Year 7/Third Form
Lower School Drama offers all students an exciting platform to explore their own creativity and develop their acting and design skills collaboratively. The subject is delivered in a weekly single period of 50 minutes, taught in both specialist Drama studios, where learners will explore acting, costume, makeup, and mask design skills through both scripted and devised performance assignments based on various stimulus materials. There are opportunities to create i-Movies and perform their best work in class, with special assembly performances of their work where appropriate. Academic Drama performance and design work will be showcased in the summer term for the whole year group to share publically.
The summer term focus is on design in ‘The Lion King', with a year group trip to the musical on 26th April 2017, allowing learners, inspired by director, Julie Taymor's mask, costume and makeup designs, to inspire their own creative ideas. Pupils will workshop their costume and makeup designs with professional designers, who will also demonstrate their own design process.
Year 8/Lower 4th Form
Lower School Drama is honed further in the L4th Form, starting in September 2017, where pupils will be challenged to create more advanced scripted and devised performances, specialising as actors or technical lighting or sound designers.
Pupils will learn new skills in technical design through a close study of a play in performance, to be confirmed. Most modern productions fuse lighting and sound with movement and characterisation to create vivid atmospheres, locations and narratives and this will become the focus for theatre review for the students. They will work closely with our professional theatre technician to learn how lighting and sound boards and equipment work, gaining hands on experience with their technical designs, culminating in class and year group showcase performances.
Year 9/M4th Form
Key Stage Three Drama
The course offers all Year 9 students a broad introduction to the drama process in making, performing and responding to theatre forms. The subject is delivered in a weekly single period of 50 minutes, with a regular weekly prep allocation. This limits the depth but does not hinder breadth of experience. However, given the time constraints, the curriculum is skills-led to prepare for GCSE and is designed to serve as a broad foundation for GCSE Drama. One intrinsic aim is to ensure all students across the year group participate in scripted performances in both Michaelmas and Lent terms, as directors and performers, lighting and sound designers.
Students also learn how to evaluate the process of theatre through attending live performances each term and learning how to write analytically about theatre acting, staging and design, using specialist terminology. Their personal response to live theatre is fostered through discussion and peer assessment, leading to an end of year written exam.
Year 10/U4th Form
Key Stage Four: GCSE Drama (new specification from 9/2016, WJEC Syllabus)
Students have the opportunity to specialise as actors, or lighting or sound designers on the course and there is no obligation to act at all, though this is always a popular option. The life blood of the course is live theatre and pupils will have the opportunity to attend a termly professional production, whilst also participating in professional workshops from visiting companies. In addition, GCSE Drama pupils in both years have the opportunity to attend the Broadway theatre tour to New York every two years in the Easter holidays, where they see 5 productions and participate in 3 professional workshops over 5 days.
Pupils have three lessons a week delivered in the two specialist Drama Studios, with an hour's weekly prep.
There are three components for GCSE Drama, introducing pupils more formally to a wide range of theatre styles and genres, enabling them to begin their Devised Component 1 (40%) in Lent term, internally assessed in October of their 5th year and externally moderated. They research scripted Component 2 (20%) skills and texts at the end of U4th year and confirm these at the start of their 5th year course, ready to rehearse for an externally assessed exam in 2018.
Unit 3 (40%) is the written exam, Section A focusing on a page to stage approach set text study of Stafford's adaptation of Morpurgo's ‘War Horse' throughout the two years, building on the Key Stage Three skills gained already. Section B of the exam formally assesses live theatre, with an analysis of vocal and movement skills or lighting, sound and staging in one chosen production seen over the course. Whilst [pupils will see and study live theatre performance regularly, particular prominence will be given to studying ‘The Curious incident of the dog in the Night-time' as our lead production. The written exam is an hour and 30 minutes, externally assessed in June of thge 5th year.
In addition to the academic Drama lessons, keen thespians in the Third Form-U4th Form can join two theatre clubs in the College:
The Mermaid Society: a play reading and appreciation society which meets in the cultural hour from 6.10-7pm in the Performing Arts Centre three times a term to discuss key scenes from three chosen plays each term, one of which links directly to a live theatre trip.
The Society is open to Third formers-U4th form pupils and is organised by Miss Chandley, Director of Drama, and two A level Drama students, Daniel Richardson and Emily Shanks.
The Michaelmas 17/11 2016 theatre visit is ‘An Inspector Call's by JB Priestley, in a revival of Stephen Daldry's award winning, acclaimed national Theatre production.
