Drama at St Bonaventure’s
‘To grasp the full significance of life is the actor’s duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication’
‘It’s what I learn from the great actors that I work with. Stillness. That’s all and that’s the hardest thing’&
The drama department at St Bonaventure’s school has very high standards for the students. Although we are delivering a comprehensive and challenging curriculum that helps to develop the students as actors we are also hoping to help them find their voice and have the confidence and self belief to let others hear them.
All take Drama at KS3 for one hour and we aim to take them through a rigorous and demanding programme dealing with issues, exploring the art of storytelling and developing them as confident, articulate young men with strong opinions on their work and the work of their peers.
Examples of the topics and issues that we tackle in this Key Stage include Rites of Passage, Identity, and the problems of teenagers that runaway from home. They also study History of theatre practically exploring Shakespeare, Greek Theatre. To develop their drama skills we examine Status and Performance skills. They work with script, improvise and develop drama through facts and information. By the end of Key Stage Three we aim for students to have achieved at least a level 6, but more than that we hope that they will have had a comprehensive and wide ranging experience of Drama.
At KS4 we offer a GCSE in Drama. Students will study GCSE with the WJEC board which offers them the opportunity to work in detail on a variety of aspects of drama and theatre. Unit 1 includes working on Devised Theatre, Physical Theatre and Theatre in Education Programmes. Unit 2 will involve students working from scripts and is assessed by the teacher and moderated with the External Examiner. Unit 3 is a written exam based on a play studied.
A very important aspect of this course is the time taken to see professional theatre productions. So far theatre trips have included Barbican, Young Vic, Donmar Warehouse, The Almeida Theatre and National Theatre.
At KS5 we offer Drama and Theatre Studies. This is at AS and A2 level and requires a more rigorous approach to the subject. We wish to instil in them a deeper knowledge of the history of theatre and keep them up to date with the zeitgeist of what new theatrical events are happening in what is a global centre for the subject. In their first year they study two contrasting plays in detail. These have varied according to the group, but have included A Streetcar Named Desire, Metamorphosis, and Mother Courage.
Again we take them to see at much theatre as possible as well as encourage them to take the opportunity of the great many offers there are for students to see London productions very cheaply and in some cases for free:
In Year 12 they all take part in a Teacher Directed piece that is externally examined. In our Drama department we are ambitious to expose these students to interesting drama that will stretch them but at the same time help them to show their best. We have so far presented large number of productions including: Marat/Sade, How To Disappear and Never Be Found, A View from a Bridge, Machinal, Dealers Choice, The Visit, Bouncers, ‘Teechers’
In Year 13, students get the opportunity to take part in an extra exam with Trinity and Guildhall Grade 8 which offers the students between 55-65 extra ucas points and has proved to be very successful.