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ARCHIVES 2015

AUSTRALIAN THEATRE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WORKSHOP

Late in November,  Years 8 and 9 Drama students were treated with an intensive workshop run by theAustralian Theatre for Young People (ATYP). The workshop is part of a two-year collaboration between ATYP and the Local Stages arm of the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre.

Over the course of a week the five workshop leaders visited many of the schools in the region to deliver their tailored workshop. The students engaged in a series of exercises, which were largely inspired by the physical theatre work of the French, Lecoq and Buffoonery traditions.

The ATYP/BMEC alliance hopes to continue delivering workshops in Bathurst into 2016, with the view to developing a body of work to be sown on the big stage.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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Year 12 Drama Night

The Year 12 Drama students - Hannah Armstrong, Thomas Craft, Katie Horne, Roan van Heekeren and Annie Windsor - have been studying Alex Buzo’s Norm and Ahmed and David Williamson’s The Removalists within the topic, Dramatic Traditions in Australian Drama and Theatre.

These writers emerged out of the cultural theatre movement in Australia known as the ‘New Wave’ (late 1960s to early 1970s). This period was positioned on the cusp of reform concerned with defining a new Australian identity, characterised by social justice issues and protests in response to the Vietnam War, women’s rights, censorship and corruption.

The students were tasked with choosing excerpts from the plays and directing their classmates for an audience. In particular, they had to utilise specific theatrical conventions and techniques in order to engage their audience with important themes about Australian identities, values, attitudes and cultural beliefs.  

Buzo’s Norm and Ahmed (1968) is an Australian Realist/Pinteresque one-act duologue set in an abandoned worksite at midnight in Sydney. This play explores prevalent Australian attitudes about masculinity, violence and racism through the use of characterisation, language, and performance space and proxemics.

Williamson’s The Removalists (1972) is an Australian realist/black comic/satirical two-act play set within suburban Melbourne. This play explores relevant Australian issues surrounding police corruption/brutality, domestic violence and sexism through the use of archetypical characterisation, stereotypical language, symbolism and offstage violence.

"I'm very proud of all of the students. They showed insight and an innovative use of theatre techniques. Working in creative collaboration with one another will put them in great stead for their HSC group performance preparations later in the course'.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click Here for Photo Gallery

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HSC Drama Performances

On Wednesday evening, 29th July, the HSC Drama students presented their Group Performance and Individual Projects at the HSC Drama Trial Night. This was a great opportunity for the students to perform their work in preparation for the 'big test'!

There was a great variety of performance styles, characters and situations on display and the audience was both moved to tears and keeled over with laughter. In the Group Performance, entitled, Three Blind Mice: The Unseen Truth, five of history’s greatest literary minds join forces to try to write the epic nursery rhyme to represent the most significant events of the 21st century. Amelia Moran played Jane Austen, Abigail Skinner played Banjo Patterson, Kirsten Jones played Walt Disney, Maddison Crowe played Dr Seuss and Alexander Joliffe played Eminem and together they tried to save history through the oral tradition of the nursery rhyme.

In the Individual Projects, Amelia Moran portrayed the character 'Comic Sans' who comes back to attend her school reunion, only to face the fact she is not as popular as she was back in the 90s. Amelia demonstrated her gift for both 'laughing' and 'crying' on cue (which is in fact, very hard to do!).

Abigail Skinner produced a video drama about a sister returning to her home farm to find that the life she had once known had broken down. This short story came with a significant twist at the end, which shocked the audience.

Kirsten Jones played a feminist lawyer, defending a woman on trial for shooting her husband after finding him with another woman. Her emotional portrayal questions our values and society.

Maddison Crowe managed to condense the story of Shakespeare's Othello into seven and a half minutes. Her physical, comedic style left the audience exhausted, and very impressed.

Alexander Jolliffe presented a scene from the current popular TV Show, Game of Thrones, in his subtle portrayal of a man facing his own destiny.

The students will now prepare for the 'real' thing in a couple of weeks!

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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Year 12 Drama Night

The Year 12 Drama students - Hannah Armstrong, Thomas Craft, Katie Horne, Roan van Heekeren and Annie Windsor - have been studying Alex Buzo’s Norm and Ahmed and David Williamson’s The Removalists within the topic, Dramatic Traditions in Australian Drama and Theatre.

These writers emerged out of the cultural theatre movement in Australia known as the ‘New Wave’ (late 1960s to early 1970s). This period was positioned on the cusp of reform concerned with defining a new Australian identity, characterised by social justice issues and protests in response to the Vietnam War, women’s rights, censorship and corruption.

The students were tasked with choosing excerpts from the plays and directing their classmates for an audience. In particular, they had to utilise specific theatrical conventions and techniques in order to engage their audience with important themes about Australian identities, values, attitudes and cultural beliefs.  

Buzo’s Norm and Ahmed (1968) is an Australian Realist/Pinteresque one-act duologue set in an abandoned worksite at midnight in Sydney. This play explores prevalent Australian attitudes about masculinity, violence and racism through the use of characterisation, language, and performance space and proxemics.

Williamson’s The Removalists (1972) is an Australian realist/black comic/satirical two-act play set within suburban Melbourne. This play explores relevant Australian issues surrounding police corruption/brutality, domestic violence and sexism through the use of archetypical characterisation, stereotypical language, symbolism and offstage violence.

"I'm very proud of all of the students. They showed insight and an innovative use of theatre techniques. Working in creative collaboration with one another will put them in great stead for their HSC group performance preparations later in the course'.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click Here for Photo Gallery

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Years 9 & 10 Drama: Mumming Show

On Friday, 31st July,the Year 9 and 10 Drama students performed their Mumming Show for the All Saints’ College community. 

Mumming plays were folk plays performed by troupes of actors, known as Mummers. Originally from England, Mumming plays appeared from the mid to late 18th century. The plays were usually short, comic dramas with rhyming texts. Mummers sometimes wore masks and often wore funny costumes, and their plays contained larger than life characters, songs and much frivolity. The cast is made up of stock characters: Figure of Light (Hero), Figure of Dark (Villain), Object of Desire (Princess), Quack (Sham Doctor) and Joker (Jester/ Narrator).

The play structure is largely based around the themes of duality - good versus evil, and resurrection. Generally, the two figures (light & dark) woo the object of desire. Their boasting and insulting leads to combat, which results in the death of one of them. The Joker calls for the audience to will the Sham Doctor to resuscitate the slain character. The main incident, therefore, is the killing and restoring to life of one of the characters.

Using well-known fairytales, which they adapt, the troupe adopts the stock character roles and devises an original piece of theatre, based on the Mumming dramatic structure. This year, the students adapted the well-known tale of Aladdin. Aladdin as the Figure of Light was played by Riley Stockman, together with his 'wing - (wo)man', The Carpet, played by Paxton Hewitt. Aladdin's nemesis, Jafar, as the 'Figure of Dark', was played by Sophie Hines and 'his' sidekick, The Snake, was played by Bethany McCumstie. Together they tried to woo Jasmine, played by Meaghan Darling. The woo, turned to boasting, insult and finally the crews engaged in a dance battle - to the death! With the Hero, Aladdin, now dead, it was up to the two Jokers, Rajar, played by Anna van Heekeren, and Aboo, played by Grace Brabham, to entice the audience into conjuring forward the magic Genie. The Genie, played by Daniel Frost, resurrected Aladdin, and granted them all three wishes. In an accidental break with tradition, Aladdin ended up romantically entangled with Jafar, The Carpet and The Snake went off to make baby 'carpet-snakes' and Jasmine and the Genie decided to make a go of it.

“Everyone was super impressed with the Year 9 and 10 Drama student's ability to scriptwrite this show with so much humour and wit. Especially given that the whole play is spoken in rhyme. It was an innovative and hilarious performance and I'm very proud of their efforts, said All Saints' Drama Teacher, Mrs. Zoë McGirr.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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HSC Drama Performances

On Wednesday evening, 29th July, the HSC Drama students presented their Group Performance and Individual Projects at the HSC Drama Trial Night. This was a great opportunity for the students to perform their work in preparation for the 'big test'!

There was a great variety of performance styles, characters and situations on display and the audience was both moved to tears and keeled over with laughter. In the Group Performance, entitled, Three Blind Mice: The Unseen Truth, five of history’s greatest literary minds join forces to try to write the epic nursery rhyme to represent the most significant events of the 21st century. Amelia Moran played Jane Austen, Abigail Skinner played Banjo Patterson, Kirsten Jones played Walt Disney, Maddison Crowe played Dr Seuss and Alexander Joliffe played Eminem and together they tried to save history through the oral tradition of the nursery rhyme.

In the Individual Projects, Amelia Moran portrayed the character 'Comic Sans' who comes back to attend her school reunion, only to face the fact she is not as popular as she was back in the 90s. Amelia demonstrated her gift for both 'laughing' and 'crying' on cue (which is in fact, very hard to do!).

Abigail Skinner produced a video drama about a sister returning to her home farm to find that the life she had once known had broken down. This short story came with a significant twist at the end, which shocked the audience.

Kirsten Jones played a feminist lawyer, defending a woman on trial for shooting her husband after finding him with another woman. Her emotional portrayal questions our values and society.

Maddison Crowe managed to condense the story of Shakespeare's Othello into seven and a half minutes. Her physical, comedic style left the audience exhausted, and very impressed.

Alexander Jolliffe presented a scene from the current popular TV Show, Game of Thrones, in his subtle portrayal of a man facing his own destiny.

The students will now prepare for the 'real' thing in a couple of weeks!

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes to life

Years 9 to 11 Drama students staged a performance entitled MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes to Life in the Drama Room on the night of the Opening of the All Saints' Festival of Art on Friday, 22nd May. The students have been studying the performance style of ‘Non-Realism’ as a way of creating abstract and dream-like performance pieces. Each performance group chose a series of abstract expressionist paintings to work from and created short surreal performance art pieces in response to them.

The first performance art piece, devised and performed by students in the Stage 5 Drama course: Daniel Frost,  Riley Stockman, Grace Brabham, Meaghan Darling, Paxton Hewett, Sophie Hines, Bethany McCumstie and Anna van Heekeren, entitled It's Okay to be Afraid? explored the idea that the only way to overcome your fears is by confronting them.

The second performance art piece, devised and performed by students from the Stage 6 Preliminary course: Hannah Armstrong, Christopher Brennan, Thomas Craft, Katie Horne, Johanna Krebs, Roan van Heekeren and Annie Windsor, entitled Trapped in a Faceless Society, explored how to overcome entrapment in a conformist culture by expressing individuality.

"This year's work demonstrates a sophisticated theatrical approach to students' personal explorations of their world and what they deem as important" says Drama Teacher, Mrs Zoë McGirr.

Click HERE for Masterpieces Photo Gallery

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ANNUAL PHYSICAL THEATRE INCURSION 2015: VIEWPOINTS & VERBATIM

Year 11 Drama students have begun studying a physical theatre unit called: VIEWPOINTS & VERBATIM, which could be seen as a fusion of contemporary physical theatre and documentary-style drama.

Viewpoints is a style of physical theatre which emerged out of New York some 30 years ago, which explores the body in relation to notions of space and time.

Verbatim is a style of theatre, which is drawn from word-for-word interviews with real people. It is introduced to deepen students’ encounter and exploration of reality-based art forms and empower them with respect for telling other peoples’ stories.

On Monday and Tuesday, 25th/26th May, the Stage 6 Preliminary students: Hannah Armstrong, Thomas Craft, Katie Horne, Johanna Krebs, Roan van Heekeren and Annie Windsor, engaged in a series of workshops with professional Viewpoints practitioner, Fiona Green. Employing the skills, knowledge and understanding developed in these workshops, students will 'devise', or in Viewpoints speak  ‘compose’ work using recorded verbatim dialogue and sound-scaped forms, transforming them into movement-based expression.

