Rationale:

The specialist drama programme at Swan View SHS provides development and extension opportunities for students who have a passion and talent in drama and theatre. The programme develops students as actors and production team members and fosters in them a lifelong love and commitment to theatre in their local community as well as on a national and international level.

The course does not train students for a specific job but rather provides transferable knowledge and skills for young people who may wish to pursue a career in a variety of arts areas. It also provides them with general vocational skills related to employment in the performing arts industry. Skills taught are transferable and may be adapted to many alternative pathways.

Aside from preparing students for the world of work, we believe that it is important to also enrich in the sense of personal development, both aesthetic and practical. The Drama programme does this through its development of life skills, imagination, creativity, a commitment to quality, adaptability and flexibility.

Aims:

  • To engage students who have a desire to work in performing arts fields – particularly those who wish to pursue acting and theatrical production roles
  • To assist students in the pursuit of other arts-related careers (photography, law, education, journalism . . .)
  • To enhance and develop students’ self-esteem and willingness to take risks
  • Development of a sense of curiosity, aesthetic knowledge, joy and achievement through exploring and playing roles, and imagining situations, actions and ideas as drama makers and audiences
  • Development of knowledge and understanding of traditional and contemporary drama as critical and active participants and audiences.

Facilities:

Swan View SHS is equipped with a black box theatre with dressing rooms. We also have a full lighting grid, data projector and sound equipment. We have an extensive prop and costume collection which is added to on a regular basis. Students also have access to dance studio space and excellent media facilities to support their theatre education in wider arts context.

What does studying Performing Arts at Swan View SHS involve?

The Drama programme is a practical subject and regular attendance and participation is necessary for achievement. Students are also expected to participate in rehearsals and productions, many of which will be out of school hours. There are many opportunities for students to gain experience working on productions – we stage three or more public productions per year including a major school production involving students from all year levels. The specialist drama students are encouraged to be involved whenever possible to build their resume and skill set.

From year 7 to 10 the Drama course involves 4 hours specialist study per week. In this time students will undergo training to develop their skills in acting and playmaking. They also have opportunities to develop skills and experience in a range of production team roles – lighting and sound, set design and construction, directing and so on.

It is compulsory for students to attend one large scale production per year as part of the programme. Other excursions and incursions will be offered to students throughout the year – attendance at these is optional, but highly recommended.

It is usual for specialist students to continue their theatre training into senior school – most students choose to enrol in both the WACE course in Drama and the VET Certificate II in Live production, theatre and events.

We also run a FAME international tour visiting either the UK or the USA. This tour runs approximately every 3 years. The aim of the tour is for students to expand their world view and broaden their experiences of theatre in contexts we are unable to access in Australia. Where possible students participate in a range of theatre workshops as well as seeing world-class theatre performances and visiting iconic cultural sights.

How can I be a part of the Performing Arts Course?

Young people wishing to apply for specialist Drama study at Swan View SHS can enter at Year 7 and at other years, subject to availability of positions. There are a few ways for students to enter the Drama programme.

Year 7 entry:

Local area applicants

Auditions will be held at local primary schools in term one of each school year. At these auditions, students will participate in a series of whole group and small group workshop exercises. They will be asked to demonstrate their ability to improvise and to devise simple performance pieces. Students will also perform their pieces for the rest of the group.

Successful applicants will be offered placements via a letter issues at the auditions. All offers will be made by the close of term 1. The offer sent out will include an application form which needs to be completed and sent back to the school along with a completed enrolment pack.

Individual feedback will be provided on request.

Out of boundary applicants (or those who were not able to audition at their school)

Applicants need to send in an expression of interest to the school – this can be done via email or over the phone. It is also preferred for students to complete the application form for Special Programmes which can be obtained from the school or on the school website.

Students will then enrol in and attend an audition workshop which will be held in term 4 of each school year. At this workshop, students will participate in a series of whole group and small group workshop exercises. They will be asked to demonstrate their ability to improvise and to devise simple performance pieces. Students will also perform their pieces for the rest of the group.

Successful applicants will be offered placements by mail in the week following the auditions.

Individual feedback will be provided on request.

Entry for year 8, 9 & 10 students (and mid-year entry for year 7s):

Applicants need to lodge an expression of interest with the FAME programme co-ordinator – this can be done in person, via email or over the phone. It is also preferred for students to complete the application form for Special Programmes which can be obtained from the school or on the school website.

Students will then enrol in and attend an audition workshop which will be held in term 2 & 4 of each school year. At this workshop, students will participate in a series of whole group and small group workshop exercises. They will be asked to demonstrate their ability to improvise and to devise simple performance pieces. Students will also perform their pieces for the rest of the group.

