Working in the ‘Black Box Studios’, Drama at Thirsk School is intended to prepare the minds of young people to cope with the outside world as well as educating students about theatre and its history. It is the department’s hope that students will experience drama as a fun and engaging art form where interaction with others is actively encouraged and expected in order to prepare them for the wider world of social interaction. Using a practical art form that encourages ‘play’, drama at Thirsk encourages students to explore real and imaginary worlds; by using role play to think and respond as a character. Drama is crucial to the development of communication skills, both verbal and non verbal. It develops self confidence. Pupils are encouraged to build the foundations for their transition to the modern world of work where interpersonal and transferable skills are a vital commodity. Thirsk School’s Musical Productions each year embody all of this outside of the classroom and is something that is enjoyed by all.
Drama is taught practically wherever possible but does include the emphasis on the written form through self reflection, research, review and observation. All students are encouraged to learn and work in a safe and creative environment where their views and opinions are respected by others. Each student at KS3 has one lesson a week where the emphasis is on interaction with others. Students work practically to explore themes into devised drama, theatre styles and scripted performance work. Within each of these is the development of physical and vocal presentation. Some themes within KS3 work are challenging and thought provoking which contrasts well with the more comedic approach of some devised and scripted work. Drama is an option for KS4 studies and still remains a popular choice for students. Following the AQA specification students build on their experiences and foundations at KS3 to practically develop their skills in voice, movement and characterisation. Students explore a set text, a variety of different approaches to devising drama, explore live performance and work on different texts throughout the two years. KS4 has a big emphasis on practical but interwoven into the work is how to translate ideas into the written form for the end of Year 11 written exam.