How to Improve in Year 7 Drama
Help for students and parents
We encourage all our students to reflect on their learning in lessons and use feedback from their teachers to help them improve. Below, you will find the ‘statements for improvement’ that summarise the feedback students are given.
These statements will be used on the termly reports sent to parents and students and parents are asked to look at the further guidance below to help clarify the statements on the reports.
- Show a better understanding of theme by including more context in your drama work.
Theme is the topic that the drama is based on, i.e. ‘friendship’, ‘careers’, ‘dreams’
Context refers to the specific circumstances of the drama. We often use the 5 Ws to help: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
By building up a detailed context for the drama, the theme will be explored in a more interesting and engaging way.
- Improve your characterisation by focusing on emotion.
Emotion is one of the three ‘Essences of Drama’ that we use to define what drama is. Emotion does not mean you have to cry all of the time! An actor uses their performance skills to communicate the emotions of the character. In performance, you should aim to include:
- A strong level of emotion in your character
- A clear development of emotion during the piece
- The piece has an emotional impact on the audience
i.e. a policeman may be mean, but becomes sympathetic therefore making the audience like the policeman because of the change in emotion.
- Develop your vocal skills by projecting your dialogue more clearly and loudly.
Projection is about being loud enough to be heard by the audience. It is not about shouting. Try taking a deep breath before delivering a line. Projection is also about having good diction, so practise tongue twisters to get your mouth moving… ‘red lorry, yellow lorry… red lorry, yellow lorry…’
- Develop your physical skills by using clear mime and gestures.
Physical skills refer to the use of our bodies to express character to the audience. Physical skills include mime, gesture, body language, facial expressions, movement and posture. You should aim to be fully controlled in performance, which means practising these skills in rehearsal. For example, a clear gesture can communicate the character’s attitude.
- Develop your use of space by reflecting on the audience’s view.
Space refers to the stage area. The audience will be sat in a specific position to watch the drama and you need to ensure that you stand on stage in a position that the audience will see you clearly. Sight lines are very important to ensure that the audience can see the action. We use terms to help us understand where to stand on stage, for example: Centre Stage, Upstage, Downstage, Stage Left and Stage Right.
- Try to show more confidence when working practically with other students.
In Drama, we usually work in groups. This involves cooperating and sharing ideas. All students are expected to contribute to practical work, but sometimes you can feel nervous that you will say or do the wrong thing. Confidence is not about being bossy. Confidence in Drama is about being willing to share your ideas and respond to others when they make suggestions. Confidence is about working towards a clear goal, so set yourself a goal to complete in each lesson. Confidence is also about exploring character without worrying about what others might think. Speak to your teacher or a friend in the class if you are nervous and want to check your ideas before telling your group.
- Develop your drama work by using conventions, such as Still Image or Thought-Aloud.
Conventions are the tools that are used to give drama shape and form. They are the building blocks of creativity. For example, by adding the convention of a Thought Aloud (speaking aloud the thoughts of the character) you can reveal the hidden feelings of your character, which gives more detail to the audience about your character. Some conventions are realistic, such as Overheard Conversation, whereas others are non-naturalistic, such as Captions.
- Reflect more thoughtfully on your creative decisions and the audience response.
A theatre director needs to reflect thoughtfully on the decisions they make in rehearsal to ensure that their ideas are clearly communicated to the audience. So, by reflecting on your ideas you need to ask the question ‘if I was in the audience and watching this performance, would I understand what is intended?’ This question should be asked during rehearsals as a way of improving the drama before performance.
- Reflect more thoughtfully to identify successes and improvements.
Successes describe the aspects of drama that are working effectively. Improvements describe the aspects of the drama that could be made better. Both are important to consider, both during rehearsal and after a performance. By identifying What Works Well (WWW) and Even Better If (EBI) you will reflect on the aspects of drama you want to keep doing as well as the aspects you’d like to change.
10. Be more willing to cooperate with others in the creative process.
Drama is a social art form, which means that to have a successful outcome you need to communicate and cooperate with other people. The other people involved may be other students, working as actors or directors, or your teacher, who will be setting you tasks and giving you feedback. Being willing to cooperate means listening to ideas and advice, sharing ideas and giving feedback, and putting effort into making the drama effective.