Drama is taught across the School at Queen Elizabeth’s, being an integral part of the curriculum at Key Stage Three and an option choice for students in Key Stage Four.
Lessons in Years 7 and 8 take place mainly in the purpose built Drama studio but also in the main Hall and newly built Theatre. All GCSE students have full use of a Drama studio and Theatre where they are able to use the lighting and sound systems to create their performances.
Key Stage 3
All students in key stage 3 have one drama lesson per week. In year 7, students develop their knowledge about different styles of theatre, such as naturalism, melodrama and mime, as well as building transferable skills such as confidence and teamwork. These transferable skills are embedded in every lesson which places importance on encouraging every student to stand up and perform, showing respect for watching and listening to others, building confidence to put forward their own ideas and develop their imagination and creativity.
In year 8, students use their knowledge and skills built in year 7 combined with theatrical techniques such as split screen, tableaux and multifunctional props, to create insightful pieces which continue to develop their creativity and skill set in preparation for their further studies, and indeed life.
GCSE Drama is an option choice for students entering Key Stage Four. The students undertake a number of practical performance tasks as coursework alongside responding to scripted texts. Students are also provided with the opportunity to branch out into studying more technical skills, such as lighting, sound and stage design, as well as costume, hair and makeup should they choose.
The course also encourages students to work with a number of play texts, both in performance and as study for examination. Students have the opportunity to attend regular theatre visits, both in local theatres and in the West End. Students are also encouraged to become involved in the School Productions that are staged every year, either in a performing role or in helping with backstage tasks.
At Queen Elizabeth's we have a very active Drama department, producing at least one main school production every academic year. Our school productions range from a variety of popular musicals to plays. In the past we have put on full school productions of popular musicals such as ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’, ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘Grease’ alongside plays 'The Grimm's Tales' and 'Alice in Wonderland'. In previous years we constructed a huge tent in the main school hall to create Narnia in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. Audiences were immersed as they walked through a wardrobe where our students created the world of Narnia.
Upon the opening of our brand new Theatre we had a 60-student-strong, full school production of 'Les Miserables', for which we double cast the main roles for four fantastic performances of theatre.
We have also put on variety shows of singing, dancing and music, titled ‘Queen Elizabeth’s does…’. These shows range from ‘QE Does Broadway’ and to ‘QE Does Disney’, with recent productions such as ‘QE Does Motown’ and ‘QE Does Christmas’ being performed at the local University Arts Centre. The Gulbenkian Theatre seats 300 audience members with professional lighting and sound. These productions have been favourites with our students, in particular because the whole show is run by the students, from running backstage, controlling the microphones, operating the lighting and sound as well as being able to perform in the show.
Our school productions are open to all students who want to be on stage or behind the scenes. The ethos of our productions is that everyone can be involved, mixing with older students as well as being fundamental in organising the shows. Many students, who have not studied GCSE Drama, have been involved in the running of the shows and many have gone onto stage school in pursuit of careers in stage management and lighting design. Being a part of a student run production and performing in a professional theatre, gives students a rich insight into working in the industry, builds self-confidence and creates strong friendships across all years.