Dance, students explore a range of genres, stylistic features and choreographic devices, with the aim to gain confidence, performance skills and develop their dance technique in a safe and stimulating environment. 

Drama

The key three areas of Devising, Performance from Text and Theatre Makers in Practice. Within Drama, students develop and explore elements of characterisation including vocal and physical techniques. They study scripts from a variety of playwrights and they also focus on dramatic conventions and the practices and theories of theatre practitioners. 

Music

The three key areas covered across all Schemes of Work are Performing, Composing and Listening & Appraising. Within Music, the goal is to inspire and engage students to develop a love of music and develop their talent and skills through participation in a wide range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians. 

Extra-curricular Opportunities

The quality of education is further enhanced by a comprehensive offer of extra-curricular activities and enrichment opportunities carefully planned to be accessible to students of all age groups, academic and artistic abilities.

  • We offer a comprehensive range of extra-curricular activities and performance opportunities for all. For example, Drama Club, KS3 Shakespeare Ensemble, Whole School Production, Choir, Dance Company, etc.
  • Theatre/Concert visits and trips are organised throughout the year for a variety of year groups. Thus, enhancing the development of the students’ Cultural Capital.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Dance

Why should I study this Subject?

Are you passionate about movement? Can you communicate an interpretation through your choice of movements? Do you love performing? Do you love watching dance? Do you want to develop the top skills that employers are looking for: communication skills, creativity, leadership skills and problem solving? Then this is the course for you!

What will I learn?

In the first stages of the course, you will explore performances in a range of styles, looking at professional, existing works and creating your own performances in response to them. After this, you will take a performance from initial ideas to final production, working on briefs set by the exam board.

The course is made up of three areas:

Performance: You will complete a solo performance incorporating set phrases from the exam board. You will also perform in a duo/trio performance to showcase your physical, technical and expressive skills.

Choreography: You will be involved in the development and improvement of choreographing work as both a solo performer and as part of a group. You will take support and inspiration from other areas of the course to develop your skills to produce your final work.

Dance appreciation: You will study a range of choreographic and dance performances building knowledge and understanding of intent. You will learn how to apply a critical approach to not only your own work but that of dance professionals as well. You will watch and review professional performances.

How will I be assessed?

our performance and choreography components are internally assessed and filmed before being sent to the exam board for moderation.

Your performance assessment will be a solo and a duo/trio piece consisting of 30% of your qualification.

The choreography assessment consists of a solo or group choreography based on a particular theme and makes up 30% of your qualification.

The final 40% is an externally marked written exam and assesses your knowledge of professional works and your own practice in performance and choreography. It is 1 hour 30 minutes and will have long and short style questions to answer.

What skills will I develop?

Contemporary dance technique and physical, technical and expressive performance skills.

How to lead and communicate effectively with a group of dancers to create original choreography.

A range of choreographic processes and approaches.

Movements taken from professional dance works.

How to analyse the use of choreographic processes, choreographic devices, lighting, set, costume, accompaniment and movement material in each set work and your own work.

How to answer exam style questions in relation to your own practical work and professional work.

This subject will also develop your creativity, problem solving, communication and teamwork skills, which are desirable qualities whatever your choice of future career.

What equipment will I need?

You will need to be suitably dressed for practical lessons: full PE kit is appropriate attire. Occasionally, you may be asked to provide items of clothing as costumes for your performance, though this will rarely be at any cost to you. You will need to demonstrate the following skills in all lessons:

  • Motivation and enthusiasm
  • Confidence in performing
  • Creative ideas and an open mind; ready to try different styles of dance
  • The ability to work in small groups and on your own
  • A reasonable level of physical skill – flexibility, strength and coordination
  • The ability to understand dance key terms and use them in written work
  • A reflective mind allowing you to evaluate and improve
  • The ability to plan, perform and evaluate.

How will this subject develop my Character and Culture?

Dance styles are extremely varied and cover an array of topics. We will study performances from a range of cultures and styles, including topics that may challenge your perspective.

Dance will help you become a confident member of society, celebrate diversity, achieve your aspirations through creativity and commitment and help you to secure a better understanding of your own values.

Where can this subject take me in the future?

This course will offer a progressive route through to BTEC Level 3, AS and A-levels.

You may decide to study Dance further and follow a profession in any of the following; Dancer, Choreographer, Dance Teacher, Dance Therapist, Dance Critic (reviewer); Community Dance Artist; Dance Education Officer; Dance Development Worker; PE Teacher; Primary School Teacher; Set Designer; Costume Designer, Lighting Designer.

For those students who are still undecided about their future, or are thinking, ‘I don’t want to be a dancer’ taking GCSE Dance will still benefit you because of the wealth of skills that you will learn from the experiences that you have with us. Many of the jobs that will exist in the next twenty years, do not even exist yet, as the rate of technological development moves apace every day. These employers will be looking for creatively minded problem-solvers who are confident and able to adapt in the face of change. This qualification will suit anyone willing to push themselves, whatever they might wish to do in the future.

Where can I find out more?

GCSE Drama

Why should I study this subject?

If you love all things theatre and want to perform then this is the course for you! 

If you love all things theatre but don’t want to perform then this is also the course for you! 

