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 78 (Summer Term 2 – 17/18)

KS2

Training dragons at KS2: A look at How to Train Your Dragon through drama

Author: Helen Day

Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon is a contemporary classic. Full of humour, and also great drama, its well-rounded central character is a wonderful study in the growing pains of trying to fit in. This scheme of work provides an accompaniment to a classroom reading of the book, with games and exercises inspired by events and episodes from the text.

The scheme has been written with the drama objectives of the KS2 National Curriculum in mind, and explores creating and sustaining roles, working in small groups to produce tableaux and short scenes, improvisation, presenting work in front of peers, as well as fun games to encourage focus and concentration.

Spoken language skills will be developed, and students will participate in group discussion and interaction throughout the scheme.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme the students will:

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

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KS3

Year 9 scheme for summer term

Author: Alicia Pope

The summer term can often be challenging for Year 9. Groups can be a mixture of students who are coming to the end of their exploration of Drama and are difficult to motivate; enthusiastic students who are about to embark on their GCSE Drama course and a variety in between.

This scheme of work is designed to have something for every member of a Year 9 class, pushing ideas forward for GCSE students while engaging reluctant students with a variety of tasks that they can access and allowing them to offer pertinent opinions and ideas about the design aspect of Drama. The scheme uses a variety of plays relevant for GCSE exploration, but aims to be accessible and engaging for Year 9 as a whole. The layout for this scheme offers ideas for each text and how you might approach it.

Learning objectives

  • To explore a key scene from The Crucible/DNA/Face
  • To perform a key scene from The Crucible/DNA/Face, and discuss the practical choices you made
  • To present ideas for lighting, sound, costume and set design.

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KS3/4

Money, money, money

Author: David Porter

Money not only makes the world go round, it also provides an enormous range of challenging material for devised drama, story lines, depth of characters and some fascinating ideas. Money is the root of evil, but it can also do enormous good and, as we can scarcely live without it, it’s an appealing theme for teenagers.

In these six 90-minute sessions different angles on money are explored, from winning it to stealing it, from losing it to earning it and from borrowing it to finding it. Money is considered in its many facets from cash to credit and digital currency. There is a decision-making grid at the end of the scheme suitable for all devising sessions and for other themes and schemes.

In deciding a point of view for developing a plotline, students are encouraged to consider the less obvious and to focus on creating plausible characters to work the story.

There is additional material on the decision process for developing credible characters and on further ideas for money themed drama devising.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme learners will have:

  • Developed their drama devising repertoire on the theme
  • Understood how characters drive plot
  • Worked collaboratively to improve drama skills
  • Explored a range of ideas and concepts.

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GCSE

An introduction to the GCSE Drama devising log: supporting students in creating their written coursework log

Author: Mat Walters

This scheme of work suggests a simple structure and plan for the devising written unit, directly related to the creation of the piece itself, and focuses on an entirely written devising log. The maximum word count is 2500 with suggested sections of 650 to 800 words each.

It covers:

  • The demands and suggested structure of each of the three sections
  • The process of linking research, development, rehearsal, realisation and evaluation to the devising log
  • Example paragraphs for each section with key indicators highlighted that follow this structure.

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BTEC – Unit 1, level 3

Investigating practitioners’ work

Author: Gail Deal

This scheme is based on 3 1-hour lessons a week plus independent study throughout Year 12, but can be adapted to suit the needs of the centre and the pathway chosen.

This is a mandatory and synoptic Level 3 unit on all the BTEC Performing Arts qualifications. Key information can be found in the document opposite.

The frameworks in this scheme of work are closely based on the assessment outcomes that are to be found in the specification on pp. 22 to 26. The four assessment outcomes are listed on p. 22 and then the detail follows.

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A-Level

Hospital Food by Eugene O’Hare: Devising and exploring a text to produce original performance outcomes

Author: Rhianna Elsden

This scheme explores Eugene O’Hare’s NT Connections play Hospital Food as a stimulus. It is relevant for many new A level Drama & Theatre Studies exam specifications, where both explorations of texts and devising form a great deal of the assessments. Through the activities students will learn how to explore the text stimuli, leading them to produce their own original work as well as performing the writer’s intent. There are also ideas on how to apply practitioner’s 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 a play text stimulus
  • Have developed their understanding of how to deconstruct ideas, themes and narratives that make up the stimulus
  • How to carry out in-depth research to inform and develop ideas and creativity
  • 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 explore social, cultural, political and historical influences within stimuli and incorporate within their own work.