Students can sign up termly to attend the Society, with a maximum number of 30 per term. The main aim is to foster analytical skills and personal response to plays through lively debate, play reading and theatre watching, across the year groups, aiding members' intellectual prowess and honing a passion for theatre.
The Ariel Society: a junior Drama club, where members can develop their acting skills through practical workshops, linking to the plays studied in The Mermaid Society. The Society is open to Third formers-U4th form pupils and is organised by A level Drama students, Daniel Richardson and Emily Shanks. The society meets weekly in Drama Studio 1 in period 7, between 4.10-5pm in the Michaelmas and Lent terms, with numbers limited to 20 per term. Whilst members may wish to attend The Mermaid Society as well, there is no obligation to do so.
Year 11/5th Form
Key Stage Four: GCSE Drama (WJEC Current specification, 2016-17)
The students will complete their final Devised exam in October in a public performance (40%) and write up their Devised report (20%) in November and December, under controlled conditions in class lessons.
They edit their Unit 2 script choices to return to the Lent term ready to rehearse and design their extracts page to stage, culminating in a March public dress performance, with feedback from their audiences afterwards. This enables them to hone their skills and scene extracts, ready for their externally moderated script Unit 2 exam in May (20%).
The trial exam for Unit 3 is late March, following their public script performance, which forms the focus of their 3b scripted performance evaluations.
Set text study of Conlon and Zephaniah's ‘Face' for Unit 3a continues throughout the year, honing exam technique through timed exam practice and aided by regular target setting through self and peer assessments.
Revision clinics are offered during study leave for the external written exam in May.
Year 12/Lower 6th Form
Drama A level (New specification from 2016 - WJEC / Eduqas Examination Board)
The new A level course is delivered in seven weekly lessons, with a supervised weekly practical prep for one hour and a written or research prep for a further two hours per week. The course broadens the sphere of learning from GCSE to include a more detailed, formal study of theatre history, set texts, practitioners and theatre forms. Replacing the Broadway tour are specialist theatre residencies in Michaelmas and lent half term, where pupils work intensively with professional companies such as frantic assembly to develop new skills and stretch their creativity to the highest levels in their practical performance exams.
In the L6th Pupils will complete Unit 1 Theatre Workshop (20%), culminating in a public performance exam in May 2017. This is an exciting opportunity for them to reinvent a published play by deconstructing a chosen extract, applying a theatre company of practitioner's style ingredients to their working process as actors, lighting and sound designers. They accompany their performance with a creative log, analysing their influences and decisions, as well as evidencing their skill development.
Throughout the year, learners focus on the Component 3 (40%) written paper, studying one full text in detail, Kirkwood's political drama, 'Chimerica', exploring its political, cultural and historical context and adopting a page to stage approach to answer questions from the perspective of a director, performer and designer.
In addition, learners will hone their analysis of design, ground plans and staging, through workshopping Section 3C text extracts on Haddon's ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'. This study will be internally assessed in the L6th have in the summer term in a written exam for an hour and 40 minutes.
NB Study of their final Section A text, Treadwell's ‘Machinal' takes place in their Upper 6th year, along with Component 2 (40%) Scripted and devised performance exams.
Year 13/Upper 6th Form
A2 Drama and Theatre Studies
(AQA Examination Board, 2016-17: Current specification)
The A2 course is delivered in six weekly lessons, with a supervised weekly practical prep for an hour and a written or research prep for a further three hours per week. The course broadens the sphere of learning from AS to include the complete study of two set texts in performance for the written exam Unit 3 (30% of A Level). In addition, learners develop their chosen acting, lighting and sound design skills in their practical Devised performance exam, Unit 4(20% of A level), where they apply influential techniques from their study of a chosen style to the devised performance.
More than before, students have to develop their own independent direction ideas and apply these to their set text work and their practical devised performance.
Epsom College offers a wide range of theatre productions annually to be involved in, as directors, stage managers, designers, technicians, actors and audience members.
School production: 7-9 Dec 2016: ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream' - Shakespeare
School Musical: 8-10 March 2017: ‘Jekyll and Hyde' - Wildhorn, Bricusse, Cuden
Junior production: 26-29 June 2017: ‘Witness for the prosecution' - Christie
In 2017-18 we aim to introduce a Junior Musical to broaden the junior production, open to Third formers up to U4th form pupils.