Their current work is exploring the ideas around when it is and isn't okay to lie. This short performance will be shown at the Senior School assembly on Tuesday, 16th June.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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Senior Drama Night 2015

Each year, at the end of Term 1, All Saints' College presents the 'Senior Drama Night' - a presentation evening of works by Year 11 and Year 12 Drama students.

Year 11

Yr 11 Drama, students engage in a study of Stanislavski and his ‘system of acting’, commonly known as 'The Method'. They learn about Stanislavski's life and his work in the context of the social, cultural, historical and political influences, as well as principles and acting techniques. In particular, students learn about ‘Naturalism’ as a specific performance style and are taken through the Stanislavski process of performance development.

Students engage, practically and experientially, in exercises, improvisations and text analysis, based on the ‘method’ of performance production. Hannah Armstrong, ironically playing a character named Hannah, wowed the audience with her portrayal of an immortal love story; Christopher Brennan took a walk on the wild side as 'Frank-N-Furter' from Rocky Horror Picture Show; Thomas Craft delivered a sincere, yet quirky performance of a basketball-crazed man attending his first therapy session; Katie Horne delivered an intense performance of Cersei from Game of Thrones; Johanna Krebs performed as 'Vinzinni' from the cult comedy The Princess Bride; and Annie Windsor gave a funny seminar as the well-loved 'Jaim'e' from Summer Heights High.   

"I'm very proud of all of the students. It takes great courage to stand up in front of your family and peers on your own and attempt to become someone else. This performance has put them in great stead for their HSC performance preparations next year".

Year 12

The Year 12 students presented innovative scenes from two most-loved plays from Australia's 'New Wave' period in the late 1960s and early 1970s - Norm & Ahmed by Alexander Buzo and The Removalists by David Williamson.

In this performance, students employ their classmates as actors; they undertake a playbuilding process where they direct their peers, experiment with ideas and prepare a scene for performance in front of an audience.

In this assessment, students choose excerpts from the plays studied. They interrogate the texts for explicit and hidden meaning, interrogating the characters, setting, situation, language and actions (stage directions) for explicit and hidden dramatic meaning and possible actor/audience relationships.

Students then make clear directorial choices about which dramatic forms, performance styles, theatrical conventions and techniques, staging devices and technologies they will employ in order to stage their chosen excerpt in a way that will elucidate their highlighted themes for an audience.

 

Maddison Crowe presented an excerpt from The Removalists, when Kenny arrives home and is trying to convince Fiona to cook him dinner. Maddison utilised techniques of the performance style of Verbatim Theatre to explore the theatrical technique of subtext/inner monologue of characters. She also included the use of the element of drama: symbolism and stylised use of set/prop. These devices were employed to explore the psychological effects of domestic violence, as prevalent in Australian society.

Alexander Joliffe directed the opening moments of Norm & Ahmed. He employed the dramatic form/performance style of non-realism, adopting dramatic element: symbolism through the staging technology of projection (shadow puppetry); creating tension through the use of dramatic elements of performance space and spatial proxemics, as well as painteresque dialogue. He employed these techniques to convey ideas about menace; Norm’s intimidating presence over Ahmed; and as an exploration of changes in status and the power struggle between the characters.

Kirsten Jones spliced various moments from Norm & Ahmed. She employed the dramatic from/performance style of expressionism/postmodernism, the theatrical conventions of the stylised use of set/props staging/ and characterisation to portray masculinity and violence and racism in Australian culture.

 Amelia Moran directed a scene in the apartment with Fiona and Kenny from The Removalists. She employed the dramatic form of Non-Realism; and characterisation with the staging technologies of audio and area lighting to convey ideas about masculinity and police corruption.

Abigail Skinner also directed a scene from The Removalists, when the ladies come to the police station to report an assault. She employed the dramatic form of non-realism /performance style of Musical Theatre, the drama element and theatrical convention of symbolism & the staging technology of digital projection to elucidate themes about sexism and domestic violence.

"I'm very proud of all of the students. They showed real insight and an innovative use of theatre techniques. I'm particularly impressed by how they worked in creative collaboration with one another and this has put them in great stead for their HSC group performance preparations next term".

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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Theatresports 2015

Theatresports provides a “framework for the teaching of theatre skills: storytelling, focus, musicianship, status, physicalisation, dance, mime, timing, singing, theatre history, stage presence, stage craft, voice training, characterisation, playbuilding, discipline and good sportsmanship”.

What is Theatresports? Theatresports is “improvised theatre entertainment played as a spectator sport…Teams of players invent scenes from given suggestions…play their scenes in structures we call games [and]…the scenes are judged by a panel”.

Improvisation is the process by which we spontaneously invent stories and characters in the moment. The concepts of ‘offer’ and ‘accept’ are integral to the process of improvisation. There is nothing new about improvisation. When man first rubbed two flints together, he was improvising.

All Drama students at All Saints' College practice improvising as an integral part of their studies. Apart from being a dramatic context within itself, the art of improvising underpins students' learning of other dramatic forms and performance styles and provides a framework for play building towards performance.

The students just love playing 'Theatresports'. It's a fun way to learn some really useful dramatic skills. They learn to work together in groups and feed off each other in a super-creative setting.

This year, three teams battled it out - The 'Executives', 'The Pop Squad' and 'Indy-viduals'. All the teams competed hard and they had the audience in fits of laughter.

Congratulation to all who competed and a big thank you to the audience for their support.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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"GREASE" - Review & Photo Galleries

Click on links below for Photo Galleries of the All Saints' College production of Grease.

Photos (most) were taken at the Dress Rehearsal on Tuesday, 5th February 2015.

Click HERE for Review

Click for Cast, Crew and Musicians

Click for Pre-Show Entertainment

Click for Act I

Click for Act II

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GREASE is the word!!

It has been all hands on deck preparing for the upcoming Senior School musical: GREASE.

Activities Week was a particularly busy time for Mrs Kristina Sotter (Set Designer) and her team of helpers as they constructed some beautifully creative set pieces for the show.

Mrs Elizabeth Casey (Choreographer), Mr Jonathan Clipsham (Musical Director) and Mrs Kristine Christian (Assistant Director) worked with the performers over the three days on some of the major whole chorus dancing and singing numbers, such as We Go Together and Born to Hand Jive, which they performed with the live band at the end of Activities Week presentation.


We perform a lot of Drama at school at All Saints’. The College has a strong Drama and Music Department and our students regularly perform well in these subjects at HSC level. It is now time to showcase and share this with the Bathurst community.

 

All Saints’ College’s upcoming musical performance of GREASE opens at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre on Thursday, 5th February at 7.00pm for four shows. There is also a 7.00pm performance on the Friday night. Closing night is Saturday, 7th Feb and there is also a matinee on the Saturday at 2.30pm.

 

 

Our performance is suitable to all ages. It has been appropriately contextualised to suit our school and wider community.

 

Tickets are only $25 for adults and $15 concession and they can purchased from the BMEC box office either in person, by phone on 0263336161 or by visiting the website at www.bmec.com.au

 

Tune into 2BS for the next three Thursday’s to win complimentary tickets to Opening Night.

 

GREASE is such a wonderful, time-honoured, feel-good story. It’s about love. It’s a celebration of life. Who doesn’t love a bit of GREASE? I think the audience is really going to love this show because they already do and I think it will be hard not to sing along to all the songs, which is cool with us.

 

Tickets selling fast! DON’T MISS OUT!

 

Mrs Zoë McGirr

ARCHIVES 2014

Click on Slide below for PowerPoint Presentation

DRAMA NEWS

2014

HSC Drama - Boal Senior Citizens Workshop

During the last few weeks of Term 4, 2014, the Year 12 Drama students were involved in a unique cross-generational Drama project with a group of senior citizens from the Bathurst community. The students have been studying the work of the internationally renowned dramaturg, Augusto Boal. Boal, born in 1931, was one of the most influential contemporary theatre practitioners, transforming peoples’ lives with his revolutionary methods of engaging ‘normal’ people with actor strategies that have the potential to enlighten them and enable them to speak out against the hypocrisies of the political and social climate, which they struggled against.

 

 

 

The aim of the project is for students to meet, get to know and engage with a number of the town’s senior citizens in conversations and theatrical workshops exploring the topic of ‘Oppression’. The senior citizens shared personal stories which painted a picture of life growing up through the years since the 1930s, through the Great Depression, what life was like living in Australia through World War II, what it meant to live under the threat of Communism through the Cold War years, and the struggles of women in Australian society. “Hearing about all the things they have lived through and experienced, especially hardships, made us feel our lives have been so short-lived and our worries seem comparatively trivial”, explained one of the students.

 

 

 

This year, the project was fortunate to have as a participant, Mr. Eduardo Paez, local artisan, Spanish teacher and radio announcer, who grew up in Ecuador at a time of military dictatorship, poverty and political/social repression. He shared his amazing stories of what life was like in South America through the middle part of the 20th century (at the same time and on the same continent from where Boal had felt compelled to invent his revolutionary theatre practice). This allowed the students a powerful insight into the historical context, so they could make meaningful connections. 

 

 

 

The project began with a light supper and forum held on the Eglinton property of All Saints’ Drama Teacher, Mrs Zoë McGirr. “The theatrical work demands a certain amount of trust and openness from the participants and the forum evening is an important ‘ice-breaker’ to set the tone for the rigorous work which follows”, says Mrs McGirr.

 

 

 

The intensive Drama workshop, which followed was devised and led by the students as the formal part of their HSC assessment. In the spirit of Boal, participants were encouraged to explore their ‘memory of the senses’ through a sequence of activities – past oppressions were shared and re-enacted through Boal’s practices of ‘Image’ and ‘Forum’ theatre. ‘Image Theatre’ is developed using a modeling sequence where the groups are divided in sculptors and sculptures. These static tableaus are then dynamised in the ‘Forum Theatre’ sequence, where ‘real-life’ events are played out on the stage. The protagonists take on the role of director for a play of their own life. A forum or discussion takes place where the group provides alternative outcomes for the event and finally, the protagonist is invited to take on the role on themselves in their own ‘memory drama’. The process is often transformative.

 

 

“I’m never sure what to expect”, admitted their teacher, Mrs Zoë McGirr, “this kind of improvisational theatre depends on how willing the participants are to share their personal stories of conflict… I believe that this project successfully fulfilled its goal of allowing two different groups to put themselves in each others’ shoes, and in so doing, gain a deeper understanding of their own lives.”

 

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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FAMFEST 2014

The annual Film & Media Art Festival was held at the end of Term 3 this year. Years 9 and 10 Drama students screened their TV Dramas, which they acted in, filmed and edited themselves. In particular, they leant how acting for screened differs from acting for theatre.


 

The Year 11 students screened their TV Show 'Today for Yesterday' and presented their Live Mic Radio Show 'CRAC FM - Get Your Daily Fix - COMMUNITY RADIO AGAINST CENSORSHIP' in front of an audience.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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Physical Theatre Comedy Show

On Friday, 1st August, the Years 9 and 10 Drama classes performed their physical theatre Comedy Show at lunchtime in the Drama Room. The performance was a culmination of a topic’s work in class. This topic explores, experientially, the physical theatre performance styles of acrobatic balances and stage combat. Students engage in a series of exercises, balances and stunts to help them convey meaning in performance work. The unit works towards a comedy performance, in front of an audience, where the newly-learned skills are employed. The focus for assessment represents a student's engagement with particular physical skills, and their ability to use those skills in a meaningful way, in performance.

In the Acro component, students learn a variety of acrobatic balances and lifts. In performance, such skills can be useful to use in place of set, props and objects, such as the physical representation of a door using bodies, rather than using an actual door. Students are assessed on their commitment to learning the skills, their ability to perform each skill with precision and their creative approach to devising an original performance, which employs them in an innovative and comic way.

The unit on Stage Combat teaches students various physical stage-tricks to imitate fighting, kicking, punching etc. Alongside learning the actual steps to perform these tricks, students are assessed on their ability to weave them into a convincing performance, in the tradition of comedy.

