Miss C M Davies B.A. Head of Department
Miss D Harley B.Phil.
Drama is a vibrant and essential part of life at JCG. All students study Drama in Key Stage 3 and are able to opt for the subject at GCSE and A level.
There is an exciting array of dramatic activities on offer with a Junior Drama Club in the spring and summer terms, annual productions of plays or musicals each year in the autumn, workshops, regular theatre visits on island and off island theatre experiences in London. Drama invests our students with the necessary confidence needed both at school and beyond. We aim to empower our girls by teaching skills such as direction, stagecraft, design and the ability to speak publicly with confidence and articulate delivery of their own opinions. Obviously there is a huge emphasis on the development of performance skills as well.
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Whenever possible we organise visiting speakers and theatre groups / workshops from a range of areas in the performing arts world. Workshops in recent years have included visits from The National Dance Company of Wales and Andrew Taylor, a professional costume and mask designer.
We offer an annual London Theatre trip to Year 11 and 12. This off-island experience provides our girls with an eclectic range of theatrical experiences including plays, workshops and tours (see CURRICULUM).
Annual productions of either plays or musicals take place each year in December. Students audition for roles and work alongside staff and student technicians / designers to produce very high quality performances.
Past productions have included Grimm Tales by Tim Supple and Carol-Ann Duffy, The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht, Macbeth by William Shakespeare (also entered into The Shakespeare Schools Festival), Phaedra by Jean Racine, Yerma by Federico Garcia Lorca, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (also entered into The Shakespeare Schools festival), The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt and The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
These occur bi-annually in association with the JCG Music department. Recent past productions have included Wind in the Willows, Oliver!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Guys and Dolls and Les Misérables (School’s Edition) and Sweet Charity.
The next production of the JCG Youth Music Theatre will be Thoroughly Modern Millie a musical set in the roaring twenties and centring on Millie, a determined girl who is desperate for love.Performances will be here at JCG in the first week of December. The show is great fun and we are already underway. We are looking forward to working with our very talented cast.
Tech Club is a group that convenes every year for the JCG Youth Theatre production period. The club is open to students in Year 9 and above. The students involved are given responsibility for creating and decorating scenery and props for the performance. They work with members of the Drama and Art departments to design sets and build model boxes. They also select their particular area of interest in order to specialise in this throughout the course of the run. Students operate and hang lighting, operate and balance radio mics and general sound, work backstage on scene changes and quick costume / make-up changes and each year one student is selected to stage manage the performance. The aim of the club is to include as many girls as possible in the production process, to teach them new skills and give them a complete sense of ownership of the piece. From September, Tech Club members will assist with the making of props and scenery for Thoroughly Modern Millie and will also attend after-school workshops in lighting, sound and set design. Mr Crespel, Miss Davies and Mrs Crowcroft will be the teachers in charge.After Christmas Tech Club will continue to meet for students who are keen to help with assemblies,concerts and other events.
Junior Drama Club for Year 7, 8 and 9 is held each week in the spring and summer. Activities in Drama Club are diverse and instil students with a love of performance from the earliest age. The aim of the club is to have fun with Drama, create short projects for performance and to enable students to work with other girls from a range of year groups. Confidence is always developed and the whole process is less about outcome and more about letting off some midweek steam and having fun!Drama Club will begin after Christmas.
The annual House Drama Competition, now in its fourth year, took place on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th November 2012. Three houses performed each evening and the plays were varied and entertaining. The students are expected to create the plays entirely on their own. Help from staff is limited to assistance with play selection and supervision of rehearsals only.
The first evening started with an excellent Teechers from Austin Bartlett. The play was very funny and centred on a new teacher in a challenging school. Following this was Daisy Pulls It Off, a sweet play from Inglis about a little girl called Daisy and her adventures at public school. The play was excellent on the night despite some serious worries in the dress rehearsal because the piece was far too long – House Drama pieces must be no longer than 30 minutes or they will be disqualified. Finally, Curie Fry performed The Rebels of Gas Street, a very thought provoking play about poverty and equality centred on the children of Gas Street School. Acting performances were outstanding from all.
