Curriculum Content 

Year 7

Autumn – Who Am I? Students engage with Cornish folk tales such as ‘Mermaid of Zennor’ and ‘Bolster the Giant’ whilst being introduced to physical and vocal acting skills.

Spring- Intercultural Performance Styles: Students explore French melodrama, Chinese shadow puppetry, as well as Capoeira movement and Bollywood dance. Whilst continuing to develop their performance skills through their learning, students begin to actively interrogate texts for features of characterisation.

Summer- Heroes & Villains: In the final term, students unravel the work of Shakespeare in a series of practical, fast paced workshops. From Hamlet to Macbeth, these sessions introduce students to the art of ‘playing’ Shakespeare and understanding the characters and themes of his work.

Year 8

Autumn 1- Lion King: Students explore ensemble movement skills and mask work as they perform key scenes from the show. Additionally, students begin to question the art of design and investigate the semiotics of theatre. The lessons focus on developing characterisation and bringing a role to life through movement and sound.

Autumn 2- War: Practically, students discover the pressures and difficulties of conflict. Using propaganda and soldier’s letters from WW1 and WW2, the groups devise performances and develop their acting and production skills.

Spring 1- Frantic Assembly: Students apply Frantic Assembly techniques to a series of motifs in solo and group performances. This unit refines their skills in movement, expression and empathy. The lessons allow learners the opportunity to grow confidence in the art of communication using body and shape, without words.

Spring 2- Scripted Performance: Students explore a contemporary play and interrogate the playwright’s intentions and objectives. Using workshops and rehearsal sessions, students imagine creative ways to dramatise key scenes.

Summer 1- Shakespeare’s World: The class immerse themselves into the world of Elizabethan England and practically discover the themes, characters and dialogue of Shakespeare. Through whole class ensemble work, students explore iambic pentameter and imagery. Students begin to compare contemporary adaptations.

Summer 2- Improvised Comedy: Students uncover the elements of comedy and improvisation techniques. Students devise from a series of stimuli and short texts, creating spontaneous moments of comedy. Several workshops reflect on successful comedians in contemporary performance.

Year 9

Autumn 1- Twisted Tales: Students devise their own reimagined versions of well know fairy tales. The class explore physical theatre techniques, puppetry and narration.

Autumn 2- Theatre in Education: Students continue their work from the previous project and use the workshops to shape their creations for a younger audience, in an educational context. Students explore social issues such as bullying and peer pressure, using theatre, character and storytelling as a tool to educate a younger audience. Students begin to evaluate the success of their work upon an audience.

Spring 1- Blood Brothers: The class study the play through practical workshops, beginning with thematic work. As the sessions develop, students connect with the political and social climate of the play through characterisation.

Spring 2- Blood Brothers: Continuing their explorative work on the play, students progress to discover the elements of design and production. In this project, the class analyse and evaluate costume and set design. Students sketch and create their own costumes and set boxes for the play with a focus on the contextual backdrop.

Summer 1- Artaud: To broaden their knowledge of theatre styles, students explore the work of Antonin Artaud. Through practical workshops, they discover the elements of ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ and apply these techniques and conventions to their own devised performances.

Summer 2- Devising: Students are presented with a stimulus pack containing themed texts, photographs, poems, newspaper headlines, etc. The project refines student’s abilities to devise theatre and performance, present character through physical and vocal expression and also to create and imagine a clear intention for an audience.

Year 10

Autumn 1- An Actor’s Toolkit: Students explore short play extracts, various stimuli and a multitude of practitioners. A rigorous workshop schedule polishes and refines vocal and physical acting skills through solo and ensemble performance work. In this half-term, students also investigate the topic of theatre roles and terminology.

Autumn 2- Blood Brothers: Students use their characterisation skills to bring two chosen scenes from the play to life on stage. Practically, students unravel the characters and themes of Russell’s work. This work prepares them for the final performance in Component 3. Additionally, students use this performance work to inform their written responses to exam style questions.

Spring 1- Live Theatre Review: Students interrogate a piece of live theatre and practise analysis and evaluation skills through practical work. The class learn how to describe and assess the skills of an actor by replicating scenes in workshops and comparing their own performance ideas to the live theatre on screen.

Spring 2- Devising: In groups, students devise an original piece of theatre based on a selection of stimuli. This project encourages innovation and imagination. Students refine their acting and production skills as they create a play of their own design. Teamwork skills and communication are key for success in this project as the students autonomously devise their final piece.

Summer 1- Devising: The devising project continues, and students polish and perfect their performance work through peer feedback and critique. Students are regularly encouraged to share their ideas and to open a dialogue with their group members about the intentions for the piece. As their work develops, students complete section 1 of their work diary, logging their development and reflecting on their progression.

Summer 2- Devising: Students finalise their performance ideas in this half-term and begin to consider the technical elements of their production. Students create lighting plots and finalise script ideas. The rehearsals focus on fine tuning excellent characterisation.

Year 11

Autumn 1- Devising Reflection: Students watch their filmed performances and self-evaluate as well as offering peer critique to each other. Constructively, students reflect on their developments and complete section 2 and section 3 of their working diary. The sessions encourage effective criticism and celebration of their performance successes. Students analyse and evaluate their use of physical and vocal skills in role.

Autumn 2- Live Theatre Review: Students continue to interrogate the chosen piece of live theatre watched in Year 10. The project refines their analytical and evaluative skills. These sessions focus on key scenes of the performance and help students to develop their written responses. As this project concludes, students use the final two weeks to prepare for their practical examination.

Spring 1- Scripted Performance & Revision: In groups, pairs or on their own, students explore contemporary play texts and decide upon two extracts from the same play that portray the plot and characters. Students use practical workshops to develop their physical and vocal skills and a large amount of dedication to extra-curricular rehearsals is imperative for success. Students use three lessons a fortnight to revise for their written examination.

Spring 2- Scripted Performance & Revision: Students continue to artistically imagine their chosen extracts, creating them on stage for a final performance to a live audience and a visiting examiner. As part of this project, students explain their artistic intentions for their role and describe how they wish the audience to respond as they watch the performance. Students use three lessons a fortnight to revise for their written examination.

Summer 1- Revision: Students revise topics for the written examination and continue to practise their written responses. Through practical workshops, group discussion and revision exercises, the class use these sessions to independently prepare whilst receiving bespoke teacher feedback.

Summer 2- Revision: Students revise topics for the written examination and continue to practise their written responses. Through practical workshops, group discussion and revision exercises, the class use these sessions to independently prepare whilst receiving bespoke teacher feedback.

Curriculum Approach

The Performing Arts curriculum at Brannel is planned with a broad curriculum in mind. We want pupils to immerse themselves in a myriad of learning styles and practical experiences. Transferable skills are widely learned as the curriculum prepares pupils for KS4 courses and further study. A wide range of extra-curricular activities are available to take part in as well as peripatetic lessons.

Phase of Education Specific Requirements

Courses available to pupils at key stage 4, including GCSEs:

  • Drama – AQA GCSE Drama

Find Out More

To find out more about the independent tasks for KS3, please refer to the Realsmart portfolios. Here you will also find more details about end of unit assessments and the criteria that we use to assess student progress. Alternatively, please contact the head of department or your child’s class teacher.

Future Careers

The Arts sector is one of the fastest growing in the UK.  Careers are hugely varied and include: Actor, Theatre Technician, Costumer Designer, Make-Up Artist, puppeteer, Community Arts leader, teacher, Drama/Music therapist, session musician, sound engineer, record producer, music journalist, Artist manage, venue manager.