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Performing Arts Department

Performing arts is an exciting, vibrant and creative department who offer Dance, Drama and Music from Key Stage 3 through to A level.  As well as an extensive curriculum, we also offer a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, produce an annual Christmas showcase, an annual Whole School musical, performances to local primary schools and visits to the theatre and other professional performances. 

For detailed information on specifications refer to the Key Stage 4 or Key Stage 5 prospectus.

The department consists of experienced specialists in each subject area who work collaboratively.  Performing Arts is particularly proud of the huge success of the annual musical which involves students from all years and attracts sell out audiences.

The department features a fully equipped dance studio with sprung floor and surround sound system, the drama studio has a fully equipped lighting rig and surround sound system, the music studio has Mac computers and there is also a music recording studio and music practice rooms which are fully resourced with a wide range of instruments.

The arts are fundamental in providing you with vital life skills such as; creativity and the ability to express yourself, improved physical skills, confidence, better leadership and presentation skills, more effective problem solving and decision making skills, perseverance, concentration, the ability to collaborate and responsibility.  Participation not only enhances academic ability, it can also improve academic performance.

Performing Arts Intent

As performers, students will develop confidence, self-esteem and presentation skills and through devising and creating personal work, your abilities to sensitively critique, deeply evaluate and act upon feedback to improve will be expanded, all of which are very useful for a number of vocations and the arts also provide an excellent discussion point in interviews.

We aim to ensure that all performing arts students are exposed to national professional performances, broadening their outlook on life and offering experiences to become a well-rounded individual.

The Team

Dawn Willis

Head of Performing Arts
dwillis@brookeweston.org

Phoebe Horner

Teacher of PA and Drama
phorner@brookeweston.org

Camilla Kerr

Teacher of PA and Drama
ckerr@brookeweston.org

Sophie Jackson

 

Teacher of PA and Music

sjackson@brookeweston.org

 

The Curriculum

Key Stage 3

Across three years, students will develop their performance, composition and analysis skills through the study of core knowledge and skills, both theoretically and practically. Students will engage with drama, dance and music in a carousel.

 

Year 7

Dance unit 1 - dance by chance

Students will be introduced to Dance at Brooke Weston through the exploration of the core movement elements and Cunningham's method of Chance choreography. Playing cards, dice, coin flipping and instruction manuals will all be used to influence the creative process and support students in the making of completely unique and original work. 

Dance unit 2 - image as a stimulus

 

Students will develop dance composition, performance and analysis skills through the study of Christopher Bruce and his work, broadening their dance vocabulary and developing an understanding of the key features and stylistic qualities of Contemporary Dance. This unit offers students the chance to be the choreographer, using Bruce's work and subject matter to inspire them.

 

Drama unit 1 - An introduction to drama

An introduction to Drama allows for the exploration of the 5 key drama techniques; still image, mime, physical theatre, characterisation and role play.  In this unit we will begin to explore how these techniques can be utilised to create a well rounded expressive performance.  We will also begin to experiment with characterisation using our voices and physical actions to portray a convincing character.

Drama unit 2 - Darkwood Manor

This topic looks at the story of a haunted house, Darkwood Manor. Students will build on their knowledge of physical theatre, mime, role play and characterisation to understand how to create atmosphere in a performance. Students will be introduced to soundscapes and design elements, such as lighting and sound, to enhance their understanding of non-naturalism as a style of theatre. They will be introduced to devising as a rehearsal process and how to create scenes from a stimulus.

Drama unit 3 - The Twits

Students will explore the play script of 'The Twits' by Roald Dahl, developing their knowledge of physical and vocal skills to create exaggerated characters. Students wil be introduced to selected key scenes to understand how to read the script format, as well as how to interpret stage directions in a performance.

Music unit 1 - Vocal skills

Building on their knowledge from Primary school, students will explore their voices, learning how to best use this powerful instrument to create an emotive and expressive performance. Over the course of this unit students will be introduced to repertoire from a variety of genres and musical periods, culminating in a performance at the end of year showcase as part of the Year 7 Choir.  During this time students will perform regularly as a class and as a small group, and will build a bank of subject specific language that can be used to effectively evaluate others' performances.  Students will also build an understanding of what the elements of music are, and how they are used in different performance contexts.

