Teaching Drama online schemes of work (TD Plus subscribers)

Welcome to the Teaching Drama online schemes of work. Teaching Drama’s schemes of work are an essential resource for all school drama departments as well as drama practitioners, offering easy-to-follow plans full of inspiring ideas. They cover KS2, KS3, GCSE, AS, A2, IB, BTEC and the Creative and Media Diploma, with some being specific to certain exam boards and others suitable for wider use.

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Issue 74 (Autumn Term 2 - 17/18)

KS2

The New Kid

Author: David Porter

Things in the neighbourhood may be jogging along reasonably well – suddenly there’s a new kid on the block and everything changes.

This scheme uses drama techniques to explore strangers arriving, new neighbours, new classmates and how we treat and absorb new and often different ideas and people. Or not.

A situation is set up which is then subjected to the pressures of change. There are six suggested lessons, but teachers may use fewer or develop more lessons from the material, with further ideas given in the supporting material at the end of the scheme.

After a quick teacher-chosen physical game, some warm-up improvisation is suggested that leads on to exploring an angle on strangers coming in. This could be developed into a more polished performance, but it doesn’t have to be.

The teacher is involved in the development of the drama and may take on teacher-in-role or mantle-of the-expert roles to advance the narrative, challenge students’ ideas and maintain control during devising.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have:

  • Developed practical drama from the theme
  • Developed their own characters within changing scenes
  • Worked collaboratively and through speaking and listening to create drama
  • Extended their understanding of being a newcomer in a community.

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KS3

Actor training 1 – Naturalism

Author: Donna Steele

‘Create your own method. Don’t depend slavishly on mine. Make up something that will work for you! But keep breaking traditions, I beg you.’ (Konstantin Stanislavski)

Stanislavski was one of the most  influential theatre practitioners of the twentieth century, creating a detailed and disciplined system by which an actor could create a sense of truth on stage, challenging the melodramatic and declamatory style of acting present in theatres at the time. In this scheme of work I have picked out some key elements of Stanislavski’s system for you to use in the classroom as a way of highlighting to students the idea that actors have to train to learn their craft. There are many more aspects of his work that are not included here, and it would work well to use this as an initial approach to his work leaving room for more in-depth exploration of more challenging concepts in other parts of the drama curriculum.

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KS3/4

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Author: Naomi Holcombe

This scheme of work explores A Midsummer Night’s Dream in performance by focusing on characterisation, design and the realisation of particular scenes. The outcome is for student to gain both a literary and a performance perspective of the play.

It consists of six one-hour lessons, recommended to be delivered over six weeks.

Before you start the scheme, I suggest you watch the fun clip in which RSC actors and directors give a synopsis of the play in two minutes! (See link in Resources listed below.)

Learning objectives
Students will gain the following knowledge/skills:

  • Understanding of the themes within the text
  • Exploration of the main characters
  • An introductory understanding of iambic pentameter and how Shakespeare is communicated to a modern audience
  • Gender roles within the play
  • Exploration of design elements inspired by recent productions
  • An understanding of The Globe theatre in Shakespearean times and in the modern day.

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GCSE

Developing character in performance

Author: Rhianna Elsden

This scheme uses various stimuli, including play texts and students’ own creative writing and devising skills, to develop their characterisation in performance skills at GCSE level and beyond. The activities and understanding have been inspired by a range of practitioners, which heightens this scheme’s relevance for many exam specification units.

Many exam specifications at GCSE level also now allow for the performing of monologues for assessment, and so this scheme looks at monologues as well, including writing interpretations for examiners.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme all students will:

  • Have developed their understanding of what characterisation is in theory
  • Have developed their ability to work in groups or on their own to develop character
  • Have explored the actor-audience relationship
  • Have developed characterisation skills – aural and physical
  • Have developed their ability to work effectively with scripts, including how to deconstruct meaning and interpret a writer’s craft
  • Have worked with a variety of scripts from monologues to scenes featuring multiple characters
  • Have used a variety of rehearsal techniques, including those linked to specific writers, styles and practitioners such as Stanislavski, Boal and commedia dell’arte.

By the end of this scheme some students will:

  • Have developed their ability to direct others
  • Have developed their performance writing skills.

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BTEC

Auditions for actors – QCF Level 3, Unit 18

Author: Gail Deal

Often a learner will leave preparation for an audition too late, not realising how much effort and time is needed to perfect a piece and understand its context within the play as a whole. This unit is designed to show learners how to approach audition work and how to choose audition pieces. The unit could be delivered over 12 weeks in the Autumn Term of the second year of the course of study, allowing 5 hours per week of Guided Learning Hours. It could be staffed with one or two members of staff, but it is possible that professional actors or ex‑learners might be able to deliver some of the sessions in order to share their own audition experiences.

Classes should start with vocal warm-ups and exercises. A useful book for this is The Voice Exercise Book by Jeannette Nelson.

Learning objectives
This unit aims to equip learners with:

  • Planning skills
  • Key acting techniques.

In order to perform effectively in audition performances for employment in:

  • Live theatre
  • Filmed media.

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AS/A level

Devising for the new Edexcel specification

Author: Vickie Smith

For students to access the top bands for their devised work, you should be aiming for mature work at degree level to secure your students with an almost faultless piece of theatre. In the past the Edexcel specification has had a logical structure that had teachers directing students in a piece of theatre before they go on to do their devising work in Year 13. The students tend to be highly influenced by the directed pieces of theatre, learning key skills to access higher quality pieces of theatre. The new specification has, unfortunately, removed this wonderful learning process and instead throws the students straight into the devised work. While there are ways around this, such as directing the scripted piece in Year 12 and then coming back to it in Year 13, this is not ideal.

This scheme of work shows a way to complement the new structure to ensure that students are still using the skills they need in order to access the higher bands. To do this I have built in four ‘mini devising projects’, each of which starts with a scene from a play directed by me to teach them particular skill sets; they must then use the script extract as their stimulus, much like the devising exam, and use the skill that they learnt by being directed. I have included these mini projects in the scheme of work.