By the end of this scheme some students will:

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

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Issue 77 (Summer Term 1 – 17/18)

Key Stage 2

The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailler: A look at the book through drama

Author: Helen Day

A classic for over sixty years, The Silver Sword presents the harsh reality of wartime life for a Polish family. KS2 students will be gripped by the adventures, setbacks and triumphs of the Balicki children as they make their way across war-torn Europe in search of their parents, and there are plenty of colourful characters and situations to inspire drama work in the classroom.

This scheme of work mainly focuses on the journey of the children, using key moments from the book, as well as challenging students to imagine beyond the text into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. It has been written with the drama objectives of the KS2 National Curriculum in mind, with particular emphasis on spoken language skills, and the adoption, creation and sustaining of roles. Some written work is included, and through improvisation and devising exercises, students will be encouraged to work together and share ideas.

The scheme has been written in chronological order, so could accompany a classroom reading of the book.

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Key Stage 3

Physical Theatre: Approaches to teaching in the style of Frantic Assembly

Author: Naomi Holcombe

The overall aim of this scheme of work is to explore a physical theatre style by introducing students to the work of Frantic Assembly, and to encourage learners to try out techniques and practical starting points to help them create short devised pieces.

It can be difficult for students who have never devised their own work before to create original and thought-provoking pieces, especially in Year 9. It is also a challenge to create scripted work as they will have a limited experience of this. This is why I think a more physical approach to creating pieces, without having to think about how to develop characters and storylines initially, can work really well.

Although you may not think the work of Frantic Assembly would be approachable for students as young as Year 9, it is amazing how quickly they get to grips with the style. It is also a good preparation for upcoming GCSE courses, as an increasing number of exam boards are prescribing styles for devised and text work at GCSE.

As students’ work develops, stories emerge and meaning is created. They learn to take a practical ‘on their feet’ approach to the creation of work and I have found that some interesting and mature work has been produced as a result – much more so than if they had been asked to create something in a naturalistic style, as at this young age their pieces can be quite limited.

If they have never seen a production by Frantic Assembly, it is important that you show them lots of show reels and trailers of their work, so that they start to understand what the result looks like, and so that they can get a flavour of what the style looks like on stage. I have therefore provided many links to video extracts in this scheme, and most lessons will include a video example to show to students before they attempt an exercise for themselves.

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

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Key Stage 3/4

Making the most of drama devices

Author: David Porter

‘Devices’ is the catch-all term used to describe any and every drama technique employed to create drama, interpret text, explore ideas, develop performance skills and create drama in original and compelling ways. They will be familiar to all drama teachers and to most students after only a very short time of learning in and through drama.

This scheme of six 90-minute sessions is designed as both refresher and pointer towards ways of cumulatively using a host of techniques in the drama studio, which will widen drama vocabulary and strengthen the students’ toolbox whether they are devising or performing text.

Lighting, sound, special effects and video imaging are not specifically addressed in this scheme, but of course these are also valid devices.

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Key Stage 4/5

From page to stage: A rehearsal toolkit

Author: Sarah Henderson and Antony Taylor

All the specifications at GCSE and A level demand that students practically study a script for examination. With a large group it is often difficult for the teacher to help all students move their work forward in a rehearsal or lesson, and often students are rehearsing independently of the teacher. Students may not have the experience or knowledge that professional actors and directors bring to the rehearsal process, and this can make practically exploring a text quite challenging. The aim of this scheme is to provide teachers with a toolkit of exercises that students can apply at specific points in the rehearsal process. We have designed the scheme to be flexible so that you can pick and choose exercises that are appropriate to your students and the texts that they are studying.

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Key Stage 5

Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) by Carl Grose

Author: Alicia Pope

The changes in exam specifications, requiring students to perform extracts from texts, mean that they are given a very wide choice of texts for performance. This scheme offers a range of teaching ideas exploring the characters within the script and using on- and off-text activities that will give students a greater understanding of the characters, enabling them to produce more knowledgeable, engaging and convincing interpretations of their own. It will also generate other ideas for further exploration of the text.

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Key Stage 5

Practically exploring characters in play texts: Liz from Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker

Author: Rhianna Elsden

This scheme explores the play text Our Country’s Good as a stimulus and specifically traces the character of Liz in key scenes. The activities offer ideas on how to work with play texts practically, with both on- and off-text ideas and activities. The activities outlined develop an understanding of the play text and provide inspiration for the exploration of other scenes or characters in this and other play texts.

Many exam specifications at GCSE and A level now allow for the performance of monologues for assessment, so this scheme also offers insight into the exploration and performance of the key monologue that Liz delivers at the start of Act 2, including writing interpretations for examiners.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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!