ASPIRE holiday workshops

The Catholic Schools Office was abuzz with singing, acting and dance in week one of the school holidays as ASPIRE offered its holiday workshop days.

Led by ASPIRE’s fabulous assistant directors, each day looked at a different discipline with students being creative and having fun in a safe inclusive atmosphere. More than 60 students participated in the workshops over the three days.

Workshop one was Musical Theatre led by Luke Baker.

Luke said the Aspire Musical Theatre Workshop was a success and the participants exerted their full voices and energy during the day.

“Students had the opportunity to learn about vocal health, breathing techniques, how to combine singing and movement, and ultimately, how to tell a story,” he said.

“Everyone had the opportunity to recreate the opening scene from the Broadway musical The Lion King, performing as animals at pride rock while singing and dancing. Some of the highlights from the day included learning to sing in harmony, and the theatre sport games. 

“Thank you to those participants for joining in the day. I hope you continue to grow your musical potential.”

Workshop two was Getting to Grips with Script, led by Jay Wood. He said one of the most important elements of any performance was the script.

“At our drama workshop, understanding intention and characters in scripts was our primary goal,” said Jay. “All students created characters and intentions through simple prompts or little scripts, some of which had no real character attached to them. 

“Some of the students really rose to the task and really nailed the need for not just vocalising the text, but also to find the physicality within. Many students created vivid and memorable characters and relationships as they swapped around and worked with fellow students for the first time. 

“The 20-plus students really shone in these activities, as scripts were performed in multiple groups all with different understanding of the lines given to them. Where one group were frightened about where they were, another group used those same lines to show more assertive behaviour in a sporting event.  

“Some students also wanted to use the room's limited lighting and set objects to help their work. Some of these pieces really grew with their inventive staging, including one group who staged an hilarious wedding with the audience as the guests of the bride and groom. All because of a small eight-to-nine-line script.

“These play-building exercises showed that the drama team at ASPIRE has a really strong and creative future ahead of it. No matter what the fellow teachers or I threw at them, the students were ready to run with it.”

Jay offered his thanks to Amy Wilde and Carla Whiting who assisted the entire day and added to the fun learning environment.

Workshop three was Creating Dance with Montana Doyle who said the focus of the day was all about being creative and collaborating with other dancers.

“After doing a selection of exercises to get warmed up and rid of any nerves, we focused on using our bodies in different ways and really exploring movement,” Montana said.

“The group were so much fun to work with and we had a fabulous time coming up with new choreography and building on each other’s ideas. Well done to everyone who participated.”

ASPIRE said it loved that so many students wanted to get creative over the break. It can’t wait to see what the learning sparks in the future.

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Anna Kerrigan Image
Anna Kerrigan

Anna is the Artistic Director of ASPIRE, an audition-based drama, dance, music and creative and performing arts program produced by the Catholic Schools Office of Maitland-Newcastle.