The intention for 2015 was to provide students with an all-encompassing arts experience which would broaden their understanding of all the creative arts, and in doing so, engage them at a new level. The CAPA Immersion Tour was born.
Les Miserables at the Capitol Theatre was the first destination for the group of emerging young artists. The highly acclaimed musical, and a talk with the Resident Director and Stage Manager, exposed students to the work involved in a large scale production and brought them to an understanding of a wide range of career options within the industry.
The Surry Hills studio and the residence of iconic Australian artist, Brett Whiteley, was opened to the group. Students were inspired by the passion and experimentation of Whiteley and the atmosphere of a real studio space, which had been preserved as he had left it, along with many of his artworks.
The Bondi Pavilion was the venue for a drumming workshop, focusing on the importance of each individual voice, or rhythm, in our community. With 57 drums working to the one beat, the group was a sight to behold and became an attraction for many passers-by.
Theatre royalty took to the stage at Belvoir St Theatre, where the group viewed Seventeen, starring Barry Otto. Both Otto and playwright Matthew Whittet took the time to meet with students to share their thoughts about the thematic development of the play. This was certainly an exciting experience that will be treasured by all staff and students involved.
Hip-hop and contemporary dance classes at the Sydney Dance Company were a highlight of the tour. Enthusiasm overcame lack of experience as professional dance instructors extended the performers beyond their own field.
Finally, students viewed the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes at the Art Gallery of NSW. With a new appreciation of the artist’s practice from the Whiteley experience, students met the gallery works with a fresh gaze, engaging in critical debate about the quality and choices of the curators. The success of the immersion was already evident.
Fostering artistic talent is an important component of a holistic education. Through the tour experiences, staff and students shared their passion for their chosen subject area. They were challenged, encouraged and motivated. Most importantly, however, they were inspired.