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.

What to do next?

  • If you’re a subscriber to Teaching Drama+, you can get free access to the last 12 months’ resources by logging in and adding your Subscription Number* to your profile
  • If you are not yet a subscriber, you can subscribe here
  • If your subscription includes the print magazine only, you can upgrade here
  • Finally, if you are looking for past schemes that are more than a year old, you can buy schemes from our archive here

To download the content below, you need to login and add your Subscription Number to your profile.

*Your Subscription Number is a 5-digit code which is displayed on any written communication from us. If you can’t find your Subscription Number then please contact us on +44 (0) 1293 312236 or email teachingdrama@subscriptionhelpline.co.uk and we’ll let you know what it is.

 

Issue 76 (Spring Term 2 - 17/18)

Key Stage 2

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes: A look at the book through drama

Author: Helen Day

Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man is a classic science fiction novel that easily captures young imaginations. Its short length, along with the strength of the writing, makes it an ideal choice for classroom reading. This scheme of work has been written to encourage students to explore the characters and events of the book beyond the realm of the text; the text becomes a springboard for further imaginative work.

The scheme broadly covers all aspects of the drama objectives set out within the KS2 National Curriculum. Improvisation, rehearsed scene preparation and group work both in small teams and in larger groups all contribute to challenging students’ spoken and written language skills. Group discussion and interaction skills are also developed, as well as responding constructively to the work of others.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will:

  • Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore The Iron Man
  • Have experience of creating and sustaining roles
  • Have explored characterisation through vocal tone, writing in role, body language and facial expression
  • Have experience of working in small groups to produce tableaux and short scenes
  • Have developed their spoken language and written skills
  • Have experience of presenting their work in front of their peers
  • Have experience of constructively responding to the work of others.

Download file

Key Stage 3

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Author: Alicia Pope

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is perhaps the most well-known of C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and certainly offers a range of exciting themes for exploration. This scheme is aimed at KS3, most suited to Year 7 and Year 8, and uses both on and off text work based on the novel as the stimulus for some exciting exploration into character, improvisation, devising and ensemble work. Although it’s not necessary for students to have read the book, a summary of the story and main characters would be helpful (see Resources at the end of this scheme).

Download file

Key Stage 3/4

Teacher-in-Role as a drama device

Author: David Porter

Teacher-in-Role (TiR) is a drama device that we either love or approach with trepidation. The fact is that it can be an amazingly powerful tool for the drama teacher to build students’ confidence, extend their creativity and strengthen teacher-student bonds, with the added bonus of being such great fun all round!

With suggestions for TiR activities, this scheme of six sessions covers the method as support for students, as leading new material, as part of devising and within a script, and as a catalyst in challenging dramatic settings.

TiR puts the drama teacher among the students, as a member of a team, but also as one who brings a fresh, experienced input to spark student ideas, responses and inventiveness. The teacher may sometimes have to let go of his/her status.

TiR is useful for all exam board devising and text preparation and for the transition from KS3 into KS4, and the scheme culminates in a suggestion to go public in a TiR performance.

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

  • Explored a number of different TiR techniques
  • Developed some of the techniques into performable material
  • Self and peer assessed and evaluated drama work created by TiR
  • Collaborated with others to make drama and convey meaning to an audience.

Download file

GCSE

A model for watching live theatre

Author: Donna Steele

The skill of watching and evaluating Live Theatre is a now a key element in all GCSE exam specifications. It can often prove a challenge to teachers to make this anything more than a pen and paper exercise. However finding a practical approach to this exam component can often lead to a more developed understanding of the theatre students have seen.

In this scheme of work I aim to provide a framework that can be applied to any piece of live theatre. Each lesson is split into two parts; a session to run before watching a piece of theatre (Part A) and a follow-up lesson after you have taken students to the theatre (Part B).

While there is lots of highly innovative and creative theatre out there, I believe that choosing a published play where you can buy the script is highly beneficial to enable preparation and revision with students for this element of the exam.

