Drama is a major element in the extra-curricular programme of the school. Pupils have the opportunity to work to refine their skills, prepare pieces and, eventually, to face the challenge of performance. Drama is both dynamic and rigorous; expectations are high and much is demanded of those who undertake this testing but fulfilling activity. The school’s reputation for the quality of its public performances is extremely high, and the nature of full school productions in recent years has run the full gamut of genres from pantomime through musicals to serious and challenging 21st century drama.
Drama is offered as an academic discipline in the curriculum both at GCSE and at A-Level. GCSE Drama entails both the development of a raft of technical dramatic skills and of the ability to respond critically to performance as members of the audience. Pupils have many opportunities to visit professional productions both within Canterbury and further afield, including London. Successful pupils need fluent writing ability, as well as some dramatic talent. The skills of stagecraft are explicitly taught.
At GCSE, the Department’s objectives are:
- To nurture creativity and self-belief
- To foster a life-long love of the theatre
- To develop a working knowledge of theatrical technique
- To apply knowledge of technique in a theatrical context
- To encourage a disciplined work ethic
Details of the syllabus content and requirements can be found in The Right Course.
The teachers of Drama have a background in the professional theatre. The Director of Drama has worked both as an actor and as a director; his understanding of the world of theatre is distinctive within a school environment. The richness of this experience, coupled with training and teaching experience in the classroom, means that pupils are exceptionally well-prepared for eventual success at GCSE. In addition, the school is fortunate to have the facility of a large stage with good technical provision, both in terms of equipment and skilled technicians who support the Department for both teaching and extra-curricular activity.