Performing Arts

 
Performing Arts Department
DRAMA
 
The Drama department is passionately committed to allowing all students to engage with Drama as a subject.
 
Drama at St Margaret Ward Catholic College is taught as a subject to be explored, understood and appreciated. It aims to:
 
  • enrich students’ appreciation and knowledge of Drama, Theatre and Performance and to provide opportunities for students to develop their practical skills as actors, directors and practitioners.
  • be ultilised as a means to allow students to develop and flourish on a personal level, gaining confidence and life skills through the exploration of the subject.
 
The Drama curriculum is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to progress fluidly to A Level and beyond, while providing opportunities for students to develop socially, morally and culturally.
 
Key Stage 3: Year 7
 
Year 7 Drama is taught as a discrete subject with the aim to introduce students to drama as well as to help improve literacy and social skills.  Students focus upon developing an understanding of storytelling and have the opportunity to make and perform with their own puppets.
 
Year 8
 
In year 8 students develop basic Drama skills through exploring a different theatrical style each half term. Students are assessed at the end of each half term, through both practical and written assessments. Styles currently on the curriculum include: Slapstick, Melodrama, Mime, Physical Theatre, and naturalism.
 
Year 9
 
In year 9 students follow more project based work which is designed to not only strengthen their skills as performers, but to also develop their written analysis of Drama. Students currently explore scripted plays, which they will interpret and rehearse as well as devising their own piece of drama based upon a current topical issue. Also in year 9 students learn about directing and backstage elements such as lighting and set design.
 
Key Stage 4:
 
Our G.C.S.E. students enjoy a varied curriculum where they not only devise their own performances, but they rehearse a larger section of script. This practical element of the course is coursework that is completed during both year 10 and 11 and is assessed in front of an invited audience, in our specially equipped studio. At G.C.S.E. students also complete a written examination, for which they analyse performances they have seen at theatres across the country during the course, as well as by discussing their work during the course and plays studied.
 
Key Stage 5:
 
Drama and Theatre Studies is an exciting course that allows students to not only engage in practical lessons exploring Drama, but also focus on the academic side of performance by taking a close analytical look at theatre as a wider platform. Students learn through a mix of practical workshops and theoretical lectures.
 
Throughout the course of study, students will create, rehearse and perform in both a scripted and devised performance, taking creative responsibility for co-ordinating the full lighting, set and costume required for their performances. Throughout both processes students will learn about influential theatre practitioners and theatrical styles.
 
Students will also study a wide range of texts from different historic periods, exploring each text through a mix of practical workshops and theory lessons. This enables students to analyse texts and decide how they would direct and stage them, in preparation for their written examinations.
 
The final element of the course focuses on students watching live theatre performances and evaluating each production they see. This enjoyable part of the course allows students to see many different productions across the country, exposing them to a varied range of plays and theatrical styles.
 
Extra curricular
 
Extra curricular clubs are offered on a weekly basis for all year groups. Work from the clubs is showcased during performances throughout the year. There is also a yearly whole school production of a famous musical, which all students are invited to audition for. Past productions have included; Grease, The Sound of Music and The Wizard of OZ.
 
We have recently founded our own school theatre company called “Studio One”.  The company will put on a production each year, where students can opt to have an acting role or opt for a backstage role.
 
Roles available include:  Director, Playwright, Lighting Designer, Make up Artist, Costume Designer, Marketing Manager, Front of House team, Set Designer.  Students have training sessions in their chosen field and then are responsible for their area during the production process.  This is an invaluable experience which enable students to learn about Drama, but also gain excellent skills ready for life.
 

MUSIC

“Music is the universal language of all mankind.”
Here at St Margaret Ward Catholic College music is an important part of our everyday lives, curriculum and spiritual development. All students are given the opportunity to learn an instrument and through the creative curriculum and music lessons during years 8 and 9, all students experience a wide range of musical activities and are introduced to a variety of musical genres.
We have a strong tradition of music beyond key stage three and offer both GCSE and A level music. Currently, option numbers are extremely healthy and many students continue to study music to degree level and beyond.
Past students are currently studying at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Extra curricular activities are at the heart of our department and students can experience and be part of a variety of tradition and non-traditional ensembles, including a School Choir, a School Orchestra and a highly successful Jazz Orchestra.
Last year, the Jazz Orchestra undertook their first European tour to Italy and plan to tour again in the summer of 2013.
Our department holds an open door policy and is accessible to all students no matter of their musical background or ability. We want to make music available for all.
It is not exclusive, it is not elitist.... It is for all!
 
