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Performing Arts


At Holte School, we offer a wide range of Performing Arts activities, including Music and Drama lessons at KS3. We are fortunate to have several specialist staff in both Music and Drama, and are supported by a Music technician. We also have a number of specialist teaching spaces, including two Drama studios, and a large hall suitable for performances.


During Key stage 3 (Years 7 and 8), we teach Music and Drama as separate subjects. This enables pupils to fully explore the subject. Within both subjects, performing is mandatory, which develops confidence and techniques which can be applied in a variety of situations and subjects.

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 In KS3 we cover the following topics:


Drama at Holte School plays a vital role in the process of successful learning. It also plays an important function in the personal, social and moral development of pupils and generates a vibrant and creative culture throughout the school.

It provides all students with a number of transferable skills that will not only help them throughout their school life, but well into their own futures.

Team work, creativity, speaking, listening, evaluation and analysis are all at the fore-front of what we do in Drama at Holte School and we provide a curriculum that enables our students to learn about themselves and the world they live in.


Drama KS3



  • An introduction to Drama/Drama skills - Learn how to work as a team and start to use some basic Drama skills.
  • Pantomime - Explore performance skills needed for this interactive genre, experiment with costume, music and lighting.
  • Issue based Drama – Consider how themes like bullying can be explored through different styles of performance.
  • Physical theatre – Exploration of non-naturalistic Drama.
  • Slapstick – Learn about the origins of comedy and how to perform this effectively.


  • Script work & Musicals (Blood Brothers) – Use all the skills you have gained to transform Drama from the page to the stage.
  • Theatre Company – Create and promote your own piece of Theatre.
  • Styles and Practitioners – Explore different styles of performance and the work of practitioners who developed the style.


This is a Foundation course for Year 9 pupils in Performing Arts. This course enables pupils to develop skills in a range of disciplines within the subject in preparation for when they begin the BTEC course in Year 10.

Pupils are be expected to perform regularly, both to the class, and to a wider audience.

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  • Staff Notation and Keyboard Skills – We use Fanny Waterman’s book ‘Me and My Piano’ as the basis for this unit, which introduces pupils to Western staff notation, as well as basic performance techniques on the piano.
  • Elements of Music – The building blocks of music, elements of music is fully integrated into every unit of work at Key Stage 3
  • Instruments of the Orchestra – We look at the different sections of the orchestra, and how they all blend together to create music.
  • Theme and Variation – Following on from Staff Notation, we take music, and look at ways to change and develop music.
  • Gamelan Performance and Composition – During the Spring Term, we perform music from Indonesia, examining the cultural and religious reasons for the music. We also use the techniques learned to create our own music.

 YEAR 8 

  • Ground Bass Performance and Composition – Taking a simple melody as a bass part, we develop performances using Pachelbel’s Canon. Following this, we take this music as a basis for our own composition.
  • Film Music – We look at the history of film music, from silent movies to modern day, composing our own music to a short piece of film.
  • Reggae Performance – Using Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ for our performance, we explore cultural issues regarding the development of Reggae, and look at a number of pioneering artists, including Steel Pulse.


This is a Foundation course for Year 9 pupils in Performing Arts. This course enables pupils to develop skills in a range of disciplines within the subject in preparation for when they begin the BTEC course in Year 10.

Pupils are be expected to perform regularly, both to the class, and to a wider audience.



Year 9 and 10

KS4 – BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts (Acting)

The Award gives learners the opportunity to develop sector-specific knowledge and skills in a practical learning environment. The main focus is on four areas of equal importance, which cover the:

  • • Development of key skills that prove your aptitude in Performing Arts such as reproducing repertoire or responding to stimuli.
  • • Process that underpins effective ways of working in the Performing Arts, such as development of ideas, rehearsal and performance.
  • • Attitudes that are considered most important in the Performing Arts, including personal management and communication.
  • • Knowledge that underpins effective use of skills, process and attitudes in the sector such as roles, responsibilities, performance disciplines and styles.



Learners are required to complete and achieve all the components included in the qualification.

Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Performing Arts

1 Exploring the Performing Arts

Learners will develop their understanding of the performing arts by examining practitioners’ work and the processes used to create performance.


2 Developing Skills and Techniques in the Performing Arts

Learners will develop their performing arts skills and techniques through the reproduction of acting, dance and/or musical theatre repertoire as performers or designers.

3 Responding to a Brief

Learners will be given the opportunity to work as part of a group to contribute to a workshop performance as either a performer or designer in response to a given brief and stimulus.









