Yule Brook College

STREAM 1 - 2013

The Project

This AIR Grants Program project was the first of its kind for Yule Brook College. Yule Brook did not have a Drama Specialist and the AIR Project Coordinator did not have an education background in the performing arts.

The project was devised by the school in collaboration with Western Australia’s Black Swan State Theatre Company  as an introduction for students and teachers into the world of dramatic arts.  The residency took place in Terms 2 and 3, 2013 and involved a total of 62 students from Years 8-11 in a series of experimental theatre arts workshops. Three Australian short plays were chosen for the students to study: The Sapphires by Tony Briggs, Sean Gorman’s Krakouer, and Cloudstreet by Tim Winton. The plays were chosen specifically for their local Western Australian themes and Indigenous perspectives.

Contracted by Black Swan, some of Perth’s leading performing arts practitioners worked with the school. Artist Caitlin Beresford-Ord is a highly skilled actor and arts educator led the vastly experienced and respected group which included Adam Mitchell (performance), Libby Klyse (performance), Trent Suidgeest (lighting design), Fiona Bruce (set and costume design), Andy Fraser (stage combat), Sue Studham (stage management) and Ben Collins (sound design). Under their guidance, students were provided with an opportunity to develop their creative skills and critical appreciation and increase their knowledge of artistic techniques and technologies in Drama, Media Arts, Music, Visual Arts and skills of costume and lighting design.

Students were divided into two groups (performance and production), and over the course of the project they participated in 16 experimental workshops with each of the Black Swan practitioners. Few students had prior experience of drama education and during this project they developed an increasing ability to maintain focus for an extended period of time in order to participate successfully in workshops and rehearsals.

“… I really really enjoyed the Black Swan program and I would do it again any day… It was something that really motivated me to go to school… it was also a great program because I could just act myself and be who I was, not in fear of being constantly judged by anyone. I could laugh and be myself without worrying because I was with people who made me happy.” Student

The collaboration with Black Swan was particularly valued by AIR Project Coordinator Mrs Helena Tassone, a new teacher without any arts education experience. For Black Swan, “[The AIR project] enabled the company to value ongoing external, non-core activities. It allowed deeper level engagement… within the school community, with individual teachers and students.”

The project culminated with a series of three performances at the school.  Arts students designed the production posters and tickets, and two Year 11 students filmed and photographed the productions. Students also had the opportunity for real life experiences with a tour of Black Swan's premises at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia in Perth.

One of the school’s main objectives in hosting an AIR project in 2013 was to build student interest in theatre arts and develop staff capacity to deliver a quality theatre arts program. This was realised and a theatre arts program was introduced at the school in Semester 2, 2014.

“[Thanks to] Alena Tompkins particularly for her continued and contagious enthusiasm for this program and for patiently explaining all the nuances of the theatre arts learning area to an S&E [Society and Environment] teacher of the past nine months. [Thanks to] Caitlin Beresford-Ord who has tirelessly and passionately worked with every single one of our student, and all our staff. As the main artist involved in this project we are grateful for the enormous insights, energy and expertise you have given us.” Mrs Helen Tassone 

Visit the project archive to read more about projects completed in 2013.

Principal at the time of AiR project delivery: Mrs Janette Gee
School Tel: (08) 9251 8333
School profile available at http://www.det.wa.edu.au/schoolsonline/home.do

AIR Project Coordinator: Mrs Helena Tassone

Arts Organisation:

Black Swan State Theatre Company
Street address: State Theatre Centre of WA, Level 1, 182 William Street, Perth WA 6000
Postal address: PO Box 337, Northbridge WA 6865
Tel: (08) 6212 9300
Email: information@bsstc.com.au
Web: www.bsstc.com.au

Project Coordinator: Alena Tompkins, Education and Community Access Manager
Email: alena@bsstc.com.au

Lead artist: Caitlin Beresford-Ord
Tel: 0401 021 953
Email: cait72@hotmail.com

Supporting artists: Adam Mitchell, Libby Klysz, Trent Suidgeest, Fiona Bruce, Andy Fraser, Sue Studham, Ben Collins - contactable via Black Swan State Theatre Company.

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