As I approach twelve years of teaching, and ten at the studio, it is interesting to reflect on the journeys of many of my students, whom I have watched grow from children, into teens, and now into young adults! Some students come to drama just to gain confidence, while others are passionate about pursuing acting as a career. I know that the creativity, communication and critical thinking skills that students build at Grace Studios are transferable, and will assist in all areas of their lives, both personal and professional. I’d like to share some of those journeys with our community and have asked a few students to write about their trajectory from childhood, to school and beyond. Their stories and pathways are very different, and I hope that younger students can find value in these insights.
First up we have Siobhan. Here is what she had to say!
“I have always had a love for performing on stage! I have been dancing since I was three years old and then, when I was in primary school, I loved nothing more than getting involved with drama and performing small skits for my classmates. However, it wasn’t until I was in year 7 at St John Bosco College, and joined the Friday Theatre Sports group with Mrs Millward and Anna-Grace, that my love and passion to pursue drama was cemented.
I was so nervous to audition for Theatre Sports because I had never acted on stage before. But I remembered telling my little 12-year-old self to just be confident and put myself out there. I remember the thrill I had walking away from Theatre Sports that day knowing I had tried my best and had fun! Luckily, I got accepted into the theatre sports family, where I went on create some of my most treasured school memories and made some wonderful friends from all age groups - many of whom I am still good friends with today!
Aside from joining Theatre Sports; when I was in year ten, Anna-Grace encouraged me to join up with the lovely Annie Cartwright and Molly Morgan, to complete our first group AMEB Speech and Drama exam from the ‘Drama and Communication’ syllabus. Soon after, Sarah Doyle joined our mini tribe! We worked so hard on these performances, as we pushed ourselves to create some amazing self devised pieces of theatre that would soon earn us an award of Honours and then later, in our second year, a High Distinction! Even though working for these exams was a challenge at times, it was rewarding to work so closely with these two women and create such fun performances, which I am still so proud of today.
Once I got to year 12, It was time to focus on my HSC Drama IP (and GP too, of course!) through which I finally got the chance to work one on one with Anna. We took a script that I had found and turned it on its head, to create a whacky, delusional flight attendant who did not hold back about her hatred for Economy class (ha ha)! As crazy (psychotic even) as she was, as a character I brought to life, she holds a special place in my heart and I’m so grateful for the wonderful impact Anna had on me to help me stage such a fantastic HSC monologue.
Right before I completed my final HSC exams, I got offered early entry into the University of Wollongong to study a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Theatre. Throughout my three years at university, I have had so many wonderful opportunities to gain skills in acting, stage managing, directing, writing and creating lighting and sound designs, as well as work with many well-established Australian practitioners. Whilst at university, I have even completed a minor in Photography which, when starting university, is a creative endeavour I never even considered! Currently, I am working on my grad production, directed by Jane Phegan, which I will be performing in at Shopfront Theatre in Carlton at the end of November. Please watch my social media for when tickets go on sale!!!
Once I finish my theatre degree, I not only want to continue studying Education to be a secondary education drama teacher, But I also hope to spend some time creating performance art. I have so many ideas for different creative works that could evoke some sort of change in society, as well as using theatre as a means for education and therapy! Studying theatre at uni has not only given me a platform to network and expand my knowledge of theatre, but it has opened my eyes to the endless opportunities out there for me to get involved, be creative and share my love and passion of art, with those who are willing to watch, listen and experience the powerful effect theatre can have on the world.