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

  • Practically explored key theatre elements in preparation for watching live theatre
  • Prepared numerous examples from productions seen in preparation for answering exam questions
  • Arrived at a model for exploring and watching any piece of live theatre.

Download file

Download file

BTEC

Musical theatre performance (BTEC – Edexcel QCF Level 3, Unit 14)

Author: Gail Deal

Performing arts learners generally love musical theatre so this unit should be popular with your class. Learners are required to use their skills in acting, dancing and singing for a selection of musical theatre numbers.

This scheme is designed to meet the demands of the unit, to fulfill the potential of the learners and to allow a small number of staff, even just one, to put on a show that includes several numbers from hit musicals.

This scheme has been tested and it resulted in an entertaining show with smooth transitions and a great deal of input from the 17 learners who created it. We had two staff and one technician, but no stage crew and no team of set and costume designers. The show was called People, Places and Passions.

Download file

A level

Woyzeck by Georg Büchner (A level – Edexcel Theatre Studies, Section C, Component 3)

Author: Vickie Smith

The new A level examination for theatre studies asks the students to do a lot. With the old specification they could take in annotated versions of their chosen text and they had to explain how they would direct it in terms of a specific area identified in the exam question. The beauty of this was that students could decide on their interpretation of the whole play and then select certain scenes that they would talk about in the exam in more depth.

The new exam does not allow for this. Edexcel asks the students to take in a blank text and students are given an unseen extract from the play they have studied and must explain their interpretation and how they would direct this with their chosen practitioner’s methodologies in place. This is hard work. It means that the students need to not only know how they would direct the whole play in depth, but that they must know it off by heart. In addition to this they are expected to do something similar with a second play but from an actor’s perspective and also write a Live Evaluation of a performance they have seen.

The first thing to tell your students is that the exam boards are expecting a lot from them; in my opinion, an unfair amount. But reassure them that you, as their teacher, will prepare them for this. If you can have Component 2 completed by February, then in the remainder of the year you can focus on these three areas. This scheme of work is going to tackle the Section C, Component 3 part of the examination using the script of Woyzeck. However, there is no reason that this scheme cannot be transferable to other play texts.

Download file

Issue 75 (Spring Term 1 - 17/18)

Key Stage 2

Michael Morpurgo's Kensuke's Kingdom: A look at the book through drama

Author: Helen Day

Kensuke’s Kingdom is at once an adventure story, a story of resilience and survival, a story about friendship and, ultimately, about loss. It contains much to challenge and inspire the minds of KS2 students, and this scheme of work offers an exploration of the key themes, events and characters in the book, utilising a range of drama-based exercises and group discussion.

The scheme is written in chronological order, so it can accompany a classroom reading of the book. However, it could also work well with groups who have already finished the story, or who are further along with the book than each lesson suggests.

It broadly covers all aspects of the drama objectives within the KS2 National Curriculum, and the scheme will help students to develop their spoken language and listening skills.

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

  • Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore the themes and characters within Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom
  • Have experience of improvising and devising drama
  • Have experience of working in small groups to produce tableaux and short scenes
  • Have experience of creating and sustaining characters through use of body language, facial expression and voice
  • Have experience of responding to others in role
  • Have developed their speaking and listening skills through a range of exercises both in small groups and as a whole class
  • Have experience of feeding back to each other and of participating in group discussion.

Download file

Key Stage 3

Shakespeare

Author: Alicia Pope

This scheme of work focuses on one aspect from a different Shakespeare play each session – Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, The TempestRomeo and Juliet, Hamlet – and allows for the exploration of a variety of texts and techniques. The work includes character exploration, devised work and improvisation. Although students will not need to know each text in great depth, a retelling of the story of each play to contextualise the work will be useful. There are plenty of excellent resources and short films available online to introduce students to the plays. Each session is based on a one hour lesson.

Download file

Key Stage 3/4

Know thy neighbour? Devising around the theme of Community

Author: Donna Steele

The dictionary definition of community is: ‘a self organised network of people with a common agenda, cause, or interest’.