As part of this exam the centre must choose a key extract (at least 10 minutes in length and significant to the text) that is different to that chosen from Component 2 and 3 and a practitioner that is different to that chosen from Component 3.

Top band success criteria

  • Accomplished research into contexts and live theatre used to inform competent decision-making.
  • Ideas are developed with sophistication, demonstrating a perceptive understanding of how aims and intentions are created.
  • Competent understanding of how aims and intentions are created.
  • Sophisticated knowledge of the practitioners’ methodologies.
  • Perceptive evaluation of the ideas as they develop, with the ability to fully justify personal judgements and use theatre terminology faultlessly.
  • Accomplished contribution to the performance as a whole and realisation of the group artistic intention. Performance overall is dynamic and skilfully creates impact through highly-engaging energy and commitment.

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Issue 73 (Autumn Term 1 - 17/18)

KS2

Living in a material world

Author: Margaret Branscombe

This scheme of work describes four one-hour lessons that are based on the Year 5 statutory and non-statutory requirements for ‘Properties and changes of materials’ in the Science Programmes of Study, National Curriculum for England.

The emphasis is on the use of the body to show material properties and the changes that can happen to a material. The first three lessons are intended to complement classroom learning and experiments. The non-statutory guidance suggests that students ‘should find out how chemists create new materials’ and in the final lesson, students improvise a significant material related invention – the sticky or Post-it note. In their exploration of the invention, they will learn how the invention came about because of a frustrating situation that led to a real need for reusable bookmarks and how the original material created by Spencer Silver was adapted for this purpose by a colleague also working at 3M. Therefore an important teaching point is that collaborative practices were key in the invention process.

Learning objectives
In this scheme of work, students will:

  • Use their bodies to show properties of different materials
  • Use their bodies to group and compare everyday materials based on their properties
  • Use their bodies to show why some materials are more suited to certain purposes than others
  • Use their bodies to show reversible/irreversible changes that occur in different materials
  • Learn about the invention of the sticky note
  • Work together to devise a play based on the invention of the sticky note.

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KS3

Introduction to script writing

Author: Naomi Holcombe

This introduction to script writing scheme gets students thinking about how scripts are structured and how meaning is created on stage. It will help them to develop their own script work. Initially they will be using script extracts, in order to understand what successful script writing looks like, and then they will learn how to emulate that particular style. Once they have done this, they can start to develop more extended pieces of work for themselves and find their own narrative voice.

Aimed at Year 9 students, with a view to developing these skills for GCSE, this scheme will introduce students to script writing while intertwining the process with that of practical devised work. So many boards at GCSE have a devised component now (some worth 40%), which also requires students to write down their pieces in script format, that it is important for students to feel that they can acquire skills that will help them to structure their work and come up with ideas that will provide them with the means to develop interesting characters to perform, whether they are approaching it from a practical or written starting point.

By the end of this scheme, students should have the confidence to interpret a variety of scripts and gain experience in writing their own.

Lesson overview

  1. Lesson 1: Tone
    How to understand tone and develop writing that creates alternative meanings.
  2. Lesson 2: Stage directions
    Understanding the function of stage directions and what meaning they can add to the text.
  3. Lesson 3: Clues
    How to pick up verbal and non-verbal clues and use them in your writing.
  4. Lesson 4: Different approaches
    Experimenting with how to improve in order to create dialogue, or start writing immediately.
  5. Lesson 5: Subtext
    Learn how to use subtext within dialogue and create interesting situations.
  6. Lesson 6: Forms
    Use different stimuli to explore a range of theatrical conventions for creating script work.

Extension work is also outlined at the end of this scheme.

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KS3/4

Skills

Author: Katherine Noble

This scheme of work looks at strategies for studying drama skills that students will find useful for exploring and creating drama throughout KS3 and KS4. It is aimed at students who are considering a certification award in drama, and is useful to utilise for all exam board specifications.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have learnt:

  • To explore drama through a variety of starting points
  • To demonstrate an understanding of drama strategies and skills
  • To know and understand lighting colours
  • To demonstrate skills through an improvised play
  • To understand and demonstrate how to develop own and others’ work
  • To assess own work and work of others.

Resources
All the text used is listed in the Resources numbered 1 to 4 at the end of this scheme of work. Resource 1 is a student booklet that can be used:

  • To consolidate learning
  • To check what the student understands of the work covered
  • To set homework tasks
  • For teacher assessment of the student
  • For student self- and peer-assessment.

Resource 1 can be used as part of the Plenary at the end of a lesson.

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GCSE

Shopping: the new religion?

Author: David Porter

Napoleon dismissed the English as a ‘nation of shopkeepers’. Today, the British are happily known as a nation of shoppers. We can’t seem to get enough of it.

Everyone needs life’s daily requirements and that involves buying from someone or somewhere. Many of us spend more than we can afford. Some people have so much they can buy anything, including other human beings.

Many people become obsessed with shopping; others get into financial, personal difficulties because of it. No disrespect to any faith is intended to say that for some people, shopping is a religion.

This is fertile ground for a drama scheme designed to explore two teaching aims:

  • Develop realistic, credible characters
  • Experiment using different points of view in creating drama.

Both of these aims are invaluable for devising and script work for GCSE.

The scheme comprises six sessions, but it could be developed into many more, if students take to it. There are a variety of themes/angles and set-ups, situations, outcomes and eventualities. These can be used for all the sessions, urging students to be adventurous. However, it’s equally valid to develop characters through keeping same roles, but put in a different setting each session.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have:

  • Explored shopping as a theme and used it to make performance drama
  • Experimented with devising scenes from different people’s point(s) of view
  • Developed credible characters in a variety of settings
  • Collaborated on group devising, editing and evaluating own and others’ work.

