Drama is the expression of meaning through the enactment of events. It is a practical, distinctly social art requiring participants to use their bodies, voices, intellect and imagination symbolically and interactively. Like all art forms, drama requires learners to acquire discipline, find integrity and to develop appropriate skills and knowledge. It encourages a sense of responsibility, a capacity for self-reliance and co-operation and an appreciation of personal values. It enhances confidence and prepares pupils for the future.
Drama is taught throughout the School from Year 7 onwards. The student may then choose GCSE Drama and A Level Drama and Theatre Studies.
The aim of the GCSE course is to develop students' understanding and knowledge of forms, skills and techniques in drama through a variety of activities and, in doing so, drama develops students’ understanding of themselves and the world around them, and fosters group interaction and individual awareness. As a process-based course it is flexible and clearly reflects the needs, interests, skills and enthusiasms of the students providing a sound basis for further study at higher levels.
Drama & Theatre Studies at A Level does not require students to be future "Oscar" winners nor is it necessary to be considering the stage as a career. Drama, a modern, multifaceted course, covers many skills: communication, imagination, interaction, analysis, problem solving: all essential qualities whatever career is followed. As part of the course students will watch live theatre, discover how a playwright communicates meaning, take part in practical workshops, devise their own theatre, and work with professional actors.
The opportunity to perform is given a good foundation at Heathfield where productions are mounted at least twice a year. At Rishworth, recent productions have included One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Trojan Women and Fen. In addition evenings have been staged which showcase the students’ acting skills in solo and duet pieces such as Talking Heads, The Importance of Being Earnest and Shakespearean soliloquies.
The School's central geographic location allows visits to the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Grand Theatre, Leeds, the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, the Library Theatre, the Palace, the Opera House, the Lowry and the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and the Square Chapel, Halifax. Over the past two years students have seen many productions including Twelfth Night, Sweeney Todd, Ugly, King Lear, Blood Brothers, Lysistrata and An Inspector Calls. Sixth Form students have been on overnight trips to Stratford upon Avon to see Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice. This year we are ran an inter-departmental three-day trip to London where the students saw Billy Elliot, The Comedy of Errors and War Horse, and participated in acting workshops and backstage tours at the Globe and National Theatres.
A number of drama students have progressed to university to take courses in acting, performance arts and the media.