Taking a bow after Chicago

The Cast and Crew
Performing Arts

Drama and the arts are integral to our sense of identity - as individuals and as a community. Through the arts and creative cultural expression we learn about ourselves: who we are, where we have come from and what we feel, value and believe. Drama fosters imagination, collaboration, self confidence and curiosity and governments, businesses and communities now widely regard creativity and innovation as fundamental to social, economic, cultural and technological growth.

VCE Program:
The drama program at Bentleigh is growing rapidly every year and 2011 is no different with 2 VCE classes now running filled with dedicated, highly disciplined, creative and wonderful students. Our vibrant VCE class perform group devised ensemble pieces in the first half of each year and in the second half each of them they demonstrate their outstanding individual abilities in their solo performances. As part of the VCE program, the students are exposed to a wide variety of theatre and music theatre opportunities and performances. During these times students participate in workshops and rehearsals and they perform for outside audiences. Students also critically analyse their own and others work in order to better their own understanding of what makes engaging and effective theatre and what role they (as theatre practitioners) play in its creation.
YEAR 10:
In the second semester this year, the year 10 drama students will team up with the CUB Malthouse Theatre for a very exciting project that has been developed by a team of professional theatre practitioners. The project will actively engage students in the creation of a new theatre production, enabling each student to be deeply involved with the conception and creation of a theatre piece. This links directly to several areas of the curriculum; including VELS Level 6 Drama and towards VCE Unit 3 Drama and Theatre Studies. The project entitled "Happiness" is an episodic theatre work and like the best theatre, the themes in "Happiness" do not point to a single position but prompt a series of questions, propositions and provocations for both the theatre-makers and the theatre audience.

Shots from 'Two Weeks with the Queen'
At the junior end of the school, the year 7's get the opportunity to put on a number of terrific shows during the year 7 drama day. This is an opportunity for all year 7's that are studying drama to modernise a fairytale and then on one day they come together to share their wonderful talents with their peers. Some wonderful and crazy characters emerge during this time and the students get a chance to really showcase their skills whether it's in comedy, drama, slapstick or a mix of everything. For some shy students it is a nerve racking time but the sense of achievement at the end for every student involved is immense and they are all very proud of what they've achieved and often they even surprise themselves with how truly talented they are. The year 8's also produce a standout ensemble performance each semester that includes the whole class in one play. The plays usually consist of, singing and dancing as well as acting and the theme and resulting play is always designed entirely by the students. This culminates in a performance for family and friends and is always received with great enthusiasm and excitement.
We've had an increasing amount of students successfully gain roles in various Australian TV shows such as Chris Lilly's "Angry Boys", ABC 3's "Prank Patrol" and Channel 11's "Neighbours". I'm constantly on the lookout for students that would be suitable for different auditions that come up throughout the year. To also break up the year for the Year 11 and 12 VCE class and a few select Year 10's; students have joined a group called Impro Melbourne. This group performs many one off improvised performances around Melbourne for the purpose of bringing a smile to performers and strangers alike and taking the risk of stepping out of your comfort zone and building performance skills. Events that students and I have taken part in the last 2 years include, 'The Giant Freeze', 'Pirate Fight', 'Pillow Fight', 'Spontaneous Choir' and the 'Giant Robot Dance'. Stay tuned for more adventures to come.
2011 saw the huge musical production 'Chicago' hit the stage. Filled with high quality singing, dancing, acting and musicianship from all the students involved, this production offered a chance for years 7 - 12 to work with people older and younger than themselves and to form new friendships with likeminded students. As always the production was a huge highlight in the school calendar. Planning for the 2012 musical is already underway. Check the front page for updates!

Jacinta Egan
Head of Performing Arts