Drama is part of the core curriculum in Years 7, 8 and 9 and is a popular option at GCSE and A Level. Lessons take place in purpose-built facilities and focus on allowing students to build up their confidence and develop valuable skills for life, such as being strong, empathetic leaders, innovative and creative thinkers, as well as clear and dynamic presentational speakers. Girls who study Drama visit up to five professional productions during the course to assist them with their studies.
Drama also flourishes in extra-curricular lessons and clubs with students having the opportunity to choose from options such as Lower School Drama Club and Technical Theatre Club. There are at least two shows a year enabling all age groups to perform. Recent productions have included Pygmalion, Singin’ in the Rain, Our Town and Mama Yankee’s Life Machine. Productions are performed in different venues around the school such as the Hall, JCS Auditorium or Drama Studio, all with impressive state-of-the-art technical facilities. On occasion, productions are performed in professional venues as part of exciting initiatives such as the Shakespeare Schools Festival, National Theatre Connections or the Leatherhead Drama Festival.
Group Speech and Drama lessons are available, and many girls take the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) examinations (please see below for more information). Each year several girls attain the coveted Gold Medal in Acting or the speaking of Verse and Prose, which gains them UCAS points towards their University entries.
Speech and Drama is an extra-curricular subject to supplement Tormead’s successful Drama Department and is taught in small groups in a bespoke workshop space in the JCS Performing Arts Centre at lunchtimes or after school.
Speech and Drama encourages creativity and imagination and it engenders confidence and communication skills that are transferable to other subjects with regards to presentations, vocabulary, putting a point across to an audience and analysing literature, from Ayckbourn and Chekhov, to Austen and Shakespeare.
Lessons are geared towards graded examinations from the LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) syllabus in a choice of six disciplines: Public Speaking, Verse & Prose, Reading for Performance, Acting, Devising and Mime. These examinations are recognised by Ofqual and the RQF as well as the higher grades being included in the UCAS tariff.
Individual choices can be tailor-made to enhance the records of achievement for each girl, particularly as they move towards making options for GCSEs, while some of the themed work can provide a cross-curricular approach to their other subjects and activities. These lessons can also contribute to the skill section for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
Girls in the Sixth Form are drawn towards the Acting and Public Speaking options as these exams provide useful techniques for independent learning, presentations, role-plays, interviews and public meetings, which are all part of the modern world.