Advanced Higher Drama
The Advanced Higher Drama course builds on the work done in National 5 and Higher Drama by engaging pupils in enhanced application of Drama and Production Skills, and by allowing students to expand study of their choice of specialism. The course also develops extensive knowledge and understanding of 20th century/contemporary theatre theory and practice and builds students’ academic research skills and theatrical repertoire to facilitate their transition into further study.
The course consists of three units – Drama Skills, Production Skills and finally Performance. In addition there is an externally marked and grade Dissertation (research) project which the students must plan and research independently.
The first two units will focus on enhancing skills developed during National 5 and Higher courses and will require the students to engage in their own independent research of theatre practitioners, with a particular focus on the work of Antonin Artaud and Konstantin Stanislavski.
Teachers will lead discussion and direction of practical work, but also allow students to use time in class to lead practical workshops and explore their ideas and research further with assistance when needed.
As much of the work is self-directed and independent of the classroom environment, students will be required to demonstrate an even more mature approach to learning and initiative. They will require an enquiring, critical and problem-solving approach to their learning and build on their own experience of the Higher course. As well as this they will need to choose their own area of specialism according to their specific interest. They will be using academic research and analysis skills and complete regular written and practical assignments throughout the course.
Regular evaluative discussions will take place between teachers and students on a predominantly informal basis.
Unit one: Drama Skills has 2 outcomes and these are assessed throughout the first unit. Following the final practical performance for this unit, there will be a written evaluation assessment under exam conditions. We will then collect all generated written and video evidence and assess these to give the student a pass or fail.
Unit One outcomes:
1.1 Exploring ideas for a drama in response to a variety of methodologies, theatre practices and texts of one or more key practitioners.
1.2 Developing ideas based on research informed by one or more practitioners.
2.1 Planning, researching and devising drama informed by practices and methodologies of one or more theatre practitioners.
2.2 Applying complex drama skills within a presentation.
2.3 Evaluating their drama.
Unit two: Production Skills has 2 outcomes and these are assessed throughout the second unit. Following the final practical performance for this unit, there will be a written evaluation assessment under exam conditions. We will then collect all generated written and video evidence and assess these to give the student a pass or fail.
Unit Two outcomes:
1.1 Researching the theories and practice of one or more key practitioners.
1.2 Developing complex production skills, informed by research of one or more practitioners.
1.3 Applying complex production skills informed by research of one or more practitioners.
2.1 Analysing the use of complex production skills in a current performance.
2.2 Analysing aspects of a performance that reflect or contrast with the theories, methodologies and practices of one or more key practitioners.
There are two elements to the final assessment for the course: Performance and Dissertation. These are both marked externally by the SQA (with a visiting examiner for Performance).
Performance: this element carries 60 marks in total, of which 50 are allocated to the practical assessment of either Acting, Directing or Design and 10 to the written Preparation for Performance.
Acting: The student must perform in two contrasting roles – one of which must be a monologue (20 marks) and another interacting with other performers (30 marks). The marks are awarded in five different areas for both pieces.
Directing: The student must prepare a weighty section (eg. an Act) of their selected play text for production, and be able to direct a 40 minute rehearsal of around 3 pages from this section of the play. The marks are awarded in five different areas for this rehearsal and the body of preparation work the student has collated.
Designing: The student must design and build a scale model of the set for a chosen text as well as taking on two further production roles in approaching this text. The marks are awarded in two different areas for the scale model and the body of preparation work the student has collated.
Dissertation: This element carries 40 marks and these are divided into three areas: A Analysing theory and performance examples that explore a chosen issue. B Synthesising by comparing and contrasting different ways the issue has been explored. C Expressing an argument developed as a through-line of opinion leading up to an evaluate conclusion.
The drama department supports a positive homework policy.
Homework is set each week; this may be in the form of essays, script writing or folio work. Pupils must maintain a folio for each unit which will need to be updated with notes and research regularly. During the summer holidays pupils must write their script and add research to their folios. Essays are an essential element of the course work and sustain the development of knowledge and understanding relevant to areas of focus for the Dissertation as well as both Production and Drama Skills units. As the Dissertation is to be built on student-led work, the staff are to fulfil only a mentorship role in support of this; therefore the main responsibility for this work lies with the students themselves. In addition, pupils must make regular visits to the theatre to support critical written analysis of productions which is a requirement of the second unit of work. We do arrange a number of theatre visits throughout the school year to support this.
Recording and Reporting
The units are internally assessed using the folio and performance as evidence which will form the basis for the comments in the pupil report issued to parents in March while the S5/6 parent’s night in mid-November provides an opportunity to discuss successes and/or concerns.
DISSERTATION (Advanced Higher Projects)
For your meeting with your supervisor after the holiday, you need to have a clear PLAN OF ACTION showing what information you need, where you are going to find it, what steps you have already taken towards this, what you have read, who you have contacted, who next, etc. Any information you have collected already you need to have annotated and bring this with you. You should have detailed notes from the Fringe Trip within your dissertation folio also. All of these questions will need input from professional sources so you need to be looking at reviews, company websites, interviews with the relevant people – think about contacting the key people on twitter!
- AS A MINIMUM you need to have drawn together what information you do have and started to form a through-line of argument/discussion. This will give your supervisor a chance to see any areas of weakness or strength so that they can give you focussed support if necessary.
MONOLOGUE (Production Skills)
Over the holidays, read the entire plays you are directing/acting/designing. For each make detailed notes on your initial concepts for direction/design/production /performance and research past productions and performances and the social, historical, cultural and thematic context of the play. Have notes on form, structure, purpose, target audience, message, intended impact, character Given Circumstances, character development (key moments), character relationships, character relationship tree, comparable designs and importantly(!!) PRACTITIONER research and their influence on what you are hoping to do.