The sessions

  1. Session 1: Shopping is great!
    This introduction sets up a style of working the scheme with suggestions for situations, conflicts, tensions, characters’ plans, outcomes and how to work from different points of view.
  2. Session 2: Shopping as retail therapy
    Is buying ever more stuff a way of shifting your gloom and doom?
  3. Session 3: Shopping as psychological condition
    What of those who are psychologically addicted to shopping?
  4. Session 4: Shopping when it’s your living
    What about those who actually work in retail, often for very little reward?
  5. Session 5: Shopping as posh sport
    Do the mega-rich really splash their cash on whatever they fancy?
  6. Session 6: Shopping as a nightmare
    For those who actually hate shopping, what else is there?
  • Resource 1: Shopping list of group decisions
  • Resource 2: Further shopping-themed ideas

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AS/A level

Antigone

Author: Mat Walters

This three-lesson scheme of work is a lead into the play Antigone by Sophocles and is designed to prepare students for the written units of the new AQA AS and A level drama and theatre exams. Antigone is a set text for both of these specifications and is an ideal choice as it caters well for small and larger class sizes. It contains strategies for essay planning and ways to target the mark scheme, as well as practical approaches to the play in the classroom. It also suggests methods to deal with the social, cultural and historical demands of the exam questions and the challenges of style and genre. This scheme of work is based on the assumption that students have read the play already prior to Lesson 1, but have not started to work on it formally. This scheme of work is broken down into three introductory lessons with suggestions for planning afterwards.

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A level

Devising from stimuli

Author: Rhianna Elsden

This scheme uses various stimuli from which to devise original material. It is relevant for many new A level drama and theatre Studies exam specifications where devising forms a great deal of the assessment. With adaptation and close supervision, aspects of this work could be applicable for GCSE students. Through the activities students will learn how to deconstruct different stimuli and work with them, leading them to produce their own original work. There are also ideas on how to apply practitioners’ ideas which again makes this scheme relevant for many exam specification units.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme all students will:

  • Have developed their understanding of what devised theatre is
  • Have developed their ability to work cooperatively in groups
  • Have developed their ability to create original material from different stimuli
  • Have developed their understanding of how to deconstruct ideas, themes and narratives that make up the stimulus
  • Have learned how to carry out in-depth research to inform and develop ideas and creativity
  • Have learned how to apply the work of practitioners to the deconstructing of the stimuli and the devising processes thereafter
  • Have explored the actor-audience relationship
  • How to develop performance skills – characterisation, aural and physical
  • How to develop a final original performance outcome.

By the end of this scheme some students will:

  • Have developed their understanding of theatre companies that produce devised theatre pieces; verbatim theatre companies and site-specific companies
  • Have developed their ability to direct others
  • Have developed their performance support skills.

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Issue 72 (Summer Term 2 - 16/17)

KS2

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit: A look at the book through drama

Author: Helen Day

E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children has been enjoyed by generation after generation since it was published in 1906. Although perhaps most famous for the 1970 film adaptation, the novel itself presents interesting themes, is a wonderful source of classroom debate, and contains plenty of dynamic scenes and relationships to inspire exciting KS2 drama work.

This scheme of work uses drama to explore the story in chronological order. As it is a relatively long book, the scheme does not touch on every chapter and key moment, however many of the exercises could be adapted if you wish to further investigate sections that have been omitted.

The scheme challenges students to use and develop their speaking, group discussion and interaction skills, thereby supporting the Spoken Language element of the National Curriculum. Movement and improvisation exercises are used to highlight and explore key moments and themes, and written work is included through writing in role and script creation exercises. There are opportunities to expand the study of the book to cover additional areas of the curriculum and beyond.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme the students will:

  • Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore the themes, characters and storyline of The Railway Children
  • Have participated in group discussion, and have experience of offering constructive feedback to their peers
  • Have experience of creating and improvising in character, as individuals, in pairs and in larger groups
  • Have explored the use of body language and facial expression through tableaux exercises
  • Have experience of working in pairs and small groups to create tableaux and short scenes
  • Have experience of writing in role and committing scenes to script form
  • Have increased confidence and enjoyment of exploring literature through performance.

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KS3

All hail, Macbeth!

Author: Donna Steele

Macbeth: source of a backstage superstition and one of Shakespeare’s best-known tragedies. I hope that this scheme of work will allow you to explore some of the areas of the play that are less well known. While covering key aspects such as superstition and the witches, this scheme also looks at the themes of friendship, sleep and prophecy. There is a suggested assessment point at the end, but equally there are moments throughout where you could pause and assess students’ developing understanding of the play.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have learnt:

  • To identify the themes of the play
  • To use improvisation to develop their understanding of key characters
  • To develop off-text improvisation linked to the themes of the play.

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KS3/4

People are complex

Author: David Porter

As most drama is naturally character-driven, this scheme explores interesting and developed people from their outwardly straightforward exteriors to the deeper levels within. The majority of people are indeed, complex.

The scheme offers wide scope for students to develop story lines from studying emotions: reactions, plans, dreams, fears and motives. As in life, here we can find the jovial, generous-spirited, sad, friendly, grumpy and devious; we’ll also discover some with OCD, secrets, paranoia and those compulsive liars.

While it doesn’t have to be worked like this, it’s suggested that in each group of students there is one central character – say, Joe or Jo – who has certain individual characteristics that are developed through the entire scheme. The student playing him/her changes each session, but must tap into the body of information that is gradually built up.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have:

  • Developed their repertoire of characterisation skills
  • Worked collaboratively to improve drama skills
  • Understood the diversity and individualism of people
  • Explored a range of ideas and concepts.

The sessions
Session 1: Who’s judging?
We all make instant judgments about others. How much damage can be done when people and things may not be all that they first seem?
Session 2: Lovely at home; monster at school
Teachers don’t always see the same person at school as the person’s parents know at home. Why is that?
Session 3: Jekyll and Hyde
Some people have two personalities and when they clash with each other, the results can be disastrous.
Session 4: Against better judgment
Sometimes we do things against our own nature, something others might call ‘out of character’. Sometimes people can’t help lying. What’s the outcome?
Session 5: You can’t always get what you want
Our aims, ambitions, dreams, plans and schemes don’t always work out, but what if that’s a good thing?
Session 6: The games people play
Often we exploit our own complexities, perhaps to manipulate others or just because we can’t help ourselves.

