Drama at Northwood College has a very high profile and there are numerous opportunities for girls to participate in both the classroom and extra-curricular activities.
Drama is taught throughout the Senior School as a discrete subject and by drama specialists. Girls have an hour of Drama every week throughout Years 7, 8 & 9. In Years 10 and 11 Drama is a very popular option at GCSE. A Level Drama is also available and some girls continue with the subject at University or Drama School. We have a number of former students working as actors and also behind the scenes in design areas ranging from Costume to Lighting and Stage Management.
Drama is taught in a purpose-built Performing Arts Centre. The Drama Studio itself has a sprung dance floor, full length mirrors along one wall, a computerised lighting system, and full black-out facilities.
In the Summer Term girls have the opportunity to audition for the house plays which are performed in front of the school. A prize is awarded to the winning house and individual prizes go to the best performers in Lower School, Upper School and Sixth form respectively. This year each house will be performing a short section of a comedy performance.
MAIN SCHOOL PRODUCTION
The main school production last year was Shared Experience’s adaptation of the classic Jane Eyre. Girls from all years are encouraged to audition and are selected on ability. Recent productions have included: Daisy Pulls It Off, School of Rock, The 39 Steps, An Ideal Husband, Annie Get Your Gun, Oliver, Little Women, Fiddler on the Roof, The House of Bernarda Alba, The Sound of Music, Pride and Prejudice (with boys from Harrow School), Animal Farm, and Lady Windermere’s Fan.
Girls are also frequently asked to participate in productions with John Lyon and Harrow School, which are performed at the professionally equipped Ryan Theatre at Harrow School.
LOWER SCHOOL PRODUCTION
The Lower School production in the Summer Term provides the opportunity for Lower School girls to gain experience of performing and the commitment involved, as well as mixing with other year groups. Recent productions have included: Secrets, Two Weeks with the Queen, The Tulip Touch, The Chrysalids, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Room 13, Skellig, The Willow Pattern, The Exam, and Adventure Camp. The production is open to all girls in Years 7, 8, and 9.
Drama club runs at lunchtime and often girls who find it difficult to commit to after school activities are keen to take part in the numerous activities including mime, improvisation, scripted work, drama games, work on voice and movement and recording and editing their own performances.
THEATRE TRIPS AND VISITS BY PROFESSIONALS
The Department organises numerous theatre trips and encourages visits from professionals. Workshops have included: a make-up workshop run by a BAFTA nominated make-up artist, acting workshops run by the Donmar Warehouse and the acclaimed physical theatre company, Frantic Assembly. Recent theatre trips have included: A Taste of Honey, Frantic Assembly’s Things I Know to be True, An Inspector Calls, The 39 Steps, Hamlet, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Othello, A View from the Bridge, and The Woman in Black.
GCSE DRAMA: AQA
In Drama, girls are encouraged to develop skills in a wide variety of areas associated with the theatre and their own personal development.
Whilst the majority of girls pursue their interest in acting through Scripted, Devised, and Improvised Work, and Physical Theatre, others choose to focus on the design skills available – costume (which includes make-up), sound, lighting, set design, puppetry.
Practical coursework and performance constitutes 60% of their final mark. There is also a 1 hour 45 minutes written examination worth 40%, in which girls are required to write about a play text studied from a performance perspective, (currently Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of The 39 Steps) and to revise and analyse a live theatrical production that they have seen during the course. Either at the theatre or an online recording.
Theatre trips occur on a regular basis for all girls and are essential preparation for the written examination, as well as providing girls with ideas to inform their own practical work.
Girls are required to :
- Create a devised piece and accompanying log (40%)
- Perform in 2 extracts of a published play (20%)
In Year 10 girls will complete a “trial” piece of devised work. Girls are marked to GCSE standard and given feedback to inform their work in Year 11.
In Year 10 girls can see what is expected and needed in terms of rehearsals and the challenges that can be encountered when working as a group and how to overcome them.
Performance work will require girls to organise rehearsals in addition to their lesson time, either at lunchtime and/or after school.
A LEVEL DRAMA AND THEATRE AQA
Drama and Theatre offers students the opportunity to study Drama and Theatre skills and theory at Advanced Level.
Students study set texts and practitioners and use their knowledge and understanding to inform their performance of both scripted and devised work in the style of a chosen theatre practitioner e.g. Stanislavski, Brecht and Frantic Assembly.
Viewing live theatre is an integral part of the course.
SPEECH AND DRAMA FESTIVAL
We run a very successful Speech and Drama Festival where girls enter all of the usual categories such as Monologues, Verse, Prose and Duologues. In addition, other popular categories include Presentations, Group Performances, and Improvisation. Girls are encouraged to enter their category of choice, with something available for everyone.
LAMDA is available to girls in both the Junior and Senior School.
We have been so pleased with the class overall and think her teacher is amazing as well as other staff whom my daughter has been in contact with this year.— Current Parent