NIDA Open hosts Western Australia students for over a decade
The April school holidays always herald a massive two weeks of classes here at NIDA. Not only is there an extensive holiday program in full swing, but each year, NIDA Open warmly welcomes a cohort of students from a variety of schools from Western Australia.
The April school holidays always herald a massive two weeks of classes here at NIDA. Not only is there an extensive holiday program in full swing, but each year, NIDA Open warmly welcomes a cohort of students from a variety of schools from Western Australia (WA).
NIDA Schools Program Manager, Maree Freeman, took the opportunity to sit down with WA teachers Kathryn Shaw, from St. Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School in Karrinyup, and Sarah Combes, from Scotch College in Swanbourne, to get a sense of the history behind this annual visit.
‘As a group, WA schools have been visiting NIDA for at least the last ten years,’ commented Shaw, who went on to outline that each year, eight schools from across their state come together to make the trip to Sydney to experience an immersive week at NIDA.
‘For some of these students, they have never even been on a plane before as they live in rural and remote communities such as Kalgoorlie. So coming all the way to Sydney for a week of intensive classes at NIDA, living away from home and exercising their independence, is a really big experience,’ she added.
Shaw and Combes explain that for these students, a week at NIDA provides them with an opportunity for specialised skills development in devising, movement, improvisation, acting and voice work.
‘It’s also an opportunity for those who may want to pursue tertiary study at an institution such as NIDA, to really get a taste of what the intensity of that experience could be like,’ Combes continued. ‘We see such a huge improvement in their skills when we return to the classroom after the intensive engagement at NIDA. The students return inspired and excited, with a greater sense of confidence and a new appreciation of their own creative process and what they are able to achieve.’
The WA school students also get the opportunity to see some of the best shows that Sydney has on offer during their visit, as well as explore the city and make new friends with students from other schools.
The week at NIDA culminates with the students presenting original devised works within one of the prestigious NIDA Theatres. These performances are the product of their week spent exploring form and content with specialist NIDA teachers.
‘The work created is really impressive,’ commented Freeman. ‘The students are a brave, generous and passionate cohort who whole-heartedly throw themselves into the devising process. I have been so impressed with the calibre of work that has been created.’
NIDA specialises in developing customised engagements like the WA schools experience and can create an individualised drama program for your students that can run anywhere from 1.5 hours to a number of weeks, either here at our Kensington campus or at your school.
NIDA’s customised school workshops can complement in-class programming and make curriculum links as desired.
To explore options for your school, contact the Schools Program Manager on +61 2 9697 7511 or Maree.Freeman@nida.edu.au.