Sing Sing Sing

On Wednesday 20 June the annual Sing Sing Sing concert was staged at 6.30 pm in the MMC.

The concert was again a wonderful snapshot of the progression of choirs throughout the School with our three Prep Choirs - Junior Choir, Canto Choir and Vox Pops - followed by Vocal Jazz 1, Vocal Jazz 2 and our Senior Vocal Ensemble. Its always wonderful to see all choirs on stage at the end in the “finale spectacular” - 250 students with a great rendition of The Greatest Showman, complete with our very own drumline!

Thanks to everyone for coming along to support our vocal groups, and to everyone who helped make this event possible.

Thanks again to the Friends of Music for providing refreshments before the event.

Thank you to all the directors of the choirs, accompanists, and musicians who played on the evening, and congratulations to all students involved for another memorable Sing Sing Sing concert. Finally, well done to Ms Christine Gould for organising and coordinating this event.

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Michael Degenhart
Head of Performing Arts

More Drama!

Stolen - Year 11 Play

The Stolen Generation has become a part of our nation’s history – we are all connected to this traumatic experience whether directly or indirectly. The impact of its horrifying policies and ideologies associated with assimilation have had repercussion with Aboriginal cultures today. The national award winning play 'Stolen' by Jane Harrison was performed by the Semester 1 Drama class - a cast of non-Indigenous students with the view to give them an opportunity to study, learn, and understand this experience from another perspective. Directed by Rebecca Hassam, Stolen highlighted the breaking of biological bonds of kinship between family, and between their connection to place and identity.

The performance took on a Brechtian approach, where each scene made a comment on the effects and repercussion from the Stolen Generation, and emphasised the confusion, betrayal, and abandonment experienced by these innocent victims. The actors reminded the audience they were ‘playing’ their character, and represented the voices and stories from this important time in history in this verbatim style of performance. Scenes in Stolen had a symbolic and stylised appeal to focus the performance on these moments, and removed the audience from viewing the production from a naturalistic perspective, but rather intellectually perceiving the world of the Stolen Generation as a whole experience.

Louis Tonkin’s anguished performance of Jimmy expressed his tormented experience of a lifetime of searching for his mother. Cody Ellem, who played Nancy Wujurri, sensitively displayed her on going suffering. Sophie Sibbons’ nuanced presentation of Ruby’s mental decay was disturbing, as she was no longer able to recognise her family, due to a lifetime of child abuse. Lia Devetzidis performed the subtleties of Shirley’s character, who was caught up in generations of being stolen and grieved never having had a family of her own. Natalie Stephen’s performance of Anne focused on the identity confusion as she grappled with her two identities. Cameron Hildebrandt-Brooks concluded the performance in a positive light as his character Sandy was able to reconnect with the strength of his cultural heritage, and find his sense of cultural identity. The supporting cast of Vidisha Sharma, Bronwyn Mahoney, Josh Langman, Katrina Kupke, Ella Hewitt, Elizabeth Williamson, and Josh Benton played a chorus of characters from this harrowing past, and underpinned the powerful emotions of the scenes. Charlie Viles designed the dilapidated environment of Stolen, whilst Zoe Buttery and Atharva Sanap carefully stage managed the pace of the lighting, vision, and sound of the performance.   

The care, consideration and respect you instilled in the performers was obvious throughout. I spent my whole childhood growing up in Alice Springs, so this topic is very near and dear to my heart with many great friends and their families having experienced this trauma first hand. Congratulations on a brilliant show. - Stacey McCue

As a member of the audience, I found it to be a powerful and moving experience. It was real. It captured so well many, many poignant 'moments' I have shared with Aboriginal sisters. And you performed it with 'heart' and emotion. Well done to all! - Rev Phil Hoffmann

I was amazed by your performance tonight. What an emotional and thought provoking presentation. You should all be very proud of the way you have presented ‘Stolen’. It is one of the most moving plays I have ever been too. So powerful in its message and so emotional when you stop to think about what that horrid time was like and the effects it will continue to have. - Chris Gould

Natalie Stephen (Anne), Josh Langman, and Bronwyn Mahoney (Anne’s adoptive parents) are in
Anne’s privileged home environment.

Sophie Sibbons (Ruby) back from her foster care weekend in Stolen.

Authorities taking Cameron Hilderbank-Brooks (Sandy) away to the Children’s Home in Stolen.

Semester 1 Drama Report

Semester 1 2018 has been a busy term for Westminster Drama Students. Commencing with a superb presentation by our capable Year 11s of an abridged version of Stolen by Jane Harrison, directed by their highly skilled teacher, Mrs Bec Hassam, the work of students has simply gone from strength to strength. Year 10 students enjoyed working with former Cirque du Soleil Aerial Performer and current Cirkidz Senior Instructor, Loki Rickus, on the creation of a Nouveau Cirque performance for a Year 3 audience. Students improved their skills set in physical performance, further developed confidence, self-discipline and ensemble skills, and gained insight into the commitment required by a Cirque du Soleil performer. The audience was thoroughly entertained by the story of the Magic Backpack from which robotic characters gained a range of emotions.

