Drama plays a significant and valuable role at Orley Farm, both as a curriculum subject and as an exciting extra-curricular opportunity, and benefits from excellent facilities. Lessons are taught by a specialist teacher in a purpose-built drama studio equipped with mirrors and stage lighting. The school hall hosts a large stage and tiered seating for the use of school concerts and productions.
Methods of Teaching
The department aims to structure every lesson to include activities and teaching styles which will appeal to visual, kinaesthetic and auditory learners.
Examples to aid VISUAL LEARNERS:
Colourful power-point presentation including the lesson objectives and visual images will accompany every lesson in each topic.
Teacher and pupil physical demonstration of performance skills
Examples to aid KINAESTHETIC LEARNERS
Drama games to enhance concentration, cooperation and communication
Drama techniques such as hot-seating, role play and improvisation used to explore characters and themes
Examples to aid AUDITORY LEARNERS
Lessons begin with a discussion about previous learning and a clear explanation of the learning objectives
Head of Drama
The department aims to create an encouraging and inclusive environment for study in which pupils can develop self-confidence, trust and the ability to work collaboratively. The curriculum is structured to enhance performance and evaluation skills so that pupils can apply them to the practical exploration of literature, plays and poetry.
Use language and body to imagine and recreate roles, stories and experiences
Explore familiar themes and characters through improvisation and role-play
Act out their own and well-known stories, using voices for characters
Discuss why they like a performance
Adopt appropriate roles, individually and in small or large groups
Present parts of traditional stories, their own stories or work drawn from different parts of the curriculum for other members of their class
Middle School pupils have 1 lesson of drama each week. Lessons are focused on developing characters, group work skills and gaining confidence in performance and public speaking.
Present events and characters through dialogue to engage the interest of an audience
Use drama strategies to explore stories or issues
Identify and discuss qualities of others’ performances
Create new characters and present them in group performances
Develop scenes based on improvisation
Comment constructively on other’s performances, identifying facial expressions, body language, actions and gesture
Develop performance and evaluation skills
Explore the process by which an actor inhabits a new character
Explore the art of effective storytelling
Create and sustain a role during performance
Year 6 pupils have one drama lesson per week, Years 7 and 8 have 1 Drama lesson every week, every alternate half term. Lessons are focused on developing performance and evaluation skills, practical exploration of play texts, poetry and topical issues, whilst gaining
Darkwood Manor, Character Magic, Forum Theatre (issue-based drama), Voice & Poetry (preparation for verse-speaking competition in the summer term), Working with Text (Oliver Twist)
Improvisation (spontaneous & rehearsed), Mime & Movement, Voice & Poetry (preparation for verse-speaking competition in March), Characterization, The Importance of Being Earnest.
Blood Brothers, Physical Theatre, Choral Speaking, Narrative Poetry (preparation for Year 8 Narrative Poetry Competition in March), Working with Scripts, Media.
All year 3 & 4 pupils take part in an annual joint year group production organised and directed by the Drama and Music department. Every pupil in Year 5 will take part in the annual Year 5 Showcase performance in which they demonstrate scenes rehersed in their drama lessons. Upper School pupils are offered the opportunity to audition in January for the Upper School production which takes place annually in the Summer term.
Recent Upper School productions include ‘The Wind in the Willows’ , ‘The Railway Children’ and ‘The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe’ & ‘Peter Pan’.
Cross Curricular Links
There are many opportunities for cross curricular projects, particularly with English – Drama enhances speaking and listening skills and provides an opportunity to approach text, and explore characters and themes in a practical manner. The drama department also organizes an annual visit form the Young Shakespeare Company in which all pupils in year 6 are introduced to Shakespeare through an interactive an accessible workshop. This enhances their understanding and appreciation of Shakespearian text, characters and themes which will be further explored in their English lessons.
Furthermore, drama also has important cross-curricular links with the subject PSHE – all pupils from Reception to year 8 are encouraged to work in mixed sex, ability and cultural groups aiding positive inclusion amongst the pupils. Drama lessons can also provide a forum in which pupils can express their thoughts, feelings and opinions in a disciplined, organized and inclusive environment.