GCSE Drama has a practical and creative focus. You will develop your skills in performing and creating drama, designing set, costume, lighting, sound and more. Through drama, you will explore a variety of issues affecting our society today. The course offers the opportunity to stage some of the most famous and influential contemporary plays, to experience work of a variety of theatre practitioners and to visit the theatre to see and critically analyse live productions. You will also be able to build on your social and personal skills such as teamwork, listening, concentration, communication, self-awareness, problem solving, self esteem and confidence.

What will I learn?

The course requires you to work practically and creatively. You will build on a range of social skills as well as performance skills. You will extend your ability to create drama and theatre (working from a script and a stimulus), either in a performing or production role. You will also be required to write about drama and to develop your powers of analysis to become an informed critic. The course will involve taking part in drama productions, as well as studying plays and playwrights.

In the first stages of the course, you will develop your devising skills and practically explore how to create drama from a variety of starting points. Through the further study of Stanislavski, Brecht and Artaud, you will gain a practical understanding of the key features of Epic Theatre, Naturalism and Theatre of Cruelty.  Technical Theatre workshops will enable you to explore set, lighting, sound and costume design. 

As the course progresses, you will practically explore the set text, DNA by Dennis Kelly, from the perspective of a performer, director and designer. You will apply your knowledge in well-structured written responses which will focus on character and scene analysis, structure, content and style as well as interrogating the production elements of set, lighting, sound and costume design.

In the latter part of the course, you will enhance your performance and/or technical skills and complete an externally assessed group or individual scripted piece. You will also watch a live performance and analyse and evaluate the ways in which different performance and production elements are brought together to create theatre.

The course is made up of three components:

Component 1: Devising – 40% of final grade

You will create, develop and perform a devised piece based on a stimulus. Analyse and evaluate the devising process and performance via a written Portfolio.

Component 2: Performance from Text – 20% of final grade

Scripted performance to a visiting examiner. A group performance or a monologue/duologue. You must perform/design two key extracts.

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice – 40% of final grade

Section A: Bringing Texts to Life – DNA questions. Section B: Live Theatre Evaluation

You may complete Components 1 and 2 as a performer or designer or a combination of both of these roles.

How will I be assessed?

Component 1 is internally assessed and externally moderated (coursework) in two parts: 1) a portfolio covering the creating and developing process and analysis and evaluation of this process. This takes the form of written evidence between 1500–2000 words. 2) a devised performance or design realisation.

Component 2 is an externally assessed (either by visiting examiner or by examiner assessing a recording) performance or design realisation of two extracts from a published script. 

Component 3 is externally assessed through a one and three-quarter hour written examination. The examination is in two sections. Section A consists of one question broken into five parts (short and extended responses) based on an unseen extract from the chosen performance text and Section B consists of two questions focusing on your ability to analyse and evaluate a live theatre performance you have seen. You are allowed to bring in theatre evaluation notes of up to a maximum of 500 words.

What skills will I develop?

Your performance and design skills will be developed and enhanced. You will learn how to apply knowledge and understanding when making, performing and responding to drama. You will develop an understanding of theatrical conventions and develop a range of theatrical skills along with an understanding of how to apply them to create performances. You will learn about the roles and processes undertaken in contemporary professional theatre practice.

Many of the skills learnt within the course are transferable. You will develop a multitude of skills, including collaboration, communication and an understanding of how to amend and refine work in order to make progress. You will learn how important it is to be approachable as a person and how to manage time carefully, along with the development of your self-confidence. 

Being creative is a great way to get your brain to think differently and take different approaches to situations. You will show and reveal your creativity when developing ideas. You’ll learn how to organise and enhance your skills as a creative practitioner. You’ll also learn the skills to work effectively as part of a team. You will develop key life skills – confidence, independence, teamwork and collaboration skills, as well as self-discipline, motivation and commitment.

What equipment will I need?

Just a willingness to take creative risks! You will need to demonstrate the following skills in all lessons:

  • Motivation and enthusiasm
  • Confidence in performing
  • Creative ideas and an open mind; ready to try different styles of theatre
  • The ability to work in small groups and on your own
  • The ability to understand key terms and use them in written work
  • The ability to devise, perform and evaluate.

How will this subject develop my Character and Culture?

GCSE Drama will help you to become a confident member of society, to celebrate diversity, to achieve your aspirations through creativity and commitment and help you to secure a better understanding of your own values. All of this will be achieved through the study and creation of theatre performance and/or design from a range of cultures and styles, touching on topics that challenge your perspectives.

Where can this subject take me in the future?

This GCSE can lead to further study in Drama, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts at A Level or Level 3 BTEC and then at degree, and may lead on to a career in the performing arts industries.

However, Drama is not just about performing.  The skills that you gain from this subject can help you in any career that requires teamwork, communication,

listening skills, creative thinking, problem solving and cooperation. Students who have previously studied GCSE Drama have gone on to study law, medicine and engineering.

Many of the jobs that will exist in the next twenty years, do not even exist yet, as the rate of technological development moves apace every day. These employers will be looking for creatively minded problem-solvers who are confident and able to adapt in the face of change. This qualification will suit anyone willing to push themselves, whatever they might wish to do in the future.

Where can I find out more?

The Curriculum Team

Mrs M Cutler
Subject Leader of Performing Arts
Ms S Preston
Dance Instructor
Mrs C Hunt
Teacher of Performing Arts
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