Spotlight on Drama at The Skinners' Kent Academy - centre stage and shining!

Spotlight on Drama at The Skinners' Kent Academy - centre stage and shining!

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BY: Guest Writer
15 Apr 2019

Today we hear from Holly Barradell who is a Drama Teacher and the Head of Expressive Arts Faculty at The Skinners' Kent Holly BarradellAcademy in Tunbridge Wells. Holly is also an Ofqual Expert for Drama, Advisor for the Action for Children’s Arts, Co-founder of Open Drama UK and is currently working as a co-author for Harper Collins Publishers on a text book for A-level Drama.

The Arts at Skinners’ Kent Academy is valued and consequently the Arts subjects are placed in their own faculty offering specialists teaching in every subject (Music, PE (Dance), Drama & Art) with staff placing their art form at the heart of their pedagogy.

Drama has always been a discrete subject at Skinners’ Kent Academy and from September 2019 it will be broken down even further into ‘Process and Product’  lessons, timetabled as Drama and as Theatre. Process will cover ‘Drama’, including way of thinking and learning through Drama strategies and techniques while Product will look at ‘theatre’ such as the production elements and performance aspects. I don’t know of any other Drama department that teaches Process and Product at Key Stage 3 (KS3) in this way.

Puppets 1The academy is committed to doing this for many reasons. Firstly, we are increasing the amount of contact time (doubling it) to encourage our students to become creative thinkers and improve their confidence; many of the students at the Academy do not experience any Drama outside of the curriculum we offer so this supports their increased cultural capital and development of 21st century skills. Secondly, the department is keen to ensure that students understand the difference between process (Drama) and product (Theatre), and balance this with theory and practical work allowing for greater depth and wider opportunities within the subject content. Thirdly, it will allow for a better foundation of knowledge at KS3 for students moving into KS4 not just for GCSE Drama but also to support in their continued studies in GCSE English or History.

With increased teaching demand and doubling of teaching staff, the Academy has had to think creatively in regards to its Drama teaching space. Planning a curriculum of process and product enables for Drama to be taught as a classroom based theory lesson and a studio practical lesson, it also means that as teachers we can specialise in the process or the product of Drama or theatre through our timetable.

Open Drama UK

Named ‘Open’ Drama as it’s just that – ‘Open’ to everyone in the UK working within Drama education or industry is a new organisation founded by 5 Drama & Theatre professionals, created to ensure openness, communication and support for Drama teachers, theatre practitioners and industry experts across the UK to support everyone to be well informed.

IMG_6698There is currently no cost to being a member, just engagement which then places you on the database for communications and it grows from there. Open Drama UK is acutely aware of how fractured Drama in Education and industry has become and they want to overcome such barriers.

The purpose of Open Drama UK is to advance, improve and benefit the lives of young people involved in Drama both in schools and theatres. They plan to achieve this through a centralised open platform for knowledge sharing, via social media, emails and their regional support events. The official launch of the organisation starts with nationwide regional launch events from May 18th – May 25th 2019. Find out more and your nearest event. 

Although the locations for the first phase of the launch are now sorted and organised, they want to expand into others area and have more ‘Drama Champions’ so get in touch if you think you can support. With more coverage, more champions and more support we are in an even stronger position to campaign as a united front for better provision of Drama for young people.

Open Drama UK hopes to improve the knowledge and understanding across the landscape where they can, they are here for all those who share their vision. They have already proved popular, without even officially launching and they can’t wait to hear from Arts Award centres soon too!

You can follow Open Drama UK through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @Open_Drama_UK

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