The Drama Department offers a warmly welcoming atmosphere, where students can develop their artistic, communication and organisational skills. Opportunities in lighting, sound, make-up, costume and acting, ensure there are plenty of opportunities for each girl to find her role and her strengths. Drama education is the acquisition of transferable skills and techniques necessary for performing to an audience. It promotes the emotional development of our girls, boosting their confidence. It is also a means of exploring the world in which we live in a safe environment.
In Years 7 to 9, pupils study one period of Drama per week, covering a variety of themes ranging from space exploration to medieval poetry. Their learning builds towards the GCSE Drama course which engages and encourages the girls to reach their full potential as performers and theatre-makers. They learn to collaborate with others, think analytically and evaluate effectively. This leads onto A Level Drama and Theatre. Students regularly attend professional theatre productions and are encouraged to attend organised workshops. Higher education institutions value the skills that these courses offer, and students who have studied with us have gone on to study Drama at both Russell Group universities and esteemed Drama Schools. Drama also lends itself to other undergraduate degrees: we have seen girls study a diverse range of subjects, from Anthropology to Business.
Co-curricular Drama plays a big part in the life of Mayfield girls and we offer a range of activities and opportunities for all ages and abilities. Caedmon is our prestigious Drama society for girls in Years 11 to 13. This runs throughout the year and gives the students a chance to be involved in scripted productions, as well as to create their own work. Mayfield Theatre Company is open to Years 7 to 10 and also runs throughout the year, culminating in a production. The weekly Year 7 Drama Club, which runs for two terms, is led by Year 12 Drama students and also ends with a production. Our annual Inter-House Drama event gives an air of competition to the art. From a set theme, each house is expected to write, direct and perform a piece of drama, which is judged by an external judicator. Individual and shared Speech and Drama lessons are popular, preparing girls for LAMDA examinations. Professional productions, practitioner workshops and creative speakers are frequent visitors to the Department.
The Drama Department faculty consists of four practitioners that are all subject-specific in Performance:
After gaining a BA in Acting at The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Mrs Sally Gerstmeyer, Head of Drama, spent ten years as a professional actress of both stage and screen. After having a family, she trained as a Drama teacher at Sussex University and subsequently taught and directed theatre at a range of schools before joining Mayfield in 2013. She likes to keep up-to-date with modern theatre practice and often works on projects outside of School, which she then feeds back into her work at Mayfield.
Mr Daniel Smith has been involved in theatre from a young age, performing and directing extensively before completing his degree and PGCE in Drama. Mr Smith also continues to practice his craft, which serves to ultimately enrich the students.
Mrs Sophie Watkiss and Mrs Jenifer Junemann trained at Central School of Speech and Drama and Bristol Old Vic Drama School, respectively. They are both accomplished practitioners and performers, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Department.