- Block 3 (Year 9)
- Blocks 4 and 5 (Years 10 and 11)
- Sixth Form
As part of a Block 3 carousel, Theatre Studies seeks to establish good practice for group work, encourage a love of theatre as well as lay the foundations for those who wish to continue with Drama as a Bedales Assessed Course.
They study units in Dance and Drama and look at physical theatre including elements of both disciplines. All units include warm up activities, discussion, activities, reflection and the learning of theatrical vocabulary. The focus is on process, performance and evaluation.
Pupils also have the opportunity, outside lesson time, to get involved with the technical aspects of the theatre, through wardrobe and stage crew.
Throughout the year we aim to see self-confidence growing through students' greater understanding of group dynamics, of the expressive nature of not only the voice but the whole body and in a growing awareness of the impact we make on each other as individuals and groups. We also aim to maximise the opportunities presented by the Bedales Events programme by linking work whenever appropriate.
Students can complement their curricular study of drama by taking peripatetic lessons in LAMDA, RADA or Trinity and by auditioning for the Summer Production (Blocks 3 and 4) which takes place at the end of the Summer Term.
The Bedales Assessed Course (BAC) offers two dynamic years of Drama, taught to GCSE marking standards but beyond the scope of what the GCSEs offer. It enables students of all abilities to explore a wide range of theatrical styles, offering real variety in terms of performance and design potential and providing many opportunities for individual development and group awareness.
There are five wide-ranging and contrasting modules, all with assessments on process, performance and with accompanying coursework. The course ends with a presentation of learning and a live theatre evaluation report which links what they have seen as part of the Bedales Events programme, how it has influenced their decisions and how they have developed throughout the course.
- Unit 1 Naturalism
- Unit 2 Greek Theatre
- Unit 3 Site-specific Shakespeare
- Unit 4 Scripted Theatre
- Unit 5 Devised Theatre
Units 4 and 5 are influenced by leading practitioners and established theatre companies and have public performance outcomes in the Bedales Theatre and are viewed by a visiting examiner to ensure standards are precisely maintained.
We follow the Eduqas specification of Drama and Theatre. This is an excellent course made up of three components, with practical exploration embedded throughout. The specification promotes involvement in and enjoyment of drama as performers and/or designers. Students can develop their practical skills in both fields or concentrate on their desired option. They are also given the opportunity to develop their skills as theatre directors.
In Component 1, students reinterpret a classic text to create a piece of theatre, influenced by leading practitioners and established theatre companies. In Component 2 they engage with a stimulus to create two pieces of theatre; one naturalistic interpretation of a contemporary text of their own choice and the other a devised piece, again following the styles and techniques of a studied practitioner or company. Component 3, the written examination, is linked to the practical study of the subject and we look at three texts from the perspective of performer, director and designer. Our current performance texts studied are; Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal, Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens. The Bedales Events programme provides countless opportunities to attend live theatre performances and to develop skills as informed and thoughtful audience members. This is complemented by virtual performances which are regularly analysed and evaluated and the students take ideas from these professional works to add to their own projects.
We chose this board due to the freedom it gives us to study and choose a wide range of study text from different historical periods. It also enables students to work in (and develop in) a breadth of genres and styles and we allow them to explore theatre practitioners and companies which are often only introduced at university level. We are proud that our current BAC specification is a thorough preparation for this A Level course but those who join us from outside will be given the necessary support from teachers who have a huge depth of subject knowledge in dramatic education.
Hayley Cole, Head of Drama
Hayley came to Bedales with education experience in a variety of school contexts and in different roles of responsibility. She gained a Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts, majoring in Drama and Dance, one semester studied at the Western Australian Academy for Performing Arts in Perth. She had already started teaching whilst at university, leading weekend classes and went on to Head Drama at Woodlands School in Essex. She then moved to secondary education, completing her GTC at Sutton Grammar School for Boys and heading Lower School Drama as well as Citizenship and PSHE. She moved abroad with her partner to teach drama at Shrewsbury International School Bangkok and was also made Head of Year in this post.
Hayley returned to the UK, settling in Winchester where her husband is now Housemaster. Having been Head of Drama at St Joseph's School Reading, Hayley wanted to work closer to home and found her dream job in Bedales, a creatively stimulating environment which combined her love for pastoral care with her academic passion for drama. She manages Drama in the curriculum and the co-curricular offerings and also covered Head of Wellbeing when needed. Hayley returned to Bedales from her own maternity leave after having twins last year and is embracing the opportunity of working creatively in these challenging times to ensure theatre studies remain safe for all but the excellent standards of this area in Bedales and indeed creativity, are not compromised.
Georgie brings to the school a combination of experience gained in professional theatre and education. Achieving a 2:1 in History at Durham University, Georgie admits that she spent more time on stage during that time than learning history. Following a stint as a corporate financier (which still surprises her), she then spent a year at Drama Studio London, gaining a Diploma in Acting. Years followed on and around the stage, including the 5* reviewed Breathing Corpses at the Cheltenham Everyman. She combined this work with producing events with her company, Write to Play, through which she worked with playwrights such as Jez Butterworth and Timberlake Wertenbaker at the Lyric, Hammersmith, and the Young Vic.
The challenge of combining family life with work in the theatre proved one step too far, so four years ago, Georgie embraced a career in teaching drama. She directed the sixth form production of Jerusalem at Bedales in 2016 before working as a drama teacher at Dauntsey's and then Head of Drama at St Swithun's. She returns to Bedales as a teacher of drama across the year groups. The lure of Bedales for her was twofold: the prospect of working in an environment where the individual is nurtured as well as working in a school where the arts are recognised as an integral element of that individual's education.
Phil is Deputy Head (Operational & Co-curricular) at Bedales, having been Director of Drama and Dance here and Head of Drama at Alcester Grammar in the Midlands. In 2018, Phil finished his four-year chair of the National Independent Schools' Drama Association. He was awarded a scholarship for the Birmingham University Playwriting Master's degree and after gaining his PGCE at nearby Warwick University (via a circuitous route, involving a spell in management in London and four months in India earning his TEFL certification), he returned occasionally to be a visiting teacher on the PGCE course.
Phil co-founded Rough Fiction with Simon Pittman, now Associate Director (Learn and Train) at Frantic Assembly. They met at university and, after transferring a production from university to the Pleasance Theatre in Islington, they were invited to bring a new show to the Edinburgh Festival. They created Hospitals and Other Buildings That Catch Fire which was met by critical acclaim, nominated for a Fringe First and subsequently selected for the National Student Drama Festival. They produced Killing Alan, also at the Edinburgh Festival. Rough Fiction were an associate company at The Point, Eastleigh from 2010 to 2012. The Last of The Lake toured the UK in 2012 supported by Arts Council England and co-commissioned by Brighton Dome.
Head of Department: Hayley Cole