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St Francis Xavier


Drama at St Francis Xavier School offers pupils a way to express themselves creatively through a range of different performance conventions.
Pupils will grow in confidence by regular performance opportunities and will collaborate to craft and devise their own dramatic pieces. Through practical exploration, they will enhance their ability at public speaking and will practise the techniques of effective communication. We hope that all pupils will enjoy the practical nature of the subject and will gain an appreciation for and love of the art of drama.

The Key Stage 3 curriculum will provide pupils with knowledge of different dramatists and performance styles. They will be introduced to a range of theatrical genres and will have the opportunity to perform a diverse range of texts, from Berkoff to Shakespeare. Pupils will explore drama practically through rehearsal and performance. They will work in groups to devise their own productions, putting into practice the conventions and styles they have studied. Pupils will learn to reflect on their abilities in order to enhance their individual future performances and will also be required to offer useful and detailed feedback to their peers.

Pupils will have the opportunity to watch live performances and will enhance their skills at evaluating and analysing directorial choices. We are passionate about all children having access to theatre and our aim is to introduce this cultural experience to pupils where possible.

In line with our Christian ethos, pupils will be encouraged to consider moral and ethical issues through the drama they study and will explore historical and cultural contexts as stimuli for improvisation.

At Key Stage Four, pupils will hone their skills from earlier learning to understand a range of dramatic conventions and genres including naturalism, epic theatre, physical theatre, Commedia dell’arte and Theatre of the Absurd. Pupils will study a range of practitioners and will explore a set text through practical and theoretical lessons. They will analyse and evaluate several live and recorded performances and will become confident at critiquing drama. Working as a team, pupils will devise their own performances and will hone their acting and directorial skills in order to perform two extracts from produced plays, which will be externally assessed.

The overarching ambition for all students of Drama is that they will gain the confidence to pursue their own ideas, become reflective practitioners and great communicators, whilst enjoying a deeper understanding of the intricacies of dramatic performance. We hope that some pupils will pursue a career in drama after leaving SFX, but we can be sure that all pupils will be equipped with transferable skills, applicable both in further studies and in the workplace as a result of the drama lessons enjoyed at school.

Curriculum Team

Claire Smith – Curriculum Lead and English Teacher
Katie Zissler – Head of PE (Girls) and Drama Teacher
Gemma Gardner – Geography and Drama Teacher
Helena Langford – English and Drama Teacher, Subject Lead in Media Studies
Emma Bowman – KS4 Director of Learning, History and Drama Teacher
Helen Holyome – RE, English and Drama Teacher

Key stage 3 topics

Year 7:

Students are taught one lesson per fortnight.

Introduction to Drama: drama through the ages and key practitioners, Physical Theatre, Performance of an extract, Devising, Performance of a play

Year 8:

Students are taught one lesson per fortnight.

Devising, Commedia dell’ arte, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, analysis of live performance.

Key stage 4 topics

Students are taught 5 lessons per fortnight. Due to the nature of drama, pupils will be required to rehearse outside of timetabled lessons.

GCSE Skills:

Physical and Vocal performance skills

Analysis and Evaluation skills

Understanding of drama and dramatic conventions

Public Speaking

GCSE Topics:

Understanding Drama, the role of theatre makers, types of staging, Naturalism, Epic Theatre, Physical Theatre, Melodrama, Theatre of the Absurd, Study of Set Text: The Crucible, Devising, Performance of two extracts.

GCSE assessment

Component One: The written exam (40%) 1hr 45mins. Pupils will be tested on their knowledge of drama, the analysis of their set text and an analysis and evaluation of a live performance.

Component Two: Devising (40%). Pupils will be required to work in groups to devise their own performance based on a stimulus. They will be marked on their devised performance (20 marks) and their written devising log (60 marks)

Component Three: Performance of two extracts (20%). Pupils will be externally assessed on their performance of two extracts from a play.

Wider curriculum

In addition to the timetabled lessons the Drama department enhances the curriculum through the following clubs and activities:

Drama Club

Dance Club

We work with the Music department to produce a full-scale musical every two years as well as taking part in several performances throughout the school year.

We often assist the Chaplaincy team with school services and special events.