Music unit 2 - Keyboard skills

This topic offers the chance to begin reading and understanding musical notation through the medium of keyboards. Working through a multitude of different musical styles and genres, students will develop their understanding of keyboard techniques and musical notation, refining their ability to read rhythm and notation independently. Students will also expand their knowledge of the musical elements, looking specifically into melody and harmony and understanding how notes work together to create a tune. During this unit students will grow their ability to use subject specific language when listening to and evaluating other pieces of work.

Music unit 3 - Gallery music

Building on their knowledge from Keyboards, students will begin to explore composition using an important image from their life as a stimulus. Working on melody and harmony we will look at how major and minor chords are built, and how composers create chord sequences and melodies. We will experiment with structure, exploring different classical music forms, developing their compositional ideas into full pieces of music. Students will create their compositions with consideration of the 9 musical elements, using them to create an effective piece of music.

Year 8

Dance unit 1 - Dance through the ages

Students will learn how dance has evolved through the practical exploration of short phrases of dance from the 1920s to the present day. Covering a variety of dance styles and genres, students will gain an understanding of the key features and stylistic qualities of each style, and demonstrate those through performance.

Dance unit 2 - Text as a stimulus

Students will explore Akram Khan's Zero Degrees, using the opening narrative as a stimulus and the idea of the meeting of cultures, combining complex Indian Kathak dance with the speed and precision of contemporary movements. Students will follow Khan and Larbi's journey to seek the reference point, the source, the ‘0’ at life’s core, the middle point between polar opposites; becoming/death, light/dark, chaos/order, creating their own response to this theme.

Drama unit 1 - The White Feather

In this topic, students explore the script "The White Feather" which looks at World War One and cowardice. Students explore the script, building on their knowledge of Physical Theatre and non-naturalism. They will be introduced to the work of Frantic Assembly who use contact work and symbolic movement to create meaning.

Drama unit 2 - The Arrival

In this unit, students explore Shaun Tan's book "The Arrival", looking at refugees and immigration. Students will develop their devising skills to create a performance using the book as a stimulus, choosing appropriate techniques and styles to successfully convey the themes of the stimulus. They will build on their knowledge of drama techniques and the theatrical skills they have learnt throughout year 7 and 8.

Drama unit 3 - Monologues

In this unit, students are introduced to a range of monologues and develop an understanding of how and why monologues are used in Drama. Students will then develop their devising skills to write and perform their own monologues, using a range of theatrical skills to demonstrate their creativity and knowledge of Drama. They will link their knowledge of script writing as well as styles of theatre to write appropriate play scripts.

Music unit 1 - Keyboard skills

Students will begin reading and understanding musical notation through the medium of keyboards. Working through a multitude of styles and genres of music, students will develop their understanding of piano techniques and expand their knowledge of the musical elements, specifically melody and harmony and understanding how notes work together to create a tune.  Students will develop their performance skills, performing in a a variety of different situations and group sizes including solo, duo or ensemble performances.

Music unit 2 - Theme and variation

Traversing the History of Music, Theme and Variation will explore the life and works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig Van Beethoven, examining their importance and influence on the music of their time and how that has changed and developed into the music we hear today. Students will begin to recognise the characteristics of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods, and be able to replecate the chord and melody structure of some well known themes, building on previous composition knowledge to create their own variations on these themes.

Music unit 3 - Jazz and the blues

In Jazz and Blues students engage with the culture of Jazz and look closely at the history of this genre and how it came about. Building on their understanding of keyboard techniques students will begin to look at chords and understand how the different notes work together to create a major or minor chord in the 12 bar blues form. We will also look at how playing different rhythms can influence the style of performance, focusing on a Swing or Boogie woogie rhythm. We will also look more closely at improvising using familiar rhythms and the C blues scale. 