The content of the unit: PHYSICAL THEATRE: ACRO & COMBAT includes a study of the elements of drama; the practices of making & performing; and the dramatic contexts of playbuilding, improvisation, comedy and physical theatre.

There were four performance troupes:

The first performance starred Hugh McLymont, Riley Stockman and Lachlan Cox. In their plot, they had been kidnapped by people smugglers and were being transported as human cargo across the Atlantic. When the ship starts sinking, they broke free but realised there was only room for two more people on the life raft. What’s happened next?

The second performance starred Erin Cobcroft, Ann-Maree Irvine and Kaitlin Colwell. This performance depicted a group of graverobbers breaking into the Great Pyramid of Giza, which houses Kootan Namans tomb, rumoured to contain an abundance of treasure. On their journey, they deciphered a series of ancient riddles that opened hidden chambers and lead them to their goal. However, once they reached the priceless tomb, Egyptian Mummies came alive and demanded that one of them must stay behind in eternal damnation in order to save the others. What happened next? 

The third performance starred Maxim Sotter, Elizabeth Crampton, Sophie Chirgwin, Christopher Brennan and Jade Press. In their performance, they were all trained operatives for NSA. Their mission was to infiltrate the Russian embassy and retrieve stolen computer access codes, which were kept under high security in the bowels of the main building. The place was swarming with armed guards and high-tech security measures. Once they successfully recovered the codes and escaped, there was a one million dollar reward to the operative who returned the codes to the handler. What happened next?

The final performance starred Hannah Armstrong, Roan van Heekeren, James Baker, Johanna Krebs and Thomas Craft. In their performance, their plane crashed in the Pacific. They were captured by a native tribe and were being held captive in a tribal village. Once they escaped, they navigated an intricate placement of booby traps and made their way to the edge of the island, where they found their crashed plane. What happened next?

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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Year 11 - Physical Workshop

Year 11 Drama students have been studying a unit called: VIEWPOINTS & VERBATIM which could be seen as a fusion of contemporary physical theatre and documentary-style Drama

Viewpoints is a style of physical theatre which emerged out of New York some 30 years ago, which explores the body in relation to notions of Space and Time.

Verbatim is a style of theatre, which is drawn from word-for-word interviews with real people. It is introduced to deepen students’ encounter and exploration of reality-based art forms and empower them with respect for telling other peoples’ stories.

The students have engaged in a series of workshops with myself and professional Viewpoints practitioner, Fiona Green. They have used the skills developed in these workshops to devise, or in Viewpoints speak  ‘Compose’, and transform work from recorded dialogue form into movement-based expression.

This students performed their exploratory work at a Senior School assembly. The performers included Abigail Skinner, Gabriella Mitton, Amelia Moran, Alexander Jolliffe, Kirsten Jones, Tom Galvin, Maddison Crowe and Conrad Meulman.

Their self-devised piece was entitled : FRIENDSHIP: THE GOOD TIMES, THE BAD TIMES

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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"GREASE" Launch

The GREASE Launch Party was a huge success. Cast and Crew were strutting their stuff in their 'rockabilly-inspired' outfits and hairdo's. The Gappies were sporting their awesome DJ-ing skills as everyone flaunted their dance moves at the disco. The Director formally announced the Cast and Crew to rounds of applause.  (Click HERE for cast and crew list)

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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MASTERPIECES: WHEN ART COMES TO LIFE

Years 9 to 11 Drama students staged a performance entitled MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes to Life in the Drama Room on the night of the Opening of the All Saints' Festival of Art on Friday, 30th May. The students have been studying the performance style of ‘Non-Realism’ as a way of creating abstract and dream-like performance pieces. Each performance group chose an abstract expressionist painting to work from and created short surreal performance art pieces in response to them.

The first performance art piece by Maddison Crowe, Amelia Moran and Conrad Meulman was inspired by the artwork Fourth and Maine by Troy Tatzko. The group entitled their piece Reality becomes distorted by the web of lies we spin. It explored how we are all affected by the deceit of others. Their piece included excerpts from Shakespeare’s Othello and childhood nursery rhymes to convey the message of innocence being corrupted by lies.

The second art piece by Daniel Frost, Hugh McClymont, Lachlan Cox and Riley Stockman was in response to this abstract expressionism artwork they sourced. They have based their performance on an episode of the TV show The Simpsons when the school was snowed in and the children took over the school. The ‘man in colour’ character was heavily inspired by the main character from Arrow, Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell. Their piece was entitled The Origin of Colour and explored a world ruled by black and white TV until viewers were liberated.

The third art piece was by Maxim Sotter, Jade Press, Christopher Brennan, Lucy Anlezark, Elizabeth Crampton and Sophie Chirgwin. It was based on an untitled work by Omar Chacon. The group was inspired by the image because they could see the urban landscape within a mixture of harmony. They were inspired by the mixture of harsh and soft colours and it made them think about the sounds that could be presented in their original piece, entitled Harmony within Chaos.

The fourth art piece was by Alexander Jolliffe, Julia Morgan and Tegan Taylor. It was based on a painting entitled Woman in a Temple. They chose to use the religious aspect of the image, but in a twisted, re-invented way. They pulled the white, black, green and red colours from the painting and darkened them to suit their original performance art work entitled Malevolent.

The fifth art piece was by Melissa Whitfeld, Kaitlin Colwell, Kaitlyn Scott and Erin Cobcroft. They called their piece A journey through the good and bad of dreams. It was based on an abstract expressionist work by Guus Kemp. They utilised the song Bohemian Rhapsody and the stories of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. The girls created a series of vignettes exploring our dreams.

The sixth performance piece is by Gabriella Mitton, Abigail Skinner, Tom Galvin and Kirsten Jones. They chose an abstract expressionist artwork full of colours and action. Responding to the presence of the three main colours of blue, yellow and red, the group developed a piece which explored emotions and the way people deal with internal struggle. For the group, blue represented happiness, yellow confusion and red anger. They took over each other in a struggle for power and they ‘moulded’ into one another to make up the complex nature of man.

The last performance art piece was by Thomas Craft, Roan Van Heekeren, James Baker, Marcus Milton, Johanna Krebs and Hannah Armstrong. They chose a piece entitled New York City Skyline by Manit. Their performance utilised the songs, Mad World and a jazz piece, Habanera. Their performance was entitled So Many Lives in the City.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Masterpieces Photo Gallery

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PASSION PLAY

This year, the Year 10 Drama students helped the whole school community celebrate the true meaning of Easter with a performance of the Passion of Christ.

Roan van Heekeren's moving portrayal of Christ in his last moments of life helped us identify with the sacrifices Jesus made to save us from our sins. His suffering at the hands of Pontious Pilate and the Romans played by James Baker, Thomas Craft, Johanna Krebs and Melissa Whitfeld, after being betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter, depicted by Christopher Brennan helped remind us of Jesus' courage and compassion in the face of those who condemned him.

The play was performed at the annual All Saints' College Easter Service to improvised piano music played by Marcus Milton.

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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SENIOR DRAMA NIGHT 2014

On Thursday, 10th April, the Year 11 Drama students performed at the annual Senior Drama Night. Tegan Taylor, Amelia Moran, Kirsten James, Julia Morgan, Tom Galvin, Conrad Meulman, Alexander Jolliffe and Maddison Crowe each chose a dramatic monologue to study and perform in front of an audience.

As an extension of their studies of the History of Acting from the Classical Greek period through to Russian Realism, students engage in a study of Stanislavski and his ‘system of acting’, more commonly known as 'The Method'. They learn about Stanislavski's life and his work in the context of the social, cultural, historical and political influences, as well as principles and acting techniques. In particular, students learn about ‘Naturalism’ as a specific performance style and are taken through the Stanislavski process of performance development.

Students engage, practically and experientially, in exercises, improvisations and text analysis, based on the ‘method’ of performance production. This style was a first for many of the students, which saw Conrad, Alexander and Maddison moving away from comedy for the first time. These three students deserve special mention for their captivating dramatic performances on the night. Conrad performed an eulogy from the TV series 'Suits', Alexander played 'Forrest Gump' talking to his dead wife and Maddison played an intense scene from 'Schindler's List'.

"I'm very proud of all of the students. It takes great courage to stand up in front of your family and peers on your own and attempt to become someone else. They all did remarkably well in this and it has put them in great stead for their HSC performance preparations next year".

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

 

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THEATRESPORTS 2014

THEATRESPORTS provides a “framework for the teaching of theatre skills: storytelling, focus, musicianship, status, physicalisation, dance, mime, timing, singing, theatre history, stage presence, stage craft, voice training, characterisation, playbuilding, discipline and good sportsmanship”.

WHAT IS THEATRESPORTS? Theatresports is “improvised theatre entertainment played as a spectator sport…Teams of players invent scenes from given suggestions…play their scenes in structures we call games [and]…the scenes are judged by a panel”.

IMPROVISATION is the process by which we spontaneously invent stories and characters in the moment. The concepts of ‘offer’ and ‘accept’ are integral to the process of improvisation. There is nothing new about improvisation. When man first rubbed two flints together, he was improvising.

All Drama students at All Saints' College practice improvising as an integral part of their studies. Apart from being a dramatic context within itself, the art of improvising underpins students' learning of other dramatic forms and performance styles and provides a framework for play building towards performance.

The students just love playing 'Theatresports'. It's a fun way to learn some really useful dramatic skills. They learn to work together in groups and feed off each other in a super-creative setting.

Each year in Term 1, the Year 9 and 10 Drama students hold a Theatresports Competition. This year, three teams battled it out - The 'Double Ds', 'The Pandas' and 'The Gentleman's Society'. All the teams competed hard and they had the audience in fits of laughter. At the end of the day, though, 'The Gentleman's Society' featuring Roan van Heekeren, Thomas Craft, James Baker, Marcus Milton, Hannah Armstrong and Johanna Krebs were too hard to beat and they took out the crown.

A big congratulations to all who competed and a big thank you to the audience for their support. 

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for the Warmup Photo Gallery

Click HERE for the Performance Photo Gallery

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DRAMA ON GRANDPARENTS' & SPECIAL FRIENDS' DAY

The Year 8 students and their grandparents and special friends were entertained with a fun TheateSports competition by the Drama department at this year's Grandparents' & Special Friends' Day celebrations.

TheatreSports is an improvised game played as a spectator sport where teams of players battle it out in a game of spontaneous wit. Team 'Violators' was made up of Conrad Meulman, Hannah Armstrong, Roan van Heekeren and Thomas Craft. They challenged 'The Keppel Street Hooligans' which included Alexander Joliffe, James Baker, Maddison Crowe and Amelia Moran.

They played four different games:

  • 'Tag Spitfire' where two players share the telling of an improvised story and have to incorporate random words that are 'spat' at them.

  • 'Expert Double Figures' where two players play out an interview situation while two other characters act as their arms.

  • 'Gibberish Guest Speaker' where the interviewer only speaks English, the interviewee only speaks Gibberish and the translator speaks both and has translate for both parties.

  • 'Emotions' where players have to play out an improvised scene using three different emotions, such as happy, angry and in love!

The best part of the performance was when the Year 8 students and their grandparents got involved and joined in the performance improvising with great verve and comic timing.

There was loads of laughter and lots of great comments following the show.

A good time was had by all.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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ARCHIVES: 2013

Welcome to another productive year of Drama at All Saints'! Big Congratulations to all our Drama students who sat the 2012 Higher School Certificate. Some very impressive results in Group Performance, Individual Projects and wriiten examinations meant that the 2012 Drama cohort performed well above the state average (by 11.1%) with an outstanding 75% of students receiving a Band 6 in Drama.

Of course, it's not just about the marks, but this does go a long way in validating the enormous effort and dedication to Drama the students put in over the course of the year.

After the success of the HSC Australian Drama performance of A Beautiful Life in Term 4 2012, the 2013 Drama cohort should prove no exception to fine results, as there is a lot of talent and passion inherant in this group. We are really looking forward to seeing what magic prevails with their Group Performances and Individual Projects. Be sure to come along to the HSC Trial Performance night on Wednesday, 31st July to support the Drama students.

