Drama at Stoke Park prepares students to live and work in a world that is increasingly team oriented by developing communication skills. We help students develop tolerance and empathy whilst being able to express themselves creatively.
Whilst communication is a vital skill, drama also supports our students with a wide range of employment skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, people management, co-ordination, emotional intelligence, decision making, teamwork and negotiation skills. Not only will these skills ensure students are successful within their drama lessons, they are transferable skill that students can apply to any situation and any career path they choose. They will also prepare our students for higher education as well as progression in the performing arts industry.
Students will not only work practically in our subject, but they will underpin their practical work with the social, historical, and political influences on different styles and their purpose. Understanding the world in which they live, and the history of that world will support them in interrogating why certain theatre styles have evolved and what their motivations were. They will develop an appreciation of the practitioners responsible for this work as well as creating their own work to challenge and explore modern issues.
The students will explore projects that teach them the skills involved in creating their own drama as well as understanding how to bring a script to life as these are the two main components of theatre. They will also study a range of theatrical styles as this will give them a broader knowledge base for devising projects. Research tasks are used to allow students to develop an understanding of the topics they are exploring in more detail as well as promoting a sense of independence and ownership of these projects. Evaluation skills are an integral part of drama as students need to be able to identify not only their strengths but also their weaknesses, whilst being able to set themselves SMART targets in order to improve. All of this is covered in KS3 and acts as a foundation for KS4. These concepts are then developed further in KS4 and 5 with greater theoretical underpinning as well a deeper understanding of current affairs and how to use drama to evoke social change. There is a greater level of independent study required for the level 2 and 3 BTEC courses as they each have a unit that is student led, which much better prepares our students for University. We utilise the vocational element of the BTEC by offering students multiple opportunities to work with industry professionals, attend working theatres and talk to a range of people, with a range of jobs within the performing arts sector.
Developing skills and techniques for performance (a unit in the Level 2 and 3 BTEC) requires students to develop their practical skills and apply them to a script of their choice. This is a big moment for the students as it culminates in a showcase for an external audience which allows the audience to demonstrate the high-quality work they have produced. This is presented as a professional production and follows industry guidance to give the students a real sense of what the performing arts industry is like. Our students are passionate about large scale performance units, and they are a highlight in the assessment calendar as they inspire the younger years and allow our students to demonstrate their talents and abilities. It also supports them in developing a range of skills and brings groups together as an ensemble.
We offer many opportunities outside the classroom for all students to take full advantage of. We hold an annual Bridge school production (Year 7 only), this is a small-scale musical put on in their first term to friends and family. This is a fantastic project and is always very popular, this instils a love for performing arts in our students from the beginning of their journey at Stoke Park. This is followed up with a whole school production (musical), which caters for Years 7 – 13. This creates a great sense of community within our students as they all work together in a professional capacity to create what is always an outstanding quality production. Alongside this we have a drama ambassador program for our KS4 and 5 students who wish to take on additional responsibilities within the department, such as, supporting open evenings, running warm ups in production rehearsals and supporting with the rehearsals for the Bridge production. They also run a drama club for KS3 in the summer term, developing their leaderships skills and applying skills they have learnt to support the younger year groups. We also run a range of trips to see live theatre as well as inviting practitioners into the school to run workshops with a range of students.