The second night saw the entries from Cavell, Nightingale and Garrett Anderson. Again we saw some excellent acting from all performers. Cavell chose A Question of Courage, a very moving play about the suffragettes and their fight for the vote. Nightingale produced The Birds Keep on Singing which focused on 3 children evacuated to the country in World War 2. The Laundry Girls was the play from Garrett Anderson, a funny piece about a gaggle of laundry workers whose lives dovetail together in a very poignant way.
Our judges, Sarah Bisson, Andrew Willis and Lucy Grist were extremely impressed and took a long time to decide on the winners because of the very high standard. A huge thank you to them for their time and expertise and well done to all houses on another excellent competition.
1st Austin Bartlett
Joint 2nd Garrett Anderson and Cavell
House Drama 2013 will take place on Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd October at 7pm in the JCG hall.
Drama is part of the core curriculum in Years 7, 8 and 9 and is an examination subject at GCSE and AS/A2 level with the option to study Drama and Theatre Studies. Our groups study a wide variety of dramatic styles and skills. Work is assessed in three areas across all key stages – making, performing and responding.
Some of the modules taught in Drama naturally lend themselves to home extension activities. However, the Drama Department at JCG believes that the most important forms of extension activities are group rehearsal during lunch breaks and in the extended curriculum work of the department such as JCG Youth Theatre, Tech Club and Junior Drama Club.
In Year 7 students cover foundation skills such as simple dramatic devices, spatial awareness and group co-operation. They look at the skills of clowning and slapstick comedy, dramatic storytelling and narration, improvisation and puppetry.
In Year 8 students work on stylised theatre, characterisation skills, melodrama , script work and the annual Year 8 Shakespeare Competition in conjunction with the English, Music and Art departments.This year we also intend teaching a module on The Commedia dell Arte.
In Year 9 students work on areas of study that are closely related to the type of work covered at GCSE level. They begin the year with Trust and Stage Fighting and attempt to include these physical aspects into their improvisation work. They also cover Physical Theatre and create whole class Improvisation pieces. The latter work is showcased at the very end of the year – a fitting way to conclude the study of Drama at Key Stage 3.
Drama is offered at GCSE and we follow the AQA syllabus.
Our groups are a healthy size, with GCSE sets numbering between 12 and 16. There are usually 2 sets in each year group with staff liaising, planning, discussing and moderating work together.
Performing Opportunities: Students work on a range of controlled assessment tasks across the course of the two years at GCSE. All students act in their first improvisation assessment but are able to develop their technical or design skills in subsequent assessments. Practical possibilities include improvisation, script, devised thematic work, physical theatre and theatre in education.
Written Work: Students are encouraged to keep diaries of their practical preparation and progress in order to use the entries for revision. The written exam in Drama expects students to describe and reflect upon their personal practical work and to describe and analyse the success of theatre they have been to see.
Theatre Opportunities: At GCSE students are able to write exam answers based on personal response to live theatre. For this reason students attend local theatre productions regularly and make concise notes on the pieces. Student understanding of theatre they have seen is further developed by occasional visits from professional companies to JCG for workshop opportunities. In Year 11 students are invited to go to London on a four day theatre trip with AS students. Whilst away they watch five West End performances, attend backstage tours (National Theatre, Drury Lane and Shakespeare’s Globe) and participate in workshops with a range of companies. They also visit the V&A Theatre and Performance Exhibition.
Students who opt for AS and A2 Drama and Theatre Studies study the AQA specification.
Written Work: All are expected to study set texts (one at AS and two at A2 level) and are also expected to write essays on response to live theatre. For this reason, we have been keen in the past to stage productions of A level set texts (Phaedra, Yerma, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Good Person of Szechwan) and take the group to both local and off island theatre.
Practical Work: In terms of practical work students produce two pieces for moderation by a visiting AQA examiner. At AS the piece is scripted and girls are able to act, direct, design or work on technical elements of the performance. The play chosen must convey the clear influence of an influential practitioner, director or theatre company. At A2 level the piece is self devised and must display a highly sophisticated understanding of a selected theatrical style. In preparation for all of this students are taught a wide range of theatrical styles and influences. Personal research tasks and independent learning are a vital element of the course and prepare students well for the demands of university study.
Many Drama students from JCG have gone on to study Drama at major universities including Bristol and Exeter and in recent years have been offered places at RADA, Guildhall, Drama Centre and Central School of Speech and Drama for both acting and technical courses. One ex student this year is about to embark on her second year of studies at the Michael Howard Studios in New York!