We welcome in the new Drama students to Years 9 and 10 and welcome back those students continuing with their Drama studies. There are lots of fun activites and performances spread throughout the year, such as the TheatreSports Comp, Mumming & Puppetry Shows, as well as the annual Festival of Art: MASTERPIECES & FAMFEST.

For further information on what's happening in Drama at All Saints' in 2013, check out the Introductory Slideshow and Drama Flyer below. Stay tuned to this space!

Mrs Zoe McGirr (Drama Teacher)

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Puppet Show 2013

On Wednesday, 11th September, the Years 9 and 10 Drama students presented their Puppet Show in the round to 100 of their peers. The performance was the culmination of the term's work exploring the dramatic performance style.

In the unit, students are introduced to various forms within the Puppetry style, including:  Finger Puppetry, Hand Puppetry, Recycled Puppetry, Shadow Puppetry, Bodies as Puppets (including black-light Puppetry), BUN-RAKU (Large Image Puppetry) and Digital Puppetry.

Highlights of the show include an opera-singing Gorilla; pole-dancing finger puppets; a small-screen shadow puppetry performance of an ‘Aussie’ variation of ‘There was an old woman who swallowed a fly, in this case a ‘mozzie’!; Talent show sock-puppet singers; Some moving body puppetry using shadow screen and black light and incorporating dance; talking llamas and native animal hand puppets who revealed some very deep secrets.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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HSC Drama - Group & Individual Pefrormances

Best wishes to the 2013 HSC Drama class for their group and individual performances in front of the HSC examiners on Tuesday, 27th August!

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

GROUP PERFORMANCES

INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES

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HSC Drama Trials

On Wednesday evening, 31st July,the HSC Drama students performed their Group and Individual works for a large crowd.

Despite a number of sporting injuries leading into the event, the students put in a great effort and the Drama Room was buzzing with energy.

There was a great variety of performance styles, characters and situations on display and the audience was both moved to tears and keeled over with laughter.

The students will now prepare for the 'real' thing in a couple of weeks and rumour has it, they will knock the examiners' socks off!!!

Mrs Zoë McGirr

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Inter-School HSC Drama Experience

On Wednesday, 19th June, the All Saints’ College HSC Drama students combined with the St Stanislaus' HSC Drama students in an evening of performance and sharing.

HSC Drama students across the state have been busy preparing their Group Performances and Individual Projects for the external examinations, which are held in Term 3. Each year, the Board of Studies provides Drama students with a list of eight topics. Using one of the topics as a springboard for their ideas, the students collaborate in groups to develop a theme and create an original 12 minute piece of theatre, to perform in front of an audience.

Mrs Zoë McGirr believes “The most important aspect of the beginning stages of the devising process is to settle on a strong theme - a message that can be contained in one short conceptual statement. This then becomes the spine of the work”, explains Mrs McGirr. “Once everyone agrees on a single strong message, we are free to get on with creating the performance, knowing that everything we create must serve this spine and everyone is on the same page - so to speak”.

This year there are two performance groups. One is exploring the idea that ‘Media is the New Religion’ and the other, that ‘There is No Such Thing as  New Idea’.

The performances are personal and social explorations of the students lives and they learn how to work co-operatively in creating dramatic works, presenting their own opinions confidently and listening to the ideas of others. They use a variety of playbuilding techniques and approaches, structuring their work using dramatic elements and theatrical conventions. In their performances they use expressive skills that are appropriate to the chosen style or form. They learn how to realise and sustain a role and how to establish a relationship with the audience.

Students also work on an Individual Project or IP. In the Individual Project students learn how to initiate and present a project in an area of interest. They use their knowledge, skills and experiences acquired in the Preliminary Course to select an area in which to specialise. Of the seven students sitting their HSC in Drama this year, six have chosen to do Performance and one, Video Drama. Students learn how to develop concepts, use innovation, describe their intentions and the approach they intend to take in realising the project. They learn how to use skills appropriate to the area in which they are working and how to manipulate theatrical elements and conventions to achieve their aims.

“The students have been working really hard on their Individual works. The showing at St Stanislaus' College marks the first time they see each other’s performances as well as those of the Stannies boys.  It is a wonderful opportunity to share and test out material in front of the audience” says Mrs McGirr. “Head of Creative Arts, Mr Graham Low, and I provide support in the form of dramatic feedback. It is also a great way for us to share our knowledge as professionals”.

 
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Mumming Plays

On Monday, 17th June 2013 the Year 9 and 10 Drama students performed MUMMING SHOWS for the All Saints’ College boarders as part of the Annual Drama Comedy Night.

Mumming plays were folk plays performed by troupes of actors, known as Mummers. Originally from England, Mumming plays appeared from the mid to late 18th Century. The plays were usually short, comic dramas with rhyming texts. Mummers sometimes wore masks and often wore funny costumes, and their plays contained larger than life characters, songs and much frivolity. The cast is made up of stock characters: Figure of Light (Hero), Figure of Dark (Villain), Object of Desire (Princess), Quack (Sham Doctor) and Joker (Jester/ Narrator).

The play structure is largely based around the themes of duality - good versus evil, and resurrection. Generally, the two figures (light & dark) woo the object of desire. Their boasting and insulting leads to combat, which results in the death of one of them. The Joker calls for the audience to will the Sham Doctor to resuscitate the slain character. The main incident, therefore, is the killing and restoring to life of one of the characters.

Students learn about the dramatic form and performance style of the Mumming play.

Using well-known fairy tales, which they adapt, each performance troupe adopts the stock character roles and devises an original piece of theatre, based on the Mumming dramatic structure. This year, the students adapted the well-known tales of Cindarella, Little Red, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.

Mrs Zoë McGirr

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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Masterpieces: When Art Comes To Life

On Friday evening 17th May 2013, the Year 9 & 10 Drama students performed at the opening of the All Saints' College Festival of Art. Their piece entitled 'MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes to Life', is an annual Performance Art production which forms part of the students' Drama curriculum. 

In this topic, students explore the contemporary practices of some significant Non-Realist playwrights and theatre practitioners who contributed to Non-Realistic Performance Styles associated with the Expressionist movement. Changes in theatre at the turn of the century closely mirrored changes in Visual Arts; this topic explores contemporary Art movements and significant artists coinciding with the development of Non-Realist contemporary performance styles. 

Using the Compilation Playbuilding technique, students develop Performance Art presentations as vignettes of Non-Realist performance in response to chosen works of Art. In particular, they engage with the Elements of Drama, to show how they work together to communicate dramatic meaning, such as a heightened interpretation of the world through the use of stylised acting. In the production of their performance pieces, students consider how the use of technology and various elements of production might be used to create Non-Realist effects. 

Students relish the opportunity to perform their original work in front of a large audience of the All' Saints' community. Big thanks to Kris Sotter who invited the students to the event, Garry Anderson, David Mackender and Christian Westendfelder who helped with the special effects and the Year 8 boys who did some great French mime to open the show! 

Click for more DRAMA PHOTOS in the Festival of Art Gallery at

http://www.saints.nsw.edu.au/news/n/festival-of-art-2013-130519/pg/1

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Cross-generational drama experience

During the last few weeks of Term 1, the Year 12 Drama students were involved in a unique cross-generational Drama project with a group of senior citizens from the Bathurst community. The students had been studying the work of the internationally renowned dramturg, Augusto Boal. Boal, born in 1931, was one of the most influential contemporary theatre practitioners, transforming peoples’ lives with his revolutionary methods of engaging ‘normal’ people with actor strategies that have the potential to enlighten them and enable them to speak out against the hypocrisies of the political and social climate, which they struggled against.

The aim of the programme for the students was to meet, get to know and engage with a number of the town’s senior citizens in conversations and theatrical workshops exploring the topic of ‘Oppression’. The senior citizens shared personal stories which painted a picture of life growing up through the years since the 1930’s, through the Great Depression, what life was like living in Australia through World War II, what it meant to live under the threat of Communism through the Cold War years, and the struggles of women in Australian society. “Hearing about all the things they have lived through and experienced, especially hardships, made us feel our lives have been so short-lived and our worries seem comparatively trivial” explained one of the students.

The students did some fun activities educating the seniors about Generation ‘Y’ with topics such as iPhone Apps, text abbreviations, music and popular media - there was an emphasis on the importance that technology plays in their lives.

The intensive Drama workshop which followed was devised and led by the students as the formal part of their HSC assessment. In the spirit of Boal, participants were encouraged to explore their ‘memory of the senses’ through a sequence of activities – past oppressions were shared and re-enacted through Boal’s practices of ‘Image’ and ‘Forum’ theatre. ‘Image Theatre’ is developed using a modeling sequence where the groups are divided in sculptors and sculptures. These static tableaus are then dynamised in the ‘Forum Theatre’ sequence, where ‘real-life’ events are played out on the stage. The protagonists take on the role of Director for a play of their own life. A forum or discussion takes place where the group provides alternative outcomes for the event and finally, the protagonist is invited to take on the role on themselves in their own ‘memory drama’. The process is often transformative.

“I’m never sure what to expect”, admitted their teacher, Mrs Zoë McGirr, “this kind of improvisational theatre depends on how willing the participants are to share their personal stories of conflict… I believe that this project successfully fulfilled its goal of allowing two different groups to put themselves in each others’ shoes, and in so doing, gain a deeper understanding of their own lives”.

Two generations apart share their experiences
report byGraham West (one of the senior citizens)

Eight HSC students of All Saints’ studying Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed met with 8 Bathurst seniors to explore the oppression they suffered in their early lives. The seniors and the students were separated by two generations; 60+ years.

Although the seniors were all born around the outbreak of World War II and grew up in a period of no television, limited transport, simple housing and, of course, no mobile phones they didn't feel they were oppressed. Although they agreed women were culturally oppressed with limited educational opportunities and career prospects channelled mainly to nursing, teaching, secretarial work or being shop assistants.  Further, once they married they were expected to give up work and be housewives and mothers.  Regardless of the limitations placed upon the women present they all went on to have a career and make a contribution to Bathurst society.

The tutor, Zoë McGirr, used the second meeting of the group to assess the students for the HSC.  The second meeting took the form of a theatre with the seniors acting out some experience of their life where they felt some degree, although limited, form of oppression.

 It was great fun and the seniors hoped the students gathered something valuable from their amateur theatrical antics

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TheatreSports

On Wednesday,13th March, the Years 9 and 10 Drama classes participated in the All Saints' College TheatreSports Comp, which was held over the lunch period in the new Kemmis Building.

A huge audience turned out to cheer on the teams, who strutted their ability to improvise ‘in-the-moment' and at some points, had the audience crying tears of laughter.

WHAT IS THEATRESPORTS?

TheatreSports is “improvised theatre entertainment played as a spectator sport…Teams of players invent scenes from given suggestions…play their scenes in structures we call games [and]…the scenes are judged by a panel" (Pierse, 1995, p.3).

TheatreSports provides a framework for the teaching of theatre skills: storytelling, focus, musicianship, status, physicalisation, dance, mime, timing, singing, theatre history, stage presence, stage craft, voice training, characterisation, playbuilding, discipline and good sportsmanship.

Click HERE for Photo Gallery

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The All Saints' College HSC Drama students were entertained, challenged and inspired, when they took an excursion to Sydney's Seymour Centre to see the ‘cream of the crop' from last year's HSC Group Performances and Individual Projects.

"The standard was exceptional, so it was a great chance for our students to see how high the bar can be raised in Drama" said Drama teacher Mrs Zoë McGirr. "The students reacted to the works in their own ways - for some, the creativity displayed inspired a competitive edge and the desire for true excellence, for others the artistic showcase challenged them to alter their creative direction with their own Individual Projects - for all, it was, at some level, inspiring".


The HSC Drama course provides a framework that allows students to apply their experiences, skills, and knowledge to producing original pieces of theatre.

