Drama and Theatre Studies
Drama is taught to all girls in Years 7 to 9. It is then an option at both GCSE and A Level.
In Year 7, the girls learn basic drama skills such as mime and improvisation, and work on radio plays, musical theatre, and Shakespeare.
In Year 8, they experience a range of theatrical styles and methods, from the ancient Greeks to commedia dell’ arte. They go on a day trip to the Globe theatre, which includes a tour and workshops. Every girl also participates in performances of condensed Shakespeare plays that are presented to parents as part of the Year 8 parents meetings.
In Year 9, the girls learn about dramatic genres such as forum theatre, farce, musical theatre, and physical theatre. They use political theatre to look at issues such as the suffragettes and homelessness. They also try their hand at script-writing.
At GCSE, pupils follow the Eduqas Drama course, which contains a significant practical element. The girls put on their own devised pieces as well as performances from text, which are chosen by the girls in consultation with the department. Recent choices have included Di and Viv and Rose, The Wasp and Shakers. Trips to live performances are a regular part of the course, and girls normally see eight or more plays during the two years, in addition to seeing performances through the NT Archive and Digital Theatre. There are also regular workshops with professional practitioners.
At A Level, pupils follow the Eduqas Theatre Studies course, which again highlights the practical side of the subject while maintaining intellectual rigour and a sense of academic enquiry. The course includes the chance to re-imagine a text for performance, and opportunities to study classics of theatre literature such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hedda Gabler alongside more modern works such a Chimerica and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The girls are required to watch as much live theatre as possible, so there are regular trips to see some of the many exciting theatre productions available both locally and in London.
Beyond the classroom
The department regularly takes girls to see live theatre. GCSE and A Level girls have recently enjoyed trips to see Hadestown at the National Theatre, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at the Piccadilly Theatre, Twelfth Night at the Young Vic, and All My Sons at the Old Vic. Trips for lower school girls have included Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre and Wicked at the Apollo.
The department also runs a bi-annual trip to New York City to visit Broadway. On the 2019 trip, the girls saw several plays, including Sam Shephard’s True West and Disney’s Frozen, as well as visiting a number of culturally important American landmarks and taking part in theatrical workshops with Broadway performers.
Girls can opt to take Extra Drama, which leads to the Trinity Guildhall examinations and beyond. Extra Drama pupils in Years 7 to 9 put on a showcase of their Shakespeare work every year in the Rose Theatre, while the Year 10 girls perform contemporary pieces.
There are plenty of opportunities for girls to perform on stage. In the 2018-19 academic year, the department have put on Antigone, Out of Love, The Blue Electric Wind, The House of Bernarda Alba, Second Person Narrative and Little Women. Every year the Drama Captain directs a play of her own choosing, which this year was Out of Love. Year 8 drama teachers produce a reduced Shakespeare performance, and the Extra Drama pupils perform monologues and duologues in An Evening with the Bard. There is also an annual House drama festival, the entries for which are directed by the Sixth Form Drama Captains, and the pupil-led open platform A New Narrative, in which girls can perform new and original material in a relaxed studio environment.