We take pride in offering the Performing Arts for all.
Miss H Baynham-Williams, Director of Performing Arts
We believe that the Performing Arts play an integral role in providing memorable learning experiences for students during their school life and facilitate the linking of community projects and surrounding creative opportunities in Cheltenham where possible.
All the world's a stage.
Over recent years, All Saints’ actors and actresses have gained a reputation for producing memorable, exciting and professional performances that often leave the audience inspired year after year. With a 50% improvement in GCSE results and a 60% improvement in A Level results over the last two years, the Drama department continue to encourage more and more students to discover their passion for performing.
Meet the Team
Director of Performing Arts &
Head of Drama
Miss H Baynham-Williams
BA (Hons) Drama and Performance
PGCE Secondary Drama
|Teacher of Drama||
Miss T Winters
BA (Hons) Drama
PGCE Secondary Drama
All Saints’ has a thriving and welcoming Drama department that invites you to take part and discover your extraordinary talent. With whole-school productions, outstanding academic results, devised performance results that are the highest in the county, performance showcases, student led drama workshops in local Primary Schools and an all-inclusive attitude, our Drama department welcomes, entertains, educates and inspires the academy and its’ surrounding community.
We are hugely proud of the growing success of the drama department and we have instilled passion and enthusiasm within our lessons ranging from KS3 to A Level. We firmly believe in using positivity, support and encouragement to lead a strong, united and unstoppable team. In our most recent Ofsted, our drama observations received a special mention in the Ofsted report stating that “teachers subject knowledge is strong. This is particularly the case in the arts, where teachers skilfully develop pupils’ self-esteem and confidence. In drama, year 13 pupils were performing a scene based on the writing of German Playwright, Bertolt Brecht, for Year 11 pupils. The high-quality performance captivated the year 11 pupils and they were able to evaluate the performance critically and accurately. This raised pupils ambitions and aspirations.” We strongly believe in modelling outstanding examples of progress and leading by example and these two principles form the foundations of our Performing Arts Faculty.
Our aim is to enthuse students and enable them to participate in and fully understand all types of drama.
Through making, performing and responding to drama, our students have the chance to discover more about themselves, other people and the world they share. Drama provides students with a stimulating and supportive environment in which they can develop their knowledge, understanding and practical skills with ease. Performance assessments often put the students in the shoes of other roles and provide them with the opportunity to reflect on their own believes whilst considering others’ attitudes in our society. Drama forms a vital part of making the future role models of our community. The subject enhances their empathy skills and develops their social, cultural, spiritual and moral understanding. Our students leave their time with us as compassionate, confident and driven leaders that are ready to shape the next generation.
Performing Arts has never been so important in schools. The arts quite simply EMPOWER.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2017
As part of the Performing Arts Faculty, the department’s aim is to encourage bravery, bold decision making, respect and to develop creativity, empathy, sensitivity and confidence in each and every one of our students. We aim to mould the young minds of the future: the proud, confident, resilient, determined and effervescent young adults who achieve above and beyond their potential, who are supportive of their community and those around them, who are open minded and who learn to ‘have a life in all its’ fullness’.
Our lessons take place in our dedicated black box Drama Studio, the mirrored Dance Studio and the fully equipped Cotswold Hall Auditorium. We have a purpose-built outdoor Greek Amphitheatre where students can explore proxemics, levels and delivery in the round.
The Academy’s Vision has helped shape our curriculum choices for KS3, KS4 and KS5. Whether it’s exploring how to empathise with characters in Year 7; understanding how to emotionally engage an audience in Year 8, reviewing live theatre productions that centre around current events of today; putting ourselves in the character’s shoes in Year 9, devising thought-provoking performances responding to historical events, inspirational people and humbling stories in Year 10 and 11, or raising awareness of vital topics, issues and problems within society through performance in Year 12 and 13; we encourage students to realise their God-given potential in the brave, bold and challenging creative decisions that they make. Our vision promotes students to present audiences with harrowing and memorable performances that inspires spectators to reflect and question the world that we live in. Our performers at All Saints’ Academy use their stage to make a stand in what they believe in.
We recognise the importance of helping every child to fulfil their potential and raising aspirations is at the centre of everything that we do. Together, our academic curriculum along with our inclusive extra-curricular academy life, transforms each individual student’s progress, their humility and prepares them for their future.
