ShearTheatrix and the Year 11 Drama students are deep in rehearsals for their production of TWO - a bittersweet comic drama by Jim Cartwright, which will be performed in the Shearwater Hall June 16 to 18.
Traditionally set in an English pub owned by a savagely bickering husband and wife, the play is a study of relationships, where human beings must navigate the landscape of their own belief systems and experiences and those of others. The play explores this in a way that is both moving and humourous, through a series of vignettes featuring 13 characters, over one night in a pub.
Set in the the 1970s, in the Universal Pub, our production of TWO explores relationships that mirror our own experiences, or those of our friends and family. Through this witnessing we welcome insight as well as compassion for ourselves and others.
Come and grab a (non-alcoholic) drink or snack at the bar and enjoy Ross Nobel and Friends' pub tunes amidst the antics of our wonderful cast of characters. Don't forget to pull out your 1970s threads for a night to remember.
Doors (and bar) open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Show runs for two hours with an interval. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students (with a special price for Shearwater Year 11 students of $5). Not recommended for Primary students.
Click here to book. Bookings open Friday June 4 at 5pm.
Last week our Class 7 Japanese students performed two engaging Japanese stories: Warashibe Choja (The Straw Head Master) and Kasa Jizo (The Child God). Katsuko and the students created a truly Japanese aesthetic in the elegant presentation of these two profound Japanese fables about selflessness and taking care of each other. The students spoke beautifully in Japanese as two performers translated the text for the audience.
Complete with exquisite kimono and sadō (tea ceremony), the production provided the students an opportunity to engage deeply with traditional Japanese culture and history through storytelling.
Interview with Year 10 student Miro Salom
Tell us about Dragon Days…
Dragon Days is the 2020 film project that was conjured up to substitute for Shearwater's annual Wearable Arts performance event. COVID-19 required a major rethink - we knew we couldn’t invite our community to a live event, so we embarked on a film project that we could share online.
Instead of documenting a performance along the same lines as previous events, we decided to further develop the story for screen. So with a bit of filmmaking experience and a lot of enthusiasm we set out to shoot a feature film. It was very ambitious but a great experience. We pulled in some past students that helped out tremendously and I think we have a film we can be proud of - a classic high school drama where the students have to overcome some differences and challenges in order to put on a show.
What was your role in this ambitions project?
During the production phase, I was a camera operator and co-director. I had just bought a new Black Magic camera and I put it to the test. With a dedicated lighting crew in the Hall, we managed to capture some beautiful shots. Now it is down to editing and I am in charge of pulling all the edited scenes together and making it work as a whole.
What has been the best thing about the experience?
To create a film about WAVE with lights and hand-built sets and a crew. This year we were given time and resources to put some fine scenes together.
What was really hard?
Getting the dialogue right. Our actors were amazing, but it was a steep learning curve to direct and pull off dialogue. There was also a huge time pressure, as we had a big story with loads of actors and scenes.
What did you learn?
How to handle a bigger cast and work with multiple camera crews. Starting with the wide shots and working in on the closer shots was a great practical experience that I will incorporate into my future films.
Now you are in the editing phase and it is almost finished, how do you feel about sharing it?
Excited! Seeing the reaction of the community is going to be amazing after so many months of working with it. It was a very ambitious project and it is so hard to pull off a feature film project in a high school. So a bit of nerves. But mostly happy to see how people take it.
What can people look forward to in the film?
Crazy dance sections; high school drama; incredible costumes; great lighting and cinematography and some awesome acting.
Are you interested in filmmaking as a profession?
When can we see it?
We are aiming for March 31. The plan is to host an online premiere so stay tuned for details in the Shearwater newsletter.
Clockwise from top
Overall Grand Winner (Gold Sponsor - James Hardware Mitre 10 Mullumbimby)
Rider of the Atmosphere by Year 7 student Aniella Lev
Director's Prize (Silver Sponsor - Fuji Xerox Business Centre Northern Rivers)
Invitation to Wonderland by Year 9 student Tiehj Kerry
Most Creative Use of Materials (Bronze Sponsor - Baxter & Jacobson Architects)
Dame of the Dragon by Eloise Galea
Winner Section 1: Ride Like the Wind (Silver Sponsor - Chincogan Real Estate)
Aeras by Year 9 student Radha Hamilton-Young
Winner Section 2: Met Gala @ the House of Dragon Five (Silver Sponsor - Chincogan Real Estate)
Princess Kiyohime by Year 9 student Ishtar Dempsey
Winner Section 3: Paint the Sky with Stars (Mayor's Office Byron Shire Council)
Starry Night Shroud of Van Gogh by Maggie Wretham
Winner Section 4: Suitably Splendid (Silver Sponsor - Fuji Xerox Business Centre Northern Rivers)
Cirque de la Suite by Susan Germann
Winner Section 5: Emergency Transformation (Gold Sponsor - James Hardware Mitre 10 Mullumbimby)
Emerging Woman by Year 9 students Thandi McAllister, Coco Best & Lalita Ali
Student Encouragement Award (sponsored by Shearwater Alumni)
Meliorism by Year 10 student Adrianna O'Donovan
We love seeing our Shearwater graduates come back, and over the years we have seen many ex-students return to the School to support WAVE, as competition entrants, judges, production assistants, performers, stage crew and to work on props and sets. This year, however, we had an award sponsored by Shearwater graduates for the first time.
