Drama at Wildern is a thriving, engaging and creative subject with academic rigour at its core. Our team of well-qualified and experienced teachers believe strongly in an ethos of positivity and nurture, which enables students to develop the practical and analytical skills they need in order to fulfil their potential in the subject. We aim to provide a stimulating and safe environment in which pupils can develop an awareness of, and sensitivity to, the world in which they live, while also learning about the three key strands of drama: making; performing; and responding.
The Key Stage 3 curriculum focuses on practically exploring a range of theatre skills and genres, with the aim of building confidence and developing performance skills. Students work from scripts and text extracts, as well as creating devised work. Time is always allocated to analysing and evaluating the practical work, which is then consolidated through half-termly homework tasks.
Students who go on to study the subject at Key Stage 4 follow the OCR examination board syllabus, which enables pupils to specialise in either performance or designing for theatrical performances. Pupils complete controlled assessment units entitled ‘Devising Drama' and 'Presenting and Performing Text' in years 10 and 11, and sit a final written examination based on a set text and a live theatre performance during the summer term examination period. Lessons at Key Stage 4 are a mixture of practical work and theoretical study. We are very proud of our GCSE achievement record. In 2017 pupils secured an 89% A*-C pass-rate, a result which is consistent with previous attainment in the subject.
Wildern has two purpose-built drama auditoriums which are equipped with sound, lighting and blackout facilities. There is a further drama space in Block 6, which is also comparably resourced. There is a range of masks, costumes and props, plus a library of suitable play scripts representing a variety of styles and genres, and a DVD library which provides examples of GCSE practical work. The auditoriums have rostra blocks and lightweight staging for creating different levels and environments, as well as 'bookend' flats for more stylised work. Music and sound effects can be achieved using our sound system in both auditoriums, and we also have access to a recording studio and digital media suite, which is available for more specialised sound requirements.
The department prides itself on its extra-curricular provision, and we are constantly seeking ways in which to enrich our curriculum. There is a weekly Key Stage 3 drama club, where students have time to develop their performance skills and broaden their understanding of different genres and theatre styles. Each term, pupils are given the opportunity to perform their work in front of friends and teachers at Lunch Box Theatre presentations. A selection of the drama club’s best work is then presented to an invited audience at a showcase evening in the summer term. For our older year groups, there is the option to participate in LAMDA acting examinations (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art). These world-renowned performance qualifications are designed to inspire the next generation of confident communicators through their examinations in drama, literature and poetry.
Our Key Stage 4 students regularly work with external-providers to offer enrichment experiences and further insight into the industry and post-16 opportunities. During the academic year, pupils work alongside professional practitioners, to enhance and refine their performance skills and attend careers fairs at local theatres. Previous collaborations have included projects and workshops with The Berry Theatre, Shakespeare’s Schools Festival, The University of Winchester and The National Youth Theatre. Additionally, we aim to provide at least one theatre trip annually for each year group, and regularly visit The Berry Theatre, The Mayflower Theatre, and The Nuffield Theatre, as well as running trips to The West End in London.
Every year the department stage a musical in The Berry Theatre, which is a highlight in the school calendar. Recent performances have included 'Oliver' (2014), 'Joseph and The Amazing Technicolored Dream Coat' (2015), 'Annie' (2016), and 'My Fair Lady' (2017). The production allows students to excel in a variety of areas, whether it is as an actor or dancer, a musician in the orchestra, part of the stage crew or in a front of house role. Our shows are always a wonderful opportunity for students across all year groups to work creatively alongside each other.