The show must go on

About 130 students and teachers came together via Zoom on Wednesday 29 April for ASPIRE’s Dramafest — an annual event where professional artists deliver specialist drama workshops.

The event is normally held at All Saints’ College, St Mary’s Campus, Maitland but of course this year the option was either to cancel or go online, and ASPIRE hates cancelling anything.

Our presenters and workshop for 2020 were Scott Witt (clowning), Ann Croger (HSC Individual Performance and Characterisation), Shane Anthony (mime), Angie Diaz (physical theatre), Helen Stuart (voice) and David Williams through Australian Theatre for Young People (verbatim).  

After a few technical difficulties, students took part in their choice of two workshops where they learnnew skills and developed their actor’s toolbox. Students were encouraged to get on their feet to participate in the largely physical workshops and it was wonderful to see so many of them throwing themselves into the activities. It’s hard to find the same energy levels and enthusiasm in an online drama experience as you’d get in the classroom, but the students rose to the challenge, improvising in their homes and even at times finding inspiration in the everyday items around them.  

Emma McNamara, Year 10 student from St Pius X High School, Adamstown said Dramafest was a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and learn things you had never even thought about before. Angus O’Connor, Year 11 student from St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton said he really enjoyed the IP workshop. “It raised some really great methods about how to start developing a character and ideas for an IP, which as a Year 11 student is a great tool to have,” he said. 

Our workshop presenters all commented on how much they enjoyed the experience and how impressed they were with the students focus and ability to work in this online forum.

Thanks to all who participated in the day and made it such a success.  

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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.