Analise Denney (owner of Sonder Intimates), Millie Hartigan (owner of The Lacuna digital marketing), Roslyn Barnett (owner of R’Oil) and Shantih Duvel (owner of Silience Design Studio) graduated in 2014 and have maintained strong relationships with the School and staff since. These amazing young women have all started their own small businesses and have teamed up as an alumni collective to give back to the School and support this year’s WAVE competition.
“After participating in WAVE throughout our high school years at Shearwater, we felt honoured to be able to come together as a group of alumni and small business owners to support the next generation of creatives at Shearwater," said Millie.
Selecting the recipient of the Student Encouragement Award was a challenging task, due to the standard of work this year. Adrianna O’Donovan’s work Meliorism (the belief that the world can be made better by human effort) was chosen for its skill and technique. "The handmade chainmail was executed to an extremely high standard and the beautiful embroidery was a great touch.”
Congratulations to Adrianna and all of the winners, and a huge thank you to Analise, Millie, Roslyn and Shantih, and to all of our amazing sponsors, for their support in our extraordinary 20th year of WAVE.
In true Shearwater style, the Phoenix (and the Dragon) have risen from the ashes of the pandemic in a remarkable display of reinvention, creativity and resilience, as students and staff from the High School, alongside community volunteers, come together to bring our 2020 Wearable Arts Performance event to the people, in an exciting new format.
Not to be undone by COVID-19 restrictions, Dragon Days (Plan C) will see the much-loved annual community event make its film debut, instead of the four-night performance format we have grown to know and love.
Director Josh Rushton describes the challenge of reinventing the twenty-year old event as a "wonderful opportunity" for the almost 300 High School students currently singing, scripting, building, dancing, designing, sewing, filming, documenting, catering and playing a myriad of roles, minor and major in this epic production.
The competition garments have arrived and are hidden behind closed doors until next week's judging day. A Parisian laneway to rival Baz Luhrman has sprung up outside the High School workshop and the performers are perfecting their moves in the Hall (see a sneak peek above).
Our Year 9 and 10 Visual Design elective students have been busy on the merch front, with limited edition hand-drawn and screen-printed WAVE 2020 T-shirts now available to purchase from the Office for $10.
Our budding Year 8 and 9 journos are keeping everyone abreast of the latest news in their WAVE Weekly broadsheet. Watch this space for updates!
Our Class 6 students recently completed the Yellow Lantern public speaking program, culminating in the presentation of their speeches last week - a wonderful display of courage, insight and humour. Yellow Lantern is a national provider of public speaking school programs and speaking clubs for kids, with an emphasis on positive self talk, empowered speech and celebrating personality.
There was a good variety of topics, from animal rights, climate change, bullying and the empowerment of women to model trains, making tiramisu, wave pools, and why we should not fear sharks. There were philosophical speeches about the power of friendship, the bridge between astronomy and astrology and why money can’t buy happiness.
This year, because of crowd restrictions, parents were unable to attend the speeches at school, but the event still carried enough excitement and anticipation to test the nerves of most of the students. They certainly rose to the occasion and presented beautifully written speeches. With thanks to Gemma West from Yellow Lantern who was the facilitator this year.
Class 6 Teacher
Last week, our Year 11 Drama and Entertainment Industry students, performed their production of The Woman in the Window by Alma De Groen to appreciative audiences of students from Years 9 to 11. Unfortunately we were unable to invite parents and the wider community to this year's event. But a film was made for parents, capturing the wonderful performances and stagecraft.
"We were very impressed by the students' interpretation of what is quite a complex play," said parent of one of the performers, Catherine Bartlett. "The staging, lighting and music were quite spectacular and Charlie and Flynn did an exceptional job on the lighting design.”
Kumari Ellis was another parent who wrote to express her delight at what she described as an “amazing performance". "I honestly was so impressed with the production, the set, the design, the lighting, the professional standard of the experience, and then the play itself. What a fabulous play! It really was profound. And all the more so for these times we find ourselves in.
“Everyone was exceptional. That they managed to learn and remember so many lines was incredible. It was a treat to go out and see great theatre so well done [and] also a timely reminder of how fortunate we are to live with free speech, to be able to write what we feel to, and all the rest.”
The production was an absolute pleasure to direct. I want to thank these talented students for their hard work and perseverance, and for their dedication to making the production a success. I also want to thank Flynn for being there after school so many times, and being so committed to making our technical dreams a reality.