Year 9

Dance unit 1 - Commercial dance

Students will study the exciting world of commercial dance and dance for camera, where music videos, concerts, TV shows, films, advertisements, and West End productions are brought to life.  Spanning styles from Ballet to Hip Hop, students will learn and study movement from works such as Michael Jackson's Thriller, DV8's The Cost of Living and Jerome Robbins' West Side Story.

Dance unit 2 - Composition from a stimulus

Students will study the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, including the history of the company and the Ailey style, and how both have evolved. Building on composition skills, students will use 'homelessness' as a theme, exploring Ailey's choreographic process in the creation of 'Shelter', and developing their performance skills in this group piece.

Drama unit 1 - Girls Like That

Students will look at the script 'Girls Like That' by Evan Placey. Students will develop their understanding of how to interpret and develop a character as well as how to interpret a script for performance. They will apply drama techniques to specific scenes to create a non-naturalistic, educational performance for a younger audience. This links and prepares the students for the GCSE component 3 scripted unit.

Drama unit 2 - Verbatim and Injustice

Students will be building on their knowledge of devising drama in this unit, using a stimulus to create their own drama but will place more focus on audience impact and intention. Students will be introduced to the style of verbatim theatre and will understand how to create verbatim performances. Students will build on their knowledge of drama techniques and characterisation skills to create a performance which educates their audience. This links and prepares the students for the GCSE component 2- devising unit.

Drama unit 3 - Greek Theatre

Students will explore the origins and history of theatre and look at the stories of Medea and Oedipus and the Greek Theatre style. They will make links between Greek Theatre style and modern theatre styles such as physical theatre and non-naturalism. Students will be introduced to skills such as chorus and choral movement to present a devised performance. This links and prepares students for the GCSE component 2- devising unit.

Music unit 1 - Guitar Hero

Students will be given the opportunity to develop their musical skill though the use of guitars.  Students will learn the five main chords used in music and apply them to different styles and genres of music, building their understanding of how harmony, melody and tonality work together to create a fully realised song. Students will have the opportunity to play a variety of songs to further develop their ability to transition between chords, and exeriment with different strumming patterns to see how this changes the feel or emotion of the song.

Music unit 2 - Music for screen and stage

Music for Stage and Screen allows students to explore the intermingling history of film and Music. Students will expand their knowledge of the musical elements through the appreciation of how music has developed from the live orchestra of early film to the recorded sound of the films of today. Students will look at Foley and how sound can be created and manipulated to make a film seem more realistic, or emphasise different aspects of the scenes. Students will begin composing a piece of music for film to link in with the OCR Music GCSE - Integrated portfolio.

Music unit 3 - What makes a good song

Exploring ensemble skills and working collaboratively with others, 'What Makes a good Song?' allows students to explore how musicians work together to create not only recorded songs but also full performances for venues world wide. Students will have the opportunity to play a range of different instruments,experiment with different musical genres, and work with a range of people to develop their musicianship and communication skills. Students are encouraged to take a leading role within their ensemble, having a guiding hand in deciding the orchestration and arrangements for their pieces of music. 'What makes a good song?' is the first step in allowing students to experience what it is like working in the music industry as artists and performers.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Dance

Year 10

Term 1

Students will study the importance of safe working practices whilst developing technical and physical skills through participation in Contemporary technique classes. Practical and theory lessons will develop students' analysis skills with a focus on ‘Emancipation of expressionism’ by Kenrick H2O Sandy MBE, the first of 6 anthology works. Students will explore how the movement elements and production features support the subject matter of the work, and use the signature movement vocabulary to develop their composition skills in the creation of a group performance piece.

Term 2

 

Students will develop their knowledge of safe working practices whilst also developing expressive skills. They will participate in workshops exploring stimuli and starting points, and use props, sculpture and music to create a group composition in response to a stimulus. ‘A linha curva’ by Itzik Galili will be used to devlop analysis skills, where students will gain an understanding of the importance of production features in the communication of the choreographic intent, as well exploring the dance styles of Capoeira and Salsa.

