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Drama from Years 7-13 at The Langton builds a range of vital life skills, notably; confidence, creativity and cooperation. These are learnt through practical Drama exercises and the study of professional theatre productions. Lessons focus on developing individual confidence and group communication skills, sharing creativity, broadening imagination and practising self-reflection. In KS3 every boy has a weekly lesson of Drama in small classes which cover scripted narrative work from Beowulf and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Improvisations, physical theatre training and mask work all explore non-verbal communication, help to build trust and cooperation and develop a wider cultural understanding of current theatre styles.

Trips to The Globe Theatre and The National Theatre in London, as well as to smaller London venues are a regular part of the Drama experience to support the curriculum and as extra-curricular enrichment. We organise after school visits to The Marlowe and Gulbenkian Theatres in Canterbury several times a year and our students perform at The Gulbenkian Theatre as part of the annual Shakespeare Schools’ Festival. Visiting theatre companies, academic researchers and expert practitioners deliver specialist workshops at The Langton to GCSE and A level pupils to extend their knowledge and learning beyond the examination syllabus, and this helps students to produce work of the highest standard.

Drama GCSE is an exciting and enjoyable course which gives students a practical and theoretical grounding in the dramatic arts of British and European culture. Students work creatively through practical and academic tasks exploring devising processes, play texts and theatre history. Students comment on increased levels of self-confidence and the new friendships they make in what is a group-based subject where developing communication skills is a central focus. Lessons and performances take place in the well-equipped Drama Studio (A1) and in our new rehearsal space The Box. Parents are invited to join the class to make an audience for the assessed projects which take place after school hours in A1.

The course is designed as a series of performance projects giving ample opportunity to develop drama skills in acting and technical production. Projects include scripted duologues, a devised Christmas Pantomime for a year 7 audience and small group performances of larger set text extracts. Devising theatre alternates with text-based drama projects. Each project includes written tasks during the process and after performance when the students evaluate their own work.

Devising describes a variety of methods which students use to make their own theatre. This includes script-writing and improvisation. There is freedom within the course for students to choose the themes they explore and the plays they stage with close guidance from staff.

Teaching methods include a combination of individual and group based activities which involve collaboration with other classmates. Performance is a significant part of the course and students may choose to develop their skills as actors or opt for a technical option such as lighting, set, costume, puppet or sound design.

Drama is taught at KS3 for one hour a week in our specialised and well equipped teaching spaces A1, The Studio and C2, The Box. Students can opt to take the GCSE Drama course and later, A-Level Drama and Theatre Studies is available to all students on entry to the sixth form. The department has three teaching staff members, Miss A Taylor, Mrs F Humphreys and Mrs K Strickland.

Drama at KS3

The KS3 course is a practical and physically active experience for students focusing on creativity, collaborative skills and developing the imagination. Students explore contemporary themes, theatre history, learn how to structure narratives and create characters for presentation to an audience. Each unit offers performance and review opportunities, developing evaluation and presentation skills. Technical theatre is a part of the Ks3 course including lighting, costume, sound and set design.

DRAMA CLUBS: Complementing the KS3 course are the three drama clubs for year 7, 8 and 9. They take place at lunchtimes. The clubs offer student the opportunity to make new friends and produce a play for performance to which family are invited.

LAMDA: We have LAMDA Public Speaking and Acting courses run by Mrs Andrea Dengate during lunchtimes. These sessions are delivered in groups and there is a cost for joining this programme.

The LANGTON YOUTH THEATRE runs on a Monday evening after school in A1 led by Mrs Strickland and Mrs Humphries and is open to students from year 8 to 12. This year the student will again be taking part in the National Connections Project, which will culminate in a performance at the Gulbenkian Theatre.

In year 7, to reflect our emphasis on group skills and developing self-confidence, assessment is on Collaboration Skills only. All other years use the levels 1 – 9 in addition to collaboration grades.

Drama at KS4

Drama GCSE is an exciting, challenging and enjoyable course, which gives students a practical and theoretical grounding in the dramatic arts. Students explore creatively devising processes, play texts, professional theatre and theatre history. There is equal emphasis on design skills and acting skills, although students specialise in performing or theatre design in practical examination units, with theatre lighting, set, sound, costume and puppetry available as design options. Our students comment on increased levels of self-confidence and new friendships made in what is a group-based subject. Developing communication skills is a central focus of the GCSE. The course complements English GCSE particularly well with the study of Elizabethan and Modern Drama as well as our focus on presentation skills.

Lessons and performances take place in the well-equipped Drama Studio (A1), in our rehearsal space, The Box and in our outside drama spaces, the Amphitheatre and the Woodland Classroom.

