Drama at d’Overbroeck’s is about much more than learning lines and performing: it is also about unleashing students’ dramatic creativity. We encourage this by exposing students to many different styles and genres of drama, both scripted and improvised, from mask work to puppetry. We give them considerable ownership of their creative pieces and support them in taking creative and intellectual risks.
Drama at d’Overbroeck’s is also a vehicle through which students develop confidence in themselves – not just as performers, but as individuals and members of a broader society. We put a strong emphasis on a collaborative approach. Everyone has an input; every individual’s aptitudes are recognised. Through drama, our students develop self-assurance, empathy and imagination as well as their talents.
We work with students on traditional approaches to theatre, but also use Drama to address relevant contemporary issues. Students will learn about all aspects of the theatre, from acting to stage management, working in costume, set and lighting design.
Every year we mount a full-scale production which is open to all students at d’Overbroeck’s, from Year 7 to 13. We alternate yearly between a musical and a straight play, which allows students with different talents to shine in a big-budget production that challenges and stretches their acting abilities. We aim to ensure that everyone who auditions is given a part while the audition process itself is friendly and unthreatening – indeed, at times we cast plays from workshop sessions without having to hold “proper” auditions at all.
As well as the major annual production, there are a variety of other opportunities to get involved in Drama throughout the year – whether as a first-time actor or a seasoned performer- including the annual House Drama Competition, where every form group from Year 7 to 10 presents its own performance of excerpts from one of their English coursework texts. These performances are chosen, devised and directed by the students themselves. Prizes are awarded for best play and actor in each year group with an external judge, and competition is fierce yet friendly.
Theatre trips and workshops are also an important part of drama at d’Overbroeck’s. We regularly take our GCSE students to see productions down the road at the Oxford Playhouse, as well as arranging trips further afield to the West End in London and the Warwick Arts Centre. Seeing professional productions of an exceptionally high quality is a vital part of the Dramatic education we offer. We also like to get professional companies in for workshops and have hosted a seminar with the world-renowned Cheek by Jowl and physical theatre workshops by the award-winning Idle Motion.