Drama

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‘What is Drama but life with the dull bits cut out!’

The Drama department aims to create an engaging, productive and positive environment where pupils can develop practical Drama skills as well as core skills for lifelong learning.

Teaching Staff

  • Mrs C Kelly (P.T 0.8)
  • Mrs J Bradshaw (P.T. 0.2)
  • Mr S Purvis (Pupil Support Barclay House)

Underpinning the work of the Drama department is the development of skills and confidence in co-operative group work, which are transferable to other curricular areas and to life outside school.
Drama lessons at all levels include opportunities for developing skills in:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Creating
  • Presenting
  • Negotiation
  • Observation
  • Creative Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Evaluating
  • Analysis

S1/S2/S3 BGE

All pupils have drama lessons in S1 and S2. Pupils can then choose to study Drama in S3/4. Classes are practical in size (20) and the course work covers the 3 main elements of Creating, Presenting and Evaluating.

Pupils complete 5 units of work in S1:

  • Core Skills
  • Family Drama
  • Wild West
  • Titanic
  • Melodrama

Pupils complete 4 units of work in S2:

  • Character Voice and Movement
  • Scriptwriting (Radio Play)
  • ‘Missing’ – Documentary Drama
  • Local Legends

Pupils complete 5 units of work in S3:

  • Theatre Production Skills
  • Characterisation
  • Creative Movement
  • Make Up
  • Themed Project

Team work and co-operation are central to all drama activities and pupils will work in a variety of group formations to complete their practical tasks in class. Each unit of work will culminate in a live presentation to an audience of peers in class which pupils will then self and peer evaluate.

Pupils will also complete a number of written homework tasks throughout each unit to consolidate their learning from the classroom, as well as self-evaluations at the end of each unit of work and verbal and written peer evaluations in class. In S3, pupils will sit a number of Internal Responses and Terminology Tests to ensure they have retained all the necessary Knowledge and Understanding covered through their course and prepare them for the assessment requirements of the new SQA National Courses.

Theatre Visits

All pupils studying with the department are encouraged to attend the theatre and the department organises visits to professional theatre productions as often as possible. This helps to support the Knowledge and Understanding covered in class.

School Show

The annual School Show takes place in October every year and is a popular event in the school calendar. It involves approximately 150 pupils from S1 to S3 in performing and back stage roles. Auditions take place in March where every pupil hoping to perform on stage must act, sing and dance in front of a selected staff panel. Rehearsals for the show begin in April. The School Show week involves 5 performances to a combined audience of over 1000 people and is an excellent way for those pupils in the lower school to become involved in school activities and develop their skills and confidence.


National 4/5

Course Content:

The purpose of the National 4/5 Drama course is to enable candidates to develop and use a range of drama skills and production skills.>br/>
Throughout the course, candidates will engage in a variety of individual, paired and group tasks which will enable them to develop:

  • a range of practical skills in creating and presenting drama
  • knowledge, understanding and the use of a range of drama production skills (sound, lighting, props, set design, make-up and costume)
  • knowledge and understanding of social and cultural influences on drama
  • the ability to respond to stimuli when creating drama
  • knowledge and understanding of form, structure, genre, style
  • the ability to generate and communicate meaning, thoughts and ideas when creating drama
  • voice, movement and characterisation skills
  • the ability to work collaboratively, sharing and using drama ideas
  • problem-solving, reflection, analysing and evaluation skills

Group Project

This unit will provide learners with the skills, knowledge and understanding to create and present drama through the use of a range of drama and production skills. Working as part of a group, learners will respond to stimuli, including text, to generate ideas and devise drama. They will explore and use a range of drama skills to create, portray and evaluate character. Through research, learners will explore the social and cultural influences on drama. They will learn how to analyse and evaluate their use of drama skills and the drama skills of others. They will develop ideas for the use of production skills to enhance their final performance which will be performed to a live audience, and will gain ‘hands on’ experience of providing technical support in areas such as lighting, sound, props and make up. Through this unit, candidates will complete a folio which will reflect on their practical work in class and help them prepare for the written element of the course.

Final Exam Performance (National 4):

The pupils choose a specialism (in either acting or a production role) within a group. They will complete a folio as evidence of their work throughout the creating and rehearsal process. They must present their finished drama as part of their group to a live audience.
Evidence of their work can be presented through folio, interviews, video recordings and logs.

The final assessment will be pass/fail for National 4.

Final Exam Performance (National 5):

The pupils choose a specialism (acting or a production role) and work to present a piece from a published script supported with a folio. They must perform their extract to an invited audience. This performance is assessed by a visiting examiner.
The performance is worth 60 marks out of the total of 100 marks for National 5, or 60% of the Course assessment.

