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From taking risks to exploring skills that would be useful in all walks of life, we take a look at Drama with the help of Mrs J Tyrrell, Head of Drama.
What is covered in Drama?
Drama lessons at Blackheath High School in Years 7 to 9 focus very much on acting skills and building confidence with public speaking and performance, exploring skills that would be useful in all walks of life.
At GCSE and A-Level, we explore all aspects of drama and the creation of theatre. We make the most of the wealth of theatre available in London, perform and explore plays such as 'The Crucible' and 'Hedda Gabler', create drama and perform these pieces to audiences. There is also a plethora of co-curricular activities from plays, musicals at the Greenwich Theatre, the Music and Drama Tour, clubs and LAMDA tuition available.
Is it a popular choice of subject?
Most definitely! Outside of the GCSE and A-Level groups, there are nearly 100 students taking the LAMDA examinations in Acting. The drama clubs in 7, 8 and 9 are often the biggest clubs in the school.
What are the benefits of studying this subject?
The skills developed in Drama are terribly useful to manifold careers – the ability to speak confidently and persuasively from an audience of one in an interview to a panel or bigger audience for a presentation – there seem very few professions that do not require this at some point. Even dealing with stress in a job where you are under performance pressure, in a courtroom or telling people desperately sad news as a health professional, Drama helps students develop a role in which this can be done, and then stepped out of at the end of a stressful day.
Ms Day who joined the department in January runs a company, outside of her work here, which goes into corporate environments helping people to present themselves and their work more confidently and successfully.
What are the benefits of studying Drama at Blackheath High School?
There are many! Firstly our position in Greenwich, London means we can pop into town to access the West End or National Theatre, Royal Court and fringe venues so easily. Students are exposed to the most innovative and exciting new theatre.
Also, Blackheath is such a diverse melting pot of culture that the students' work benefits from the range of experience and backgrounds that the girls bring.
The teachers in the department create an appropriate and safe environment for students to safely explore issues through performance.
I also have strong contacts in the acting world which means we regularly bring in external practitioners to work with our GCSE and A-Level students – thus enriching what they get from both myself and Ms Day. Ms Day has taken two shows that she has written to the Edinburgh Festival (UKIP the musical and Brexit at Tiffany’s) and has an MA in directing form RADA which of course brings even more experience and connections to the department.
Is there a particular aspect of the course that students tend to enjoy?
They all love theatre visits but I would like to think that it is the teachers in the department both for curriculum and co-curricular LAMDA lessons that they enjoy. The rapport we have and our wonderful facilities (our theatre is a fantastically well-equipped flexible space and our drama studio is due for a complete refurbishment) make the students feel safe to take risks and explore.