Selection Criteria:

Ability to:

  • work effectively in groups
  • follow instructions
  • create effective/interesting drama
  • demonstrate outstanding performance skills
  • perform with confidence
  • demonstrate prior theatre / performance experience

So what does the programme cover?

Swan View Senior High School excels in Drama. A strong programme is offered from Year 7 Specialist Drama to Year 12 Stage 3 Drama. We also offer a VET option for year 11 & 12 – Certificate II in Live Production and Services. The school also boasts the tradition of a yearly production, which is celebrated by students, parents and staff. The Performing Arts is embedded firmly in the culture of this school.

Year 7

Students are likely to join the programme with a broad range of drama experience. It will be necessary to ‘even out the playing field’ so students will complete a range of work to equip them with the essential performance skills and understandings of the theatre ‘world’. Students will complete activities in acting technique use of the stage space, characterisation and working with scripts. Students will also study circus skills and work with an industry professional from this field.

Year 8

Students will develop their acting skill and improve their ability to work in groups to create devised performances. Students will work with a trainer to learn basic stage combat skills and choreography and will apply their learning to a scripted scene. We will begin to study specific theatre forms and will also develop deeper understanding of the production roles.

Year 9 – 10

Our Year 9 and 10 program assists students with the practical and theoretical knowledge they will require for Year 11 and 12, while remaining heavily performance and group-work based, proving an enjoyable experience for many students. Students will learn, in a fun and practical way, about different styles of theatre and theorists, and essential practical and writing skills. Units such as Greek Theatre, Pantomime and Script Analysis have been entwined with stage combat and Information Communication Technology to further encourage students to research. Design and Production roles are also taught in our fully equipped theatre, containing a full lighting grid, sound board and data projector facilities.

SENIOR SCHOOL

WACE Courses:

We offer both General and ATAR Drama in year 11 and 12 to our students at Swan View Senior High School. These courses will assist students in honing their acting technique through the study of a wide range of texts, styles and drama practitioners. Students will also be required to complete the production roles in theory and in practice, by working on our class and whole school productions. Wherever possible, the students will work on productions for outside audiences – in this way we aim to prepare students for further study in drama and other arts areas.

Certificate II in Live Production and Services:

This is a two-year TAFE certificate which is available to all students in year 11 and 12. The units covered will prepare students for a range of production careers while still offering opportunities to perform. Students will work with the public on many occasions operating and managing front of house, and will assist in the preparation of events such as school assemblies/showcases, drama productions and parent nights. There is opportunity to develop skill sin set and props construction and maintenance and also in the area of promotion and marketing.

University Focus: students can select one or both of the following

  • ATAR Drama Course of Study
  • Certificate II in Live Production and Services.

TAFE/Workplace Focus: Students can select to study one or both of the following options:

  • General Drama Course of Study
  • Certificate II in Live Production and Services.

Where do we go from here?

Students who have completed the Drama programme at Swan View SHS have gone on to engage in many exciting careers – acting (both at WAAPA and through private training colleges), dance, journalism – print and television, photography, fashion design, education, makeup artistry, set construction, sound and lighting.

The pursuit of Arts careers is supported at Swan View SHS. Staff assist students with their career planning and help with subject choices by engaging in one-on-one conversations about the students’ goals and interests; we make suggestions and offer guidance in selecting a pathway which will suit the students’ interests and abilities. These conversations begin quite early in students’ education and we make efforts to offer opportunities to students based on their goals and interests.

Students can access assistance with auditions for WAAPA or other theatre schools; they also have opportunities to perform in short films and advertisements.

Behaviour Management

It is expected that students in the Drama ASP will maintain a high standard of behaviour, attitude and work ethic as set out by the Swan View SHS behaviour management policy.

Reviews will be conducted after each reporting period whereby students place in the programme will be examined. To maintain their place in the Drama programme, students must:

  • Achieve / maintain a minimum of 90% attendance
  • Achieve / maintain ABE ratings of satisfactory in all categories
  • Achieve / maintain a minimum of 4 C grades or better (one of which MUST be in Drama) with no more than 2 D grades.

If at the review is it determined that these standards are not met, the student will be placed on a probation period during which improvement must be shown. Strategies will be put in place to assist with the required improvement. If improvement is not shown, the student may be removed from the programme.

Removal from the programme:

  • Students may nominate to leave the programme if they feel their goals and interests have changed. This will be done in consultation with the parents & class teacher, and only at the end/commencement of a new semester’s study.
  • A student may be recommended to leave the programme if it is evident that said student is not demonstrating sufficient ability/mindset to maintain satisfactory performance standards in Drama (a C grade).
  • Students who engage in bullying of any kind (at school or on social media) may be removed from the programme.
  • Students who are put on behaviour checks or suspension may risk removal from the programme. This will occur on a case-by-case basis, and will involve consultation with relevant parties (Student Services staff, parents, Drama Programme Co-ordinator . . .)