This has been a busy and rewarding semester for the Drama Department. Along side our curriculum work, much time and effort goes towards providing our students with extra-curricular Drama opportunities. The Drama Festival seems such a long time ago now but was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The Wednesday morning Theatresports classes are going well and recently Loreto Kirribilli was selected to enter an intermediate team in the regional Theatresports competition run by Impro Australia. A big thank you to Ms Gillian Cooper, Ms Lanneke Jones and Ms Emma Brandon for all they have done to help support these activities so far this year.
In all of our Drama coursework, students develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of the various theatre practices: directing, acting, designing and playwriting. In Term One, Year Nine students undertook a new unit of work “Stage Space, Focus and Direction”. This unit is designed to help students understand through practical experience the ways in which the stage space and proxemics can be controlled to convey both literal and metaphoric meaning. The practical task in this unit was linked to a Year Nine poetry unit, “Life in the City.” All students wrote and directed original scenes inspired by their English class work and assembled the scenes in a montage performance. The process of staging their scripted scenes led to highly productive collaboration where all group members engaged with problem solving to effectively create dramatic meaning by directing audience focus and using the stage space to establish context and to create appropriate mood and atmosphere. Following this topic, Year Nine studied 19th century Australian Melodrama. Each of our courses are governed by an umbrella or ‘driving’ question. In this unit, Year Nine Drama students explored the question “How does popular entertainment reinforce social and cultural values?”. This unit not only has interesting historical information about the ways in which the needs and aspirations of Australia at the time of Federation were reflected in theatre, but also challenges our younger Drama students to use their bodies and voices in a highly controlled and energised manner, indicative of the acting style of the time. The class discussions during this unit about what makes entertainment popular raised many questions about the power of theatre to reinforce shared values and the responsibilities of playwrights, directors and actors in their representations of gender, race and class.
Finally, we wish our HSC Drama students well for their impending NESA Practical Examinations in Term Three. The Individual Projects and Group Devised Performances are wonderful, creative expressions of our students’ engagement with ideas about social, cultural and political contexts. The HSC Drama Expo will be held on Saturday August 19th at 1:00pm. More information about this event will be made available in the Parents’ Newsletter in Term 3.
Lights! Camera! Creative Communication!
In its inaugural year, the Year Nine elective Creative Communication, taught collaboratively by Ms Sabbadin, Mr Durante and myself, has so far been very successful. With a strong focus on creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking, the course is underpinned by the driving question, “What is truth?”. Through learning about the skills and practices of screen production, the Creative Communication students have spent the first semester exploring the documentary genre. A series of filming exercises including “Life in the Library”, “Life in Kirribilli” and “Life at Home”, helped the students learn about the codes and conventions of filmmaking in practice and engaged them with thinking about the opportunities and limitations of creating ‘truth’ when documenting life on screen. A montage of samples of student work from the first semester has been compiled by Mr Durante and can be viewed here.
Mathew Clausen (Mr)