Year 12 students commenced the second term with rehearsals for their SACE Stage 2 Production, All Blood Runs Red, written and directed by myself. Serving as their SACE Stage 2 Group Production Assessment, this powerful Remembrance Day commemoration piece published by the Australian Script Centre, All Blood Runs Red gave our Year 12s the opportunity to show the scope, depth and maturity of their performance skills to great effect. Complete with authentic WW1 uniforms, armaments and startlingly real sound effects and lighting, the production promised to be a visceral experience. The script also presented significant challenges, among them, an unusual interpretation of time, a premise of an after-life and eleven characters loosely based on real nurses and servicemen who served during WW1. These challenges were capably met within the five-week rehearsal period. A small group of select Year 10s and 11s, some in significant roles, provided very capable support to their older peers, many of whom they had worked with in Year 8-10 Junior Plays in previous years. As a result of this synergy and ongoing relationship between co-curricular experience and curriculum-based training, the students worked as a tight, disciplined, confident ensemble to produce remarkable performances. This same cross over between early co-curricular performance experiences and curricula work resulted in the Year 12s producing nothing less than outstanding performances. Former President of the Foundation, Mr Russell Ellis kindly lent a range of artefacts and militaria, which, along with beautiful portrait images of some of the people upon whom some characters were based, formed an impressive foyer exhibition curated by Head of Visual Art, Natalie Ziedas. The production delighted the President of the Foundation, Mrs Rosemary Milisits OAM, whose great uncle, Francis Bonner, featured as a prominent character. Much to their delight, after opening night, Mrs Milisits showed the cast a hand-made postcard he had sent from Gallipoli in 1915. Cast and crew must be commended for the commitment, maturity and well-informed manner with which they went about presenting this commemorative performance.

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Semester 2 will see the SACE Stage 1 students presenting another major work and providing the Production Team support for the Year 8 to 10 Junior Play with a cast of over forty. An exciting semester ahead!

John Doherty
Head of Drama

Dance Allsorts

The annual Dance Allsorts Concert was presented to the Westminster Community on Thursday 7 June in the Michael Murray Centre. The concert was developed to celebrate and showcase the students from Years 8 to 12 who have undertaken dance as a curriculum subject. The performance was the result of a rich choreographic process by both teachers and students. It displayed a variety of contemporary styles and demonstrated high level achievement from our dance students.

The evening consisted of many themes and ideas explored and expressed through dance. Focusing on dance as an art form, the show provided insight into the broad learning that occurs within this unique performing arts subject. It was wonderful to see approximately 90 students involved, and see their passion for Dance as they performed throughout the night. The performance consisted of student composition, a work by the Westminster Collective and our Indigenous students, a demonstration of technique classwork. and a variety of dance works to engage and delight our warm and very responsive audience.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this annual dance production such a success.

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Boys in Dance

The Term 2 Westminster School Boys Dance Workshop will be held Friday 22 June, Week 8, from 1.15 to 1.50 pm in the David Jarman Room.

This opportunity is offered to male students from Years 2 to 12 who are currently participating in the curricular and/or co-curricular dance programs, or who have expressed an interest in dance opportunities. No prior dance experience is necessary.

The workshop will be led by 2018 Dance Captain, Luke Rigden, and will include contemporary dance and hip-hop movement sequences. It will provide an opportunity for students to build connections across year levels with others who share the same interest in dance.

This exciting venture initiated by Miss Sophie Wilson is becoming a key event for our male dancers each term.

AC Arts Work Experience

Each year selected Westminster Dance students have the opportunity to attend Year 11 work experience at AC Arts (Adelaide Centre for Performing Arts), Adelaide’s premiere centre for dance training. This year Stage 2 Dance students Sophie Sibbons and Julia Damato will spend time at the centre, training with First Year Bachelor of Creative Arts (Dance) students. The girls will gain insight into the life of a full time tertiary dance student, engaging in a rigorous program of study, which explores both practical and theoretical elements of dance. Classes cover classical and contemporary dance, together with acting, anatomy and kinesiology, history, music, composition and production. We wish Sophie and Julia all the best in this exciting endeavor.

Term 3 Dance Update

Term 3 is a busy term for Dance with the Stage 2 Choreographic evening titled ‘Australian Made’ to be held on Wednesday 1 August (Week 2), and our SACE Dance Production on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 September (Week 9). This will also be the first year to hold a matinee performance of our SACE Dance production to local primary school students.

Carolyn Obst
Head of Dance