Drama is an integral part of English at Belfast Royal Academy as well as being a discrete subject at Key Stages 3 and 4. The opportunity to study Drama and Theatre at A Level gives pupils an excellent understanding of practitioners, playwrights and theatrical conventions.
The emphasis at Key Stage 3 is on improvisation and other dramatic activities that promote self-awareness and build self-confidence. Pupils explore a wide range of skills, developing their natural talents and learning how to implement these in performance.
At Key Stage 4, close textual study and performance gives GCSE pupils a deeper understanding of drama and enables them to critically evaluate their own performance in order to develop their skills.
At A Level, the academic nature of the course is combined with the opportunity to really explore in great detail aspects of theatre and performance that are of interest to the pupils. Learning is often achieved through practical exploration of texts and practitioners, promoting teamwork and experimentation with performance, direction and technical elements.
GCSE and A Level students must attend the theatre as part of their course, with visits to a range of performances organised each year.
There is a purpose-built drama studio in the Louis Lord building and a performance space on the Wingfield site. The Assembly Hall, with an impressive lighting and sound system, can also be used if a bigger space is needed.
To sustain and develop CEIAG, links have been created with the Lyric Theatre Creative Learning Department. Since 2018, the Academy’s Drama department has been a part of The Lyric Theatre's Schools Affiliation scheme. This allows students to access the theatre for tours and careers workshops, as well as opportunities to work with theatre practitioners in practical workshops. In addition to our official affiliation with the Lyric, local theatre companies, such as Bruiser Theatre Company and The Rainbow Factory, have been invited in to school to take workshops with students. Annually, Lower Sixth students attend A Day with Bruiser workshop at the Mac Theatre which includes a session dedicated to careers in the Performing Arts Industry. Additionally, through the Shared Education programme the department has teamed up with St Malachy’s College, Belfast organising trips and sharing resources.