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Performing Arts

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The Performing Arts Faculty strive to lead engaging, inspiring and innovative lessons in the 3 disciplines of Drama, Dance and Music.

We motivate and encourage students to achieve their potential, and more, in a school with exceptional specialist facilities at hand. At Astor Secondary School, we believe that the Performing Arts has the power to transform and change lives of young people, equipping them with skills they will utilise throughout their future careers.

We also believe that the cross-curricular skills developed within the Arts are fundamental and integral to develop a child's confidence, self esteem and creative intelligence.

Our aim is to instil within every student the confidence, self-discipline and ability to communicate effectively with others, becoming fully rounded, creative and responsible young adults.

Should you wish to discuss in more detail what the Performing Arts Faculty at Astor School have to offer, please contact the Head of Performing Arts below:

 

Mrs Victoria Chamberlain: victoria.chamberlain@astorschool.com

 

Please visit and follow our social media sites, for up-to-date news about our trips, visits and showcases:

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Faculty specialists

 

Within Astor Secondary School, the Performing Arts Department is split into 3 areas:

 

  • Drama: Subject Lead - Mr Sebastian Fairley 

sebastian.fairley@astorschool.com

 

  • Dance: Head of Department - Mrs Victoria Chamberlain. BA Hons. Education. BTDA, NPQML.

victoria.chamberlain@astorschool.com

 

  • Music: Head of Department - Mr Richard Knox. BSc Hons. Music Production and Business Management, PGCE.

richard.knox@astorschool.com

 

We also offer Production Arts at KS5, specialising in Theatre Management and Technician Skills.  Please contact richard.knox@astorschool.com or george.axon@astorschool.com for more information.

COVID and REMOTE LEARNING INFORMATION

During periods of prolonged absence, all students will be provided with remote learning opportunities.  Work will be uploaded to the Microsoft platform TEAMS and will be regularly checked by the class teacher.  Class teachers will remain in contact to offer support and guidance during this time, until your son/daughter is well enough to return to school. 

Performing Arts Captains

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Cameron Smith - Drama Captain
2021-2022
Lilah Brent - Drama Vice Captain
2021-2022
Jack Methven - Drama Vice Captain
2021-2022
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Suzie Conway - Dance Co-Captain 2021-2022 Kaci Banham - Dance Co- Captain 2021-2022  

 

 

KS3 Dance

We currently adhere to the following structure at KS3:

Term 1/2 - Performance Skills

Term 3/4 - Choreographic Skills

Term 5/6 - Appreciation Skills

 

Students will have 1 x 60 minute lesson, over the 2 week carousel. 

During practical classes, students will be expected to wear the following;

  • Bare feet
  • Comfortable t-shirt or jumper
  • Comfortable tracksuit bottoms or leggings

Medium Term Plan - Scheme of Work - KS3 Dance

KS4 Dance

GCSE-Dance-Programme-of-Study..docx

 

We currently follow the AQA GCSE Dance specification.  This is a linear course and is examined at the end of Year 11.

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/dance/gcse/dance-8236

Students will have 5 x 60 minute lessons, over the 2 week carousel.  These are split into 3 practical classes and 2 appreciation lessons.

During practical classes, students will be expected to wear the following;

  • Bare feet
  • Black leggings
  • Black leotard or black shorts and vest top.
  • Uniform T-Shirt (supplied by the dance department, subject to a refundable deposit)

During appreciation classes, students will be expected to bring the following:

  • GCSE Dance Anthology
  • C2 Booklet (Yr 11 only)
  • Notebook book

Specimen paper for component 2 revision, can be found here:

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/dance/gcse/dance-8236/assessment-resources

 

 

 

KS5 Dance

We currently follow the AQA A-Level Dance specification.  This is a linear course and is examined at the end of Year 13. Students are also entered for Mock exams at the end of Year 12.

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/dance/as-and-a-level/dance-7236

Any students wishing to study this course should have at least a Grade 4 in GCSE Dance and a Grade 4 in GCSE English.  Students who have considerable dance experience will also be considered.

