Hands On Opportunity for Drama Teachers

Drama teachers from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle headed to Sydney recently for a day of professional development as part of our Secondary Key Learning Area Network activities.

We arrived at sun-drenched Circular Quay, walking around to Walsh Bay and Pier 4/5, home of the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) and the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP). We were met by STC Education Officer, Hannah, and given an introduction to the Wharf’s history and architecture, followed by a tour around various areas. Unique in Australia as a working theatre (all costumes, sets and props are made in the facility) we had the opportunity to visit the props area, the costume and scenic design studios and set construction area where the King Lear set was under construction, followed by a tour upstairs where we were able to view set model boxes and further designs. This experience, including a visit to the archives, digital and print resources of the STC, allowed us to discover future opportunities for our students. Walking to the end of the pier (yes, that was Bryan Brown casually strolling past) we enjoyed lunch in the Wharf Cafe, sharing our experiences and thoughts.

Following lunch, we met Lisa Mumford, Education Officer, ATYP (and former student of St Clare’s High School, HSC drama student 2006) who led us into a studio for our workshop in scriptwriting with Hilary Bell. Hilary, an accomplished and well known Australian playwright, was able to provide hands-on experiences in writing, including the workshopping of our scripts (and, yes, I think we were all wonderful actors on the day!). Hilary gave us a number of activities which we are now able to bring to our students as we look for new ways of devising and telling stories in our drama classrooms.

Our time away was precious and we are grateful for the support of our schools and CSO in giving us such a wonderful opportunity to learn so much more about theatre. Our students will be all the richer because of it. We look forward to our next adventure!

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