For more information regarding the curriculum please contact:

Head of Department: Mrs J Salisbury

Year 7 and 8

Through ensemble work, scripts, games and improvisation, students are introduced to a range of dramatic conventions.

Topics include conflict, bullying, fractured fairy tales, Shakespeare and the historical/cultural/social context of theatre and drama.


Students have the opportunity to explore different issues and themes through performance. They range from Shakespeare, to musical theatre and a contemporary play. Professional performance artists deliver workshops to students enabling a deeper understanding of the career opportunities in the profession. Students develop their performance skills and learn about different dramatic techniques which they can use to strengthen their work.

The BTEC First Award Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) comprises of three units of study:

Unit 1 - Individual Showcase 

Pupils are presented with an advert for a performance provided by the exam board and they complete a letter of application and a presentation and/or audition for the advertised production. The presentation and/or audition is externally assessed.

Unit 2 - Preparation, Performance and Production

Students form a production company which has been commissioned to create a devised performance piece aimed at an audience of family and friends.   Students work as members of a company in an assigned performance role. There are two performances of the work: one performance to an invited audience from our partner primary schools and one performance to an audience of family and friends. In year 11 students perform in a national theatre as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival.

Learning aim A: take part in the preparations for a live performance

Students engage in a range of practical and research activities to explore, develop and shape material for a performance suitable for 2 audiences based on a theme (e.g. A Christmas Carol, Halloween Spectacular, Shakespeare Schools Festival)

Initial exploration activities will include:

  • Researching suitable material for consideration for the production and taking part in discussion and practical activities relating to findings. Students consider which elements are the most suitable and how they might incorporate these elements into their performance.
  • individually and in small groups, undertaking research work related to the theme of the production in order to generate ideas for the performance. Students consider the viability of ideas based on the production constraints under which they are working, e.g. time, resources, the skills of the group.
  • taking part in drama workshops using explorative strategies such as improvisation, still image, thought-tracking, hot-seating and marking the moment to explore the ideas generated through research.

Development of ideas activities will include:

  • taking part in discussions and practical activities in order to make considered decisions about the structure and content of the piece and how it will be staged. Students consider the demands of the show, e.g. the theme, the needs of the target audience and the materials and resources available when making decisions.
  • taking part in discussions and practical activities to identify characters and make decisions about casting.

During this task students should keep a record of all the activities undertaken and decisions made in a unit log. They must explain the reasons for any decisions made, including ideas selected and rejected.

Students take part in preparations and rehearsals for the performance under the direction of their teacher.   Activities will include:

  • warm-ups, including exercises to develop vocal and movement skills.
  • off-text exercises to develop understanding of character and to explore relationships with other characters
  • rehearsing the piece in sections
  • individual practice and preparation
  • a full run through of the piece
  • undertaking further rehearsals having evaluated the run through
  • technical and dress rehearsals.

During rehearsals students must show a high level of commitment to the process, making sure they are always prepared for sessions, are supportive of their peers and respond to direction in a positive manner.

During this task students should keep a record of the activities undertaken and decisions made in a unit log.

Learning aim B: demonstrate performance or production skills and techniques in a performance

The piece that has been created and rehearsed will be performed for 2 audiences in the Main Hall at Blacon High School. For the Shakespeare Schools Festival there is also a performance in a National Theatre.

When performing students:

  • show effective use and control of performance skills throughout the piece
  • communicate a role and the intentions of the piece to the audience in a clear way, therefore making a significant contribution to the success of the piece.

Unit 5 - Musical Theatre skills

Students form part of a musical theatre ensemble preparing for three performances of a Musical Theatre production. During this preparation time they take part in a series of practical sessions to develop acting, singing and dance skills, and attend and engage in rehearsals to develop work for performance. Students keep a record of their progress during the sessions, which identifies strengths and areas for development, sets targets and tracks improvements.

Learning aim A: Explore and develop your musical theatre skills and review your own practice.

They attend workshop sessions to develop acting, singing and dance skills. Students demonstrate a grasp of the techniques developed and show progress through performance work and exercises. Students keep a unit log in which they chart progress during the rehearsal and workshop sessions.  They make notes about how successful they have been in grasping the techniques developed in acting, singing and dance, make judgements about their own strengths and decide on the areas they need to improve on. They also set achievable targets and review them on a regular basis.

Learning aim B: Rehearse and perform musical theatre work combining singing, acting and dancing skills.

Students attend rehearsal sessions to develop acting, singing and dance skills. They demonstrate their grasp of the techniques developed and show progress through performance work and exercises. They perform musical theatre work combining relevant acting, singing and dance skills.