Drama and Theatre Studies

a picture of a performance

Students begin studying drama in Year 7 and can opt to take Drama at GCSE and A level.

From informal one-act plays and recitals to our breath-taking annual Dance Production, our students have the opportunity to perform at a professional level.

Inspired by our proud tradition of excellence, and the example of Old Girls such as actress Lindsay Duncan and comedian Natalie Haynes, many of our students go on to become professional performers or producers in music or the performing arts.

Our courses are designed to give students a love of theatre as they hone their performing and analytical skills and develop their knowledge and understanding of the language of drama. In the roles of director, designer, actor and critic, students become individual thinkers, determining their own interpretations and judgements of the history and practice of theatre. 

Our curriculum encourages students to discover a passion for design, performance, script writing or the technical theatre arts through a varied range of projects from the ‘Horrible Histories’ or mask work projects in Year 7, Foley Sound Design in Year 8 or our theatre evaluation project on ‘Hamilton’ in Year 9. With opportunities to see live theatre we hope to inspire future dramatists and avid theatre goers of the future. 

Taking GCSE Drama offers students the chance to turn their passion for drama into a recognised qualification. Taking this course helps build crucial presentational skills, boosting confidence in effective communication.  

By exploring various aspects of drama, such as performing, directing, designing, and writing, students gain a unique perspective that will help set them apart on their CV. The course incorporates practical performances, coursework, theatre visits all whilst ensuring a hands-on learning experience through group work, workshops and discussions. Our set text is Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ which we analyse and explore both in theory and in practice. 

A Level Theatre Studies offers a valuable opportunity for students to develop essential skills such as collaboration, compromise, active listening, leadership, and teamwork, which are highly sought after in a wide range of professions. 

The course encompasses a variety of components and assessments. Students engage with set texts including Touching the Void by David Greig, Frankenstein by Nick Dear, Othello by Shakespeare and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim. The course consists of sections such as Practitioners in Practice, where students explore theatre practitioners practically and create devised theatre. Students also delve into exploring and performing texts, deconstructing texts for performance, and analysing performance. The assessment includes a devised project, practical performance, and a written examination. 

Meet the Head of Department

Miss Proops first discovered a love for Drama when gaining a lead role in ‘Oklahoma!’ the KEHS senior production in 1996! Finding it hard to choose between her love of art or drama she decided to combine the two whilst studying for a degree in Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Miss Proops specialised in theatre design and puppetry and after graduating with First Class Honours spent the next few years in London working in television as a puppeteer and puppet maker on CITV, Disney and BBC. 

A move back to Birmingham saw a career move into fashion design as she developed her label Jukes&Proops, stocking twelve boutiques nationwide and a concession in Topshop. At the same time she was tempted back to KEHS and took on a part time role as a visiting Theatre Practitioner assisting with Stage Crew, teaching set and costume design. Falling back in love with the school, Miss Proops decided to retrain as a teacher and has never looked back. As Director of Drama and Creative Director of TuneUp her aim is to encourage a love for theatre and show that a career in the arts can be an exciting and fulfilling experience.

An image of Head of Drama, Mrs Proops, standing with a prop from a production.

Future Careers

Theatre Studies is a versatile and in-demand discipline that prepares students for a wide range of careers. Our graduates have worked as stage managers at the Globe, the RSC, and English National Opera. They have also worked as costume designers and supervisors on projects such as London Fashion Week, the Commonwealth Games, and Eurovision. Some of our students have gone on to prestigious drama schools and are now performing on the West End Stage. Others have become scriptwriters, dramaturgs, and drama teachers.

Theatre Studies is a valuable asset for any student, regardless of their chosen field. It teaches students essential skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity. It also helps students develop their confidence, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills. These are all skills that are essential in the 21st century workforce.

Beyond the classroom

For students studying Drama at GCSE or A Level we offer an extensive theatre trips programme with at least three live theatre trips per term. For our Sixth Form students we run a two-day Drama Residential in London which allows them the opportunity to see some of the best live theatre around, undertake backstage tours and meet real life theatre professionals in their natural habitat!  

For students wishing to pursue drama outside of the classroom and further hone their performance skills we offer Drama Clubs for all ages. These lunchtime clubs are an excellent way for students to integrate with dramatists from KES and create and perform work to an invited audience in our 150 seater black box studio theatre. 

Our Senior and Junior Productions are a wonderful way to be involved in a large-scale theatre show in our impressive Ruddock Performing Arts Centre. The auditorium seats up to 250 people when in theatre mode, and it is an unforgettable experience for any student involved in the cast, backstage as part of our crew, or in the show band in our orchestra pit. Recent shows have included Little Shop of Horrors, Goodnight Mr. Tom, Pride & Prejudice, Much Ado About Nothing, The Crucible and Chicago.

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