The Plympton Academy Drama department is committed to providing students of all ages and abilities with the opportunity to develop and value their creative skills. We believe that, as a school, we have a responsibility to give students the skills that will help them, not only in lessons, but throughout every aspect of their lives. Every lesson in Drama encourages students to collaborate, to work as a team and to understand that we can achieve our best only with the support and dedication of those around us. Students develop the ability to listen and adapt to the ideas of others, to lead by example and to encourage the less able. They are constantly challenged to find new and interesting ways of solving problems in the most creative way possible; indeed, creativity is at the very heart of what we do. Our greatest strength as a species is our ability to adapt, to innovate, to create, and this essential part of what makes us human is constantly being stretched in Drama. Students also develop the confidence necessary to perform at their best under pressure, a skill that is just as applicable to a job interview, or presentation as it is to an actor on stage.
At Key Stage 3 we focus on giving students the skills they need to express themselves creatively in Drama, whether that be creating a character, performing a safe, highly choreographed, dynamic, stage fight, or exploring how to adapt Shakespeare to make it accessible to a modern audience. Projects can take one term or two depending on the class and the stimulus, and we believe one of key strengths is our ability to be flexible with the curriculum in order to give students the time they need to fully develop their skills.
Students who take GCSE Drama at Key Stage 4 are given increasing freedom to develop and explore work that fits their interests, playing to their strengths while also being constantly motivated to try new things, to learn new styles and to settle for nothing but the very best. Each project is based on a stimulus or style, but, where the work goes from there is very much up to the students themselves. As teachers, we are there to guide not dictate and this approach has been increasingly successful with results consistently being above the national average. Recently around 95% of our Drama students achieved a C or above and we are determined to maintain this exceptional standard.
Key Stage 5 requires students to take a more analytical approach to their work and the work of influential practitioners of the past and present. Students study three play texts during the A Level Theatre Studies course, as well as taking part in two major performance projects, one based on a scripted extract of their choice and the other completely devised by the students themselves. We also organise numerous opportunities to visit the theatre in order for students to further expand their experience.
“Drama is one of those subjects where literally, anything goes. You’re free to be who you are, your ideas and creative thoughts are brought to life…”
The subject has helped me choose my path in life and I feel the skills that I have gained could help me achieve in almost any career choice…”
“Coming to Plympton Academy to do Drama at A level was the best decision I ever made. The teachers are incredibly creative and inspiring…”
“The staff here are inspirational and have a unique vision that gives students an insight into how much hard work it actually takes to put on a successful performance…”
“The Plympton Academy Drama department has enriched my life by creating an environment that encourages confidence and provides an area for us to express our talents…”
Available Extra Curricular Activities
Our department runs a vibrant and continuous extra-curricular program. We begin in September with the school musical, which, for the last three years, has been written entirely by the music and drama department. Last year’s musical, based on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was a massive success, featuring over 70 students performing on stage and in the band. We then begin preparing for the summer performance festival which typically involves a selection of short plays and musical performances. We are inclusive and any student who wants to get involved is always extremely welcome, whatever their previous experience.
Students begin with an introductory scheme designed to encourage the necessary collaborative skills needed to produce good Drama work. They are asked to create a performance piece that showcases a number of different movement skills, including mirroring and canon: more talented students will begin to explore lifting each other safely and experimenting with more dynamic, athletic movement styles. The focus then shifts to creating characters through physical archetypes, we look at comedy, particularly sight gags, timing and sharing the joke with the audience. Our third project asks students to adapt and perform a piece of script from the play “Waiting for Godot.” Finally, we look at physical theatre as a style. Students must create a haunted house, using only themselves as props and objects in the house. We also explore the use of tension and atmosphere.
The year 8 curriculum is designed to develop the skills and knowledge gained from year 7. We begin by looking at a piece of text from the Raymond Briggs book “The Man.” We also introduce the complex skill of translocation as a way of effectively dealing with the extreme height difference between the two characters, a teenage boy, and the six-inch-tall man who invades his house and takes over his life. We then begin to ask students to demonstrate they can use their skills independently by creating their own unique version of the Pandora’s Box myth. This feeds into our final project where we explore Hamlet by William Shakespeare. We spend considerable time looking at the story and adapting it. We focus on maintaining the emotional core of the story, while using modern language to make it more accessible. More able students, however, often enjoy finding creative ways of using extracts from the original text in their work.
In year 9 we begin with a scripted extract from the play “Our Day Out” and we encourage students to really try and express the pain and loneliness of the main character, Carol, in their performance. Students often produce work that is both mature and powerful. We then look at putting that character into another situation created by the students themselves. They write, direct and perform their own extract, and once again the level of work students produce is exceptional. Our next project is based around MacBeth. Once again we look at ways of making Shakespeare accessible and fun without comprising what makes his work so interesting and timeless. We have recently begun running this project in conjunction with the Music Department, so students end up performing their work to a soundtrack they have created themselves. This serves as a perfect introduction to the GCSE Expressive Arts course.
Year 10 and 11
Description of the Course
This course offers students opportunities to develop their existing interests, and to develop new creative and performance skills.
This subject encourages you to play to your strengths as a creative performer: you can choose to work as an actor, a singer, or a dancer. You will have opportunities to make different kinds of piece: you might be creating a piece of film; you could be contributing as a writer, or a composer. Whichever way you work, you will take an idea and bring it to life.
The course will consist of a series of practical projects which are based on different areas of study. For each project, students will work in groups and offer work in two of the art forms above for assessment. Each student will be able to play to their individual strengths in the selection of the art forms for which they are being assessed: there will be no requirement to work outside one’s comfort zone.
Students who bring not only existing skills in performance, but also willingness to experiment with new ideas and new ways of working, and a zest for collaborating with others, will be in a good position to enjoy success on this course.
You may choose to continue your studies at post-16 in a number of ways:
- A-level Drama and Theatre Studies
- A-level Media Studies
Meet The Staff
- Ms J Crook – Head Of Performing Arts
- Ms N Clapson – Teacher of Music
- Ms S Thomas – Lead Practitioner of Dance
- Mr A Faro – Performing Arts Technician
Britain has a thriving and growing creative arts industry and drama is perfect stepping stone into employment in the area. Furthermore, the skill set built up by Drama students makes them ideally placed for future employment. Drama students are flexible, team orientated, confident and most of all creative. Many of our A’ level students continue their studies at degree level.