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GCSE

An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley: An introduction

Author: Ryan Williams

This six-week scheme is, fundamentally, an exploration of dramatic/theatrical skills, which uses J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls as a vehicle for progression. Over six one-hour workshops, GCSE students will focus on and develop their acting and characterisation skills, while also discussing other ways to stage the play and the themes/context behind it – all culminating in one final performance of an extract of their choice.

While the scheme is not tied to any particular examination board, it can very easily be used within the AQA drama confines, providing a learning framework or introduction which can be further expanded to support your students’ exam entries. If your centre also studies the play in GCSE English, this can be a fantastic way to enhance the learning through exploring the text from a more dramatic standpoint.

Learning objectives
Throughout this scheme, students will:

  • Discuss An Inspector Calls as a play, and develop a good understanding of it
  • Learn how to use voice and body language to better convey a character
  • Consider and discuss the staging of the play, and how that could be effectively altered
  • Discuss how to use props to provoke the audience’s imagination
  • Learn how to study, examine and interpret a script.

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AS

Equus by Peter Shaffer

Author: Alicia Pope

Equus by Peter Shaffer is one of the six set texts for the new Edexcel A level syllabus; the set texts form the basis of the ‘Page to Stage’ element of the exam. The exam requires students to explore how they would realise key extracts from the play. The best way for students to understand how they would play the characters in their chosen set text is to have explored them practically in depth. This scheme of work offers a range of different ideas for closely exploring the text to enable students to write in the specific, drama focused way that is required.

Structure
This scheme of work is based around different scenes from the text. Each section looks closely at different scenes and how students can explore the scene through character work, improvisation, devising or practitioner work. This allows students to examine a range of scenes from a practical perspective, which will be invaluable for exam writing. This scheme is written with the assumption that students have read the text and undertaken some research into its social, historical and political context.

The AS exam
The Edexcel/Pearson AS exam is divided into two components:

  • Component 1: Exploration and Performance is worth 60 per cent;
  • Component 2: Theatre Makers in Practice is worth 40 per cent and is in the form of a one and a half hour written exam.

The exam is in two parts:

  • Section A: Live Theatre Evaluation, worth 16 marks
  • Section B: Page to Stage. Two essay questions based on a set text examining how you would realise an extract from the text in performance. One question is based on performance and one is based on design skills. These questions are worth 16 marks each.

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A2

Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo: An introduction to the set text study

Author: Naomi Holcombe

Using a practical approach, this scheme of work aims to explore the set text Accidental Death of an Anarchist in preparation for Section A or B of Component 3 of the Eduqas A level course.

Note that the scheme delves into the set text in preparation for Component 3 of the A level examination, not the AS level. In order to make the exam less predictable, Eduqas have stated that learners may be asked a question on their set text(s) in either Section A or Section B of the exam. This means that students will not know in which section the Accidental Death of an Anarchist question will come up. They need to be prepared to cover the content of both sections when preparing themselves for this paper.

As it is a new specification, sample assessment materials are limited at this stage. The examples given by Eduqas are not necessarily going to show exactly how the exam is structured or what it will cover; therefore a full and comprehensive study of the set text is necessary in order to equip your students with the knowledge and confidence to answer any question that comes up. They need to use practical approaches from lessons to think about how to answer acting, directing and design questions that may come up. The other difference from the old specification is that they need to incorporate live theatre into their answers within these sections, as it is no longer required as a separate essay question. They need to think about how to weave theatre they have seen into their answers on the set text in Section B.

This scheme covers six lessons of teaching. I have based the structure around the expectation of two lessons a week, with each lesson being around an hour in length. You will almost certainly want and need more time than this, but I hope that this scheme gets you off to a good start!

Sections A and B

  • Open book: Clean copies (no annotation) of the texts chosen must be taken into the examination.
  • Two questions, based on two different texts, one written pre 1956 and one written post-1956.
  • Exam board: Eduqas
  • Year group: A level
  • Set text edition: Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo (Methuen, ISBN 978–0-413–15610–5)
  • Eduqas – criteria for A level Assessment Objectives for Component 3 AO3: (30%) Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how drama and theatre is developed and performed
  • AO4: (10%) ‘Analyse and evaluate the work of others. This assessment of AO3 and AO4 is divided between the three sections of the examination paper. In Component 3, learners are given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills in interpreting texts for performance in a written examination.’
  • ‘Learners are encouraged to approach this component practically as an actor, designer and director, and as an informed member of a theatre audience. To this end, learners are required to view a minimum of two live theatre productions to inform their understanding. They may use the same or different productions as those seen for Component 2.’Learning objectives
    By the end of this scheme of work, learners will have a thorough knowledge of the text through a practical exploration of Accidental Death of an Anarchist. They will understand the text within a social, historical and cultural context. Learners will be able to interpret the text for performance in a mature and detailed manner and have understood the way theatre adapts and stages texts for contemporary audiences. They will also evaluate a range of live theatre in order to make perceptive links with their own interpretations of the text.

Assessment

Assessment is by externally marked exam. A clean copy of the chosen set text must be taken into the examination. See below for guidance from the specification about how each section breaks down.

Breakdown of lessons

  • Lesson 1: Background exploration – an introduction to Dario Fo
  • Lesson 2: The world of commedia dell’arte
  • Lesson 3: Mask work – discovering how mask work can be used to focus on the physical style of the characters
  • Lesson 4: Directorial rehearsal techniques
  • Lesson 5: Design ideas
  • Lesson 6: Structuring an answer – preparing for Section A and Section B of the exam.

