Independent Nursery, Junior and Senior School, Edinburgh

Drama and Performing Arts

The Drama department encourages pupils to develop their interest in and enjoyment of Drama, through experience as audience members and by their development of theatre skills within school. Academic and practical drama is a key feature of the department both as an actor and/or in a production role (Lighting, sound, set, costume and hair/make-up). In addition to academic study there is a wealth of extra-curricular opportunities ranging from drama clubs, plays and musical as well as theatre visits on offer for pupils.

 

S1 and S2 Drama

Pupils are taught basic Drama skills including mime, movement, characterisation and use of voice through a wide range of teaching methods and devices, before moving on to more complex improvisation and role-play situations.

Units include:

Introduction to Drama

Drama tools and skills

Radio play (Voice and speech)

Morphing objects

Let Him ‘Ave It

Comedy

Non-Naturalist

Improvisation

 

National 5 Drama (S3-S4)

Course Overview

In National 5 Drama pupils use the knowledge and understanding gained in the S1/2 course to create original work and begin to develop an understanding about professional theatre and production skills. There are many opportunities to enhance literacy and numeracy skills through the completion of folios and practical production skills.

The aims of the Course are to enable learners to:

    • generate and communicate thoughts and ideas when creating drama
    • develop a knowledge and understanding of a range of social and cultural influences on drama
    • develop a range of skills in presenting drama
    • develop knowledge, understanding and the use of a range of production skills when presenting drama
    • explore form, structure, genre and style

       

      Course Content

      The National 5 Drama course consists of two units – Drama Skills and Production Skills, then finally, the Performance unit and written exam.

       

      Methodology

      Unit One: Drama skills- Devising from stimulus to create an original piece of work. The stimulus enables positive discussion of many different topics. They are all open to interpretation but encourage discussion towards issues prevalent in today’s society or interesting themes or an historical event they can research further. Pupils are encouraged to explore this stimulus thoroughly, individually and in groups, in a safe and supportive environment, always supported by their class teacher. Pupils collaborate in mixed ability small groups and take responsibility for writing and directing a section of a play and performing in the performance at some point. This unit is completed with a variety of activities – whole class discussion, group discussion, individual exploration, working in groups to develop their piece, leading activities, being directed in a piece, a written folio to support and document the practical activities and it leads up to a public performance of the piece.

       

      Unit Two: Production skills - Pupils specialise in two production roles from the following, Acting, Lighting Design, Sound Design, Set Design, Props Design, Costume design and Make-up design. They will explore this in relation to an extract of a text, chosen in collaboration with the class teacher for a text that interests and inspires them. They then need to prepare that scene for performance. Each production skills is explored practically in the class and the pupils work independently and in a group preparing the two areas they specialise in for performance and submit a written folio to support and document the practical activities.

       

      Final Unit – Performance - The pupils choose a specialism and work to present a piece from a published script supported with a folio. They must perform their extract to an invited audience.

       

      The course concludes with the Performance Assessment Task and written exam:

      The performance is worth 60 marks out of the total of 100 marks. This is 60% of the overall marks for the Course assessment. The Course will be graded A–D.

      This performance has two Sections:

      Section 1, titled ‘performance’ will have 50%

      Section 2, titled ‘preparation for performance’ will have 10%

       

      The Question paper will be under exam conditions and the time allocated to complete it will be 1 hour and 30 minutes. This paper is worth 40% of the overall marks for the course assessment.

       

      Homework

      The drama department supports a positive homework policy.

      Homework is set each week; this may be in the form of script writing or folio work. Pupils must maintain a folio for each unit which will need to be updated with notes and research regularly. In addition, pupils must be prepared to make regular visits to the theatre. The drama department arrange several theatre visits throughout the year.

       

      Higher (S5)

      Course Overview

      In Higher Drama pupils use the knowledge and understanding gained in the National 5 course to create original work and performance from text while gaining a depth of understanding about professional theatre and production skills. Opportunity to enhance literacy and numeracy skills is also provided through essay composition and practical production skills.

      Course Content

      The Higher Drama course consists of two units – Drama Skills and Production Skills.

      Methodology

      Devising from stimulus to create an original piece of work in unit one, pupils collaborate in small groups and take responsibility for writing and directing a section of a play for performance. In unit two pupils can specialise in two production roles from the following, Acting, Lighting Design, Sound Design, Set Design, props design Costume design and Make-up design to contribute to a text based performance.  In preparation for the final exam pupils choose a text and two production roles to specialise in for the practical exam.

