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THE DRAMA SCHOOL

Primary aged students

The training begins with the process of learning the building blocks of dramatic skill designed for children and primary school students. Through our teaching students will be prepared to pursue drama and theatre studies throughout their schooling while feeling confident and excited about their own natural abilities. They will: have fun as they improvise, role play, use costume, props, puppets and mask, shape character, dance, focus on voice production, communicate ideas, practise listening and work to a wider audience as they perform their self- devised end of year show.

Secondary aged students

Our program is essentially designed to build on and hone existent dramatic/theatrical skills while enjoying the benefits and pleasure of learning to work as an ensemble and becoming increasingly confident shaping drama. It is assumed that many secondary students will not elect to have a future in the theatre industry so our curriculum is broad sweeping and caters for those who want to focus on strengthening personal skills while having fun and meeting new people. They will: focus on character development, improvise, role play, use stagecraft, practise expressive skills and work with a variety of text and script. There will be an emphasis on the critical nature of team work to shape and communicate quality drama.

Master Class

The role of this class is to enhance a student's current schooling in VCE. It is essentially playing the role of a group tutorial. This class caters for students who've elected to study either Theatre or Drama in VCE. It is also intended to be an opportunity for highly skilled younger children to accelerate their learning in readiness for VCE excellence or a career in the industry. They will: enjoy learning the dramatic elements of conflict, climax, contrast, mood, rhythm, sound, space, symbol, timing and tension. Theatrical conventions, stagecraft and expressive skills such as movement and voice will be explored. Students will also experience a variety of theatrical genres, non- naturalistic performance and focus on shaping and performing monologues. Relevant terminology will be regularly integrated into the teaching as it is often a reported weakness in student's results according to VCE examiners.

BIOGRAPHIES

Sharon Foley

Sharon Foley originally worked in the theatre industry before moving into education. She has taught Prep - VCE, directed and developed curriculum in Melbourne's leading schools and Theatre Training companies for over 20 years. Her travels have led her to taking over 40 children performing around Europe and to running drama workshops in Cambodia. One of her aspirations is to take a group of children from The Drama School into Asia to perform and share each other's cultures. She has also presented at State Conferences, been the Director of Drama for The Children's Performing Company of Australia and has been the founder and director of The Drama School for over 12 years.

Carla Gilzean

Carla graduated from Deakin University, Melbourne, with high distinctions in the Performing Arts and her qualification in Management is an asset to The Drama School as she oversees the successful day to day operation of the company. Carla has been involved in numerous stage shows as a writer, actor and director. She now works extensively across Melbourne with young people in educating them through drama and the arts. Her passion for achieving excellence in curriculum delivery and for children to experience the enormous personal benefits of drama education drives her teaching. Students enrolled in The Drama School enjoy her warmth and unique talent.

A Global Perspective

Cambodia

The Drama School is committed to building friendships between children of different age, genders, social backgrounds and cultural differences. Drama is a perfect tool for encouraging communication, developing listening skills, sharing ideas and experiences. These are the essential ingredients for building a healthy life. Due to the tourist industry 90% of the jobs available in Siem Reap, Cambodia require English to be spoken. The children are very keen to be taught and to speak good English. It is their 'ticket' out of poverty. We spent 10 days teaching over 100 children in and around Siem Reap providing a 'Performing Arts' based project that addressed the philosophy of three volunteer organisations committed to supporting the children to overcome poverty and use our skills to enhance the lives of the children in their care. We wanted to know if drama would transcend the cultural and language barrier and give children the same pleasure and learning experience. We also wanted to know whether our teaching expertise would be effective in this context. We hoped the experience would respect and extend the artistic conventions of Cambodian culture to provide a vehicle for self-expression, the learning of English and a channel for increased communication. Our time in Cambodia certainly met some of our objectives but on reflection we decided that if we had simply put a smile on a child's face it was worth every second!