This performance has two Sections:

Section 1: The practical performance to an audience (50 marks)

Section 2: The preparation for performance essay (10 marks)

Written exam (National 5 only):

The written exam lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.
This paper is worth 60 marks, which is then scaled to provide 40% of the Course assessment.

The written exam has two sections:

Section 1: This will be based on the acting or production role in your final performance exam. (20 marks) Section 2: You will choose from the stimuli provided in the paper, it may be a picture, poem, line of text or statement and the questions will be about creating a drama from the stimulus you choose. (40 marks)

The Course will be graded A–D.


Higher Course Info

Course Content:

The Higher Drama course requires candidates to undertake study of one chosen text (Textual Analysis) and one performance they have viewed (Performance Analysis). Throughout the course they will analyse a range of aspects of these plays, including themes; characterisation; directing decisions; production areas, and then complete written responses to both in the final exam. The written exam will also require candidates to answer questions relating to their Textual Analysis from the role of a director or designer.
Candidates will also perform 2 contrasting acting pieces to a visiting assessor for the final performance exam.

Textual Analysis:

Candidates will study ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller. They will complete practical activities which will allow them to explore the main themes and character relationships within the text, as well as gain an understanding of the historical background to the play. Candidates will complete essays throughout the course as preparation for the written exam question, and written responses exploring their role as a director or designer of the text.

Performance Analysis:

Candidates will attend a professional production of a chosen play early in the course. They will then analyse and explore various aspects of the production including acting; directing; production areas (lighting, sound, props, set design, costume, and make up). Candidates will complete essays throughout the course in preparation for the written exam question on this.

Final Performance:

The final performance is worth 60% of the Course assessment and pupils will choose two contrasting text extracts to perform for an external examiner. Candidates will prepare for this through a committed rehearsal process both in class and after school.

The written exam:

The written exam lasts 2 hours 30 minutes.
The written exam is worth 40% of the Course assessment and comprises of 3 sections:

  • Section 1 - candidates will complete one Textual Analysis essay (20 marks)
  • Section 2 - candidates will answer structured questions from the perspective of two production roles on their selected text (10 marks)
  • Section 3 – candidates will complete one Performance Analysis essay (20 marks)

The Course will be graded A–D.


Wider Achievement

The department is fully committed to supporting the wider achievement of the pupils in the school.

Drama is a subject that requires a great deal of peer trust, and so it plays an important role in teaching communication, listening and empathy skills. It is an important tool for preparing students to live and work in a world that is increasingly team oriented.

Through the curricular and extra-curricular work offered by the department, we aim to support pupils in:

  • Developing their literacy skills
  • Building their self-esteem and confidence
  • Encouraging team work
  • Promoting tolerance and empathy
  • Promoting a safe place to express emotions
  • Teaching problem solving skills
  • Having fun!

S1 Pantomime Club (October-December):

The department offers the opportunity for all S1 pupils to be involved in the Pantomime Club following the October holiday each year. Mr Purvis leads this group and scripts an original text which is performed to a school audience of staff and pupils prior to the Christmas holidays. This is a fantastic opportunity for S1 pupils to develop their skills in characterisation, and helps build their confidence as they progress through the Drama course in class. This performance has become a highlight of the school calendar over the past 3 years and, each year, we are delighted to involve around 60 of our S1 pupils in the process.

School Show (April-October):

Our Junior School Show takes place each year in October and has been a significant event in the school and across the community since it began back in 1990. Auditions are open to all S1-S3 pupils in March, with rehearsals beginning following the Easter holidays. The cast perform at our annual Choral Shield at the Civic Centre in June, with the final show performing to an audience of over 1000 the first week of October. The department is keen to involve as many of our pupils as possible, and recruits an additional 100 pupils through our supporting technical teams (Sound, Lighting, Props, and Set Design). This means that, should performing not be for you, there are other ways to get involved.

Professional Theatre Visits:

Each year, the department aims to offer each year group the opportunity to attend a live theatrical production. We organise a visit to the local Pantomime at Motherwell Civic Centre each year for our S1 pupils, and offer visits throughout the school year for all other year groups.

We are committed to supporting local theatres and companies, as well as seeking opportunities for our pupils to experience a wide range of performances, from musical theatre to creative movement. Theatre visits are promoted in classes and on the department theatre board.

Pupil Achievement:

The department is committed to recognising and celebrating our pupils’ achievement out with school. We are always happy to promote any involvement in the creative arts on our theatre board outside the department, and encourage our pupils to attend local performances as much as possible.


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