The hard work of students from six Western Sydney High Schools culminated in two outstanding performances at Riverside Theatre on August 14 and 15. The students from Pendle Hill, Granville South Creative and Performing Arts, Granville Boys, Holroyd, Merrylands and Parramatta High Schools had been working since May on a playwright-in-residence program with director, Ali Kennedy Scott. Through weekly workshops over 10 weeks, they each took inspiration from their local communities to create and rehearse an original theatre work.
The topics which ranged from dreams to psychological barriers and what it means to be a young person in Western Sydney today were conceived of by the students. Their performances highlighted their varied talents – some are exceptional writers, some actors, singers, improvisers, musicians, dancers, rappers, beat boxers. All have been an integral part of the process of creation, not just performance. All have learnt to work as an ensemble, to focus, to develop stage presence, and all are building the ability to project their voice on stage. Every student was required to commit to the process of theatre creation and to the characters they portrayed on stage.
The result was an eclectic mix of works; humorous, deeply moving and insightful and all with a contemporary perspective and cutting realism which honoured these young creators.
The program forms the centrepiece of the J.P. Morgan-funded ‘Parramatta Now’ project, which also includes public art, graphic novel workshops and a creative mentoring program, all focussed on developing community engagement, literacy and access to the arts for young people in Parramatta.
A call to the dreamer, to the child resting upon your heart, who is ever fearless – cast your light upon the world.
From ‘The Dreamers of Dreams’, Merrylands High School