"We have a bright and talented group of Drama students who will support each other to bring out their best in their Group Performance. This excursion helped cement that knowledge and instil some of the excitement associated with developing and performing an original body of work. I am confident in the intelligence and sophistication displayed by our students and I'm really looking forward to guiding them through this important and imaginative process".

There will be several opportunities for the school community to see the work the All Saints' College HSC Drama students are creating. Keep your eyes open for posters around the school, and various announcements in electronic newsletters and on the website. Your support is appreciated.


HSC DRAMA 2013 includes Sarah Barton, Harry Bland, Emily Hughes, Max Hope, Marlee Langfield, Alan Mayhew, Jess Mackenzie and Courtney Old. Big thanks to Zac Sherwani (ASC Tutor) for helping supervise the overnight excursion to Sydney.

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ARCHIVES: 2012

"A BEAUTIFUL LIFE"

A Beautiful Life, a powerful contemporary Australian play written by Michael Futcher and Helen Howard, was performed by Year 11 Drama students on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd November in the Drama Room. The play is on the Board of Studies list for HSC Drama students.

It is a story of a boy, Amir, who sees his parents on the news, under arrest for ‘terrorism’ for protesting against atrocities in their homeland. Revisiting memories of his wrongful imprisonment and torture in Tehran, Hamid confronts an oppressive secret that has blighted his beautiful new life in Australia.

Click here for Photo Gallery

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HSC Drama Production - A BEAUTIFUL LIFE

A Beautiful Life is a powerful contemporary Australian play written by Michael Futcher and Helen Howard and is one of the Board of Studies plays studied by HSC Drama students.

It is a story of a boy, Amir, who sees his parents on the news, under arrest for ‘terrorism’ for protesting against atrocities in their homeland. Revisiting memories of his wrongful imprisonment and torture in Tehran, Hamid confronts an oppressive secret that has blighted his beautiful new life in Australia.

“In Futcher and Howard’s compassionate script, ordinary people endure extraordinary fates to become moral touchstones, testing Australian justice and public values. It is a vital, angry dynamic play” - Veronica Kelly, Australian

The performance of this play makes up part of the internal assessment structure for Drama students from Stages 5 and 6. The Years 9 and 10 Drama students are currently engaged in their final unit for the year: Play Production. In this topic, students learn about various elements of stagecraft and apply specific skills in the elements of production to a piece of actual theatre, for an audience. Students have chosen specific production roles to undertake, such as set, props, lighting, publicity, costume, make-up etc. Students are engaged in authentic learning as they perform these roles through the pre-production stage and actual production for the HSC Australian Drama performances of A Beautiful Life.

Drama is a practical subject, where texts are learned 'experientially', i.e: through doing. Mounting this production is the best way for HSC students to engage with the text and understand how the actual staging of Australian plays helps elucidate meaning for an audience.

A Beautiful Life will be performed at 7.00pm on Thursday, 22nd and Friday, 23rd November in the Drama Room, All Saints' College.

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LIVE MIC RADIO SHOW

A significant part of the Preliminary Course for Year 11 Drama students, designed by Mrs Zoe McGirr, includes the unit - ‘Film and Media Art’. “I come from a media and theatre background and have been teaching ‘Media Production and Presentation’ to Communication students at CSU for six years now”, says Mrs McGirr, “I find it compelling to teach Media Arts at secondary level”.

This particular unit is broken into two topics. In the Television Production topic, students engage with the medium of television as well as a variety of multi-literacies, including digital literacies. In a series of practical workshops, students learn how to design, write and perform for various types of television presenting, both in the studio and in the ‘field’, such as presenting intros/outros to camera, conducting interviews for various genres of talk show (current affairs, entertainment), designing advertising promos, and conducting PR/crisis management press conferences. Students engage with media and learn production values, as well as various terminologies and practices associated with television, such as camera work, intended audience, genre, throw-line, segue, speech structure, and framing.

In the Live Mic Radio Show, students, in groups, research, script and perform a live radio show in front of an audience. Students choose a genre of radio, create a suitable ‘fictional’ station and write various segments to include in it. This year, the Year 11 students are broadcasting from Bondi Beach, Sydney. The station is called ‘XES FM’ and the anchors, Chad and Brody, are live in the studio.

This station offers their hip inner-city listeners up-date news, entertainment and advertising. Highlights included a film review on “Step Up”, the latest in nightclubs and dancing, and a sneak peak at the Radio Drama ‘Strip to the Shore’. It’s an hilarious piece of unique comedy, harking back to the old radio drama days.

The students will be performing it again at the second annual ‘FAMFEST’ at 6.00pm on Saturday, 24th November in the Kemmis Building. They’ll also be showcasing their TV show along with short videos by the Years 9 and 10 Drama class.

Click here for Photo Gallery

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TRIAL HSC DRAMA PRACTICAL EVENING

The HSC Drama candidates wowed their audience at the 2012 HSC Trial practical examinations, held this term in the Drama Room. In particular, the compulsory Group Performance (GP) was a huge hit, assaulting the audience with humour and wit. Each year, the Board of Studies provides the Drama students with a list of eight topics. Using one of the topics as a springboard for their ideas, the students must develop a theme and create an original 12 minute piece of theatre, to perform in front of an audience as part of their internal and external HSC Drama examinations. While last year’s HSC GP found it’s origins in the tasty dish of Coq au Vin, the 2012 cohort chose the topic: 490 x 710 cm.

Drama Teacher, Mrs Zoë McGirr says she has to admit she “was surprised this group of powerfully creative students chose such a potentially banal topic, but once we started brainstorming it became thoroughly evident their imaginations were not going to be boxed in”. Mrs McGirr believes the most important aspect of the beginning stages of the devising process is to settle on a strong theme - a message that can be contained in one short conceptual statement. “This then becomes the spine of the work”, explains Mrs McGirr “once everyone agrees on a single strong message, we are free to get on with creating the performance, knowing that everything we create must serve this spine and everyone is on the same page - so to speak”. The result of the eclectic brainstorming session is a vibrant, passionate, sometimes eccentric production centred on the theme of The Subconscious Should Be Freed (Or Should It)? It is non-realist romp through an exploration of the subconscious mind and its connotations within today’s social framework.

Students also work on an Individual Project or IP. This year Niemah Hope chose to do a striking Costume Design project based on the acclaimed play ‘Cyrano de’ Bergerac’. Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. The entire play is written in verse, in rhyming couplets and is responsible for introducing the word "panache" into the English language. It has been translated and performed many times,. Some people may remember the famous French movie of the same title starring Gerard Depardieu, or for the younger set, the Hollywood adaptation ‘Roxanne’ starring Steve Martin. Niemah’s original costume design captured the Baroque period beautifully, with specially selected swatches of gorgeous fabrics across a sophisticated palette.

Emma Roach chose to perform an adaptation of the smash-hit TV series United States of Tara, starring our very own Toni Collette. The premise surrounds the life of Tara, an artist and mother, struggling to deal with multiple-personality syndrome. In Emma’s monologue, her character undergoes various personality transitions from Tara - to T, the outrageous teenager - to Buck, the middle-aged gun-slinging ‘yobbo’ - to Alice, the 1950s housewife. Emma developed distinctive physical characterisations with originality and humour. Through a turn of events, Emma makes an interesting comment about the relationship between psychological illness and the medications used to treat it. Is it better to take the medication and feel nothing, or not take the medication and risk psychotic behaviour?

Lachlan McDevitt adapted his monologue from a John Cleese two-hander. In it, his protagonist, Praline, comes back to a pet shop to complain about ‘This Parrot what I purchased not half n’ hour ago from this very boutique’. When asked what was wrong with the Parrot, he replies "Well, it’s dead isn’t it!", and the ensuing argument provides much hilarity. In particular, Lachlan’s physicality, with his silly walks and absurd behaviour, kept the audience engaged with laughter. The underbelly of this ridiculous scenario comments strongly on the decline of customer service in society.

Alanna D’Adam performed a clever monologue entitled Let Them Eat Cake. The protagonist, Sophie, struggles with her strict dieting regime and lack of self-image. In it, Alanna, as Sophie, speaks to a chocolate cake on a pedestal as though it were another person, at times a best friend, at others, her nemesis. Alanna’s outstanding performance as Sophie, as well as Sophie’s Greek Mother and the Clothing Store Assistant, spoke to every woman in the room. Her careful use of comedy helped reveal the underlying sadness of Sophie’s struggle. “You’d be laughing your head off” said one of the audience members, “and then think, what am I doing, this is really sad”.

Alanna D’Adam said about the night “The experience felt in the Drama Room on a daily basis as well as on the night of the trial was as usual exhilerating…filling the space with dramatic, funny and thought-provoking ideas in order to entertain an audience of any age”.

Head of Creative and Performing Arts, Mrs Frances McLeod and Head of English, Mrs Tessa Jones were invited to mark the performances. Mrs McLeod said of the night, “It was a joy to see our students so passionately involved in performances of such high calibre which reflect so much the strengths of them as individuals and the dedication and commitment to Drama by the class and their teacher”.

Click here for Photo Gallery

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YEARS 9 & 10 DRAMA CLASS COMEDY NIGHT

The boarders were treated to a performance of comic proportions by the Year 9 and 10 Drama class at the 2012 Comedy Night.

The Dining Room lit up with laughter as Alex Jolliffe and Alan Mayhew tried their hands at some stand up comedy, and Courtney Old got in touch with her 80s side with a Kylie Mole monologue from Comedy Company.

Masters of Ceremonies for the evening, Sophie Stockman and Lynsday Menzies, led the main feature, which was the Rap Battle where the team of ‘Gangsters’ battled it out in verse against the team of ‘Nerds’.

The Dining Room is a new kind of performance space for the Drama students and its important they practice performing in as many different locations as possible’ says Drama Teacher Mrs. Zoë McGirr … ‘whether it’s the Kemmis at lunchtime, the Bickerdike during assembly or the Dining Room in the evening, there are specific sets of skills and demands applicable to different locations, times of day and audiences.’

Stand out performances of the night were Rebecca Whitchurch, Greta Wass and Amelia Bradley.

Click here for Photo Gallery

PHYSICAL THEATRE WORKSHOP

Senior Drama students participated in the annual Physical Theatre Incursion on Tuesday, 29th and Wednesday, 30th May. Whilst last year's incursion focused on teaching acrobatic balances, this year's was focused on a contemporary Physical Theatre form known as VIEWPOINTS.
 
 
Over the past twenty years, VIEWPOINTS training has ignited the imaginations of choreographers, actors, directors, designers, dramaturgs, and writers. It is taught all over the world as "a system belonging to the natural principles of movement, time, and space...[it] is a philosophy translated into a technique for training performers, building ensemble and creating movement for the stage".
 
 
The workshop was run by Adam Duesien. Adam is a director and creator of Physical Theatre. After graduating from Theatre/Media at Charles Sturt Univeristy in 2007, he spent two years performing, training, developing new work and touring with Brisbane based Physical Theatre Company, Zen Zen Zo. In 2010 he returned to Bathurst to study a Master of Arts Practice - Directing for Stage and now teaches, directs and performs in the Central West. In 2012, along with contemporary dancer Alison Plevey, he co-founded Lingua Franca, a physical performance collective committed to creating new contemporary performance in regional NSW.
 
 
Alanna D'Adam, one of the HSC Drama students says about the experience "The workshop taught us that not only do we have to feel emotion, but first we must physically embody it. This helped us to learn that in order to create pieces of art, we need to use our physical expression". Lachlan McDevitt says "It extended our character building and will really benefit us in out Group Performance for the HSC".
 
Zoë McGirr

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MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes To Life: PICASSO

Years 9, 10 & 11 Drama performance entitled MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes to Life: PICASSO was held in the Drama Room on the night of the Opening of the All Saints' Festival of Art on Friday, 25th May 2012.
 
 
Performance Art and Design explores the contemporary practices of some significant Non-Realist playwrights and theatre practitioners who contributed to Non-Realistic Performance Styles associated with the Expressionist movement.