Students will have 9 x 60 minute lessons, over the 2 week carousel.  These are split into 4 practical classes and 5 appreciation lessons.

During practical classes, students will be expected to wear the following;

  • Bare feet
  • Black leggings
  • Black leotard or black shorts and vest top.
  • Uniform T-Shirt (supplied by the dance department, subject to a refundable deposit)

During appreciation classes, students will explore the following:

  • Compulsory Set Work - Rooster (Christopher Bruce) inc. Glen Tetley, Richard Alston and Siobhan Davies
  • Optional Set Work - Sutra (Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui) inc. Matthew Bourne and Akram Khan

Specimen paper for component 2 revision, can be found here:

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/dance/as-and-a-level/dance-7237/assessment-resources

 

 

Dance - Extra Curricular Opportunities

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Students can also benefit from a wealth of opportunities, outside of the curriculum, at Astor School:

  • Dance Clubs

These are available in 3 age categories. Junior (years 7/8), Intermediate (years 9/10) and Senior (year 11+).

Clubs run from January to June and anyone who loves to dance can join!  Each club will work towards the annual summer dance show in June, where clubs will perform 2 numbers each.

  • Rebound Company Class

Entry into Rebound is by audition only and represents the elite dancers within the College.  We currently run a Junior and Senior Company, who rehearse once a week after school.  Rebound regularly represent the College at local and national events. Please see a member of the dance department for more information.

  • Trips/Visits

The dance department regularly run a plethora of trips throughout the year. Recent trips have included

'Move it' 2018 at the Excel Centre, London.

Matthew Bourne's 'Cinderella' at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury.

Rambert's 'A Linha Curva' at Sadler's Wells, London.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's 'Sutra' at Sadler's Wells, London.

KS3 Drama

We currently adhere to the following structure at KS3:  
 
Year 7  
Term 1/2 - An introduction to basic drama skills, techniques, and expectations through the exploration of Matilda the Musical scene work.  

At the end of Term 2 skills explored throughout Matilda the Musical exploration in Drama, Dance and Music is shown via a cross curriculum showcase. This is a chance for parents/carers to come and watch their children apply the skills they have learnt through performance.  

Term 3/4 - An introduction to Shakespeare and The Globe through play, game work and performance using the text Twelfth Night.  

Term 5/6 - An introduction to theatre design through lighting and set.  
 
Year 8  
Term 1/2
- An introduction to practitioner Stanislavski and the genre of Naturalism.  
 
Term 3/4 - An exploration of performance techniques through workshopping Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Macbeth. 
 
Term 5/6 - An introduction to Non-Naturalism and the practitioners of the genre.  
 
Year 9  
Term 1/2
- An introduction to practical Lighting Design.
 
Term 3/4 - Applying practitioner techniques (Frantic Assembly and Stanislavski) to performance work using texts; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime or Naughts and Crosses.  
 
Term 5/6 - Applying practical lighting and performance techniques to Shakespeare’s work using Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet. 

KS4 Drama

We currently follow the EDUQUAS GCSE Drama specification. 

This is a linear course with two optional pathways, performance and design. The course is broken down into three components. Component One (Devising) is worth 40% of student's overall grade and is internally marked nearing the end of Year 10. Component Two (Performing from a text) is worth 20% of student's overall grade is marked by an external assessor mid-way through Year 11. Component Three (Interpreting Theatre) is an externally marked written exam that tests students' study of a chosen text and a live theatre review. 

GCSE Specification; https://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/drama-gcse/#tab_overview  

Current Year 10 Students will have 6 x 60-minute lessons, over the 2-week carousel. During the Year 10, all 6 lessons are dedicated to the devising project. Once completed, lessons are split into 4 practical and 2 theory lessons. 

Current Year 11 Students will have 5 x 60-minute lessons, over the 2-week carousel. These are split into 3 practical classes (Component Two) and 2 theory lessons (Component Three). After completing Component Two all lessons take focus on students Component Three written exam. 

