Drama has always been a vital aspect of life and curriculum at Stanbridge Earls. Extra curricular activities focus on the annual school production, but there are many other activities and trips related to drama throughout the year.
In year 9, all students take Drama for half a term at a time. They are introduced to theatre skills on the stage, and learn aspects of movement and vocal expression through games, pair work and group activities. The subject is presented in a practical way, which channels energy and allows for some creativity.
In year 10, Drama is taken only by students who choose it as an optional G.C.S E subject. At this stage, practice and theory are linked, and there is an expectation that written work will be undertaken for prep, to reinforce what is learnt in lessons. Over the two-year period, students study plays, learn improvisation skills and devise their own presentations. These are often based on a theme, which may be studied for an extended period. They may then be performed to friends and teachers, or to parents and governors as well, on Open Day. In year 11, pupils are prepared for the external examiner’s visit. Assessment includes 2 practical performances, each with a 500 word piece of coursework. There is also a written exam in which students review a live performance they have enjoyed, and write about a set text they have studied.
In the sixth form, the programme currently followed leads to examinations in AS and A2 Performance Studies for OCR. Each of the two years follows the same pattern – a coursework essay, a written examination and an external practical exam. Some knowledge of Music and Dance as well as Drama is required for this subject, which is about group performances, unlike its sister subject ’Theatre Studies’, which is about plays. This has proved a positive and realistic course study for pupils at Stanbridge, who are often creative and talented in performance areas.