Key Stage 3:
During Year 7 Music is taught to students through our integrated Creative Curriculum. Students focus on developing their voices and song writing skills and learn to read music whilst learning about the history of musical theatre before performing scenes from musicals.
In Year 8 and Year 9, students receive a 50 minute lesson of Music each week. During Year 8 we focus on skill based projects, which enable students to learn keyboard skills, whilst performing and composing their own music and existing musical materials.
Year 9 Music lessons focus on learning about music from different cultures and its place in both society and its links with the media. We also prepare students for GCSE Music and all Year 9 students achieve an accredited GCSE Arts qualification.
 
Key Stage 4:
GCSE Music is a popular option for students in Years 10 and 11 and we follow the Edexcel specification. Students have three timetabled periods a week and in addition all pupils are recommended to take instrumental lessons outside the classroom as this greatly supports their work in this subject.
The Edexcel GCSE Music course is divided into three areas – listening and appraising, composition and performing. Listening and appraising carries 40% of the total marks, the other two areas 30% each. The composition and performing papers are both on-going coursework modules; the listening paper is sat during the examination period in the Summer of Year 11.
The listening paper is the only written examination. It involves listening to short extracts of music, and then answering questions on the three set works in each of the four Areas of Study. These cover popular music, classical music and music from around the world. Students will be introduced to musical styles from the seventeenth century to the present day in the Western European tradition, traditional and contemporary folk music, varied popular styles of the last hundred years and music from other cultures and traditions.
Composing provides an outlet for creativity, because there is no restriction on the style in which students write. The ability to compose clearly structured pieces with control of various musical elements will need to be shown and composing will also give a greater insight into the composition of masterpieces of all styles. A portfolio of two of the students’ own compositions or arrangements is submitted to the Board in May.
The performing section of the exam gives an opportunity for both solo and ensemble playing – and clearly presupposes an ability to play an instrument. Students will be assessed on two pieces (one solo and one ensemble) which may be recorded at any time during the course and may be performed in any style and on any instrument. This section is assessed internally and moderated by the Board.
 
Key Stage 5:
At Key Stage 5 we are part of the Trinity Sixth Form and
from September 2012 are
studying the AQA Syllabus.
The AQA Music course at both AS and A2 level is designed to build on the range of listening, performing and composing activities covered in GCSE music (though it is not a prerequisite that a candidate has actually taken the GCSE course). It is hoped that, by the end of each stage (AS and A2), candidates will have gained a greater understanding of the ‘how' and ‘what' in various styles and pieces of music and have had the experience of putting this into action as a performer and composer. Students are exposed to a reasonably broad spectrum of music and can perform in a style most appropriate to their experience and skill, but they should be aware that there will be a focus in a number of the ‘units' on the detailed study of classical ‘art' music repertoire. For all candidates it is recommended that they are at a standard at least equivalent to grade 5 in both Practical and Theory.
There are three components. All assessed at both AS (Yr 12) and A2 (Yr 13) level: Performing: Interpreting Musical Ideas (AS: 40%; A2: 30%)
Composing: Creating & Developing Musical Ideas (AS: 30%; A2: 30%)
Listening & Understanding: Influences on Music & its context (AS: 30%; A2: 40%)
 
Dance Department
 
Mission Statement:
 
The Dance department is passionately committed to allowing all students to engage with Dance as a subject.  Dance at St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy is taught as a subject to be explored, understood and appreciated, it aims to:
 
  • Create ‘Thinking Dancers’.
  • Enrich student’s appreciation and knowledge of Dance, Composition and Performance and to provide opportunities for students to develop their practical skills as performers, choreographers and appreciators.
  • Be utilised as a means to allow students to develop and flourish on a personal level, gaining confidence and life skills through the exploration of the subject. 
  • Engage students in the extra curricular life of the Dance Department, through involvement in performances at school and at local venues, competitions, after school classes and holiday clubs.
 
The Dance curriculum is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to progress fluidly to GCSE Dance, A Level Dance and beyond, while providing opportunities for students to develop socially, morally, spiritually and culturally.
 
Curriculum
 
KS3:
 
YEAR 7: In year 7 students study the five components of Dance – Travel, Rotation, Elevation, Gesture and Balance. They study the choreographic devices of unison, canon and investigate action, space, dynamics and relationships. Students analyse the professional piece ‘Ghost Dances’ by Christopher Bruce and cover the following styles throughout the year: Contemporary Dance and Street Dance. Students are assessed half termly against the Dance Assessment Grid through both practical and written work.
 
