Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 pupils receive one lesson every two weeks and are encouraged to explore language, text, characterisation, vocal skills, movement and performance work forming the foundation skills of Drama, Physical Theatre & Dance. Drama helps students to build confidence, team-building, self-esteem and increase their public speaking skills. These lessons are based on PSE themes where pupils can explore sensitive teenage issues in a safe environment, working with each other and creating solutions together. Exploring movement enables pupils to explore their own body awareness and spatial skills, which creates self-confidence and posture. Both Literacy and Numeracy skills are embedded in the creative process of understanding and exploring drama and dance. Pupils are encouraged to join the successful Lonely Tree Youth Theatre if they have a passion for theatre and drama.
Key Stage 4
Students taking Performing Arts as an option can choose between two BTEC Performing Arts courses; Performing Arts Acting skills or Production Technical Theatre skills. Students can gain one GCSE on the Award level; 2 GCSEs on the Certificate level and the Extended Certificate Diploma is available for advanced students. Students start by learning Acting and Production skills as the springboard to other units such as Physical Theatre, Costume design, Dance and Movement, Mask-making, Mime and Clowning, Prop and set design, Language and Vocal skills. They also have to prepare and perform their own production which is written specific for each group and performed to several audiences at the end of Year 11 and the Technical students design, build the set and light & sound the production that are internally assessed. Year 11 productions to date are; 2011- ‘Two Doors/Two Choices’, 2012-‘Freak Show’, 2013- Rehab, 2014- ‘Gabriel’ and ‘Teen Team GB’, 2015- ‘Disconnected’ and 2016- ‘To Yourself be True.’ There are two external exams; Individual Showcase where actors rehearse and perform two monologues and technicians give a presentation to camera based on a theme given by the exam board. They also sit an online exam that tests their knowledge and understanding of theatre making and terminology.
Key stage 4 students also take the lead roles in the Lonely Tree Youth Theatre and learn valuable performance and directing skills. Productions to date: ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, ‘Remember Me/Cofiwch Fi’ and ‘Neverland.’
Key Stage 5
At Key Stage 5 students start to specialise in Drama and Theatre Studies. In Year 12 they study performance and production skills, dramaturgy, theatre practitioners and techniques to further develop their Acting and Theatre study skills. Following the new WJEC exam board their Unit 1 exploration is documented in a Creative Log and they analyse and produce one live performance using a practitioner’s style under exam conditions; students are externally assessed individually and as an ensemble. Unit 2 is an external written exam on the text ‘Medea’ by Euripides. Throughout the course, drama students are coached in audition monologues in preparation for Drama schools and National Youth Theatre Summer schools of which many former Llanfyllin pupils have successfully been chosen.
KS5 Drama students are also coached in Quality of Written Communication (QWC) where they analyse their own writing and learn more complex writing skills to prepare fully for the formal written exams.
The Year 13 students create, devise, direct and perform their own original piece of Devised theatre in Unit 3. They have the chance to create, explore, produce and work as a team to direct and act in their own original pieces of theatre. Students are encouraged to base their final pieces on Welsh themes and stage them at local site-specific heritage locations; one successful group of students was filmed and featured by HTV Wales at the Y Dolydd Workhouse for Fishlock’s Wales. They also have to produce a written report analysing and evaluating their artistic choices, process and final performance. In Unit 4 students prepare an external written exam based on two texts where they analyse the role of the director and how theatre is developed and performed. Therefore, live theatre trips are an exciting part of the course for students to study the work of current theatre makers, director and performers. Students continue to prepare their own portfolios and audition pieces for future Drama, Physical Theatre and Dance conservatoires and degree courses.
Year 13 students can also choose to study the Level 3 Edexcel Certificate in Directing or Dance. This course has a hands-on approach where student study leadership skills in the Lonely Tree Youth Theatre and learn choreographic and directing skills for large-scale productions. Dance students also create solo and duet pieces and the directors create their own performance pieces specialising in particular theatrical areas of expertise. For the last six years the Drama department has achieved 100% pass rate A*-C in KS4 & KS5 exam courses.
Llanfyllin High School offers its students excellent performing areas; we have a mirrored studio dance space, a fully equipped theatre for public performances and a technical space for creating and building sets and props. The department has a large screen projector where students can record, watch and evaluate their work. We also have started to use site-specific areas to perform in the community, for example Y Dolydd. The Drama department has its own drama club called the Lonely Tree Youth Theatre ran by and for pupils from each year group where together they create whole school productions with the help of the Young Directors. They have performed many productions: ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’ annual Remembrance production of ‘Remember Me/Cofiwch Fi’ and current production 'Neverland'. The Drama students have had several Drama & Dance specialists to deliver workshops from National Theatre of Wales; National Youth Dance Wales, National Dance Company of Wales and Director and Choreographer from LIPA, Liverpool’s Institute of Performing Arts, directors from the Everyman Theatre and circus specialist Zu Aerial. Former drama students such as Laurie Kynaston, star of Danny Baker’s ‘Cradle to Grave,’ and Catrin Jones, successful backing singer and artist, also return to enthuse drama pupils by taking professional actors, musical theatre workshops.