Drama is an active and successful department within the school. The department aims to combine a wide and popular range of public performances with high standards in academic studies. Our department philosophy is that students should, whilst enjoying their Drama, also see it as a discipline that needs to be approached in a serious and dedicated way, giving them life skills for the future.
In Years 7-9, students are taught in mixed ability form groups for one hour a week. They are taught through schemes of work, which deal with a range of issues and skills. Students are taught at KS3 by specialist Drama and English staff in either the Drama Studio or the Richardson Hall.
In Years 10 and 11 students can choose to undertake an AQA GCSE course, which combines practical acting examinations with a written paper. AQA AS and A2 Level courses are offered in the Sixth form, and again, this is an option which is consistently successful.
The department is well resourced, with a large and airy studio, and whiteboard projectors in all Drama rooms. In addition, there is recently updated stage lighting and sound equipment that students are trained in using, and a comprehensive range of stock and resources that aid students in their studies.
As a department, Drama is actively involved in the promotion of extra-curricular events in the school. Recent theatre visits include ‘Blood Brothers’, ‘The Red Shoes’, ‘War Horse’ and ‘One man, two guvnors’. There is also a strong tradition of school productions with ‘Arabian Nights’, ‘Grimm Tales’ and ‘Expect the Unexpected’ all staged by the strong Lower School Drama Group.
In addition, examination groups have publically staged work from ‘Waiting for Godot’, ‘Shakers’ and ‘Too much Punch for Judy’ amongst many others.
Our Drama Teacher’s Perspective
I consider myself really fortunate to be a teacher of Drama at Queen Mary’s High School. The word Drama is derived from the Greek word for ‘action’ or ‘to do’ and I believe that the active learning that the subject encourages is one of the best ways for our students to develop a whole range of abilities from team building to problems solving, as well as honing their presentational and performance skills.
How lucky to teach a subject which encourages creative freedom and individual expression but also demands that students show discipline, teamwork and the need to empathise and explore the lives of others peoples, places and times.
Alfred Hitchcock once said ‘what is Drama, but life with the dull bits cut out?’ and I can really say that there is never a dull moment teaching our imaginative and talented students. From the earliest, tentative steps of a Year 7 performing for her classmates for the first time, to the polished final devised projects of an accomplished cast of Year 13 students, the pleasure to be derived from working with so many varied, but equally valid and important groups of performers is always a ‘buzz’ which never diminishes.
In addition to curricular work, the range of performance work in the school from Junior Shows through to Murder Mystery evenings demonstrates enthusiasm and ability that I feel it is important to constantly tap and channel. I am proud to be a part of such a highly committed and talented group of staff at QM and feel that in Drama, we play an important role in creating a rich educational experience for all of our students.