YEAR 8: In year 8 students recap the five components of Dance – Travel, Rotation, Elevation, Gesture and Balance. They develop their knowledge of choreographic devices including repetition, motif development, unity, contrast and logical sequence. They continue to develop their understanding of action, space, dynamics and relationships through the study of safe practise. Students analyse the professional piece ‘Rooster’ by Christopher Bruce and cover the following styles throughout the year: Contemporary Dance, Ballet, Contact Improvisation and Street Dance. Students are assessed half termly against the Dance Assessment Grid through both practical and written work.
 
 
YEAR 9: In year 9 students revisit the five components of Dance – Travel, Rotation, Elevation, Gesture and Balance through a Jazz Dance style. They study the choreographic devices of logical sequence, unity, contrast, climax, repetition, canon, unison, retrograde and fragmentation and continue to investigate action, space, dynamics and relationships. Students analyse the professional piece ‘Rush’ by Akram Khan and cover the following dance styles throughout the year: Contemporary Dance, Jazz, Charleston, Indian Dance, Bhangra, Kathak and Street Dance. Students are assessed half termly against the Dance Assessment Grid through both practical and written work.
 
 
KS4:
 
YEAR 10 and 11:
Through the GCSE Dance course students have the opportunity to create, perform and appreciate dance. Students perform a group dance and a solo set dance, choreograph a solo and a solo/duo/group on varied stimuli. Students have the opportunity to see lots of performances both locally and further afield, we have an annual trip to London’s West End to watch a production, tour a theatre and participate in a dance workshop at Pineapple dance studios with the cast of the show. Our GCSE performers perform at the Regent Theatre in the ‘0 Dance’ festivals, The UDO National Street Dance competitions and other local dance festivals. We study a set professional work, ‘Nutcracker!’ by Matthew Bourne, students have the opportunity to take part in workshops with the cast of ‘Nutcracker!’ and learn repertoire first hand from the Matthew Bourne Dance Company. Students also study different dance styles like Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Ballet and Street Dance. Students are assessed at regular points throughout the year through both practical and theoretical work.
 
 
KS5:
 
YEAR 12 and 13:
Through our exciting A Level Dance course students have the opportunity to engage in practical weekly dance technique classes in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary and Urban dance styles. Students engage in an academic study of professional works by choreographers and companies such as; Jiri Kylian, The Royal Ballet, Netherlands Dance Company, Akram Khan, Alvin Ailey and Jerome Robbins.
 
Throughout the course students perform and create solo, duo, trio and larger group pieces and learn through a mix of practical dance workshops and classes and theoretical lectures and discussions. Students create work for performance and develop their skills of designing, costuming and organising lighting for their productions.
 
A level dance students at St Margaret Ward enjoy a varied trips calendar including local and national productions. We run an annual trip to London’s West End where we watch a dance production, tour a West End theatre and take part in a dance workshop with the theatre cast in Pineapple Dance Studios, these trips are always a very enjoyable part of the dance course. We aim to enrich student’s knowledge and understanding of a variation of dance styles and forms by inviting visiting dance companies to give workshops, and by regularly viewing live dance including styles such as; Contemporary Dance, Jazz, Musical Theatre and Urban dance from professional companies. As a department we have very strong links with our local Dance Universities notably Manchester Metropolitan University and often take part in their touring dace programmes, welcoming university students into school to lead classes and perform their dance work and visiting the Universities for performances and classes.
 
 
Extra Curricular
 
Extra curricular dance clubs are offered at lunch and afterschool on a weekly basis for all year groups. Work from the clubs is showcased during performances throughout the year. Dance styles studied in clubs vary throughout the year from Street Dance to Contemporary, Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Lyrical.
 
Students represent our school in various dance competitions and festivals throughout the year including the UDO National Street Dance competitions and the Regent Theatre’s 0 Dance festivals.
 
At St Margaret Ward we enjoy an Upper and Lower school dance company and ‘Reflex’ our boys dance company, who have performed representing the school at many dance platforms locally and nationally, including successful tours of our primary partners schools. We also have a very successful transition dance company ‘Movin’ Up!’ made up of year 5 and 6 dancers from our partner primary schools who meet for holiday and afterschool workshops leading to performances at our local theatres.
 
We produce a yearly whole school production of a famous musical, which all students are invited to audition for. Past productions have included; Grease, The Sound of Music and The Wizard of OZ.
 