GCSE Drama aims to meets the needs of a variety of students:

  • those who enjoy Drama and have shown a commitment to the subject in KS3.
  • those who wish to take up careers for which a Drama background is relevant.
  • those who specifically wish to develop their confidence.

The course is delivered as a series of performance projects giving ample opportunity to develop drama skills in acting and technical production. Projects include contemporary drama – scripted duologues, a devised Christmas pantomime for a Year 7 audience, and performances of the set text (Blood Brothers or The Crucible) in a larger group. Devising theatre projects alternates with text-based drama. Each project includes analysis and evaluation tasks during the making process and after performance when the students evaluate their work.

Devising describes a variety of methods which students use to make their own original drama. This includes script-writing and improvisation. There is freedom within the course for students to choose the themes they explore and the plays they stage with guidance from staff.

Theatre visits are arranged to local and London theatre venues to develop theatre review skills as well as the use of pre-recorded professional productions. This year we visited the National Theatre to see The Crucible by Arthur Miller and take a back-stage tour. We do have to ask parents to contribute towards the costs of theatre tickets and transport. Financial support is available where applicable. Theatre visits often take place after normal school hours.

Homework includes research, presentations preparation, essays, reading and line-learning tasks, as well as lunchtime and after-school rehearsals in groups. Excellent attendance to class and commitment to group work is essential. Frequent absence disrupts practical group work.

Drama GCSE is divided into three components:

Component one: Understanding drama. Written paper (1h 45m) [40% of the GCSE]. One set text and one live theatre review.

Component two: Devising Drama Devised theatre performance [10%] and written devising log [30%] marked by the teacher and moderated by AQA. Family and friends are invited for the performance.

Component three: Text in practice Performances of Extract 1 [10%] and Extract 2 [10%] from the same play. Marked by AQA visiting examiner in the Spring term of Year 11. Family and friends are invited to create the audience.

Professional Theatre Workshops with local experts

Drama at the Langton is proud to have links with local theatres, drama practitioners and research academics. When possible we host drama professionals in lessons to provide expert workshops in a range of drama skills from acting and stage combat to lighting and puppetry.

After GCSE Drama?

This course develops creative thinking and communication skills, personal confidence and presentation skills, all invaluable and transferable skills. GCSE Drama is an excellent foundation for A Level Drama and Theatre Studies, a recognised subject for university applications. Each year a number of students use GCSE Drama in their Drama degree applications.

Drama and Theatre Studies at KS5

Drama and Theatre A Level combines academic study with practical workshops, live theatre visits and performances. The subject content is divided into three assessed components and students study both performing and designing for theatre. Design options include lighting, sound, set, costume, puppet design, and direction.

1: Drama and theatre: Written paper 3 hrs open book, 80 marks, 40% A level

Section A: one question on set text one (25 marks)

Section B: one questions on given extract from set text two (30 marks)

Section C: one question analysing a single live / recorded professional theatre piece (25 marks)

2: Creating original drama: Working notebook (40 marks) and practical performance (20 marks) 30% A Level

Students may contribute as a performer, designer or director. The devised piece must be influenced by the work and methodology of one prescribed theatre practitioner.

3: Making theatre: Reflective report (20 marks) and performance of one extract (40 marks) 30% A level

Practical exploration and interpretation of three extracts each taken from a different play. Methodology of prescribed practitioner must be applied to Extract 3 which is performed as a final assessed piece. Students may contribute as a performer, designer or director.

Reflective report analysing and evaluating theatrical interpretations of all three extracts.

Performance opportunities are scheduled throughout the year to enable students to develop technical and acting skills. The department produces a yearly school play based on material related to the course. Last year the students presented Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth to family and friends staged in our on-site woodland teaching area.

Our current texts are: Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth, The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht; Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker (1988); The Seagull by Anton Chekhov and a guided choice of late 20th century and 21st theatre scripts for the student-directed Texts in Practice unit.

Studying Drama and Theatre requires students to collaborate effectively in groups, develop self-awareness, exercise their creativity and develop communication and presentation skills. High levels of engagement, self-motivation and reliability are central to success in this subject. Students are required to research the context of texts studied including those which are seen for professional theatre analysis. We work in A1, a purpose-built studio and The Box, an adapted classroom which students can book for rehearsals during study periods and after school. We have three outdoor venues, the Woodland Classroom, the Amphitheatre and The Tent.

Drama and Theatre Studies offers opportunities to develop knowledge of the theatre arts, essay writing skills and self-confidence. The course is ideal for students looking to study at University or Drama School and for those wishing to build a career in the Arts Industries. Drama and Theatre combines well with English, History, Art and Music, while some students opt for the Year 12 course as a contrast to their other learning environments. We offer the AS course within the A level for students who are required to take certain subjects for career choices such as Medicine but wish to continue to study drama. It is not essential to have studied GCSE Drama to take A Level Drama and Theatre.