You will need a lot more time than this in order to fully prepare your students for the exam. But the six lessons detailed above will give you a good overview of practical approaches to the text and get them started with delving into the themes, looking at directing techniques and thinking about design ideas.

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Issue 71 (Summer Term 1 - 16/17)

KS2

The Borrowers: A look at the book through drama

Author: Helen Day

The Borrowers by Mary Norton is a classic book that has delighted children for generations. The idea of little people who live under the floorboards is as exciting and enticing today as it was when the book was published. Although ‘of its time’ in some ways, its themes – freedom, learning about the world, prejudice – are still relevant and inspiring to look at in the classroom today.

This scheme has been written with upper KS2 in mind, and should be undertaken after a classroom reading of the book has been completed. Each lesson starts with a warm-up, and then moves through a series of exercises and activities that use drama as a tool to explore the narrative, characters and themes of the book. The scheme broadly covers the KS2 National Curriculum drama objectives, and will also be useful for covering the speaking, listening and group discussion and interaction objectives within KS2 English.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme the students will:

  • Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore the characters, themes and storyline of The Borrowers
  • Have experience of working in pairs and small groups to investigate the characters and ideas within the text
  • Have experience of working in small groups to produce tableaux and short scenes
  • Have experience of improvising, devising and of scripting drama
  • Have experience thinking, moving and speaking in character
  • Have experience of feeding back to each other and of participating in group discussions.

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KS3/4

A journey through theatrical time and space

Author: Donna Steele

This scheme of work is like stepping into Doctor Who’s TARDIS in many ways. It offers time travel as well as multiple opportunities to develop and extend each individual lesson into its own independent scheme of work.

The history of theatre can often be theoretical and this scheme aims to bring alive the development of theatre, both in terms of types of theatre and the development of the theatre building itself.

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KS3/4

Script

Author: Katherine Noble

This scheme of work explores strategies for approaching script. It is aimed at students in their final year of KS3 and the first year of KS4. The choice of script is left up to teachers and students as this is intended to be a generic approach to script. Students should aim to perform from either a whole script or an extract of a script lasting for approximately ten minutes in the last lesson.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have learnt:

  • To understand and apply techniques for exploring script
  • To understand and apply techniques for building character
  • To understand and demonstrate a scriptwriter’s intentions
  • To understand and demonstrate how to develop own and others’ work
  • To assess own work and work of others.

The Resources
All the text used is listed in the Resources at the end of this scheme. Resource 1 is a student booklet that can be used:

  • To consolidate learning
  • To check what the student understands of the work covered
  • To set homework tasks
  • For teacher assessment of the student
  • For student self- and peer-assessment.

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KS4

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Exploring Christopher’s world from a practical perspective

Author: Naomi Holcombe

This scheme aims to explore the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time through the work of Frantic Assembly. It can be used for any exam board, and can be adapted to suit the requirements of a GCSE specification.

Students are introduced to their physical style, previous work on stage and more specifically their approach to the text The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. They are also encouraged to think about how to apply these techniques in order to create some devised work around the text by using the movements to create their own work.

This scheme is split into two sections. The first three lessons focus purely on how Frantic Assembly use movement to create meaning. It will help students think about how to create their own work and develop story lines from scratch (this may be useful at a different point in their course when they are asked to devise work). By the end of this section, your learners will understand and be able to recognise Frantic Assembly’s style and will be starting to explore it for themselves. The exercises used are all taken from The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising. (Page references may vary, depending on whether you are using the first or second edition.)

The second three lessons in the scheme then look at the choreography created by Frantic Assembly in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time with a particular focus on the central character, Christopher. Students will explore the text practically and apply their previous work when performing the text.

The aim of both of these sections within this scheme is to encourage students to delve into the text in a practical way. If they are preparing for a written exam on the play, they will understand the movement, interactions of the characters and the style better having worked on the text in class. I have also included some extension ideas for exploration of set design and an interview with Marianne Elliot, to help learners study the text from all perspectives.

Your students may not be exploring the text for an exam, but you may want them to have a detailed understanding of how to capture the style of Frantic Assembly, or use these ideas as a springboard for devised work. It’s always better to study a theatre company with a specific play to work on, as you can clearly focus on how to apply the theory in practice.

Research
Before the scheme starts, ask your students to research autism and Asperger syndrome (ASD). There is a good Newsround video called My Autism and Me which might be useful as a starting point. (It’s aimed at a younger audience, but it’s clear and detailed.) More recently, the same presenter, Rosie King, did a TED talk entitled ‘How autism freed me to be myself’, which is short, but very good. The National Theatre’s video called ‘Working on the Spectrum’ is particularly excellent and useful as it includes some rehearsal footage and interviews with Mark Haddon and Simon Stephens, and also with Luke Treadaway, who played Christopher in the original production – you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2bV75ITXJw

Reading
Read the text as a class. Feed the research that students have done on Asperger syndrome into your discussions on themes and characters in the play.

Live theatre
If it is possible to see the play live in advance of studying it, that would be a huge advantage. If not, there are some useful YouTube clips and trailers, which it might be worth watching before you begin the scheme, just to give students a flavour of the movement style and set design before they start.

Assessment objectives
These will depend on what board you are doing, but throughout this scheme students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how drama and theatre is developed and performed and analyse and evaluate their own work and the work of others.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme of work, learners will have a thorough knowledge of the text through a practical exploration of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. They will have explored, through practical work in lessons, the work of Frantic Assembly and applied this knowledge to their work on sections of the text.

Assessment

  • Peer assessment
  • Teacher-assessed final performance.

Resources

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and Simon Stephens (ISBN: 9781408185216)
  • The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising, published by Routledge (The latest edition is 2014, ISBN-13: 978-1138777019)
  • Frantic Assembly YouTube channel
  • National Theatre YouTube channel
  • TED talk –‘How autism freed me to be myself’: https://www.youtube.com/
    watch?v=jQ95xlZeHo8
    ffMusic: a variety of different tracks.
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Soundtrack by Adrian Sutton. Some tracks are available for free on Sound Cloud. The rest are downloadable from iTunes/Amazon.

