Drama at Malvern provides every pupil in the College with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and experience of Theatre and Drama, both from a historical and a practical perspective. They will also develop skills and talents in various aspects of Theatre. These opportunities are provided both within and outside the organised curriculum. The College is fortunate to have its own theatre that is the centre of the department's activities. It is a flexible performance space, which lends itself to many styles of staging, from traditional Proscenium Arch to Theatre in the Round. The lighting provision is excellent, with a large stock of lanterns and fully computerised control equipment. Stage design and set construction are well catered for and there is a large and varied stock of costumes. Pupils are encouraged to play a full part in all these aspects of theatre.
In the Foundation Year (Year 9) pupils receive one lesson of drama per week. The basis of the course is to use theatre games, improvisations and short script extracts to develop basic skills of movement, response, speech, use of performance space and audience awareness. In the Lent term, pupils undertake a module in filmmaking.
About thirty pupils a year currently opt for Drama at GCSE level. In the first year of the course, the pupils develop experience of working practically with scripts and on self-devised unscripted pieces. They are expected to work together quickly and purposefully in groups of various sizes and with different people. In the third term a practical project is usually undertaken which can provide marks towards their GCSE. During the second year of the GCSE course, much of the work is directed firmly towards the production and performance of established text and devised pieces. Again this contributes marks towards their GCSE, and towards preparing pupils for the written examination at the end of the course.
In the Sixth Form, AS/A2 Theatre Studies was introduced in September 2007 and is a popular course. The combination of textual study and scripted/devised performances, together with responding to live theatre productions provides pupils with a challenging and stimulating course.
Drama is also active outside the timetable. A framework of productions is provided throughout the year. A large-scale major presentation is staged in November; a house-based, one-act play competition occurs in the Lent term; a Remove (Year 10) play in March, and in the Summer term the FY present a drama production.
Recent productions include ‘Henry V’, ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Noughts and Crosses’, ‘The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe’, ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Oh What a Lovely War’, ‘The Odyssey’, ‘Blue Stockings’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
A full programme of visits to live theatre in the region is organised every term, including regular trips to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and the nearby Malvern Theatres. Most trips are voluntary with pupils opting to attend.
Whether as performer, director, or designer, Malvern College Drama department offers a myriad of opportunities to enhance, extend and nurture this talent.