BTEC Performing Arts Department
 
Mission Statement:
 
The BTEC Performing Arts department is passionately committed to allowing all students to engage with Performing Arts as a subject. 
 
BTEC Performing Arts at St Margaret Ward Catholic College is taught as a subject to be explored, understood and appreciated, it aims to:
 
  • Create ‘Thinking Performers’.
  • Create a true vocational setting to all student tasks, allowing them to develop a true sense of the Performing Arts industry.
  • Enrich the student’s experience by organising regular theatre trips and workshops often with professional performers from the Performing Arts industry.
  • Work with other local, consortium schools to bring the Performing Arts BTEC course to all, forging excellent working relationships between students from different schools and backgrounds.
  • Enrich student’s appreciation and knowledge of Performing Arts and to provide opportunities for students to develop their practical skills as performers, creators, directors and appreciators.
  • Be utilised as a means to allow students to develop and flourish on a personal level, gaining confidence and life skills through the exploration of the subjects.
  • Engage students in the extra curricular life of the Performing Arts Department, through involvement in performances at school and at local venues, competitions, after school classes and holiday clubs.
     
The BTEC Performing Arts curriculum is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to progress fluidly to GCSE Drama, Dance and Music, A Level Drama, Dance and Music and beyond, while providing opportunities for students to develop socially, morally, spiritually and culturally.
 
Curriculum
 
KS4:
 
YEAR 10 11: BTEC First Diploma in Performing Arts
 
In Years 10 and 11 our BTEC Performing Arts course enables students to have the opportunity to create, perform and appreciate performing arts. Students will work on a project basis, developing their skills within all three art forms; Acting, Dance and Singing. Students also work on their performing arts techniques and skills through individual subject projects studying a wide range of styles and genres including; contemporary dance, street dance, jazz and musical theatre as well as scripted plays, devised work, naturalistic styles, physical theatre and contemporary theatre.
 
BTEC Performing Arts is a vocational course designed to give students a real understanding of how the industry works, the course results in a qualification that is equivalent to GCSE but is delivered and assessed regularly on a unit by unit basis, rather than just by end of year assessments. Students are assessed practically at regular points throughout the year, largely through practical performances with some theoretical assessments.
 
Students are encouraged to see productions locally, regionally and we have a full and exciting trips calendar including an annual trip to the West End, London to see a piece of musical theatre, tour a theatre and participate in a workshop with a member of the show cast at Pineapple Dance Studios London. Students also benefit from a full programme of visiting practioners workshops. Students actively perform and represent the school in performances at school, at local performance platforms and nationally in various dance, singing and drama competitions.
 
Students who study the BTEC Performing Arts course at KS4 can continue to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in Performing Arts through further study at BTEC National Level, A Level Dance and A Level Drama and Theatre Studies courses through our sixth form.
 
KS5:
 
YEAR 12 13: BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts
 
In Years 12 and 13 our exciting and engaging BTEC Performing Arts course enables students to have the opportunity to create, perform and appreciate performing arts. Students will work on a project basis, developing their skills within all three art forms; Acting, Dance and Singing. Students also work on their performing arts techniques and skills through individual subject projects studying a wide range of styles and genres including; contemporary dance, street dance, jazz and musical theatre as well as scripted plays, devised work, naturalistic styles, physical theatre and contemporary theatre. Students can specialise in a specific arts pathway or develop more than one style simultaneously.
 
BTEC Performing Arts is a vocational course designed to give students a real understanding of how the industry works, the course results in a qualification that is equivalent to GCSE but is delivered and assessed regularly on a unit by unit basis, rather than just by end of year assessments. Students are assessed practically at regular points throughout the year, largely through practical performances with some theoretical assessments. Previous assessed projects have included Theatre in Education tours of our Partner Primary schools, where students create and perform a piece of devised theatre and plan and lead workshops for various year groups of students. Students also have the opportunity to teach clubs for our lower school students and help us to create performance work which can be entered into local and national showcases and performance platforms. The projects we have developed through this course are often ones that students note on their University UCAS applications and often get discussed in interviews, as they demonstrate successful attitudes for life such as; group work, planning, organising events and evaluating success within the students involved.
 
Students are encouraged to see productions locally, regionally and we have a full and exciting trips calendar including an annual trip to the West End, London to see a piece of musical theatre, tour a theatre and participate in a workshop with a member of the show cast at Pineapple Dance Studios London. Students also benefit from a full programme of visiting practioners workshops. Students actively perform and represent the school in performances at school, at local performance platforms and nationally in various dance, singing and drama competitions.