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Drama is one of the oldest known art forms. However, at Fairholme College, we strive to use current practices to ensure that it is an engaging medium to nurture each student’s artistic qualities and to extend and challenge them intellectually, emotionally and physically. We do this through the general objectives of the three dimensions of Forming, Presenting and Responding to drama.
Students learn the importance of dramatic discipline in communicating dramatic action and meaning. They develop, rehearse and present dramatic action, and apply and analyse the dramatic languages (elements of drama, skills of performance, styles and their conventions, text and context). Theatre’s various forms and traditions are explored critically in energetic, enriching experiences including role-play, improvisation, playbuilding, directing and designing.
Each student studies Drama for one semester in year 8. Though drama is all around us, students are offered the opportunity to identify and extend their understanding of what it is, and how it can be shaped and manipulated to create dramatic meaning for an audience. Students first learn the foundation drama skills in a range of situations as interrelated Elements of Drama, and practise these through improvisations.
They learn to negotiate in groups and to become more confident in their own ability. Students are asked to reflect on the value of these workshop experiences through discussions and written journal responses. In the second term, they use the actors’ tools of voice, gesture and body language to interpret script, build characters and present in Readers Theatre style for an audience of their peers.
In years 9 -12, Drama is an elective subject and students develop gradually more complex skills. In year 9, Drama is designed to build on their understanding of drama. In learning about the human condition, they learn about themselves as performers and how to enhance their expressive skills. A creative approach to entertaining an audience is explored through an enjoyable style such as contemporary clowning. In the second term, focus is given to the spontaneity and commitment to character required in an improvisational context and students devise dramatic responses to stimulus and share these for an audience.
Senior Drama is studied as an elective for the full year. Vocal skills, acting and kinaesthetic learning are given greater focus. Students learn the importance of discovering and developing their ability to interpret text through acting and staging.
Modulation, timing, rhythm and movement are workshopped to examine the dramatic potential of a scripted text and effective traits and flaws of performance are explored. The process of devising a performance is studied and students rehearse and perform poetry and dramatic dialogue. Students have the opportunity to see how characters are created for a script or for the stage, attend a live theatre production and perform in small groups in presentations of scenes.
The course work covers a range of dramatic styles, where students explore themes and issues which extend their understanding of themselves and the world.
The year begins with students immersed in Theatre in Education (TIE) - a dramatic form specific to young people. Students deconstruct issues, viewpoints and global outlooks through understanding the dramatic conventions, in particular, human context. Students are also trained in the contemporary art form of Physical Theatre, particularly the Zen Zen Zo Core Principles, The Suzuki Method, elements of Butoh and The Viewpoints.
This unit demands individual determination, endurance and focus and relies heavily on the Ensemble. Absurd Theatre and Australian Theatre (including indigenous perspectives ) are also studied in depth, specifically considering the impact of classical theatre practitioners on these more recent and contemporary ideologies.
Students study key theatrical periods, practitioners and theories influential in shaping Western theatre. The more salient features of classical acting styles are studied and students are challenged to explore how the historical origins of theatre continues to inform the direction and production of contemporary works. In particular students will unpack and deconstruct the significance of dramatic tragedy.
In a study of 20th century theatre, the work of Bertolt Brecht is examined in depth. This style of theatre is highly political and uses theatre as a tool to affect change among the masses. The year culminates in a Creative Industries project, encompassing all of the skills students have learnt over the past two years to plan a theatrical event.
In addition, a range of co-curricular opportunities are offered to facilitate student development creatively, socially and personally. The college regularly offers the chance to participate in musical and drama performances including Arts concerts, plays, and musicals for the wider community. Past musical productions have included Godspell, Anything Goes, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music.
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