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Performing Arts

‘Doubt is the enemy of creativeness’ – Konstantin Stanislavski

Our curriculum ambition and aspirational culture is to provide an academic Drama curriculum that develops knowledge, skills and cultural capital, “the essential knowledge that children need to be educated citizens” Ofsted. The coherent planning is sequenced to enable pupils to collaborate creatively and to confidently present their ideas to an audience – pupils develop the essential skills; reading, writing and oracy.  Our aim is to develop pupil’s interpersonal skills and to stimulate their imaginations to explore issues beyond their own experiences, in a safe and supportive environment. We strive to create the very best communicators, thinkers and confident performers.

At Sharples School Drama is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject, which prepares young people to live and work with confidence, promoting independence and resilience in the wider world. Our broad and balanced curriculum centres on social and communication skills which enables all pupils to enjoy and achieve, promoting character, personal, social, physical, spiritual, moral and cultural development. Our curriculum is designed to promote creativity, empathy and problem-solving skills.

Drama is a statutory part of English in the National Curriculum and we strive to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to participate, gain knowledge, skills and understanding through artistic practice. All pupils study Drama at KS2 and KS3 before opting for Performing Arts at KS4, embedding creativity across the curriculum.

The meticulously designed Drama curriculum at Sharples School encourages pupils to read widely and often, to participate in extra-curricular clubs/activities/events/trips, and to foster an appreciation for Arts and Culture.

Key Concepts and Skills

The key concepts in Drama are embedded within the curriculum and are aimed at developing key concepts and key skills, simultaneously. Pupils need to understand the stages of the Drama process which are as follows:


Pupils will be taught skills necessary to develop performance material. They will be taught the importance of teamwork and cooperation in developing a performance. Starting from the basic idea that a performance needs to have a beginning, middle and an ending, with the potential to entertain and deliver a wider message.


Pupils will be taught the necessary skills for performing/presenting work to an audience. These will include the continuous use of the 5 Elements of Drama in all performance work. These are:


  1. Use of Facial expressions
  2. Use of Voice (tone, pitch, projection, vocal expression etc.)
  3. Use of Gesture (body language)
  4. Use of Movement (pace, pressure, pose)
  5. Showing Relationships on stage (being aware of proxemics and other actors and their roles)


Pupils are taught how to respond to a range of different stimuli for developing Drama such as; cultural and historical contexts, existing scripts, poetry, images and art. They are also expected to respond by being able to:

  • talk about their own and other’s performances, using subject specific terminology.
  • understand the style, period and context. i.e. the knowledge that is required to improve their making, performing and responding.

Key concepts and skills

Physical Theatre Theatre-in- Education Commedia


Spontaneous Improvisation Verbatim Theatre Theatre Design Issue-based Theatre
Shakespeare Naturalism Greek Theatre Stage Presence Melodrama Devising Stanislavski
Projection Slapstick Characterisation Puppetry Symbolism Brecht The Magic If
Costume Poetry Script-writing Choral Speaking Masks Fourth Wall Choreography

Year 7

The overarching themes in Year 7 are creating character exploration and storytelling through foundational skills.
(Creating a character, naturalism and method acting through Stanislavski, Myths and legends, non-naturalistic techniques, historical and cultural theatre, technical theatre design and studying a play text)


  • Autumn 1 – Roald Dahl

Students will gain an understanding of the five key characterisation skills for creating a character and how they are used when performing (voice, movement, gestures, body language and facial expressions). Students will practically explore new methods and techniques, leading to group work, exploring and creating their own interpretations of famous children’s literature. They will explore a range of text stimuli including poetry, prose and drama. 

  • Autumn 2 – Spy School, Stanislavski’s Method Acting

Students will be able to demonstrate key components both theoretically and physically and appreciate Konstantin Stanislavski’s techniques. Naturalism – Throughout this unit students will explore the work of Stanislavski who was one of the most influential theatre practitioners of the twentieth century whilst enrolling themselves in spy school.


  • Spring 1 – Sharples Manor

An exploration of horror as a genre focusing on physical theatre, mood and atmosphere and using key drama techniques including soundscapes and body as prop. Students will be able to develop their storytelling skills, creating tension throughout the devising process.

