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Schools Production Week brings text to life for students

NIDA welcomed over 30 schools and 500 students to Kensington for Schools Production Week 2018.


Photo: Students watched the NIDA June Student Production of Waiting for Godot in the Parade Theatre.

NIDA welcomed over 30 schools and 500 students to Kensington for Schools Production Week 2018. The students watched June Student Production performances of The Removalists and Waiting for Godot and explored the pieces in custom-designed learning workshops, tailored to each production.

The curriculum-linked workshops focused on examining the text through performance and gave the students a unique opportunity for experiential learning by participating in a workshop with industry professionals. The fun, dynamic and challenging workshops gave a detailed insight into the character development, script and production requirements of the pieces.

Many of the schools commented on the value of the workshops, with the chance to see the play itself performed live ranking as the major benefit. This opportunity meant the students ‘really understood the importance of the stage directions in creating ‘meaning’ in the play,’ commented one drama teacher, with another saying that ‘certain moments have suddenly now become more significant.’

The workshops took place after the students had seen the productions in most cases, which meant they could directly apply their live performance experience to a learning environment.

Photo: Elyse Fullston from Haileybury School takes part in a script and screen workshop.

The high production values that are a signature of NIDA productions was also a highlight for the students, with many school teachers and students commenting on the powerful soundscape of The Removalists, the large scale apocalyptic stage design of Waiting for Godot, and the passion and professionalism of the actors.

During Schools Production Week, NIDA welcomed the 2018 NSW Public Schools Drama Company in this year’s co-production of Gabriel Garcia Lorca’sYerma directed by NIDA Alumni and Newtown Performing Arts teacher Judith Hoddinott. The partnership between the NSW Department of Education (DoE) and NIDA continues to collaborate to benefit students in the dramatic arts in secondary and tertiary education. NIDA supported the Drama Company through provision of NIDA Theatres and NIDA Open workshops, while the DoE provided workplace learning for NIDA’s BFA (Technical Theatre and Stage Management) and (Properties and Objects) students.

NIDA and the DoE developed accompanying workshops for the production, one of which was entitled ‘Elements of Production’, which was led by our NIDA’s Acting Director of Undergraduate Studies and Head of Technical Theatre and Stage Manager Graham Henstock, Head of Stage Management Melanie Dyer, and industry professional director Kim Hardwick. This gave students a great insight into Lighting Design, Directing and Stage Management. Many schools attended multiple productions and full array of workshops during the day.

Schools Production Week will now become an annual event in the NIDA Schools Program.

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