Pupils at St Albans School have many opportunities to take part in a variety of dramatic productions, ranging from Shakespeare to rock musicals. Our recent major productions have included Twelfth Night, Oliver!, Arabian Nights, Grease and Beauty and the Beast. The latter productions have involved close cooperation with the Music Department. Pupils are fully involved with all aspects of productions: acting, sound, lighting and costume. We have excellent drama facilities with a well-resourced theatre, an Open Air Theatre and purpose-designed studio spaces in New Place, just 50 metres from the main School buildings. There is a regular programme of theatre trips outside school and theatre workshops within school, when our pupils have the opportunity to work alongside visiting professionals, are essential features of the courses we offer.
Our goal in Years 7 to 9 is to create an informal, relaxed environment where the main objectives are to increase the self-confidence, communication and presentation skills of each of our pupils. This is largely achieved through structured improvisation work.
The GCSE course provides the opportunity for pupils to gain confidence in social skills, communication, problem solving and working in a team. Practical areas of work include performance, props, costume, sound, set design, stage management and lighting. These are continuously assessed and culminate in some 3 or 4 short productions, which are publicly performed.
Drama and Theatre Studies is also offered at AS and A2 levels. We examine at least two plays in depth and the work of the playwrights concerned. We also actively work on the text in performance and examine the text in the context of its time. Developing key skills is an integral part of the course: collaborating effectively and planning and budgeting a production.