Drama at Tabor is a successful subject at Key Stages Three and Four and is looking forward to soon delivering A Level Drama. Expectations are high and challenges set to reach the best possible quality of work. This is enhanced by having an experienced examiner as Head of Drama and new dynamic staff who encourage challenge and creativity in all classes taught.

Tabor Academy, aims to provide a drama experience for every pupil at KS3 and for students who select to study drama at KS4. We provide information from a sound foundation based on the theories of dramatists around the world and upon the experience of the staff who teach within the department.

drama1In Drama we Aim to:

Provide a wide curriculum which challenges pupil as well as providing an environment where pupils learn through their experiences. We set out to make these experiences as interesting as possible where learning becomes fun! We make sure that pupils of all academic levels contribute where they can and to the best of their ability. Pupils of all abilities thrive in the practical curriculum and generally do well at all levels.

Students are encouraged by staff to build on their skills and to follow their own progress through a peer and self-assessment system. Progress is recorded and students’ work regularly reviewed and assessed by teachers.

Drama 3

Students are also encouraged to set targets based on assessment completed in lessons. This might be through evaluative assessment done in the classroom or through the data assessment entries made throughout the year where pupils’ progress is regularly monitored.

Each pupil interacts with others and the teacher through educational practical workshops. These workshops are made up of the following:

  • Games to stimulate the controls and sense of rules;
  • Warm ups which link with the main learning objectives and unit of work being studied on the current schemes;
  • A unit of work based around a given theme or specific performance skills;
  • Assessment of work through constant peer, self and teacher assessment against national grades.
  • The study of different theorists and how they have influenced drama over time and to the present day.

From this students are invited to take part in Performing Arts Evenings and Preview Evenings displaying prepared examination work to Parents, Teachers and Governors.

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The Drama Department has developed a good relationship with local feeder junior schools. Every year we work towards building group dynamics by producing a performance for the schools. This is usually a Christmas pantomime and is always a fun performance for all in Foundation, KS1 and 2- as well as the Tabor performers of course!

The annual Performing Arts evening is a high point in the Drama calendar.  Year 10 planned and delivered a stunning performance for Performing Arts Evening this year.  It was inspired by a theatre visit to London and was based around Physical Theatre and work by Frantic Assembly. This group also recently sat their Unit 2 Drama Exploration of a Script examination where they all did extremely well.  Performing their work to a wider audience helped develop the confidence of this talented group of students.

Drama club has encouraged all year groups to produce small performances.  A number of these were included in the Performing Arts Evening. Plans for a Drama Evening are underway and a talent contest (‘Tabor’s Got Talent’) is pencilled in for the new school year. The Drama department will also be working towards its dramatic contribution for the Remembrance Day assembly in November, a major event on the school and community calendar.   This is a chance for students to produce work where they can be thoughtful and respectful in their interpretations of events from the past. This year we will be producing a tribute to those who were involved in The Battle of the Somme.

Watch this space as we plan for bigger and better drama events in the months to come.

KS3 Drama

Different styles of drama are taught at different levels introducing a wide range of genres throughout KS3.

Throughout KS3 Drama pupils work on developing basic performance skills and look at different techniques and mediums of drama. Once these skills are developed Drama can be a world of imagination and adventure. We would like all pupils to enjoy drama and to develop it further as well as simply have a rewarding experience doing it.

On this course pupils explore areas new to them: they explore different genres such as mask making, where they can work on their own masks and create stories around them. They can look into other mediums of drama and use costume, make up and work on scenery, lighting and making props. They will devise their own drama performances around these mediums. Skills studied in Year 8 will be explored in a richer and more comprehensive way. In Year 9 the skills are developed with more maturity and sincerity. All this will build levels and skills to a higher level with a view to reaching GCSE level earlier and before the main course starts.

Pupils will work in groups on small projects and gain their inspiration from watching different styles, or work used in the theatre, in other schools at examination level and television. They will be inspired by different stimuli, such as poetry, photographs, songs, sound effects etc. They experiment with ideas and combine different elements together with the guidance of their teacher.

GCSE Drama

Drama 5The KS3 course will lead nicely into GCSE Drama which looks at working from a stimuli, script based work, evaluating a live performance and performing as part of the coursework, leading to a final written exam based on drama text and a live theatre visit. The course will include many areas of the program of study for GCSE and will shape its participants for a smooth transition onto the examination process.

The GCSE course will now work towards the new specification where there will be a final written end of course exam. The course starts with a complete program of devising work which will be internally assessed. Students will develop and build a performance using different forms of stimuli as a base to create the drama. They will develop a complete log book project on paper written around the development of the piece. This can include the use of multimedia and more modern approaches to developing coursework.

The second area of the specification is development of two piece of script from the same text to develop and perform to a live visiting moderator. This can be in the shape of a monologue, duologue or in groups. This prepared and presented to an examiner in Term two in Yr 11.

The final piece is a visit to a live theatre performance and the study of a complete script from page to stage. This will then be tested in a final written examination in the May/June examination series of the final year of the course. Throughout the course the study of the script will take place as part of the practice for Component two in Yr 10 in order to gain an early understanding of the script we will use for the focus of our study. Students will be exposed to it early and will know it extremely well by the time the written examination arrives.

Drama 6There will be visits arranged to local and Westend Theatres in preparation for the written examination and coursework. Parents need to know that these visits are part of the course and are essential in preparation for the final examination, as they are actually involved in the exam as one of the questions on the paper. These visits will include workshops and back stage visits and are a compulsory part of the course.

There will be the inclusion of a possible A level course for next year with the inclusion of outside agencies coming into school. We have developed a very good relationship with professional actors who will come into school to work with examination groups. They have been in the Westend and are either past students of Tabor who have made a career in performance or professional actors we have worked with over the years. We are very lucky to have developed these relationships. Within the technical world of theatre we also have past students who have attended RADA and Durham University who return to us to teach technical theatre which is an essential part of the new GCSE specification for this next year.

Facilities

  • There is a fully resourced Drama Room, which doubles up as the school stage.
  • There is a portable sound system, which allows you to mix music as well as provide a full microphone system.
  • We have a full media range of music and sound effects using the Spot On program.
  • We have a fully resourced lighting rig and programmable digital lighting board.
  • We also have various costumes and props and a scenery bay.

Career Aspiration

As mentioned above we have had a lot of success with many of our students going on to study Performing Arts and Theatre Studies at A level, which we are hoping to start in September 2017. There are so many areas of development with the Arts not only after the school experience, but even while studying in school. Braintree has a several Arts programs for children of all ages and local dramatic and choral societies. These are a very good basis for any students who want to develop this further when older.

However when school ends there are thousands of career pathways in the industry. Locally Universities offer different courses from Performing Arts to Film Production. Students can combine their studies with music and dance and go on to study in London at colleges such as Goldsmiths, RADA, East15 and there is now a degree course a BA in Drama and Acting at Essex University.

There are links with Cambridge University and Drama in Education Teaching Degrees. Rose Bruford College, Bretton Hall are two high profile colleges which off the opportunity to train as a professional actor but also gain a degree in Teaching Drama.

We advise all our students at examination level that is absolutely essential to gain qualifications and have a second specialism when considering a career in acting or working in the profession. This is one of the toughest environments to try to get into and students have to follow the path from GCSE to A Level before trying to make their way onto the professional acting scene.  However, there are so many opportunities out there they should not let this stop them following their dream!