Head of Drama
Drama students are brave!
They participate in hard ‘fun’ every single day. They are challenged to think quickly on their feet, solve problems creatively, take risks with their learning, see failure as a stepping stone to a solution, work collaboratively, negotiate and learn to face every problem as a new challenge. They do all of this in front of their peers every single lesson. There is nowhere to hide in the Drama classroom and this helps our students to build resilience, confidence and grit.
Early on in Drama we introduce all of our students to the Three Ps – Play, Passion and Perseverance. It is through this focus that we explore topics as varied as Australian Drama, Political Protest Theatre, Realism, Expressionism, Black Comedy, Melodrama, Improvisation, Playbuilding, Clowning, Commedia dell’Arte and Elizabethan Theatre. By Play, I mean they explore, experiment, try fail and try again, look for new possibilities, view facts and solutions from different perspectives, listen to the opinions of others and analyse, critique, collaborate and evaluate. Passion refers to the joy, fun, interest and enthusiasm we all have to keep exploring, to keep trying and to keep learning in our study of Drama. Perseverance implies that belief in yourself and others that you cannot and will not give up. When the work becomes hard and challenging, how do you keep persevering? When an individual and/or group project hits a wall, how do we help our students to find another solution or possibility? In Drama we are not concerned with Perfection, instead we are focused on helping our students to not be afraid and to commit fully to their learning.
The 2015 HSC highlighted that Drama students again achieved outstanding results with 78% of our students achieving a Band 6 and 22% a Band 5 result. Of the 18 students who studied Drama, 5 students were All Rounders and another 5 students narrowly missed out on the All Rounder list. A total of 6 students were also nominated for the BOSTES Onstage program in either Performance or Critical Analysis. These are incredible results but clearly demonstrate that Drama students are well rounded learners.
In Term 1 we again worked with Christopher Tomkinson from Bell Shakespeare in our Artist in Residence Program. Year 10 Drama students had the opportunity to engage with Shakespearean texts in a practical environment. Students spent a full week with Christopher and performed a variety of powerful and thought provoking scenes from Macbeth on the Friday evening.
At the end of Term 1 Year 11 Drama students had the opportunity to work as part of the stage crew for the Music Festival. These students were guided by student stage managers Annie Clarke and Katerina Traini and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to create another incredible show. Year 11 Drama are now working on their group devised production, Herstory with great excitement. Using a variety of theatrical styles, they are creating a show based on real stories from their own ancestry. Please come along to the Drama Space on Thursday August 3 or Friday August 4 to see their work.
Year 8 and 9 students are currently working on Narrative Playbuilding and Commedia dell’Arte with great enthusiasm. It is wonderful to see these young women gain confidence and a willingness to step outside their comfort zones whilst exploring these dramatic forms.
Term 4 is pantomime season at Loreto Normanhurst! All Year 9 Drama students will be cast in a pantomime and will have the chance to perform to children from a variety of Infants schools. This is always a wonderful experience and a great opportunity for these young women to practise their skills in front of a young audience.
Year 12 students are now working with a dual focus on their Individual and Group Projects. These components are worth 60% of their external HSC and our students will be examined by external markers during week 6 of Term 3. They will perform their HSC work at the Parents and Friends Evening on Friday September 2 in the Drama Space.
As this term comes to an end in June, 18 Drama students and 18 Visual Arts students will depart for an Immersion Tour in New York. The Drama students will again have the opportunity to work at The Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York. This world renowned school runs a week long program just for our students. They will be working with some of the best teachers in the world as well as having the opportunity to see 5 Broadway Shows and immerse themselves in the life of New York. It will be an incredible opportunity for all students participating in this program.
Finally, I would like to thank all of the Drama Staff for their continued dedication to their craft and their subject and to warmly welcome Mr Najee Tannous who is working with us in the Drama Department this year.
The Drama Department looks forward to seeing you at either the Year 11 Production in early August and/or the Year 12 HSC Evening in early September.
Mrs Chris Woods
Head of Drama