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Performing Arts

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 - Miss Grace Day. BA Hons. Drama & Performing Arts. QTS.

grace.day@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


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

Holly Sykes  

Reza Da Silva

Holly Sykes - Drama Captain
2022-2023

Cody Fletcher - Vice Drama Captain
2022-2023
Reza Da Silva - Vice Drama Captain
2022-2023

 

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

Clever connections solo

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' 2021 at the Excel Centre, London.

Jasmine Vardimon's 'ALiCE' in Ashford

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

Sixth Form Drama

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

  • Performance opportunities  

These are available in: 

Drama Club (years 7/8) - Thursday Lunchtime 

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

Astors Annual production (year 10/11/12/13) - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday  

 

  • Trips/Visits 

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

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.

KS3-Learning-Journey-2022.2023.pdf

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 Thursday lunchtimes. Please see Mr Knox for more information.

  • Glee Club

Glee Club is open to all students, regardless of year group or experience. We currently rehearse once a week, on Wednesday afterschool. Please see Miss Peers for more information.


  • Trips/Visits

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

A Local Glee Club performance

A performance at 'Voice in a Million'

A performance at Disneyland Paris


  • 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

Lessons last 30 mins and cost £12 per lesson (£14 for Drums and £15 for Wind). Financial support is often 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.

Performing Arts Literacy Policy

Recent Workshops and Opportunities

Dance 

24/01/2023

Senior Dance Club had a wonderful workshop opportunity on Tuesday afternoon, when they were joined by Lawrence Parsons from Italia Conti. Lawrence taught them an intensive 2hr Commerical dance piece, which will be showcased in our annual dance show on May 11/12!

25/01/2023

A selection of Year 9 students were also involved in another external workshop on Wednesday, from the hip-Hop dance company 'Zoo Nation' - famous for Creating works such as 'The Mad Hatters Tea Party' and 'Some like it Hip-hop'. They leant classic moves such as 'The Rebok' , 'The Steve Martin' and the Smurf' before culminating in an energetic hip-hop routine to an Usher track.


Drama 

11/01/2023

We welcomed The Drama Geezers to Astor Secondary School for a second year, for a brilliant workshop working on devising and improvisation. A selection of passionate and diligent year 9 students worked together to create and explore, enriching their love for theatre. The workshop allowed all students a chance to creatively express themselves through re-imagined learning, helping them to grow into confident communicators.


Music

25/01/2023

A selection of aspiring Year 9 musicians took part in a series of four 'KS4 Music taster sessions'. Throughout each hour-long session, the young rockers experienced the fundamentals of studio life by recording their own versions of Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones! From setting up microphones to playing their instrumental parts the students explored what it takes to study Music at KS4.

 

International Links and Performances

American Idiot set

International Links

At Astor School, we are fortunate enough to have strong links with a variety of schools across the world. Students regularly travel in an exchange programme to these schools, and often forge friends for life.  We strive for near professional performances and have high expectations for our performers.

 

 Schools currently included in the Performing Arts International Exchange are:

  • Gymnazia 1, Split, Croatia.
  • School 96, Zheleznogorsk, Siberia, Russia.
  • New Kent High School, Virginia, USA.
  • Sint Jozefsinstituut College, Torhourt, Belgium.


During the exchange programme, pupils learn to work collaboratively on a joint musical project and fully immerse themselves in the culture.  They are hosted by students of the school and attend regular lessons during the day, whilst rehearsing in the evenings.  An incredibly rewarding opportunity, many students return back as adults to visit their host families and continue to stay in contact.

 

Productions we have worked collaboratively on have been

Upcoming show: 'Rent' - Astor Secondary School/New Kent High School

2019: 'West Side Story' - Astor Secondary School/New Kent High School

2018: 'Our House' - Astor Secondary School/Gymnazia 1

2017: 'Chicago' - Astor Secondary School/New Kent High School/School 96

2016: 'Little Shop of Horrors' -  Astor Secondary School/Gymnazia 1

2015: 'Les Miserables'  - Astor Secondary School/New Kent High School/School 96

2014: 'Chess' - Astor Secondary School/School 96

2013: 'Anything Goes' - Astor Secondary School/New Kent High School

 

If you have any questions regarding the International Exchange Programme, please do not hesitate to contact the Head of Performing Arts below:

Mrs Victoria Chamberlain: victoria.chamberlain@astorschool.com


2021 - 2022 Productions

American Idiot poster

 

Astor Youth Theatre

March 2022

NTC 2022 poster

 

Astor Youth Theatre

April 2022

Clever connections poster

 

Dance Department

May 2022


 

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 or joshua.white@astorschool.com

For More Details

Performing Arts ALUMNI

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