This scheme of work explores the concept of community within a neighbourhood setting and through the sequence of lessons develops ideas for a devised piece of drama. It allows students to combine their own improvised work with scripted extracts from a number of plays, and it also includes ideas that are suitable for both KS3 and KS4 students.

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

  • Developed and structured ideas for a piece of devised drama based on the theme of ‘Community’
  • Explored ways to combine pieces of script with their own improvisations
  • Experimented with using Verbatim Theatre within their work.

Download file

Download file

Download file

Download file

Download file

Download file

Download file

Download file

Key Stage 4/5

Being the director

Author: David Porter

This scheme aims to explore a range of directing techniques through practical drama sessions linked to text. Exam bodies now ask for directorial approaches at GCSE and A/AS level in both practical and written work. The five 2-hour sessions provide a range of experiments for students to learn what a director does and how he/she actually does it and how meaning is conveyed to an audience.

The scheme suggests approaches from a range of drama/theatre techniques employed by directors in rehearsal and performance. Directors also work with designers and technical staff to create an overall performance that realises the vision and gets the message across.

Maximum group sizes are determined by the exam boards, as are some selected and specified plays. In devising there is more freedom, but group sizes should always be appropriate to the abilities of the students and give each a full chance to perform and to direct.

Teachers should select (and where appropriate edit) monologues and duologues as well as group pieces because the opportunity to perform in pairs or solo is available in the exams. Being a director applies to monologues and duologues as well as larger groups. While it is possible to self-direct, learners should be encouraged to accept that outside direction will help them in character realisation.

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

  • Explored a number of different directorial techniques and some practitioners who use them to develop an individual stylistic approach to directing
  • Self- and peer-assessed and evaluated directed work in performance
  • Collaborated with others to make drama and convey meaning to an audience.

Download file

IB

Introduction to the International Baccalaureate Theatre course

Author: Mat Walters

This scheme of work aims to support those planning to teach the International Baccalaureate Theatre course for the first time. It aims to provide a general introduction to the demands of the IB Theatre course at both Standard and Higher level. It will provide suggestions for areas of study and an overall planning approach to the (almost) two years required. I am going to be offering the IB Theatre course alongside the AQA AS and A level courses in drama and theatre and there are many opportunities to plan material that would be appropriate for all these courses.

A level

Practical approaches to Berkoff

Author: Naomi Holcombe

I was first introduced to the work of Steven Berkoff at A level and I had never come across anything like it before. I was cast in a production of Metamorphosis and I totally fell in love. His style of theatre is both energetic and mesmerising and I believe that introducing students to his work really helps them to develop interesting pieces of theatre and take a more detailed and dynamic approach to their work.

This scheme delves into practical approaches to teaching Berkoff’s work and aims to encourage students to be more physically expressive by pushing work into new and exciting realms in order for them to explore and enjoy creating theatre that is challenging physically, as well as more expressive and hardhitting. Some script extracts are used and also suggestions of how to apply Berkoff’s style to devised or re-interpreted work. Berkoff creates theatre that is innovative and detailed, which is something to which I think A level students should aspire. His approaches to mime, chorus work and script writing will, I hope, inspire students to include beautifully detailed work on stage and have great fun in the process.

Learning objectives
Students will gain the following knowledge/skills during the 6 lessons:

  • An introduction to a physical style of theatre to help them approach text work more creatively and be inspired to develop interesting devised pieces
  • An understanding of mime, chorus and bodies as objects and how this has influenced Berkoff’s work
  • An exploration of three of Berkoff’s most popular texts
  • How to use their bodies confidently to convey story and exaggerated characters to an audience.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

Download file

Download file

Download file

Download file

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

Download file

Download file

Download file

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

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

Download file

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

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.

Download file

If you wish to enjoy even more Teaching Drama schemes of work, why not visit our online shop and have a look through our archive? Click here find out more!