As we prepare to farewell what has been another unimaginable school year, it has been lovely to welcome some of our parent community back onsite to enjoy the Year 5 production, Space Race.
The performance is the culmination of two exciting years of work. One that began with the vision of our past Head of Junior School, Libby Russell who, when we were searching for an Australian history play, created the opportunity for us to partner with the Australian Playwright, Barry Kay. Barry has a rich background in theatre, having written and performed in a large number of works and is currently the Museum Training and Interpretive Quality Lead at Sovereign Hill.
The Year 5s undertook research into an influential Australian from the time. Using this newfound knowledge, the students then wrote a monologue from that person’s perspective in preparation to perform it as well as send their text to Barry. With 104 monologues in hand, as well as the wealth of his own research knowledge, Barry took the first steps toward creating our very own original play. He (amazingly) delivered this draft in just over two weeks – NO mean feat! Just as amazingly, last year’s Year 5s performed the show with only two weeks of rehearsal.
Fast forward to 2021, Barry, with draft one in hand, met with this year’s Year 5s (on campus this time!) and once again outlined the topic and the issues from the time. The children underwent the same process with a little more time. This year they also had the added bonus of an hour and a half workshop on performance writing with Beth Cregan. Once again, the students created a monologue, which they performed and once again, they sent their scripts to Barry who pored over them and used them as the basis for the play you are about to see today. Year 5 (both 2020 and 2021) have been extremely fortunate to have been the creators and collaborators of an original professionally written Australian play.
Another vital part of this picture is the role Mark Dickinson played. As a Middle School Drama and Individual Voice teacher, he lent us his wealth of experience in theatre (both in Australia and the West End) and gave our students the opportunity to explore techniques of voice and movement, expanding their performance skills to create their character for their monologues in Term 2. This term, he was joined by Emma Ingles (who has diverse background in dance and drama education, is a familiar face around Carey, in fact you may have probably seen her popping up on screens during lockdown to teach dance) and together they crafted, shaped and fashioned Barry’s clever script, adding mood and atmosphere, into the magical piece families enjoyed.
It has been a wonderful adventure but, more importantly, the students have been involved in a rich learning journey where they have overseen every part of the process. They have lived the piece from its concept to its final performance.
Year 5 Teacher, Production Producer