In the Drama Department we have put some words of Michael Boyd at the heart of what we aim to deliver, "the right to fail and the duty to experiment". From their first lesson we encourage girls to just give it a go and be people who say "yes" to experiences rather than "no". We have excellent results in both GCSE and A levels, as well as in the LAMDA Speech and Drama examinations that are taken as an optional extra. Professional standards are expected in School productions and parents often comment on their high standard. We frequently have girls accepted into the National Youth Theatre and several are currently in the profession as actors, directors and writers, including Eve Best, Sally Phillips, Rachael Stirling, Naomi Frederick and Polly Stenham.
UIII - UIV (Year 7-9)
There is one double lesson of Drama week in Year 7 and Year 8, which falls to a single lesson in Year 9. In Year 7 girls firstly identify and explore the group skills needed to succeed in Drama, such as negotiation, communications, listening and observing. They then rehearse and perform a piece for their Christmas Entertainment in December. Next they learn how to create stereotypes, touching upon Victorian Melodrama, as well as how to produce truthful characters. They end the year by exploring the origins of theatre in ancient Greece. In Year 8 girls are introduced to the use of stimuli, such as pictures and objects, to be used both naturalistically and symbolically. In the Summer term they write their own monologues and experience the ritual art form of Japanese Kabuki Theatre. In year 9 girls go to see a professional production of an adapted novel (past productions have included The Coram Boy, War Horse and Nation). They then consolidate all they have learnt so far by writing, designing and staging their own short play in preparation for their House plays in Year 10.
Edexcel's GCSE in Drama consists of three units; Unit 1: Drama Exploration; Unit 2: Exploring Play Texts; and Unit 3: Drama Performance. In Year 10 girls firstly undergo a programme of study that leads into later assessment work on Units 1 and 2. They investigate the uses of:
In Year 10 they will complete Unit 2, which is assessed both through practical sessions and written coursework, part of which is based on a live theatre production.
In Year 11 they complete an assessment for Unit 1, also consisting of practical sessions and written coursework. Finally they begin rehearsing for Unit 3 in the Spring term; an original piece of devised drama or published play for performance, which is performed for an external examiner in the Summer term.
Edexcel's AS Drama and Theatre Studies consists of two units: Unit 1 Exploration of Drama and Theatre studies and Unit 2: Theatre Text in Performance. For Unit 1 girls explore two contrasting play texts in practical sessions, one of which is explored in the light of a theatre practitioner. They produce a set of exploration notes based on their individual research and response to the practical work. They also experience a live theatre performance and submit an evaluation of the production. There are two sections to Unit 2. Section A requires girls to rehearse and perform either a monologue or a duologue and Section B requires girls to rehearse and deliver a group performance of a published play by a known writer. Both sections are then performed to an external examiner in the Summer term.
The A2 level consists of a further two units, building on the AS year: Unit 3 Exploration of Dramatic Performance and Unit 4: Theatre Text in Context. For Unit 3, girls create an original piece of theatre that may be based on stimulus material, themes, ideas and issues or a professionally published play by a known writer. They are assessed on the research and development of their work as well as the final performance in front of an identified audience. They are required to complete an evaluation on both the process and performance. Unit 4 takes the form of a two and half hour written paper with three sections. For Section A and B girls study Lysistrata by Aristophanes from the point of view of a director. They explore the play both academically and practically. For Section C the teacher selects a play from either 1564-1720 or 1828-1914, which the girls go to see and which must then be evaluated and compared with the original staging conditions.
Please click here for information about Wycombe's extra curricular drama opportunities.