 

During some practical classes, students will be expected to wear the following: 

  • Black Shoes 

  • Black leggings/tracksuit bottoms 

  • Black T-shirt. 

 

During theory classes, students will be expected to bring the following: 

  • GCSE Drama Notebook book (Provided) 

  • Tablet/Laptop (Optional) 

Example Questions for Component Three and other revision resources, can be found here: https://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/drama-gcse/?sub_nav_level=s21-assessment-resources#tab_resources

KS5 Drama

We currently follow the EDUQUAS A-Level Drama and Theatre specification.

This is a linear course with two optional pathways, performance and design.

The course is broken down into three components. Component One (Theatre Workshop, Re-interpreting Theatre) is worth 20% of student's overall grade and is internally marked nearing the end of Year 12. Component Two (Text in Action, devised piece and text extract) is worth 40% of student's overall grade is marked by an external assessor mid-way through Year 13. Component Three (Interpreting Theatre) is an externally marked written exam that tests three chosen texts (Hedda Gabler, Saved, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime); this is worth 40% of students overall grade. 

A-Level Specification: 

https://www.eduqas.co.uk/media/0u4beclm/eduqas-a-level-drama-spec-from-2016-e-24-08-2021.pdf  

Current Year 12 Students will have 9 x 60-minute lessons, over the 2-week carousel. During year 12 all 6 lessons are dedicated to their re-interpretation project. Once completed, lessons are split into 6 practical classes and 3 theory lessons. 

Current Year 13 Students will have 9 x 60-minute lessons, over the 2-week carousel. These are split into 5 practical classes (Component Two) and 4 theory lessons (Component Three). After completing Component Two, all lessons take focus on students Component Three written exam. 

During some practical classes, students will be expected to wear the following: 
- Black Shoes 
- Black leggings/tracksuit bottoms 
- Black T-shirt. 

During appreciation classes, students will be expected to bring the following: 
- A-Level Drama Notebook book (Provided) 
- Tablet/Laptop (Optional) 

Example Questions for Component Three and other revision resources, can be found here: 

https://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/drama-and-theatre-as-a-level/?sub_nav_level=s21-assessment-resources#tab_resources  

Drama - Extra Curricular Opportunities

Students can also benefit from a wealth of opportunities, outside of the curriculum, at Astor School: 

  • Performance opportunities  

These are available in 3 categories: 

Drama Club (years 7/8) - Thursday Lunchtime 

National Theatre Connections (years 8/9/10) - Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 

Astors Annual production (year 10/11/12/13) - Tuesday Wednesday, Friday  

Theatre Cinema Club, (Years 7-13) - Friday Lunchtime 

 

  • Trips/Visits 

The drama department regularly runs a plethora of trips throughout the year. This can include: 

Matilda the Musical – KS3 Term 1/2 

National Theatre – KS4 & KS5 Term 2 

National Theatre Connections workshops – KS3-5 Terms 2/3 

KS3 Music

Students will have 2 x 60 minute lessons, over the 2 week cycle. 

Students will study 1 topic per term for a total of 6 topics per year. 

The SOW has been designed so as to provide a broad and well-rounded musical education that introduces students to styles and traditions they may otherwise be unfamiliar with, but whilst also developing their skills in 'band' instruments.

KS4 Music

We currently follow the BTEC Level 2 First Award in Music Performance specification.  

Students will have 5 x 60 minute lessons, over the 2 week cycle.  

 

This course is assessed via 4 equally-weighted Units:

Intro to Live Sound

The Music Industry

Intro to Live Performance

Managing a Music Product

 

These units provide students with a broad and balence musical education, that is appropriate for the modern music industry.


As a performance course, it is important that all students are active musicians and either play an instrument or sing.

 

KS5 Music

Students will have 9 x 60 minute lessons, over the 2 week cycle.