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KS5

Fences by August Wilson

Author: Alicia Pope

Fences by August Wilson is one of the six set texts for the new Edexcel A level syllabus; the set texts form the basis of the ‘Page to Stage’ element of the exam. The exam requires students to explore how they would realise key extracts from the play. The best way for students to understand how they would play the characters in their chosen set text is to have explored them practically and in depth. This scheme of work offers a range of different ideas for closely exploring the text to enable students to write in the specific, drama focussed way that is required.

Learning objectives

  • To explore extracts from a performance perspective
  • To use devised work, improvisation and practitioner knowledge to explore the text
  • To use the exam question to inform students’ notes on their exploration
  • To explore extracts from a design perspective.

Structure
This scheme of work is based around different scenes from the text. Each section looks closely at different scenes and how students can explore the scene through character work, improvisation, devising or practitioner work. This allows students to examine a range of scenes from a practical perspective, which will be invaluable for exam writing. This scheme is written with the assumption that students have read the text and undertaken some research into its social, historical and political context.

The AS exam
The Edexcel/Pearson AS exam is divided into two components. Component 1: Exploration and Performance is worth 60 per cent; Component 2: Theatre Makers in Practice is worth 40 per cent and is in the form of a one-and-a-half hour written exam.

The exam is in two parts:

  • Section A: Live Theatre Evaluation worth 16 marks
  • Section B: Page to Stage. Two essay questions based on a set text examining how you would realise an extract from the text in performance. One question is based on performance and one is based on design skills. These questions are worth 16 marks each.

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KS5

Rebellion

Author: David Porter

It’s said that young people have lost the art of rebellion that so inspired previous generations. It may have changed in style, but rebellion is still around as part of growing up or growing old, and in drama terms is a ready source of fascinating material and stories. While also suitable for KS4, this scheme offers ways into the new A level specifications of the exam boards and serves as a useful introduction to exploring themes, devising, directing and analysing performance, considering some set texts, understanding contexts, reinforcing teamwork and building confidence.

Scheme in summary
The scheme has six suggested 90-minute sessions using an accelerated progression of revolt from doubts up to revolution, followed by ideas for further development of the general theme. It is not directly linked to the new AS/A level specifications, but there are ways in which set texts and some practitioners can be studied through this theme, and there is an appendix of suitable set texts. Several set-ups are designed to stir students into voicing dissent to further aid the devising and understanding processes.

  • Session 1: Doubts
  • Session 2: Non-conformity
  • Session 3: Dissent
  • Session 4: Riot
  • Session 5: Rebellion
  • Session 6: Revolution.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme learners will have:

  • Explored themes through devised drama
  • Undertaken contributory roles as performers, directors, designers
  • Worked collaboratively to develop ideas to performance.

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Issue 70 (Spring Term 2 - 16/17)

KS1/2

A Great Adventure

Author: Ryan Williams

This scheme of work invites primary school students on an adventure through space, time and fairy tale worlds, while also embarking on a journey of learning and self-discovery, through a series of five, exciting and engaging one-hour workshops. Students will be led in activities designed specifically to test their creativity, imagination and the drama skills they already possess, while also gaining new skills along the way.

Learning objectives
Throughout this unit, students will:

  • Develop narrative and storytelling skills
  • Build and enhance language and communication skills
  • Build and develop confidence and teamwork when performing in groups
  • Learn how to use basic stage props and costume effectively
  • Learn and discuss 5 ‘basic rules of stage’.

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KS3

Comedy and tragedy

Author: Donna Steele

Ask anyone for an image that defines theatre and they will recall the theatrical masks that symbolise the two key theatrical genres of comedy and tragedy. Ask anyone why these masks are used and they might falter in their answer. The Greeks in fact used different masks in their comedies and tragedies hence the use of the happy and sad masks to represent theatre.

This unit of work aims to explore the key genres of comedy and tragedy both in its historical context and modern interpretations. The unit is designed to be episodic in nature with each lesson exploring the overall aim of the unit, while providing a springboard for a unit of work in its own right. This unit culminates in an assessment of either comedy or tragedy depending on your students’ preferences and skill sets.

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KS3/4

David Porter

Author: Looking at physicality afresh

Physicality is part and parcel of children’s play but as students get into KS3/4 in drama terms it needs to be harnessed, shaped, developed and used to push boundaries. This scheme develops from the seven levels of tension identified by physical theatre practitioner Jacques Lecoq, going in different directions to provide physicality ideas for students to stop relying on words alone and some of the other pitfalls they often fall into when devising.

It is not a scheme of comedic routines and ideas, but comedy in physical theatre can be a good start with teenagers.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have:

  • Developed physical communication skills
  • Undertaken collective problem solving
  • Collaborated with peers to create drama
  • Improved their own personal skills in devising, polishing and performing.

Scheme in summary
In this scheme, each session is designed to stand alone and introduce new ideas; however, some teachers may prefer to develop students in the same groups throughout or build on the same base/home situation to work out from in a different way each session.

Session 1: Words from silence
An introduction to some of Lecoq’s physical theatre ideas and exploring ways of devising from characters who are apathetic, supine, motiveless, catatonic.
Session 2: Almost horizontal
‘So laid back one is almost horizontal’ is a good character description for some people so it is explored in a specific developing situation.
Session 3: Sparse movement
The neutral person with no strong views, prejudices or directions is an interesting character to develop through physicality.
Session 4: Aware but not decisive
Some people are alert, aware, cautious, on their toes, but cannot always be decisive and assertive. This explores the idea comically or more menacingly.
Session 5: A response to everything
In suspense, coiled for action, expecting the worst – this session builds on character types who are expecting the crisis, horrifically or comically.
Session 6: Let the passion burn
Many people take on causes they believe passionately in; they act impetuously and with little thought – making for a dramatic outcome.
Session 7: Ultimate disaster
Petrified with fear – ‘The bomb is about to go off!’ This session presents major tragedy to be handled sensitively or as melodrama.

