Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Theatre by Frank McKone: Sydney Theatre Company Education Program 2010

Sydney Theatre Company Education Program 2010. 

March 9, 2010.

Today I saw a schools performance of The Beauty Queen of Leenane (reviewed separately), and discovered the extensive and varied educational program offered by the Sydney Theatre Company.

Current Education Manager, Naomi Edwards, has told me that the appointment of Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton has meant a stronger emphasis on programming beyond the immediate and upfront productions.  Funding for the Company is managed through the Sydney Theatre Foundation, and the first move has been to take a position out of Box Office to create a Schools Liaison post.

The new development also means establishing separate funding for the Education Program, seeking new donors for STC Ed, whose Patrons are Ian and Min Darling, Simon and Catriona Mordant, and the Caledonia Foundation in addition to the Sydney Theatre Foundation, supported further by the Girgensohn Foundation and the Gonski Foundation.  Edwards reports that donors from businesses and the general public are now coming on board with enthusiasm.

Though some parts of the program, such as touring productions and workshops to regional areas, are done in partnership with the NSW Department of Education and Training, teachers and students from Canberra can take part in a very wide range of activities.

STC Ed productions this year, following The Beauty Queen of Leenane, are Nyuntu Ngali (You We Two) by Scott Rankin (presented by Windmill and Big hART), Burnt by Tom Lycos and Stefo Nantsou (Zeal Theatre, commissioned by STC to present issues about drought), Mr Freezy by Hamish Fletcher, Chris Kohn, Tamara Rewse and Sam Routledge (an Arena Theatre production for young children), The Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare (STC Residents directed by Charmian Gradwell).

There are workshops for teachers and students: School Drama professional development for primary school teachers in association with the University of Sydney; Teacher Workshop Program one day workshops on practical techniques and strategies - Verbatim Theatre with Alana Valentine, Shakespeare with Charmian Gradwell and Naomi Edwards, Commedia Dell’Arte with Darren Gilshenan, and Using Drama Across the Primary Curriculum with Professor Robyn Ewing.

For students: Group Devised Performance Workshop with Zeal Theatre; Brecht Workshop with Shannon Murphy; Tragedy Workshop with Naomi Edwards; and the Young Playwrights’ Residency.

For young children there is also the Actor On A Box daytime storytelling program. 

And there are schools days available for all the main stage STC productions of Stockholm, Vs Macbeth, Honour, Oresteia, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Tusk Tusk, August: Osage County, The Trial, Our Town, The Wharf Revue, True West, Uncle Vanya, and The Grenade.  There are some seats allocated in the $10 Access Ticket program to help students who can’t afford full price to attend.

Contact details:  Naomi Edwards, Acting Education Manager, 02 9250 1726
        Toni Murphy, Education Coordinator, 02 9250 1795
        Georgia Thorne, Schools Liaison Officer, 02 9250 1778