At KS5, students study the BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Music Performance.
Across the two years of study, students will be assessed on four units:
Practical Music Theory and Harmony
Professional Practice in the Music Industry
Solo Performance
Ensemble Music Performance

As with the KS4 offer, this course is heavily practical but features theory throughout, in support of practical skills. Students will be required to keep practice logs and perform at a number of events throughout the two years.

As a performance course, it is important the all students are active musicians and should either play a musical instrument or sing. Although not complusory, it is advised that students have achieved at least a Merit in BTEC Level 2 Music or a similar grade in an equivalent qualification.

Music - Extra Curricular Opportunities

Students can also benefit from a wealth of opportunities, outside of the curriculum, at Astor School:

  • Music Clubs

Clubs run from September to June and anyone who loves to Music can join!  Each club will work towards the annual performance opportunities. 

  • Jazz Band

Entry into Jazz Band is by audition only and represents the advanced Musicians within the school. We currently rehearse once a week, on Monday lunchtimes. Please see a Mr Knox for more information.

  • Choir

Choir is open to all students, regardless of year group or experience. We currently rehearse once a week, on Tuesday lunchtimes. Please see Miss Peers for more information.

  • Keyboard Club

Keyboard Club is open to all students, regardless of year group or experience. This is an informal group, perfect for students who are interested in learning the keyboard or looking to develop their existing keyboard skills. We currently rehearse once a week, on Wednesday lunchtimes. Please see either Mr Knox or Miss Peers for more information.

  • Trips/Visits

The Music department periodically run of trips throughout the year. Upcoming trips include:

'Christmas Panto' 2021 at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury.

A trip to see a live Orchestra perform in London.

A performance workshop at Canterbury Christchurch University.

 

 

  • Instrumental Tuition

In addition to clubs and trips, we also offer instrumental lessons with our Peripatetic team.

Instruments on offer are:

Guitar

Ukulele

Bass

Piano

Vocals

Drums

Wind

Brass

Lessons last 30 mins and cost £12 per lesson (£15 for Wind). Financial support may be available for students, on a case by case basis.

For more information, or to receive an application letter please contact Mr Knox or Miss Peers.

 

KS5 Production Arts

We currently follow the Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Production Arts specification. This is a vocational course that is assessed throughout Year 12 and 13. In addition to achieving a Level 3 Certificate, students will also leave the course with a Level 3 Award in Emergency First-Aid at Work. 

*BTEC Specification*

This course does not require any previous Performing Arts qualifications, however previous experience is preferable. Students will have 4x 60 minute lessons over a 2 week carousel. 

 

At present the units studied in this course are:

  • Unit 2 - Production Arts Workshop
  • Unit 59 - Assistant Stage Management
  • Unit 88 - Puppet Construction and Operation

 

This is a practical, production subject and as such the following expectations should be noted:

  • Students will on occasion be required to assist with school productions and events
  • Students will require a set of 'stage blacks' for productions and events
  • To wear appropriate PPE when instructed

 

Please contact richard.knox@astorschool.com or george.axon@astorschool.com for more information.

White Cliffs Theatre

The White Cliffs Theatre is a 268 seated theatre in the heart of Dover. Although Astor have been putting on productions since 1956, the theatre wasn’t opened until 1996. Since then, the theatre has put on over 50 productions with International Links in countries such as Croatia, Russia, USA and Belgium.

In 2001, the theatre was refurbished, and raked seating was installed. The theatre now includes retractable raked seating making it a multipurpose space, both conventional and LED lighting fixtures as well as modern lighting and sound desks.

Since 2019, we have been updating our house lighting systems and theatrical lighting fixtures to LED, making the building more energy efficient and an environmentally conscious space to work in.

As well as being a space for our students to learn and perform in, the White Cliffs Theatre is available for external hire. If you have any questions about hiring the White Cliffs Theatre or would like a hire quotation, please contact george.axon@astorschool.com

Performing Arts ALUMNI

Performingarts1
Astor graduate of 2018. BA Hons. In Dance at De Montfort University, Leicester