Symbolism (ages 13-14)

This scheme of work introduces students to the skill of using symbolism in their performance work. The lesson workshops examine how different images, gesture, sound, objects, colour and actions can be interpreted by an audience in both a literal and abstract way. Throughout the scheme, imagery, emotions and iconography are used to help develop understanding, character, plot and relationships. Using practical workshops and their own independent learning, students will gain an insight into how to develop a deeper level of plot for the audience. Drama forms used include frozen pictures, gesture, repetition, creating and maintaining a character, flashback and flash forward, and using movement symbolically.

This scheme of work contains 6 drama lesson plans.

  • Lesson 1: What is Symbolism? The students are introduced to symbolism by exploring how they view themselves and how they might be represented by an image, gesture and facial expression.
  • Lesson 2: Defining Symbolism. This lesson helps students differentiate between a literal and an abstract understanding of a symbolic moment using frozen images and emotions to illustrate this.
  • Lesson 3: Symbolism in Performance. This lesson is introduced through the exercise ‘take a bow’. Gesture and the repetition of gestures and movement are explored in this lesson and how they can have an impact on an audience, a technique adopted by Brecht.
  • Lesson 4: Colour and Objects. The use of colour is developed and how each can have a different meaning in certain contexts is explored. The ‘Balloon Race Game’ forms a fun backdrop for the lesson, before symbolic objects are used by small groups to devise a dialogue scene.
  • Lesson 5: Masks. Neutral masks and the idea of costume being symbolic is used in this lesson along with flashbacks and flash forwards to create a timeline.
  • Lesson 6: Assessment. The final lesson is the development of an assessment piece based on a musical extract. All key drama forms learnt and revised in the topic are used by small groups to devise and perform their own story and characters, recorded for self-evaluation.

Supporting materials include

  • Cut-out Symbolic Objects
  • Cut-out Neutral Mask
  • 1 piece of atmospheric music

Additional resources are included in the appendices

  • End Of Unit Self-Assessment Form

The scheme of work is supplied as a downloadable zip file containing a PDF file, readable on most computers, 1 PowerPoint file and 1 piece of music (Mp3 format).

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