Drama is offered to all students in Key Stages 3-5 (Years 7-13). Students receive one lesson per week covering a range of different topics. The curriculum is broad and also looks at social issues and the history of theatre. Students learn performance skills and are nurtured as they progress so they are ready to advance to a GCSE qualification (the current exam board is WJEC Eduqas). A significant part of Drama is the development of life skills such as team work, communication and critical thinking.
There are performances throughout the year for students to put their skills into practice. Audiences are encouraged, and students, staff, parents and relatives are welcome to attend performances.
Some curriculum topics include:
- Steven Berkoff
- Bertolt Brecht
- Commedia Dell’Arte
- Theatre in Education
In addition to the ever growing curricular programme, there are exceptional co-curricular options. All after-school activities help with student progression, learning and developing an understanding of theatre.
Each term there may be at least seven co-curricular drama clubs on offer, ranging from specific performance rehearsals to backstage crew. There is a unique and versatile programme with a number of different clubs to ensure every student has the opportunity to participate and be involved with the department.
Gatton Performers is open to all students; it focuses on skills such as confidence, team building and public speaking. Students of all ages work together to perform at the RAAS Drama Festival. By working on a short scene or monologue for the Festival students can put into practice all of the skills they have learnt. The pieces are performed in front of a panel of judges and pupils receive a certificate to recognise their work and effort.
The department organises three performances per term. Rehearsals for shows take place after school and during lunch times. The department also participates in local Drama festivals: students have performed on consecutive years at the Shakespeare Schools Festival where their performances have received outstanding reviews. The highlight of the summer is participating in the Leatherhead Drama Festival. In the past, nominations have been received for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director for students' outstanding performances.
All these in-school shows are organised by the School's own student crew. This gives students who want to work in theatre but do not want to perform a chance to learn about the technical side of theatre production. Students who are part of the backstage crew are responsible for lighting, sound, and scene changes. As students gain more experience, they gain new responsibilities and jobs that match their expanding skill set.
The Drama department is working closely with the Music Department to introduce musicals at the school.
Former students have gone on to study performance and performance support at Degree level. A number of students are now professional actors and tour with theatre companies. Past students are also working in theatre companies as technicians. Other careers that a Drama qualification can facilitate are:
- Stunt Doubles
For up-to-date news, follow the Drama department on Facebook @RAASDRAMA.