 Year 11

Pupils study the BTEC Level 1/22 First Award in Music. This is a two year course, which is predominantly coursework based, including assessed practical rehearsals and performances.

Over the two years, there are four units of work, as outlined below. Each unit has a variety of written and practical tasks, with all four units completed in the prescribed 120 Guided Learning Hours (GLH). These includes:-

  • Two mandatory units (totalling 60 GLH)
  • Two optional specialist units (totalling 60 GLH

The BTEC first Award has units that are internally assessed, and a paper-based examination that Pearson sets and marks (externally)





All pupils are given the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities.

We have visiting instrumental tutors from Birmingham Music Service, who teach the Dhol, Tabla and Samba drumming.

Alongside instrumental lessons, we offer tuition in keyboard, drumming, drama, guitar, and vocals (including rapping). There are a number of pupils who work together in bands, performing within school events.

We also take opportunities to make theatre and concert visits where relevant, to support the subject content being taught.

This year we are working alongside The Hippodrome theatre to offer our pupils a wide range of activities within the arts, including extensive Careers support.




Research – Pupils will be asked to research elements of the arts in preparation for lessons or to consolidate and further develop their knowledge of what they have learnt in class.

Preparing for a performance – Pupils will be asked to learn lines, meet with their groups and rehearse, come to the music studio to prepare or rehearse in preparation for a performance or assessment.

Pupils are encouraged to meet with their groups outside of lessons so they can spend time developing their drama or ensemble pieces.

Evaluations – Evaluation is an important part of the arts, reflecting on what went well and how a performance could have been improved will enable pupils to continue moving forward.

Additional Reading

Jean Dorey; Etienne Decroux; Jean-Louis Barrault; Marcel Marceau; Robert Speller; Pierre De

Fontnouvelle The Mime  R. Speller, 1961

Allardyce Nicoll Masks, Mimes and Miracles: Studies in the Popular Theatre  Cooper Square Publishers, 1963

Jean Louis Barrault Reflections on the Theatre  Rockliff, 1951

Simon Murray Jacques Lecoq  Routledge, 2003

Michael R. Booth. Theatre in the Victorian Age Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991

Michael R. Booth. Victorian Spectacular Theatre 1850-1910 London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981

  1. Davenport Adams, ‘The Decline of the Pantomime’, The Theatre 1 February 1882

Gerald Frow. “Oh Yes It Is!” A History of Pantomime London: BBC, 1985

Artaud, Antonin, The Theatre and Its Double, Calder and Boyars Ltd, 1970 (original translated publication is trans. Mary Caroline Richards, Grove Press, 1958)

Barba, Eugenio A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology, Routledge, 1991

Grotowski, Jerzy Towards a Poor Theatre,(edited by Eugenio Barba), Methuen, 1976

Hodge, Alison, Actor Training, 2nd ed., Routledge, 2010

Lecoq, Jacques, Theatre of Movement and Gesture, trans. David Bradby, Routledge 2006

Oida, Yoshi, and Marshall, Lorna, The Invisible Actor, Methuen, 1997

Bordman, Gerald. American Musical Theatre.

Green, Stanley. Broadway Musicals Show by Show: Sixth Edition.

Kantor, Michael and Maslon, Lawrence. Broadway: The American Musical.

Stempel, Larry. Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical Theatre.

Miller, Scott. Strike Up The Band: A New History of Musical Theatre.

Jones, John Bush. Our Musicals, Ourselves.

Aston, Elaine & Savona, George, Theatre as a Sign-System: A Semiotics of Text & Performance (London: Routledge, 1991

Carlson, Marvin, Performance: A Critical Introduction (London and New York: Routledge, 1996)

Counsell, Colin & Wolf, Laurie, Performance Analysis: An Introductory Coursebook (London: Routledge, 2001)

Freshwater, Helen, Theatre and Audience (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

Kelleher, Joe, Theatre and Politics (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

Merlin, Bella, The Stanislavsky Toolkit (London: Nick Hern, 2009)

Whyman, Rose, Stanislavski – the Basics (London: Routledge, 2012)

Stanislavsky, Konstantin, An Actor’s Work (London: Routledge, 2008)

Bogart, Anne and Landau, Tina, The Viewpoints Book, (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2005)

Lecoq, Jaques, The Moving Body. (London: Methuen, 2002)

Whitmore, John, Directing Postmodern Theatre (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994)


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