Drama is a thriving department at St Mary’s Catholic School. We have superb facilities, with two large teaching spaces; a black box studio and a traditional school hall as well as dressing rooms and a well-stocked costume store. The standard of performance is exceptionally high with students winning local and national competitions.

We frequently work with the National Theatre and also have close ties with the National Youth Theatre; as our Subject Leader, Miss Gill, is an NYT Education Representative. We have an enviably high success rate of getting students into this prestigious youth theatre. We regularly run theatre trips to Cambridge, London and local venues, to introduce students to a wide range of styles and genres.

Our school productions are always big family-friendly shows, with a dynamic mix of Shakespeare, Classic musicals and new writing and performers and backstage crew from all year groups.
Recent productions include “The Sound of Music”, “A Christmas Carol” and “As You Like It”. Our students go on to study at prestigious universities such as Cambridge or Warwick or train at elite Drama schools such as East 15, Arts Ed and Italia Conti.

Our next production will be “Oliver!” in December 2018.

Year 7 Units

• Serious Fun
• It was Terrifying
• Greek Theatre
• Evacuation
• Introduction to Script Work
• “Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations”

Year 8 Units

• Melodrama
• Physical Theatre
• Commedia dell’arte
• Stereotype and Beyond
• Medieval Theatre
• “A Feeling in my Bones”

Year 9 Units

• Status
• Evaluating live theatre
• Introduction to technical theatre
• “Living with Lady Macbeth”

GCSE Drama

We follow the Eduqas GCSE Drama specification, which is a highly intellectually demanding, time-consuming as well as engaging course. Students opting for Drama must be able to attend rehearsals on Mondays after school, work co-operatively in a team and listen to feedback. Students must manage their time well to balance the practical requirements such learning lines, finding costumes and attending lunchtime rehearsals with writing coursework, going to the theatre and studying a set text for the written exam. All students taking GCSE Drama must perform in the school production or work backstage, in addition to their exam performances and most GCSE Drama students are also members of a local youth theatre.

During the course, students attend exciting theatre trips and write evaluations of design and technical aspects of the productions as well as acting. Students must be confident actors or designers, have excellent attendance and co-operate well with others in order to succeed in the course. Students studying the GCSE Drama course often comment that it is their most difficult and demanding GCSE option, but also the most rewarding.

Component 1: Devised Performance & Written Coursework. (40%)
• Students are placed in a small group by their teacher.
• Students create and perform a piece to an audience of parents and teachers.
• The piece is in response to a stimulus and influenced by a practitioner.
• Students write a portfolio of supporting evidence.
• Students write an evaluation of their final performance.

Component 2: Scripted Performance (20%)
• Students are placed in a small group by their teacher.
• Students rehearse and perform an extract from a script.

Component 3: Written Exam (40%)
• Study of set text, for example ‘DNA’ by Dennis Kelly
• Evaluation of a live theatre performance seen.

A-level Theatre Studies
This is a challenging mixture of practical and academic study. Students opting for Theatre Studies are highly driven and conscientious with 70% achieving A/A* grades in 2016. Students work collaboratively to create highly polished devised and scripted work, taking responsibility for all aspects of their production from mending costumes, painting sets, to cleaning the props cupboard. Attendance at rehearsals after school and during holidays is compulsory and expectations are very high, with a track record of students achieving full marks in performance, four years running!

Students attend the theatre regularly in their own time, being influenced by seeing work in London, Cambridge and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Students create innovative and highly physical ensemble work, requiring a good level of fitness for example “Jane Eyre” in the style of Shared Experience, a slapstick comedy “Three Men in a Boat”, a verbatim play “London Road” or an immersive experience inspired by Punchdrunk. There is no ‘house style’ at St Mary’s and students are encouraged to pursue their own interests through extensive research and develop their talents through intensive practice.

In recent years students have taught themselves to tap dance, play the guitar or speak in a Yorkshire accent. The rigour and varied demands of the course mean students not only gain public speaking but also leadership skills. The maturity and resilience they develop mean that they are often chosen to be the Head Pupils. Theoretical study is demanding at A-level and the standard of their written essays is equally high, with the exam board requesting St Mary’s work to be used as exemplar material.
Students follow the Eduqas A-level course, studying set texts such as “As You Like It”, “Love and Information” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” for a final written exam, worth 40%. The remaining 60% is made up of practical performance work and written coursework. This is a highly rigorous course which demands a broad range of skills and considerable time commitment.

Extra-Curricular Drama Clubs 2018-19

• “Oliver!” (Performing in the school play- After school Mondays)
• Costume Club
• Tech theatre Crew
• Drama Club

How can I help my child to succeed?

Encourage and help them to:
• Attend the theatre regularly.
• Join a local youth theatre.
• Sing in a choir, take dance lessons or learn an instrument.
• Read plays and books about the theatre.
• Check SMHW regularly.
• Learn their lines.
• Have a ‘growth mind-set’ and use feedback to improve.
• Listen to others and be kind to their peers.
• Be organised and attend rehearsals.











Upcoming Events

03 Jun

Year 13 GCE A Level Exams

3 June, 2019 – 25 June, 2019
03 Jun

Year 11 GCSE Exams

3 June, 2019 – 21 June, 2019
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