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GCSE

Karamazoo

Author: Alicia Pope

Karamazoo is from Philip Ridley’s collection of plays The Storyteller Sequence. The play is written in two sections with the protagonist, Ace, being played as a female and then a male with the script adapted for each character. Ace is ‘irresistible’ and the play focuses on how perfect they think they look and how popular they are. No one ever stands up to Ace. The element of storytelling is important to all the texts in the sequence and this is evident in Karamazoo where Ace tells a story both literally and metaphorically. This scheme of work explores aspects of the play with a view to helping students create their own work based on the themes and techniques used in the text. The scheme can be used as a focused programme of study for the text or as a way of helping students use different drama skills in their own work.

Learning objectives

  • To create a speed dating character
  • To use the idea of speed dating to create an ensemble piece of theatre
  • To explore the use of narration and live action
    ffTo explore a scene with a focus on Brechtian and Stanslavskian ideas
  • To use tableaux, monologue and narration to create a character’s history
  • To explore characters through hot seating
  • To use a range of techniques to recreate Ace’s story – Karamazoo and the story of Ace.

Timings
The work has been divided into ideas-based sessions, but with no strict timings. Some work may take half a lesson; other activities may form the basis of a week’s worth of exploration.

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BTEC

Gail Deal

Author: Developing movement skills (BTEC – Level 3 Performing Arts, Unit 49)

This unit is worth 10 credits and comprises 60 Guided Learning Hours. The unit
could be covered over one term of 12 weeks with 4 hours of teacher contact time
and an optional one hour rehearsal each week. It should be possible to cover
all the practical work and assessment within the 4 lessons. Learners perform their material during the workshop session. See the specification for Unit 49 on
http://qualifications.pearson.com/content/dam/pdf/BTEC-Nationals/Performing-
Arts/2010/Specification/Unit_49_Developing_Movement_Skills.pdf

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A2

Devising (A2 – Edexcel A Level Drama and Theatre, Component 1)

Author: Vickie Hatcher

This scheme of work is designed to be flexible and allow you to explore a script of your choice with your group. As you will be aware, Edexcel have redesigned the A level and this tends to lead to delivering the devising unit before the directing unit. If your students were anything like mine, they learnt most of their best skills from being directed. They learnt what was effective and applied a lot of these skills in their devised work. I would therefore advise that you begin the course by directing a play with the class that allows them to explore different scenes within the play to allow the students to experience these valuable skills. A great script with which to do this is Blackout by Davey Anderson.

Learning objectives
The learning aims for this unit are defined by Edexcel as:

  • AO1 Create and develop ideas to communicate meaning as part of the theatremaking process, making connections between dramatic theory and practice
  • AO2 Apply theatrical skills to realise artistic intentions in live performance
  • AO4 Analyse and evaluate their own work and the work of others.

At the start of this process it is important students realise that the portfolio is an essential part of the marking process and therefore they need to be very aware of the decisions they are making and keep a working log. Explain that due to the portfolio they may approach this devised piece differently to how they would
have in the past but it is highly important that they consider the decisions that they make and how this relates to their portfolio. A key example is that in the past they may have chosen for their costume to be all black as this was easier; they may now decide that they will instead wear black leggings and a black top with a logo that represents something from the 1980s to help reflect their social/ cultural/political/historical context.

For the purpose of this scheme of work I am using my chosen stimulus which is Normal by Anthony Neilson. However, you can change this stimulus to a play text of your choice and change elements of the scheme as necessary. I personally have chosen this play as my text due to the mature nature of the play, the complexity within the language and the themes explored. I think it gives a lot of scope for the students to explore.

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Issue 69 (Spring Term 1 - 16/17)

KS2

In a word ... Siblings!

Author: David Porter

Sometimes a single word conveys a whole world of meanings, undercurrents, decisions, problems and emotions. We all know what siblings are whether we have them or not. One could say that siblings are quite simply brothers and sisters, but nothing in life is simple. This scheme of work explores how sibling relationships underpin creative and explorative drama, how they can encourage collaborative working and provide opportunities for creative expression.

It’s suggested each lesson (of around 70 minutes) begins with a quick physical game, followed by a pairs improvisation and a larger group improvisation. A situation is then set up to explore and develop through devising, teacher guidance and sharing and showing.

The scheme is designed to strengthen speaking and listening skills.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have:

  • Developed practical drama from given themes
  • Developed their own characters within changing scenes
  • Worked collaboratively and through speaking and listening to create drama.

Scheme in summary
Lesson 1
Brothers and sisters: an introduction to sibling rivalry.
Lesson 2
Half-brothers and half-sisters: the complications.
Lesson 3
Stepbrothers and stepsisters: even more complications.
Lesson 4
Adopted brothers and sisters: accepted or not?
Lesson 5
Twins or more: what challenges do multiple births bring?
Lesson 6
Only Child Syndrome: is it better to have no siblings at all?
Lesson 7
Making the best of it: a chance to polish and showcase some work.

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KS3

Sci-fi

Author: Katherine Noble

This scheme of work explores drama using the theme of sci-fi. Physical theatre, improvisation, devising, problem solving, group work, mime, characterisation and symbolism are a few of the techniques and strategies it covers.

The scheme is intended to be delivered to KS3 as part of the introductory work in drama. The overall objective is that students will build on their understanding of drama strategies and subject vocabulary, as well as enhancing their story building skills. Students will devise and perform their own sci-fi play using the skills they have learned from the scheme of work.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have learnt:

  • To explore drama techniques through the theme of sci-fi
  • To demonstrate understanding of how character is developed and communicated through movement and voice
  • To demonstrate skills through a devised sci-fi play
  • To understand and demonstrate how to develop own and others’ work
  • To assess own work and work of others.