Key Stage 3
Year 7: Students explore the key performance skills needed to excel at GCSE drama in KS3 immediately. They practice the key performance strategies and learn how to understand various theatre styles and most importantly, how to evaluate live performance. Students explore key topics including Melodrama, Pantomime, emotionally engaging an audience using comedy ‘Wacky Soap’ and Frantic Assembly’s physical theatre.
Year 8: Students delve into devising their own theatre to communicate meaning to their audience. They learn the key conventions needed to emotionally engage and stimulate an audience and get the chance to write their own scripts and perform their own theatre. Students look at what life was like in WW2 and create theatre based on the genre of ‘Battlecries’ and use the Grenfell Tower disaster as a form of stimulus to create drama from and they respond to Willy Russell’s comedic script ‘Our Day Out’. They also look at the stereotypical characters that surround us ranging from The Avengers to Mrs Brown and begin to shape their own characters and storylines to prepare them for opting to take GCSE Drama at the end of the year.
**Students choose their subject options for GCSE at the end of Year 8**
Year 9, 10 and 11: GCSE Drama – AQA Exam Board
Component 1: Understanding drama (40%)
1hr 45 Minute written exam (80 marks)
- Knowledge and understanding of key roles in drama and theatre
- Study of Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers’
- Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers
The paper is split into 3 sections”
- Section A: Multiple choice (4 marks)
- Section B: Four questions on a given extract of Blood Brothers (44 marks)
- Section C: One question (from a choice) reviewing a live performance of Billy Elliott (32 marks)
Component 2 – Devising drama (40%)
This is marked by your teacher at ASA and moderated by AQA.
This Component includes:
- Performance that you’ve written from scratch (20 marks)
- Supporting logbook coursework (60 marks)
Component 3 – Texts in practice (20%)
This is marked by a visiting AQA examiner.
This Component includes:
- Performance of Extract 1 (20 marks)
- Performance of Extract 2 (20 marks)
**Students choose their subject options for A Level at the end of Year 11**
Key Stage 5
A Level - Drama and Theatre Studies
Year 12 and 13: A Level Drama and Theatre Studies – AQA Exam Board
Component 1: Drama and Theatre (40%)
3 hour written exam (80 marks)
- Knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre
- Study of Set Text A ‘Antigone’
- Study of Set Text B ‘Yerma’
- Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers
The paper is split into 3 sections:
- Section A: One question (from a choice) on ‘Antigone’ (25 marks)
- Section B: One three part question on a given extract from ‘Yerma’ (30 marks)
- Section C: One question (from a choice) reviewing a live performance of Billy Elliott (15 marks)
Component 2 – Creating original drama (30%)
This is marked by your teacher at ASA and moderated by AQA (60 marks)
This Component includes:
- Devised performance that you’ve written from scratch using a Theatre Practitioner/ Theatre Company as your influence (20 marks)
- Supporting logbook coursework (40 marks)
Component 3 – Making Theatre (30%)
This is marked by a visiting AQA examiner (60 marks)
This Component includes:
- Performance of Extract 3 using a different Theatre Practitioner/ Theatre Company influence to Component 2 (40 marks)
- Supporting Reflective Report coursework (20 marks)
Even if you choose not to study Drama at GCSE or A-level, we welcome EVERY single student (no matter their age, ability, experience or confidence) to join our extensive extra-curricular programme. Our inclusive approach means that we invite ALL students to take part so that they can develop their self-confidence, team working, leadership, communication and time management skills whilst embracing the many virtues of artistic expression. We believe in individual personal development for every student and taking part in the extra-curricular Drama activities on offer means that students develop their risk-taking, problem solving and creative skills, whilst forming friendships for life.
Our Extra-curricular programme includes:
- Annual whole academy productions involving 150+ students forming the company as our cast and crew. Our productions have become a much loved and much anticipated part of the community life and we sell out our audience year after year thanks to the support of our local members. Previous productions include Walt Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’ and Walt Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins Jr’ to name just a few.
- Weekly lunch time Drama Club consisting of 90 students ranging from Year 7 to 13 where our Year 10 ‘Drama Captains’ lead the sessions and model excellence as they act as role models to the younger students that want to excel in the arts.
