Students at Hastings Secondary College were treated to a day of workshops by Anna Houston from the Belvoir St Theatre, in Sydney, as part of the Belvoir’s Regional Workshop program.
Students from both campuses and a number of year levels, came together to further develop skills in improvisation, characterisation and group devising, and drama teacher Hellene Underwood said the experience will be life changing.
“It is fantastic to have someone like Anna come and do workshops with the students to back up what we have been learning and talking about in class,” Mrs Underwood said.
“One of the workshops they participated in was about characterisation and that was really good for them to see the importance of knowing the story behind the characters they are playing.
“Great actors don’t just know their lines, they know their characters inside and out, what the character had for lunch, where they grew up and the things that shaped them as people.
“The more the students know and get into character the more authentic a performance will be and it was great that Anna could come and reinforce those ideas.”
Belvoir’s Regional Workshop program operates to give regional high school students access to practising theatre artists and specific industry expertise in the areas of theatre design and performance.
“Our students do not get the same opportunities as students in the metropolitan areas so for us to be able to access teachers like Anna from Belvoir is really wonderful,” she said.
“But also for us as teachers to have the backup support from professionals is just so valuable.”
Anna Houston said that Belvoir offers practical workshops for both students and teachers in elements of set and costume design, as well as stage management, play writing and aspects of performance including monologue performance and group devising.
“I am really enjoying getting out into the regional communities to bring my love and passion for drama and the theatre to students right across the state,” Ms Houston said.
“The students I have encountered have been really engaged and I think young people have less of a filter which means their work can be more pure and authentic.”
Students Kayley Edwards and Nicole Steer said they were very excited to participate in the workshops and be able to learn from a professional actor.
“As a year eight student I was great for me to be able to learn from a professional but also from students in the year levels above me,” Kayley said.
“I think it has inspired me to keep doing drama because the older students were once like me and now they are so good and I want to be like them.”
“For me in my HSC year, getting some professional training has been fantastic because it has really driven home the importance of proper characterisation and just how important it is to know your character for our final exams,” Nicole said.
“It was also nice to work with the younger students and be a kind of role model to them and show them that drama is a subject that you can do in year 12 and do well.”