Term 3

The study of ‘Shadows’ by Christopher Bruce will further develop students' composition skills and their understanding of the choreographic process through the creation of a teacher-led collaborative choreography. This duo/trio will also help students to develop their technique, alongside physical, technical and expressive skills needed for performance. Section A - The hypothetical choreography will be covered, and students will start to develop their responses to examination style questions.

Term 4

Students will study ‘Within her eyes’ by James Cousins, further developing their analysis skills with a focus on the features of production, the performance environment and dance for camera. In practical lessons, students will explore contact work and explore the importance of relationships in group performance and choreography. Students will develop their responses to examination style questions which include compare and contrast questions, and also revise the Section A content of the written paper in preparation for a mock exam paper.

Term 5

Students will learn two solos set by the examination board. They will learn how to perform as a solo dancer with a focus on the ability to demonstrate the application of physical skills and attributes safely during performance, technical skills accurately and safely during performance, expressive skills and mental skills and attributes during performance. All of these skills will be developed through practical-based tasks and self-assessment using mirrors, peer feedback and video as methods of rehearsal. This experience will be used to develop responses to Section B questions which require students to analyse and reflect on their own work.

Year 11

Term 1

Students will apply physical, technical and expressive skills to the performance of two solo phrases set by the exam board, culminating in a final performance as part of their exam. Assessment of the solo performance will focus on the student's ability to demonstrate application of: physical skills and attributes safely during performance, technical skills accurately and safely during performance, expressive skills and mental skills and attributes during performance. Students will also study  'Infra' by Wayne McGregor, further developing their analysis skills including features of production, performance environment, the choreographic process, choreographic intent and the choreographic content.

Term 2

Based on the remaining two set phrases, we will work together to create an original duet or trio which allows each student to showcase their individual strengths and skills. This will be performed and assessed as part of students' exam where they will need to demonstrate the additional knowledge, skills and understanding specific to duet/trio performances and safe practice at a challenging level. Assessment of the duet/trio performance will focus on each students' ability to demonstrate application of physical, technical, expressive and mental skills and attributes during performance. Students will also study 'Artificial Things' by Lucy Bennett, the final anthology work and develop their responses to examination style questions in preparation for their mock exam paper.

Term 3

This term, students will create their own choreography in response to their chosen stimulus from a range set by the exam board.  Students can choose to create a solo, duet or group piece which they can choose to perform or be performedby another/other dancers.  Students will be assessed on the creation and selection of appropriate action, spatial, dynamic and relationship content, choreographic and structuring devices, aural setting and performance environment in the effective communition of the choreographic intent.  This will be performed and assessed as the final part of the non examination assessment.

Term 4

Students will revise all theoretical knowledge covered, including section A content, section B analysis and evaluation of their own work and the 6 Anthology works including the production features, movement content and key information.  This will all be in preparation for the written paper examination.

GCSE Drama

Year 10

 

Term 1 - Devising Drama Mock

In this term, students will complete a mock of their GCSE devised drama unit. They will be given a range of stimuli to respond to and they will work to create their own performance to an audience. They will also complete a mock devising log that records their process and developments. This will prepare them for the examined devising unit to be completed at the end of the year.

Term 2 - Set text exploration

Students are introduced to the AQA GCSE Drama course and will begin looking at the set text - 'Noughts and Crosses'. In this term, students will explore the text practically for performance and understand the context, style and characters of the play.

 

Term 3 - Scripted Performance and Live Theatre Evaluation

In this term, students will complete a mock scripted performance based on the script they will evaluate for their live theatre evaluation. They will be given extracts from the script to study, learn and rehearse in a group. Students will interpret their character and use characterisation skills to effectively present their character in the performance as well as analyse and evaluate a professional production of the script. This is preparation for the examined scripted performance in year 11 and Section C of the written exam, worth 32 marks.

 

Term 4 - Devising drama

Students will begin their GCSE devised drama unit. They will be given a range of stimuli to respond to and they will work to create their own performance to an audience. They must consider plot, style, characters and design elements. They will also write a devising log that records their process and developments. In this term, they will complete Sections 1 and 2 (Response to a Stimulus and Development and Collaboration). The devised performance is worth 20 marks and the devising log is worth 60 marks. Component 2 is worth 40% of the GCSE and will be completed by the end of Year 10 (term 5)

Term 5

Students complete their devised performance and this performance is recorded and sent off to the exam board. They also finish their devising log (Section 3- Analysis and Evaluation) and reflect on their final performance. The devised performance and devising log are internally marked by the teachers, and sent off for moderation by the exam board. 