      Assessment

      The Drama Skills unit has two outcomes which are assessed July to October.  This unit involves writing a script and producing the script for performance.

      The Drama: Production Skills Unit has two outcomes which are assessed October to December. This unit involves using text based work to develop skills in a specialised design area and producing a performance to demonstrate these skills.

      The course concludes with a practical and written exam. The practical element is worth 60% of the final grade and the written exam is worth 40% and comprises of two essays, one performance analysis and one based on a text studied in class.

       

      Homework

      Homework is set each week; this may be in the form of essays, script writing or folio work. Pupils must maintain a folio for each unit which will need to be updated with notes and research regularly. Essays are an essential element of the course work and prepare pupils for the final written exam. In addition, pupils must be prepared to make regular visits to the theatre to support critical written analysis of productions. The drama department arrange several theatre visits throughout the year.

       

      Advanced Higher (S6)

      Course Overview

      The Advanced Higher Drama course builds on the work done in National 5 and Higher Drama by engaging pupils in enhanced application of Drama and Production Skills, and by allowing students to expand study of their choice of specialism. The course also develops extensive knowledge and understanding of 20th century/contemporary theatre theory and practice and builds students’ academic research skills and theatrical repertoire to facilitate their transition into further study.

      Course Content

      The course consists of three units – Drama Skills, Production Skills and finally Performance. In addition there is an externally marked and grade Dissertation (research) project which the students must plan and research independently.

      Methodology

      The first two units will focus on enhancing skills developed during National 5 and Higher courses and will require the students to engage in their own independent research of theatre practitioners, with a particular focus on the work of Bertolt Brecht and Konstantin Stanislavski.

       

      Teachers will lead discussion and direction of practical work, but also allow students to use time in class to lead practical workshops and explore their ideas and research further with assistance when needed.

      As much of the work is self-directed and independent of the classroom environment, students will be required to demonstrate an even more mature approach to learning and initiative. They will require an enquiring, critical and problem-solving approach to their learning and build on their own experience of the Higher course.  As well as this they will need to choose their own area of specialism according to their specific interest. They will be using academic research and analysis skills and complete regular written and practical assignments throughout the course.

      Regular evaluative discussions will take place between teachers and students on a predominantly informal basis.

      Assessment

      Unit one: Drama Skills has 2 outcomes and these are assessed throughout the first unit. Following the final practical performance for this unit, there will be a written evaluation assessment under exam conditions. We will then collect all generated written and video evidence and assess these to give the student a pass or fail.

      Unit two: Production Skills has 2 outcomes and these are assessed throughout the second unit. Following the final practical performance for this unit, there will be a written evaluation assessment under exam conditions. We will then collect all generated written and video evidence and assess these to give the student a pass or fail.

       

      Final Assessment

      There are two elements to the final assessment for the course: Performance and Dissertation. These are both marked externally by the SQA (with a visiting examiner for Performance).

      Performance: this element carries 60 marks in total, of which 50 are allocated to the practical assessment of either Acting, Directing or Design and 10 to the written Preparation for Performance.

      Acting: The student must perform in two contrasting roles – one of which must be a monologue (20 marks) and another interacting with other performers (30 marks).  The marks are awarded in five different areas for both pieces.

      Directing: The student must prepare a weighty section (eg. an Act) of their selected play text for production, and be able to direct a 40 minute rehearsal of around 3 pages from this section of the play. The marks are awarded in five different areas for this rehearsal and the body of preparation work the student has collated.

      Designing: The student must design and build a scale model of the set for a chosen text as well as taking on two further production roles in approaching this text. The marks are awarded in two different areas for the scale model and the body of preparation work the student has collated.

      Dissertation: This element carries 40 marks and these are divided into three areas: A Analysing theory and performance examples that explore a chosen issue. B Synthesising by comparing and contrasting different ways the issue has been explored. C Expressing an argument developed as a through-line of opinion leading up to an evaluate conclusion.

      Homework

      Homework is set each week; this may be in the form of essays, script writing or folio work. Pupils must maintain a folio for each unit which will need to be updated with notes and research regularly. During the summer holidays pupils must write their script and add research to their folios. Essays are an essential element of the course work and sustain the development of knowledge and understanding relevant to areas of focus for the Dissertation as well as both Production and Drama Skills units. As the Dissertation is to be built on student-led work, the staff are to fulfil only a mentorship role in support of this; therefore the main responsibility for this work lies with the students themselves. In addition, pupils must make regular visits to the theatre to support critical written analysis of productions which is a requirement of the second unit of work. We do arrange a number of theatre visits throughout the school year to support this.