  • Spring 2 – Bugsy Malone

Students will learn how to recreate scenes using scripts and improvisation techniques, whilst developing vocal projection and role-play skills and techniques such as hot-seating to create characters on a deeper level. They will explore the power of friendship, social status and class through this renowned musical (Cross-curricular with Music).


  • Summer 1 – Who Am I?

Students will explore the key themes of identity and personal growth, whilst further developing their performance skills. Students will create characters and devised role-play performances based on personal experiences and current issues which challenge social expectations and promote diversity and a celebration of what makes you who you are. (Cross-curricular with PSHCE)

  • Summer 2 – Twelfth Night

Students will be introduced to the work of Shakespeare as we aim to demystify the language and introduce the students to key scenes from Twelfth Night, focusing on the text and subtext, whilst further developing their characterisation skills. Key themes – love, ambition, appearance and reality, disguise and deception, gender. (Cross-curricular with English)

Year 8

The overarching themes in Year 8 are Comedy, History, Political Theatre, Brecht, Power, Status. 

(Greek Theatre, Medieval, Elizabethan, Modern Theatre, Victorian Melodrama, Elizabethan Theatre, Staging Design)


  • Autumn 1 – History of Theatre

Students will look at key themes and symbolism from Waiting for Godot such as the absurdity of existence, the purposelessness of life and how suffering increases with the passage of time. (Cross-curricular with History)

  • Autumn 2 – Blood Brothers

Students will study the story of the Johnston twins. They will learn how to recreate key scenes from Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers through an exploration of the sub-text and playwright’s intention. Developing Character – Students will read the play ‘Blood Brothers’ and interpret dialogue, themes and characterisation skills. (Cross-Curricular with English)


  • Spring 1 – Physical Theatre (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time)

Students will study the devising process, exploring a range of strategies to create and stage a devised performance. They will focus on the use of a stimulus as a starting point and clearly identify their target audience. Students will use a variety of explorative strategies to structure their scenario. (Cross-curricular with PE and Dance)

  • Spring 2 – Macbeth

Students will explore Shakespeare’s Macbeth through a range of practical activities that focus on the themes of the text – good versus evil, the dangers of ambition, the contrast between appearance and reality, loyalty and guilt, creating atmosphere and tension. (Cross-curricular with English).


  • Summer 1 – Theatre in Education

Students will develop and adapt their script-writing skills for a Theatre-in-Education project, through the exploration of current affairs and using theatre as a catalyst for change whilst developing key vocabulary and literacy skills. (Cross-Curricular with PSHE)

  • Summer 2 – Noughts and Crosses

Students will study extracts from the play by Malorie Blackman, focusing on the questions surrounding diversity and equality and the legacy of slavery. Exploring Text – Students will build on the learning from year 7, and develop their understanding of a scripted stimulus which explores society, class, a bitter sweet love story set in a society divided by racial bigotry and a world rocked by terrorism. (Cross Curricular with Humanities)

Year 9

The overarching themes in Year 9 are Status, Power, Hierarchy, Identity, Stereotypes.
(Naturalism, Elizabethan Theatre, Contemporary Theatre and Technical Theatre Design)


  • Autumn 1 – Gone too Far

Students will practically explore Gone too Far by Bola Agbaje, an award-winning play first debuted at the Royal Court’s Young Writers Festival. Students will fully explore the context of the play which focuses on identity, history and culture.

  • Autumn 2 – Crimes connected with urbanisation in the C19th

Students will develop non-naturalistic techniques, cross cutting and hot seating skills. They will gain insight into pivotal moments in British history through practical drama. (Cross-curricular with History)


  • Spring 1 – Devising

Students will study the devising process, exploring a range of strategies to create and stage a devised performance. They will focus on the use of a stimulus as a starting point and clearly identify their target audience. Students will use a variety of explorative strategies to structure their scenario. (Cross-curricular with Music).

  • Spring 2 – Technical Theatre (with devising)

Students will study the devising process, exploring a range of strategies to create and stage a devised performance. They will focus on the use of a stimulus as a starting point and clearly identify their target audience. Students will use a variety of explorative strategies to structure their scenario. Students on the technical theatre pathway will explore and research the roles and responsibilities of being a designer, collaborate with actors to provide technical support and perform a presentation and actively create resources for the acting students performances. (Cross-curricular with The Arts, Technology and Media)


  • Summer 1 – Exploring a text (DNA)

Students will explore DNA through a range of practical activities that focus on the themes of the text – friendship, the dangers of lying, status, loyalty and guilt and power and conflict whilst creating atmosphere and tension through use of lighting and sound.