Changes in Theatre at the turn of the century closely mirrored changes in Visual Arts; this topic explores contemporary Art movements and significant Artists coinciding with the development of Non-Realist contemporary performance styles.

Coinciding with this year's international touring exhibitions of PICASSO's work to the AGNSW, the students are using a small body of his work as inspiration for their performances.

In particular, students engage with the Elements of Drama, to show how they work together to communicate dramatic meaning, such as a heightened interpretation of the world through the use of stylised acting.

In the production of their performance pieces, students consider how the use of technology and various elements of production might be used to create Non-Realist effects.

The Performance Art Works were shown in a Gallery-style performance space as part of the All Saints’ College’s FESTIVAL OF ART

The first performance art piece was entitled ‘Sleep Mommy’ - performed by Amelia Bradley, Alex Joliffe, Lyndsay Menzies and Greta Wass. They chose the painting: Family of Saltimbanques, painted by Picasso in 1905. To make this piece, the group drew on the style of Carnivale and are using excerpts from a poem ‘Sleep Mommy’ by Kimberli A. Hardiman.

The next vignette was entitled ‘Puppets on a Pedestal’, developed and performed by Madeleine King, Tegan Taylor, and Rebecca Whitchurch. It was based on the colourful Picasso painting entitled Large Still life with Pedestal Table, 1931. This group looked to the fashion industry for inspiration and employed the use of Gotye’s song ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’.

This ‘horrific’performance entitled ‘The Joker’ was performed by Sarah Barton, Harry Bland and Emily Hughes. They chose to work with the painting The Head Cutter, which Picasso painted in 1901 after his friend committed suicide. The group worked within the horror genre, were inspired by serial killer stories and utilised two poems ‘An Obsession’ and ‘The Joker’.

Alan Mayhew and Marlee Langfied chosen Picasso’s, Pierrot, 1918. They responded to this painting by imagining this sad pantomime clown as God, as the artist, when he had just finished creating the world. They called their piece ‘In the Beginning’ and drew on the Genesis story and used the songs ‘Broken Wings’ and ‘Earthquake’ by Labrinth.

The next performance piece was entitled ‘Cold’, based on Picasso’s The Freugal Repas, 1904. Emily Brabham and Couba Morgan created a poetically solemn performance art piece. The two were inspired by Kate Miller Heidke’s song ‘The Last Day of Earth’ an utilising an original poem written by Emily.

The next performance starred Emma Michael, Gabby Mitton, and Lucy Vance. They chose to work with Picasso’s Three Musicians, painted in 1921. Their devising process began using Gabby’s ukulele as inspiration. They went for an underground jazz bar theme and utilising Gotye’s ‘Hearts A Mess’.

This sensual physical performance by Jess Mackenzie and Candice Nolan was based on the famous painting, Les Demoiseles D’Avignon, 1907. They named their performance ‘Seamy Side Of Life’ and looked to recorded  and digital sound, utilising Lana Del Rey’s ‘Off To The Races’.

The final performance was inspired by the story of Romeo and Juliet. Max Hope and Courtney Old chose two of Picasso’s artworks from different periods: ‘The Peasant’ (1906) and ‘Goat’s Skull, Bottle and Candle' (1952). Their theme was of dying love and they utilised Lana Del Rey’s song ‘Blue Jeans’.

Zoë McGirr

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2012 HIGH SCHOOLS CABARET (BATHURST)

In the last few weeks, a number of All Saints' students have be successful at audition in securing major roles for the upcoming 2012 High Schools Cabaret, to be held at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre on Friday, 1st and Saturday, 2nd June, which will showcase young talent from across the Bathurst region.

Rehearsals are well under way and the All Saints' Drama Room is buzzing with excitement in preparation.

"I am very proud of our students...who I believe will do an excellent job representing the school at this fantastic creative showcase. Above all, they are gaining great theatrical experience in a professional environment. I hope members of our school family will be there in support of our kids at this flagship event!" says Mrs McGirr, Drama Teacher.

On the night, Lachlan McDevitt and Emma Roach will be acting as MCs, Niemah Hope and Alanna D'Adam will be singing, and all four will be performing a group theatre piece. Emily Hughes is dancing and also performing a duologue with Sarah Barton. Courtney Old will be performing a comedy skit and the Year 11 Drama class will be performing their MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes to Life: PICASSO, which will be showcased the Friday before, 25th May, in the Drama Room upstairs of the Opening of the All Saints' Art Show - Showings at 6.30 and 7.00pm.

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MASTERPIECES in the works!

Years 9, 10 & 11 Drama students are preparing their Performance Art Works for their next performance entitled MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes to Life: PICASSO - to be held in the Drama Room on the night of the opening of the All Saints' Festival of Art on Friday, 25th May 2012. There will be two shows: 6.30pm and 7pm.
 
 
 

Performance Art and Design explores the contemporary practices of some significant Non-Realist playwrights and theatre practitioners who contributed to Non-Realistic Performance Styles associated with the Expressionist movement. Changes in Theatre at the turn of the century closely mirrored changes in Visual Arts; this topic explores contemporary Art movements and significant Artists coinciding with the development of Non-Realist contemporary performance styles.

Co-inciding with this years' international touring exhibitions of PICASSO's work to the AGNSW, the students are using a small body of his work as inspiration for their performances. In particular, students engage with the Elements of Drama, to show how they work together to communicate dramatic meaning, such as a heightened interpretation of the world through the use of stylised acting.

In the production of their performance pieces, students consider how the use of technology and various elements of production might be used to create Non-Realist effects.

The Performance Art Works are shown in a Gallery-style performance space as part of the All Saints’ College’s Festival of Art.

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YEAR 11 DRAMA NIGHT - STANISLAVSLI

Stanislavski is known as the ‘father’ of method acting. Students engage in a study of Stanislavski and his ‘System of Acting’. Students learn about his life and his work in context of the social, historical, political and cultural influences, as well as principles and acting techniques.

Students engage, practically and experientially, in exercises, improvisations, and text analysis, based on the Stanislavski ‘method’ of performance production. In particular, students learn about ‘Naturalism’ as a specific performance style and are taken through the Stanislavski process of performance development.

Students choose a scène, to study towards a presentation in front of an audience, The students perform their scenework in front of an audience, as a culmination of the discoveries made during the explorations within the process workshops. Scenes reflect the performance style of Stanislavski and ‘Naturalism’.

Students create an appropriate set and costume for the scene, know their lines, adopt and sustain their characters, perform rehearsed actions, and convey dramatic meaning, suitable to the play and style.

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YEAR 9 DRAMA: COMMEDIA DELL'ARTE

In the unit: Masked Theatre & Commedia dell’Arte, students experiment with the intricacies of the Masked Theatre acting style, beginning with Neutral Masks. Performance in mask is integral to Commedia dell’Arte.

Commedia dell’Arte means the comedy of the professional players. It began as 16th century Italian comedy and it relies greatly on the skills of the performers.

Students make their own masks and use improvisation and the creation of spontaneous scenarios to explore the stock characters and plot situations inherent to this form of Italian comedy, which they perform for an audience.

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Content:

Rationale:

This unit develops students’ knowledge , skills and understanding of the dramatic form, performance style, theatrical conventions and techniques of Masked Theatre and Commedia dell’ Arte. Through the making, teaching and learning activities, students focus on:

  • an exploration into the social and historical contexts of the form;
  • an introduction to masks (making and performing);
  • conventions of stock characters – physicalisation and characterisation;
  • an exploration of plot scenarios, comedic lazzi, canovaccio, concetti and themes through improvisation;
  • an understanding of the performance conventions of Commedia dell’Arte as applied to a selected venue (indoor/outdoor) and intended audience.

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CROSS-GENERATIONAL DRAMA EXPERIENCE 

On Wednesday, 7th March, the Year 12 Drama class worked with four of our local senior citizens in a cross-generational study.

The unit of work was designed by their teacher, Mrs Zoe McGirr.

The aim of the programme for the students was to meet, get to know and engage with a number of the town’s senior citizens in conversations exploring the topic of ‘Oppression’ and using an investigative technique which they called ‘memory of the senses’.

These Generation Y students learnt that life in wartime Bathurst or during the Great Depression in rural Australia was very difficult. A natural benefit of the project was the insight that the girls and boys also gained into local history.

These valued local seniors also experienced a window into the stresses and strains of the lives of teenagers in the age of iPads and iPods.

Some lovely friendships were made across the generations.

Click here for a more detailed report
on this Drama Activity

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Lights...Camera...Action!!

After months of hard work, a dress rehearsal of The Chapel Perilous on Tuesday, 14th February, indicated a top night of entertainment is in store for audiences when the play is  performed at on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 15th, 16th and 17th February.

The Chapel Perilous is an Australian classic, first performed in Perth in 1972, and is one of the Board of Studies HSC texts for 2012. A reflection of its time, the play makes a major statement on the female artists’ quest for freedom and self-realisation in a community uncertain of its standards. The epic play is full of lyricism, music, satire and self parody. It traces the life of Sally Banner, played by Alanna D’Adam, from school days, through lovers, attempted suicide, marriage and politics to disillusion. At the end of life, the artist’s ever-present sense of failure is coupled with worldly success, as Sally Banner returns once again to the Mother Church that bore her.

The cast is predominantly made up of All Saints’ Senior Drama students, in particular showcasing the talents of Niemah Hope, Lachlan McDevitt, Emma Roach, Harry Bland, Max Hope, and Sarah Barton. It is also starring some of the teachers in Zoe McGirr, Patrick Sinclair, and Memory Sanders, as well as a couple of cameo surprises.

Tickets are selling fast!!!

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TICKETS SELLING FAST FOR "THE CHAPEL PERILOUS"

Last weekend, the Drama camp was held at All Saints’, where rehearsals continued for the up-coming production of The Chapel Perilous, written by Dorothy Hewett and directed by Zoë McGirr, to be performed in the newly-refurbished Kemmis Building at All Saints’ College in a couple of weeks.

The Chapel Perilous is an Australian classic, first performed in Perth in 1972, and is one of the Board of Studies HSC texts for 2012.

The epic play is full of lyricism, music, satire and self-parody as it traces the life of Sally Banner, played by Alanna D’Adam.

The holidays provided The Chapel Perilous production team time to get to work on the set, props and costumes. Greg Jones, who is an experienced Stage Manager, worked closely with the Director on pulling the show together.

Greg Thorton put his D&T skills to great use in his construction of the set and props, and Father Paul, who is an avid ‘Leadlighter’ also donated his time and artistic talents to designing and building the beautiful stained-glass window, which features on the poster and brings the set to life.

Zoe McGirr’s brother-in-law, Chris, a well-known Bathurst artist, has been busy transforming the set with his paintbrush, whilst Zoë was hard at work building the three large masks that feature in the set.

Michele Thornton has been doing a great job both sourcing and making the props and would like to thank all those people who donated objects towards the play.

Anna Krebs is leading a small, yet extremely talented team of sewers, Heather Cozens and Lesley Tinker, who have been designing, sourcing material, and making the costumes for the production.

Also, a big thank you to Cherylene Anderson for designing the poster and Bob Poole for his work on publicity.

I am so grateful to all those people who have given up their time in the realisation of the first major All Saints’ Drama Production for quite some time. It really reflects the sense of community that this school is built on, and I’m proud to be part of such a talented team’, says Zoë McGirr, the All Saints’ Drama teacher and Director of the production.

Come along and show your support for All Saints’ Drama by booking your tickets today.

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Rehearsals underway for "The Chapel Perilous"

Rehearsals are under way for the up-coming production of The Chapel Perilous, by Dorothy Hewett to be performed at All Saints’ College in the Kemmis Building on the 15th, 16th and 17th February 2012 (Term 1, Week 3).

The Chapel Perilous is an Australian classic, first performed in Perth in 1972, and is one of the Board of Studies HSC texts for 2012. A reflection of its time, the play makes a major statement on the female artists’ quest for freedom and self-realisation in a community uncertain of its standards. The epic play is full of lyricism, music, satire and self parody. It traces the life of Sally Banner, played by Alanna D’Adam, from school days, through lovers, attempted suicide, marriage and politics to disillusion. At the end of life, the artist’s ever-present sense of failure is coupled with worldly success, as Sally Banner returns once again to the Mother Church that bore her.

