Mr M Hornsey (Director of Department)
Mrs V Chamberlain
Mrs S Lodder
Drama is taught in carousel with Dance to all students. Focus is given to the development of interpersonal and creative skills, which develops in the later years with students exploring play texts from practical and analytical perspectives. This work directly supports students work in English Literature and Language, in addition to providing a practical platform from which to learn in dynamic and kinaesthetic ways.
From September 2016 onwards, students will follow the new GCSE in Drama. Exam boards are awaiting accreditation and, as such, we haven’t firmly decided on a course. The information we have at the moment is that the courses awaiting approval will have three components. Component one, Devising, worth 40%, will enable students to develop original drama through the exploration of set stimuli and practitioner work. Component two, Performance from a Text, 20%, will see students performing contrasting key extracts from complete texts to a visiting examiner, alongside theory work. Component three, Theatre Makers in Practice, 40%, will see students practically studying one complete text for a written examination alongside live theatre reviewing.
We are awaiting accreditation details from examination boards at present, but what we know is that the new specifications for A Level Drama & Theatre will comprise of the following components. Component one, Devising, 40%, comprises of a written/aural portfolio alongside the exploration and creation of an original piece of drama in response to a set stimuli and practitioner. Component two, Theatre Text in Performance, 20%, will see students performing solo and group pieces to a visiting examiner in response to directorial concepts and textual analysis. Component three, Theatre Makers in Practice, 40%, will see students examined on their ideas for the realisation of a complete play text for a modern audience, alongside live theatre review questions in a 2hr 30min written examination.
Astor College's Drama Department is a hive of activity throughout the year. It aids in the production of both the Junior and Senior International productions, the summer Dance show and the Live Music Event. All of these events take place in our White Cliffs Theatre and the Senior production travels to Belgium each year and the USA, Russia & Croatia biannually.
The Astor Youth Theatre Company takes part in the annual National Theatre Connections Festival in collaboration with the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury and the National Theatre, London. This is a great opportunity for students to work in professional venues with new plays written specifically for the Festival. The annual play is performed at our own White Cliffs Theatre in the spring term, and then performed at the Marlowe later in the year. Auditions for the Astor Youth Theatre Company take place in early October and is open to all years. Interested students should contact Mr Hornsey.
Alongside this, there are public performances throughout the year of performance work developed at GCSE and A Level. We also have strong working relationships with the ESU (English Speaking Union), Shakespeare's Globe, Deal Arts Festival, Kent University, Canterbury Christchurch University and Changeling Theatre Company. Students have the chance to work with visiting practitioners from these companies to develop their performance skills.
We are very proud to say that students from Astor have been accepted into both RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and East 15 Acting School in recent years. All students who have wished to attend a Higher Education establishment to study Drama have been successful in gaining a place.