Resources
All the text used is listed in the Resources numbered 1 to 3. Resource 1 is a student booklet that can be used:

  • To consolidate learning
  • To check what the student understands of the work covered
  • To set homework tasks
  • For teacher assessment of the student
  • For student self- and peer-assessment.

Resource 1 can be used as part of the plenary at the end of a lesson.

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KS4

War Horse: An introduction to the set text

Author: Naomi Holcombe

This scheme is an introduction to War Horse, based around the new Eduqas GCSE specification in preparation for Component 3, Section A, of the written exam.

With the introduction of new GCSE specifications across all exam boards it has been a time of transition and trepidation for all of us as drama teachers. A time in which we need to reflect on what we want out of a GCSE Drama course and what we feel is important to teach our young ‘learners’ (as they are now being called) when studying drama. Making a decision as to which exam board you think is going to help you get the most from your students is a tricky one. All exam specifications are flawed in some way or another. Ultimately it is an exam-based approach and you have to get your learners to answer questions confidently in a written, timed and pressurised format. I think that Eduqas’ holistic approach to set text study, incorporating design, directing and acting in their exam questions will be engaging for drama students, as it will involve learners of all abilities, while also more adequately preparing others who may go on to study drama and theatre at A level.

I hope that this scheme can start to help you to delve into the teaching of the new set text for the written examination in a practical and energetic manner which will excite your students.

There are references made to practitioners such as Brecht and Stanislavski in these lesson plans. Before starting this scheme, it is important that students have spent some time studying the styles of these practitioners.

This scheme is by no means an exhaustive list of the ways in which you can approach your teaching of War Horse. You will almost certainly wish to spend more time on the text, as there is a plethora of fantastic resources out there to make use of, some of which I will reference as the scheme progresses.

This scheme covers six lessons of teaching. I have based the structure around the idea of two lessons a week, with each lesson being around an hour in length.

The scheme is split up into sections – character work and voice, a director’s approach and design ideas. I hope you find it enjoyable to teach.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme of work, the leaners will have a thorough knowledge of the text through a practical exploration of War Horse. They will understand the text from the perspective of an actor, designer and director, in order to demonstrate ‘their knowledge and understanding of how drama and theatre is developed and performed’ for Section A of the written examination.

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KS4

Theatre in Education at GCSE – making ties with primary feeders

Author: Deborah O’Donoghue

This is an introductory scheme leading to KS4 controlled assessment. The unit is aimed at KS4 students studying GCSE specifications with Theatre in Education (TIE) as a practical controlled assessment option (although the lessons could be adapted for KS3 if desired). Lessons are designed to last one hour, in a space allowing circle time, group rehearsal and performances.

TIE candidates must prepare and perform a piece of theatre thematically designed for a specific target audience, recognising their needs and showing understanding of approaches likely to have greatest impact. Here, the audience will be primary school students. Candidates can work in groups of not less than two, so you will need to group your class according to its size, bearing in mind each performer should have at least five minutes of stage time, and also bearing in mind how much time you and your primary colleague can allocate to the performance(s).

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KS5

Planning for the new AQA AS Drama and Theatre specification

Author: Mat Walters

The purpose of this scheme of work is to prepare students for how to structure and plan for Section 1: Research and performance development of the written portfolio for the AQA AS Drama and Theatre component 2: Process and performance. It looks at how to complete Section 1 of the personal portfolio by creating an entirely written portfolio. There are alternative methods of producing the personal portfolio and these are outlined on p. 30 of the new AS specification.

The portfolio requires students to consider both play extracts that they have studied during their AS Drama and Theatre course. It is my recommendation that AS level students study one practitioner and that they should apply that practitioner’s theories and techniques to both of the play extracts that they study. This then allows the first extract that is to be workshopped to be treated as a mock performance. I will expect my students to create a practice Section 1 of the portfolio during their work on this, and it is for this activity that this scheme of work is designed.

While the specification states that only the second extract needs to demonstrate a practitioner influence, I think it is best for the students to have a proper go at an extract using the practitioner techniques before the filmed and moderated performance of extract two. By using that experience to complete an initial attempt at Section 1, students will enter work on the second extract and the full, final AS personal portfolio having experienced working on an extract using their set practitioner and turning their rehearsal and performance ideas into a draft for Section 1. The specification states on p. 29 that students should discuss the possibilities offered by each of the key extracts in performance and the opportunities/challenges presented when applying the ideas and methodologies of their chosen practitioner. Therefore, by not applying the practitioner to extract one, it seems that students will be disadvantaged in terms of what they can actually cover and gain marks for in the portfolio. The example I will be focussing on in this scheme of work will be using Artaud as the set practitioner.

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KS5

Devising using the topic of ‘young offenders’ as a stimulus

Author: Rhianna Elsden

This scheme offers methodology on devising original performance material linked to the overall topic of ‘young offenders’. It is relevant for many new A level Drama & Theatre Studies exam specifications where devising forms a large part of the assessment. Through the activities students will learn how to devise performance outcomes, develop characters, develop their performance writing, and learn how to complete different types of research to inform their work. Their understanding of social, cultural, political and historical aspects within the youth justice system will have been developed. The ideas of many different practitioners have been included as a way to devise and develop the material; this links to the increased requirements of many A level specifications where use of practitioners is becoming ever more prescriptive and explicit.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme all students will:

  • Have developed their ability to work cooperatively in groups
  • Have developed their ability to create original material from testimonies and social, political and cultural research
  • Have developed their script and dialogue writing skills
  • Have developed their ability to create depth within characterisation
  • Have developed their ability to carry out in-depth research to inform and develop ideas and creativity
  • Have developed their performance skills – aural and physical
  • Have developed several small performance outcomes that could then be blended into a larger final piece
  • Have developed their understanding of how to apply practitioners to the devising process
  • Have developed their understanding of how to include verbatim practices within their work
  • Have increased their ability to reflect on the development process and be able to articulate this in verbal and written formats for assessment.

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