The cast is predominantly made up of All Saints’ Senior Drama students, in particular showcasing the talents of Niemah Hope, Lachlan McDevitt, Emma Roach, Harry Bland, Max Hope, and Sarah Barton. It is also starring some of the teachers in Zoe McGirr, Patrick Sinclair, and Memory Sanders, as well as a couple of cameo surprises, which we’ll keep under wraps…for now.

In these photos you can see:

Emily Hughes has been doing a great job as Choreographer and Lead Girls Chorus, teaching this 1940’s-style dance to the cast.

Downtown theatrical icon Vince Melton acts as an ABC Announcer who interviews Courtney Old as Mickey Snatchit, who has ‘missed the boat’.

The Authority Figures don’t mind mixing it up with a bit of comic satire, mingling old schoolyard ditties with political parody.

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ARCHIVES: 2011

Introducing All Saints' new Drama teacher

 

All Saints' College is delighted to welcome Mrs Zoë McGirr to the position of Drama Teacher.

Zoë is a passionate educator and practitioner of Drama, Media, and various Creative Arts. She holds a Bachelor of Communication and Bachelor of Teaching from Charles Sturt University, and studied Acting at The National Institute of Dramatic Arts.

Zoë graduated from the McDonald College of Performing Arts, and has performed and worked in various roles within the arts industry for many years, including her most recent position as Academic Tutor in Media Production and Presentation at the University in Bathurst.

With her husband, Stephen, and son Phoenix, (who has just started ‘big school' at All Saints' College), Zoë plans to move to the family farm in Eglinton and looks forward to finding the balance between rearing cows and teaching drama.

“All of my achievements up to now have prepared me for a life where I can hold a top hat in one hand and a drill in the other…I am very excited by the challenges of teaching here and look forward to a fulfilling career as part of the All Saints' family - GO SAINTS!".

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Year 12 Drama Excursion to OnSTAGE

 
 

The All Saints' College Year 12 Drama students were entertained, challenged and inspired, when they took an excursion to Sydney's Seymour Centre to see the ‘cream of the crop' from last Year's HSC performances and individual projects.

"The standard was exceptional, so it was a great chance for our students to see how high the bar can be raised in Drama" said Drama teacher Mrs Zoe McGirr. "The students reacted to the works in their own ways - for some, the creativity displayed inspired a competitive edge and the desire for excellence, for others the artistic showcase made them change their minds about which direction they wanted to go with their own individual projects".

The HSC Drama course provides a framework that allows students to apply their experiences, skills, and knowledge to producing original pieces of theatre.

"We have a bright and talented group of Drama students who will support each other to bring out their best in their group performance. This excursion helped cement that knowledge and instil some of the excitement associated with developing and performing an original body of work...I am confident in the intelligence and sophistication displayed by our students and I'm really looking forward to guiding them through this important and imaginative process'"

All Saints' College HSC Drama students begin work on their group performance next term and there will be several opportunities for members of the school community to see the Drama work created. Keep your eyes open for posters around the school, and various announcements in newsletters and on the website. Your support is appreciated.

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Teacher modelled Brecht Workshop

As part of the 2011 HSC, Year 12 Drama explore the work of one of the most brilliant and influential practitioners of Germany and European theatre; Bertolt Brecht created a kind of theatre that encouraged the audience to look at what was being presented in such a way that they would draw conclusions about the society in which they lived.

Through a series of provoking theatrical conventions, such as projecting images of WWII over the stage and the use of live musicians, Brecht's theatre sought to ‘alienate' or ‘estrange' the audience from everyday reality so it could be reinterpreted in a new light, especially in terms of the social and political climate of post-war Europe.

In the scenes above and below, Year 12 Drama students engage ‘experientially' with some of Brecht's theatrical devices used to shock his audience.


Next week, the students head off to the Sydney Theatre Company to participate in a Brecht workshop led by industry professionals, in preparation for their Drama HSC examinations.

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Brecht Workshop at the Sydney Theatre Company

On Wednesday, 2nd March, the Year 12 Drama students took an excursion to the Sydney Theatre Company to be part of the annual Brecht workshop.

The workshop, held in Wharf Theatre 2, was directed by Shannon Murphy and starred a selection of professional Sydney actors, who together took us through a workshop of Brecht's plays, theories and his life.

Brecht is a key component of the 2011 HSC Drama Course. Brecht's theatre was political and didactic. He grew up in Weimar Germany during the 20s and 30s - a time of instability. A society in this state needed its theatre to ask questions; Brecht felt his theatre could go beyond emotional storytelling and could genuinely teach its audience about the moral fabric of the world around them - “the one tribute we can pay the audience is to treat it as thoroughly intelligent. It is utterly wrong to treat people as simpletons when they are grown up at seventeen. I appeal to the reason" (Brecht).

It is one thing to study a theatre practitioner, and it is quite another to see his work performed, especially in a space like the Sydney Theatre Company, which values professionalism alongside a thriving educational arm. “It was really helpful to actually see Brecht's script being performed in the style, as it should be…that's something really difficult to replicate in the classroom"; the students felt the trip to Sydney really opened their eyes up to new ways of seeing Brecht and his stage practices.

As the English theatre Director, Peter Brook has emphasised: “Brecht is the key figure of our time, and all theatre work today at some point starts or returns to his statements and achievement".

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Senior Drama Night

 

On Thursday evening, March 24th, the All Saints' College Drama Room was filled with an audience eager to see the 2011 Senior Drama Night. This marked Mrs Zoe McGirr's first foray into performance at the College.
 
The Senior Drama Night included two shows:

YEAR 11 PERFORMANCE: ‘DÉJÀ VU'

In this unit, students have been learning the performance style of ‘Naturalism' or ‘Method Acting' as it is more commonly known, as invented by ‘Stanislavski'.

In the performance, students worked in pairs. They both chose the same script, but worked separately to develop the ‘given circumstances' and characters, so that the audience might see the same dialogue interpreted differently.

It was fun for the audience to try to see if they could work out what was really going on for each of these characters.
 
 
Scene 1: Kylie Stevenson and Emma Roach
 
 
 
Scene 2: Alanna D'Adam and Niemah Hope
 

YEAR 12 PERFORMANCE: THE EPIC REMOVAL

 
 

‘The Removalists' by David Williamson is one of the HSC Australian Drama Texts for 2011. It is a black comedy set in the seventies, which reflects on the underlying corruption in the police force and violence in Australian culture.
 

The students cut the play up and added Brechtian staging devices such as screens, dance, music, overheard monologue and the use of direct address (where the characters break through the ‘fourth wall' and talk to the audience).

The play starred Chantal Hodson, Clare Watt, Melinda Nancarrow, Melissa Paul, Lachlan McDevitt, and Zoe McGirr.

Mrs Zoë McGirr would especially like to thank Garry Anderson and Max Eggleton for their help with the lights, Jenny Lavoipierre for prompt, Bob Poole for photography, Carnaby Gilany for videography, and Frances McLeod and Tessa Jones for marking and feedback.
 
Special thanks also to all those who came along to help support this growing Drama Department at All Saints' College.

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HSC Drama 2011 - Individual Prpjects

In the Individual Project, students learn how to initiate and present a project in an area of interest developed during study in the Preliminary course. They use the knowledge, skills and experiences acquired in the Preliminary course to select an area in which to specialise. Students then learn how to develop concepts and use innovation. They learn how to describe their intentions and the approach they intend to take in realising the project. They learn how to use skills appropriate to the area in which they are working, whether it is based on critical reviews of performances, dramaturgy, direction, design, performance, scriptwriting or drama on video. They learn how to manipulate theatrical elements and conventions to achieve their aims.
 
In preparing their Individual Project, students learn how to plan, evaluate and structure their work into a refined presentation that meets the criteria of each project.
 
Students chart the process of their project in a logbook. They learn how to reflect upon, record, interpret and synthesise research, edit preliminary sketches or drafts, adapt work to specifications of time or length and to submit work in a prescribed form.
 
The Individual Project will take one of the following forms:
•       Critical Analysis
•       Design
•       Performance
•       Scriptwriting
•       Video Drama.
 
As part of the Year 12 half-yearly examination, in an oral presentation, students present their Individual Project (up-to date) in an area of interest and specialisation. Students demonstrate conceptual development - they describe their intentions and the approach they have taken towards the realisation of their project. In doing so, they demonstrate their learning of relevant skills appropriate to their area of study.
 
Students present their research materials and their preliminary drafts as recorded in their Logbooks - Logbooks demonstrate planning, evaluation and structure and provide the opportunity for students to reflect, record, interpret, synthesise, and edit preliminary sketches or drafts.
 
In the IP Oral Pitch, students are encouraged to demonstrate their developmental processes using a range of media, including graphics, drawings, sound bytes, video grabs, 3-dimensional prototypes and dramatic re-enactments.
 
In the process of production, students participate in the realisation of dramatic forms, theatrical techniques and conventions, and value innovation, creativity and their own originality.
 
In performance, students demonstrate the developmental processes associated with acting skills needed to adopt and sustain character/ role and interpret script within dramatic style and theatrical conventions, working towards the goal of performing a complete piece of original theatre for an audience.
 
All students participate in making and learn how to manipulate theatrical elements and conventions to achieve their aims.

CHANTAL HODSON

Chantal is exploring her Year 12 HSC monologue, "Murri Woman", and illustrated how this character is developing.
 
 
 
Her performance is in the style of stand-up comedy but also displays an important message of the grief, sorrow and the fight for survival in the life of an Indigenous Australian.

MELINDA NANCARROW

Melinda is working on a promotion and poster design for her Individual Project.
 
 
 
The poster is for a stage production of "Cyrano de Bergerac".

MELISSA PAUL

Melissa's Individual Project is costume design for for a stage production of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest".
 
 
 
This production will be 'performed' in the style of a circus. This style will bring Shakespeare to a new audience in a modern and fun way.  

CLARE WATT

Clare's Individual Project (Performance) is an emotional piece from the viewpoint of Adolf Hitler's mother, after giving birth to her son, who is small and fragile. Having already lost several children, she desperately wants this one to survive.
 
 
 
 
Audience members are put into the position, knowing what the future holds, as to what would be the best 'outcome' in this scenario. Should the baby live or die?

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CSU Graduation for All Saints' Drama Teacher

 
Congratulations to Zoe McGirr on receiving a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary Drama) from Charles Sturt University. Previously Zoe had received a Bachelor of Communication (Theatre/Media), also from Charles Sturt University.
 
 
Zoe is photographed with her  father Rodney Woolley, who flew up from Melbourne, and her son, Phoenix, who attends All Saints' College in Transition 5. Zoe's husband, Stephen, was also at the ceremony to help her celebrate the achievement.

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MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes To Life

MASTERPIECES: When Art Comes to Life was part of the annual ‘Performances in Front of an Audience’ season for All Saints' College Drama which coincided with the Festival of Art.

MASTERPIECES PEFORMANCES

 
1. Jo-Anna Bell and Courtney Old performed the first Performance Art piece, which was created in response to two paintings by the famous artist Salvador Dali - "Crucifixion’" and probably his most famous painting, "The Persistence of Memory". The girls chose to use the poem "Rhapsody on a Windy Night" by T.S. Elliot as source material for this piece.
 
 
 2. The second performance was performed by Sarah Moody, Couba Morganand Kara Benton with special effects and music by Kouch Akot. This piece was based on the painting "Ashes" by Edvard Munch.
 
 
3. This third piece entitled "Dancing after Death" was devised and performed by  Isabelle Houston, Ingrid Olbrei and Anna Carter. The girls responded to a painting by the artist: James Ensor entitled "Skeletons Trying to Warm Themselves’" They were influenced by Michael Jackson's "Thriller" filmclip and used the song "The Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga and "Mystery in a Old Town" by an unnamed poet.
 