Year 11

Term 1

Students are given a script to study and are required to learn and perform two extract from this script. They should study the context, style, characters, plot and design elements of their given script in preparation to perform. They will explore their character through workshops and rehearsal techniques to develop their vocal and physical skills. Students perform to a visiting examiner. Component 3 is out of 40 marks and is worth 20% of the GCSE.

Term 2

Students are given a script to study and are required to learn and perform two extract from this script. They should study the context, style, characters, plot and design elements of their given script in preparation to perform. They will explore their character through workshops and rehearsal techniques to develop their vocal and physical skills. Students perform to a visiting examiner. Component 3 is out of 40 marks and is worth 20% of the GCSE.

Term 3

Students will recap Section A, B and C of the written exam in preparation for their exam at the end of Term 4.
Section A looks at theatre terminology and theatre roles.
Section B explores the play Blood Brothers and students will recap context, plot, characters, design and question structures.
Section C is a live theatre evaluation. Students will re-watch the play and recap the 32-marker question structure.

Term 4

Students will recap Section A, B and C of the written exam in preparation for their exam at the end of Term 4.
Section A looks at theatre terminology and theatre roles.
Section B explores the play Blood Brothers and students will recap context, plot, characters, design and question structures.
Section C is a live theatre evaluation. Students will re-watch the play and recap the 32-marker question structure.

Key Stage 5

A Level Drama

Year 12

Component 1

Students will be completing their exploration of a stimulus which involves practically responding to a text and practitioner.  Through their previous exploration work, students will hone their performance and have an opportunity to create a live theatre experience giving an audience (virtual) an insight into an Artaudian influenced piece. 
This is accompanied by a written portfolio that examines decisions the students have made and evaluates their working. 

Exploring texts

We will be exploring two contrasting texts that are aimed at developing students’ knowledge of two of the Component 3 sections: Page to Stage: Realising a Performance Text and Interpreting a Performance Text. 
The first text is That Face by Polly Stenham, a post-modernist play focused on the roles within a dysfunctional family and the second is Woyzeck by Georg Buchner.  Students will analyse both texts and be looking at them from the perspective of a theatre maker and director, making creative decisions on how to portray both texts to a modern audience. 

Year 13

Text in Performance

In this term, lessons will be split between rehearsal for the group performance and rehearsal for the monologue to a visiting examiner. Students will build on ther knowledge of theatre styles to apply appropriate characterisation to their performance, as well as realise their design ideas in performance. Students will participate in characterisation workshops within school and with visiting practitioners to support and build their performance ability. The group performance is worth 36 marks and the monologue is worth 24 marks. This unit is worth 20% of the A-Level.

Theatre Makers in Performance

For the first four weeks of term 2, students will complete their group performance and monologue performance by refining and rehearsing their pieces, before performing to a visiting examiner. Students will reflect on their own performances throughout the four weeks to recognise development areas and areas of strength. They will then begin looking at the set text- 'Woyzeck' by Georg Buchner in preparation for their written exam. Students will practically explore the text and take on the role of the director, understanding how all elements of theatre, such as performance and design, combine to impart meaning to an audience. 

Theatre Makers in Performance

In this term, students will continue to explore 'Woyzeck' and begin completeing practice questions in preparation for their written exam. They will also recap the Live Theatre Evaluation element of the exam as well as Section B- 'That Face' by analysing top band answers and answering mock questions.

Enrichment Opportunities

Other opportunities in Performing Arts also include involvement in dance, drama and music clubs, peripatetic lessons in a wide variety of instruments, the chance to be involved in productions both on and off stage, extensive performance opportunities at a variety of events and a range of exciting employment opportunities in the future.

For detailed information regarding the curriculum refer to documents below.

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