  • Summer 2 – Trestle Masks

Students will explore non-realistic theatre through the use of Trestle masks. Through mask work, they will have the freedom to develop physicality and mime techniques and explore the world through another’s eyes.

Key Stage 4 Overview

The KS4 curriculum provides students with opportunities to build on their learning experiences gained during KS3.

Year 10

Component 1: Exploring the Performing Arts

Learning outcome A: Investigate how professional performance or production work is created.

Students will examine live and/or recorded performances in at least three different styles in order to develop their understanding of professional performing arts work in one or more of acting, dance and musical theatre, with reference to influences, outcomes and purpose. Students will gain a practical appreciation of professional work by exploring existing performance material in acting, dance or musical theatre. They will learn how professionals may respond to or treat a particular theme or issue, how they use/interpret/modify a pre-existing style, and how they communicate ideas to their audience through stylistic qualities.

Learning outcome B: Demonstrate understanding of the skills, techniques and approaches used by professionals to create performance work.

Students may participate as a performer  in at least three styles in one or more of the following performance disciplines: acting, dance and musical theatre. Students will explore and participate in workshops and classes to develop their knowledge and understanding of the interrelationships between processes, techniques and approaches that contribute to performance repertoire.

Component 2: Developing Skills and Techniques in the Performing Arts

Learning outcome A: Use rehearsal or production/design processes

Learners will participate in rehearsal or production/design practices, continuing the development of skills and techniques with reference to existing performance types, styles and repertoire. They will complete all the content appropriate for their chosen role.

Learning outcome B: Apply Skills And Techniques In Performance Or Realisation

Students will apply interpretative skills and techniques appropriate to the selected discipline in a performance or design realisation. They will cover either the performance or design skills as appropriate to selected discipline.

Learning outcome C: Review own development and application of performance or design skills.

Students must track their progress during this component, reflecting on their development of skills and working practices in workshops, through to rehearsals and performances. The review can include recordings, annotations and/or written content.

Year 11

Students must fully complete Components 1 and 2.

Component 3: Responding to a brief

Assessment objectives
AO1 Understand how to respond to a brief
AO2 Select and develop skills and techniques in response to a brief
AO3 Apply skills and techniques in a workshop performance in response to a brief
AO4 Evaluate the development process and outcome in response to a brief

Read like a Dramatist

Reading in drama is an essential component of the academic study of the subject. As actors, we must read with our minds, our hearts and our imaginations to fully understand the shoes in which characters are walking in and the plot of the literature that we read. From reading classical plays such as the Greeks and Shakespeare to more contemporary plays, we must grow our reading skills to explore theatre on a deeper level. 

Analysis and evaluation literature surrounding theatre reviews and advertisement is key in sparking an interest in the type of theatre around us. Similar to the blurb on a novel, this type of literature is there to engage the imagination and spark curiosity to encourage the reader to read on!

Exploring the language of theatre is a wonderful opportunity as it is one of the most powerful tools in this art form. Becoming familiar with high tier vocabulary through wider reading will lead to us becoming more confident readers in the world of theatre.

Click here to view the suggested reads poster.
Please note: the images of the book covers are clickable hyperlinks to the book.

Enrichment and other extra-curricular activities

A wide range of Performance related enrichment opportunities are available, including Year 7 Drama and Dance clubs, Shakespeare Schools Festival and the annual School Production rehearsals, which take place everyday for KS3 and KS4 students. They are involved with performing at local community events and collaborative performance projects with other local schools and organisations. Visiting industry professionals and theatre companies are also invited into school to run workshops and introduce students to the Arts industry and the roles within it.

All students are encouraged to use the performance rooms in preparation for end of topic assessments. At KS4 all students create a rehearsal schedule where they can book the performance space and they also attend extra after school catch-up sessions. Theatre trips are organised and are planned to support our broad and balanced curriculum, and as a reward, which promotes students’ love of learning in Performing Arts.

Useful links


Ms T. Hamlin, Director of Performing Arts