 
4. The next powerful performance piece was created and performed by Kylie Stevenson and Niemah Hope. They responded to a painting by Pablo Picasso entitled "Las Meninas" and used an Evanescence song.
 
 
5. A stirring performance Art piece, "Bridge to Nothing", starred Alan Mayhew, Sarah Barton, and Ellenor Krebs. They worked with two paintings by Edvard Munch - "Despair"and  the very famous, "Scream". As sources of inspiration they used the song "Even in Death" by Evanescence and the poem "The Lonely Soul" by Anto Thermadam.
 
 
6. The next exciting Performance Art piece was performed by Alyssa Ferguson, Gerogi Schell, and Meg James, with Will Quaife on sound. It was created in response to a painting by James Ensor entitled "The Sombre Woman". The group chose to use the songs: "The Season" by the Dodos and "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.
 
 
7. This wrenching Performance Art piece was performed by Emily Hughes, Harry Bland and Callum Digby, who also technicianed the music. It was in response to the painting"The Tragedy" by Pablo Picasso. The group used the song "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad" by Moby and the poem "A Tragedy" by Edith Nesbit.
 
 
8. The last Performance Art piece was performed by Emma Roach, Lachlan McDevitt and Alanna D’Adam. It was created in response to a painting by Max Ernst, entitled "The Hat Makes the Man". The group chose to use "Death of a Hat" by Billy Collins and "Leave Your Hat On" by Joe Cocker.

Click here for Photo Gallery

The students learnt about the contemporary practices of some significant Non-Realist playwrights and theatre practitioners who contributed to Non-Realistic Performance Styles associated with the Expressionist movement. 
 
Changes in Theatre at the turn of the century closely mirrored changes in Visual Arts; in this topic, students explored contemporary Art movements and significant Artists coinciding with the development of Non-Realist contemporary performance styles. The unit utilised ‘Compilation Playbuilding’ techniques to develop Performance Art pieces, which reflected on specific works of Expressionist Art.
 
In the production of their performance pieces, students considered how the use of technology and various elements of production might be used to create Non-Realist effects. Students learnt about how to acquire performance skills and theatrical techniques that helped create abstract, strange, symbolic and dream-like performance works.
 
During the 1890s, artists, poets, and theatre practitioners reacted against Realism and developed a style known as Symbolism. The development of the study of psychology and an increasing interest in the power of dreams and the subconscious inspired artists, musicians, poets, and theatre practitioners to explore human experience beyond day-to-day living. Scenic designers, lighting designers and musicians designed sets, lighting and music to help create fantasy worlds. Increased use of machines in the workplace and the introduction of automated machinery were seen as a threat to the human spirit.
 
In the late 1940’s, the impact of two World Wars and increasing questioning about the philosophy of human existence encouraged the development of Absurdism.
 
Contemporary theatre trends see theatre return to its roots and rediscover the realms of poetry, imagery, symbols and the magic of the imagination.

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Physical Theatre Workshop

The Senior Drama students participated in a professional Physical Theatre workshop held in the All Saints’ Drama Room, over two mornings of the 7th and 8th June. Peta Johnstone taught the workshop.
 
 
Peta is a dancer and physical theatre performer who has worked professionally onstage and in the circus, both in Australia and overseas. She recently moved to Bathurst with her husband, Daniel Aubin, who is also a physical performer and currently lecturing for the Theatre/Media course at Charles Sturt University. Daniel brought a touring show on ‘Cyberbullying’ to All Saints’ on Friday, 10th June, which was also performed in the style of physical theatre. The couple now call Bathurst home, with their daughter, Ayla.
 
“I was thrilled to have Peta’s input at this stage of the student’s learning. As well as learning new skills, we were able to spend some time working on some of the student’s current projects, such as the HSC Group Performance, and look at ways of making them more interesting through the use of physical theatre techniques. I have done lots of physical theatre as part of my studies - it is an important part of what I teach. Having a professional practitioner working with me and the students helps solidify that knowledge and impart to me new ways of running classes and developing physical performance-based works”. 
 
Mrs Zoe McGirr

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TheatreSports arrive at All Saints'

On Thursday,17th March, the Years 9 and 10 Drama classes participated in the All Saints' College TheatreSports Comp, which was held over the lunch period in the new Kemmis Building.

A huge audience turned out to cheer on the teams, who strutted their ability to improvise ‘in-the-moment' and at some points, had the audience crying tears of laughter.

WHAT IS THEATRESPORTS?
TheatreSports is “improvised theatre entertainment played as a spectator sport…Teams of players invent scenes from given suggestions…play their scenes in structures we call games [and]…the scenes are judged by a panel" (Pierse, 1995, p.3).

TheatreSports provides a framework for the teaching of theatre skills: storytelling, focus, musicianship, status, physicalisation, dance, mime, timing, singing, theatre history, stage presence, stage craft, voice training, characterisation, playbuilding, discipline and good sportsmanship.

“Performance in front of an audience is an important part of the Drama curriculum", says Mrs Zoe McGirr, the All Saints' College Drama Teacher, “It can be very validating for the drama student's to receive positive feedback from their peers".

Congratulations to the “Black n Gold's" who took out the tournament on the day.

All Saints' College Commendation Slips were awarded to:
* Makena Harwick (Year 9) and Emily Hughes (Year 10) for Awards of Excellence for topping their Drama years for Term 1 and the unit onTheatreSports, and
* Sarah Moody (Year 9) and Sarah Barton (Year 10) for Awards of Encouragement for their brilliant performances on the day.

Congratulations to all who participated and thank you to all those who came along and supported the teams.

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Mumming Plays

Mumming plays were folk plays performed by troupes of actors, known as Mummers. Originally from England, Mumming plays appeared from the mid to late 18th Century. 

The plays were usually short, comic dramas with rhyming texts. Mummers sometimes wore masks and often wore funny costumes, and their plays contained larger than life characters, songs and much frivolity.

The cast is made up of stock characters:

  • Figure of Light (Hero)
  • Figure of Dark (Villain)
  • Object of Desire (Princess)
  • Quack (Sham Doctor)
  • Joker (Jester/ Narrator)

The play structure is largely based around the themes of duality - good versus evil, and resurrection. Generally, the two figures (light & dark) woo the object of desire. Their boasting and insulting leads to combat, which results in the death of one of them. The Joker calls for the audience to will the Sham Doctor to resuscitate the slain character. The main incident, therefore, is the killing and restoring to life of one of the characters.

Students learn about the dramatic form and performance style of the Mumming play.

Using well-known fairy tales, which they adapt, each performance troupe adopts the stock character roles and devises an original piece of theatre, based on the Mumming dramatic structure.

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HSC DRAMA 2011

On Thursday morning September 1st, the HSC Drama students sat their practical examination before the outside markers. Thirty Year 10 and 11 students and some of the staff came to watch them perform their major theatrical pieces.
 
The morning began with the Group Performance entitled "King Louis’ Obsession" - a 10 minute comedy piece about Coq Au Vin, starring Melinda Nancarrow as the ‘Narrator’ and Melissa Paul as the ‘Queen’. Chantal Hodson, who worked on devising the performance was called away to a major golfing tournament in Adelaide. Fortunately, Max Hope, from Year 10 stepped up to the role of ‘King Louis’, demonstrating why he is one of the best male performers in the region.
 
 
“We were making a comment about our nation’s obsession with food - with all the cooking shows you see on television, like ‘Masterchef’, but at the same time, we have shows like ‘Biggest Loser’, which puts demands on people to lose weight” explained Melinda, “We wanted to highlight the irony of this, and we wove in the narrative of King Louis with his crazy obsession with chicken”. HSC students are given a choice of eight topics for their Group Performance and after much brainstorming this group settled on ‘Coq Au Vin’. “He loved chicken so much”, said Max, “He bred them all over the castle grounds”. The performance was a fast-paced, non-realist romp which showcased the students' physical theatre skills with a great use of characterisation.
 
 
This performance was followed by Melissa Paul’s interpretation of ‘Queen Margaret’ by Shakespeare. "I am drawn to powerful women in history" said Melissa, “Some of Shakespeare’s women are submissive and I wanted to play a stronger character - a more modern woman”. Queen Margaret is a soldier who takes a man captive and slits his throat in front of a crowd of men. Melissa gave an intense depiction of ‘Queen Margaret’ on the battlefield, delivering Shakespeare’s verse with finesse.
 
 
Melinda Nancarrow’s performance of ‘The Towel Lady’ was also a complex and layered drama, which begins fairly innocently with a housewife hanging out her washing. It becomes increasingly apparent though, that this woman has a few idiosyncrasies, and finally is quite mad. Melinda masterly built the scene towards its climax where it is revealed ‘The Towel Lady’ has just shot her husband and is waiting for the police to come.

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Puppetry for Years 9 & 10 Drama

 
 In the Drama Unit: Puppetry, students are introduced experientially and theoretically, to the performance style of Puppetry. In particular, students are taught how to bring inanimate objects to life and avoid the common mistakes made in Puppetry-style performance.
 
 
Topics studied within this unit include:
* History of Puppetry.
* Introduction to Puppetry: Bringing inanimate objects to life.
* Finger Puppetry.
* Hand Puppetry.
* Recycled Puppetry.
* Shadow Puppetry, and
* Bodies as Puppets (including black-light Puppetry).
 
 
In assessment, students demonstrate their learning, in groups, through the construction of their own puppets and the devising and performance of a small, originally scripted Puppet Show.
 
 
Callum and Alan created an innovative piece of digital puppetry using the programme, ‘Puppetpals’ found on the school’s iPads. They used a mixture of landscape and figurative photography, which they took themselves, and then layered these images into the programme to create a digitally-enhanced world, with an originally-scripted voice-over about the day in the life of two All Saints’ students. “I was very impressed with their use of the tools and the collaborative and significant approach they took to this project” said their Drama teacher, Mrs Zoe McGirr.
 
Some of the other styles explored in these performances included body puppetry, finger puppetry, hand and rod puppetry. Mrs McGirr commented - “This is a really fun, hands-on topic for kids to explore through making and storytelling. I always enjoy teaching it”.

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 Year 11 Drama - Live Mic Radio Show

A significant part of the Preliminary Course for Year 11 Drama students, designed by Mrs Zoe McGirr, includes the unit - ‘Film and Media Art’. “I come from a media and theatre background and have been teaching ‘Media Production and Presentation’ to Communication students at CSU for six years now”, says Mrs McGirr, “I find it compelling to teach Media Arts at secondary level”.
 
This particular unit is broken into two topics. In the Television Production topic, students engage with the medium of television as well as a variety of multi-literacies, including digital literacies. In a series of practical workshops, students learn how to design, write and perform for various types of television presenting, both in the studio and in the ‘field’, such as presenting intros/outros to camera, conducting interviews for various genres of talk show (current affairs, entertainment), designing advertising promos, and conducting PR/crisis management press conferences. Students engage with media and learn production values, as well as various terminologies and practices associated with television, such as camera work, intended audience, genre, throw-line, segue, speech structure, and framing.
 
 
In the Live Mic Radio Show, students, in groups, research, script and perform a live radio show in front of an audience. Students choose a genre of radio, create a suitable ‘fictional’ station and write various segments to include in it.
 
 
This year, the Year 11 students are broadcasting from a fictional Australian outback community called ‘Coonabarragong’. The station is called ‘Ranch FM’ and the ‘Pixie Chicks’ are live in the studio shack.
 
 
This station offers their country listeners up-date news, entertainment and advertising. A film review from 1995, the latest in Akoubras, and a sneak peak at the Radio Drama ‘Tractor Dreams’. It’s an hilarious piece of unique comedy, harking back to the old radio drama days.
 
The students will be performing it again at the first annual ‘FAMFEST’ at 6.00pm on Sunday, 27th November in the Kemmis Building. They’ll also be showcasing their TV show along with the Year 9 and 10 music videos. Don’t miss it!

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