- Bi-annual production in the ‘Shakespeare School’s Festival’. We have performed ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ on the stage at the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury in the past and take a cast of 35 students ranging from Year 7-13 along with us. This year we performed Shakespeare with a modern twist by setting the famous comedy ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at Glastonbury festival!
- Our close relationship with the ‘Everyman Theatre’ ensures that we regularly visit the theatre there and in the past, we have taken GCSE and A Level students to watch ‘Six’, ‘Birdsong’, Kneehigh’s ‘Flying Lovers of Vitebsk’, ‘The Woman in Black’, ‘Girl on a train’ and many more.
- Our partnership with Cheltenham College means that we have built a fantastic creative collaboration with their Drama department and we run joint trips to cities such as Bristol, Birmingham and London to watch high profile productions such as ‘Blood Brothers’, ‘Everyone’s talking about Jamie’, ‘A Monster Calls’ and Frantic Assembly’s ‘The Unreturning’.
- ‘Technicians Make It Happen’ theatre technical club that invites students from Year 7-11 to join the crew to help produce our big academy shows and productions. They form a professional technical team and operate the sound, lighting and stage management of our performances.
Drama in the Community
We take bride in building deep and meaningful relationships with companies and schools that are an important part of Cheltenham and its’ surrounding community. Our close links with ‘The Everyman Theatre’ means that we get access to affordable tickets to exciting and innovative shows to ensure that no student misses out on the cultural experience of live theatre.
We are partnership schools with local independent school ‘Cheltenham College’ and have formed a great unity with their drama department. We often combine trips to the theatre and run joint workshops welcoming well know Theatre Companies and directors such as ‘Frantic Assembly’ and ‘The Paper birds’ in. We support one another’s progress and often act as mock audiences for one another’s exam and extra-curricular shows and it’s been rewarding to witness student friendships from both schools’ flourish.
We firmly believe that inspiring our local Primary School students is a priority for us and so we run visits where students from years 9-13 lead character workshops and interactive drama games to engage our local year 4, 5 and 6 students; with the hope that when they choose All Saints’ Academy as their Secondary School, that they feel warm, safe, welcome and included when they see some familiar faces as they start with us.
We have taken drama and ‘Vera Lynn’ inspired showcases to our local care and dementia homes to allow students to apply the positive and uplifting impact that performing can have on the elderly residents. Most recently, students used the patients that they had met as their stimulus for their A Level devised performance centred around the impact that dementia can have on family life.
Our drama club students often perform as part of the end of term Christmas, Easter and Summer services providing our students with a performance that reflects on key moments of the year. They also perform at our Remembrance Day Service and we find that a lot of Performing Arts students find that they have the confidence to join the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) alongside their academic study at the academy.
We have built an outstanding relationship with Cheltenham Festivals and last year helped to write and compose Community Opera ‘Across the Sky’ with well-known Music Composer and Lyricist Michael Betteridge, Director Bryn Holding and Playwright Miranda Walker. Our students performed on the Cheltenham Town Hall stage to an audience of 1000!
Want to have an insight into what life is like in the Drama department and to see what we get up to?
Please join us and follow @ASAPerfArts on twitter!
‘Hot off the press!’ - Our ‘in the Media’ archives:
- Year 9 Drama student Tyler Kelly is spotted by the Shakespeare School’s Festival for his outstanding efforts in the 2019 performance of William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. He now features on their website as an ambassador:
- Tyler’s inspirational performance and directing then got noticed by the BBC Gloucestershire Radio Station and host ‘Anna Fox’ invited us in for an interview so that he could tell her just how transformative Drama has been for him in changing his life. You can listen to his interview here at 1hour 20mins in.
- A Level Drama and Music student Jose Lumactod auditioned for the RAF National Choir and was one of only two students (out of the hundreds that auditioned) to make it through to join the choir successfully. Here is their Britain’s Got Talent audition where they hit it off with Ant and Dec!
- A level Drama student Iwan White got accepted into the ‘Royal Court Theatre’ Training program to study BA (Hons) Acting at this prestigious Drama School in London.
- Former GCSE Drama student stars in BBC film ‘The Windermere Children’ following on from studying Drama at All Saints’ Academy.
- Our very own Director of Performing Arts and Head of Drama Miss Baynham-Williams received second place in the ‘Inspirational Drama Teacher’ category at the National 2020 Music and Drama Education Awards.
Please click on the show titles below to see our gallery of images.