I particularly want to thank Charlie Gill for all his work: designing the lights and vision and calling the show as stage manager, as well as the hours of work he put in after school and on weekends in order to make the show beautiful. Charlie is passionate about this work and has purchased his own lighting and vision equipment which he generously lent to the School for the performances. His participation in The Woman in the Window was invaluable.
This year marks the 20th year of Wearable Arts at Shearwater and it's inspiring to see the way the culture is embedded in the very bones of the students. There is a collective wisdom passed on from year to year, becoming richer and deeper - it's an incredible thing to witness.
This year's event, Dragon Days, began its incarnation in December, when the draft concept was developed. In the early weeks of Term 1, students from Years 8 to 11 formed working groups for Production, Technology and Design, and began the brainstorming process which radically transformed much of the original content. It was a real pleasure to work with these students and see the way they embodied the creative process of WAVE - everyone's input was valued and contributed to the shaping of the whole.
Designing the poster is always an exciting process, with a Year 11 student (or, in the case of this year, two students) chosen to be the face of WAVE. Our models this year represent the characters of the Phoenix and the Dragon, with a nod to biker culture. Work commenced mid-February on the characters' garments, with textiles students, staff and volunteers all drawing, cutting, painting, sewing and styling leather, feathers, scales and claws.
Photography and Multimedia students organised and shot the campaign in early March (see below) and Year 9 student Miro Salom did an amazing job designing the poster. As always, it was a fabulous collaborative student-led process and a lot of fun.
With the shoot out of the way, the next step was to nail down the section descriptions. The individual sections of WAVE form the structure of the event - representing stages in the story, as well as providing guidelines and inspiration for designers to develop their competition garments. This year, five sections were decided on after much discussion about the format and feel. The students brainstormed dozens of possible themes; a lot of ideas fell through and others merged.
Year 11 student Gemma Susanna-Davies was responsible for Suitably Splendid (the suit section), and also a major contributor to Met Gala @ the House of Dragon Five (the recycled section), along with Year 9 student Tiehj Kerry. Gemma said she felt valued and appreciated for her creative input. "I really enjoyed being able to convey my ideas," she said.
Textiles and Design Teacher Vanessa Sheath says this kind of real life production industry learning is invaluable for the students. "By following a brief, working to a photo shoot deadline and designing with a strict budget, we are giving students the most amazing hands-on experience," said Vanessa. "They are really cementing their skills in areas of individual interest, allowing them to decide if this type of work could be a future career path they want to pursue."
Dragon Days is scheduled to be performed from November 4 to 7. What the show looks like this year will depend on what restrictions are in place. But while it might be different, you can be sure it will be incredible.
With deep appreciation for, and on behalf of, the students, staff and volunteers who have been involved in the development of this year's competition (during strange and difficult times), we encourage you to unleash your imaginations and design a garment for WAVE 2020, Dragon Days. All the information you need to enter can be found on the WAVE website.
Let the games begin!
Year 11 Drama has been rehearsing The Woman in the Window by Alma De Groen. The play is about freedom of speech and is set in Russia in the 1950s and Australia in the year 2300. We will be using Year 10 student Charlie Pierre's design talents in vision-mapping and lighting to bring the play to life. But for now, we are staying open about how and when it will be performed.
Working on Zoom has been a great way to get into the meaning of the play and the intentions of the characters, without having to focus on the staging and the students are having a great time trying out their Russian accents. I am really enjoying the process of working with the students in this way and we are all finding it rewarding in a challenging time.
High School Drama Teacher
After the School received a very generous donation to enable us to purchase a grand piano, Music Teacher Ross Nobel and I immediately and fortuitously found an amazing Petrof grand piano online at the Theme and Variations piano store in Sydney. We knew straight away that this fabulous instrument was the one. It is quite large - much larger than a baby grand but smaller than a concert grand piano.
The move happened very fast, and the Petrof is snugly stored away in its new home in the School Hall, while it settles down after its trip from Sydney. What a gift to our piano and music students, choirs, eurythmists, and the whole community, who will have many opportunities to enjoy it in the years ahead.
Students from Years 9 and 10, as well as Year 11 Drama students, enjoyed an interactive performance about bullying by Byron Youth Theatre last week. Developed by actor and activist Augusto Boal in the 70s, Forum Theatre is a kind of theatrical game in which the audience become spect-actors. After the first performance, audience members are invited onto the stage to take on a character, in order to change the outcome in a way that can be empowering for both bystanders and victims of oppression, but which is still realistic or possible.
Our students responded enthusiastically to the performance, putting forward ideas of other possible outcomes and sometimes getting up and taking on a character role. The performances were humorous, empowering and thought provoking. Here is what our students had to say about the experience: It was great how they involved the audience; Really interesting; Very engaging because it allowed the audience to become involved and therefore it became more personal; The acting was great; I really liked it because those situations really do happen and it's good to be shown in a safe way; It was very entertaining and the acting was very good.
It was also wonderful to see many of our students participating in Byron Youth Theatre. Director Lisa Apostolides is doing a wonderful job of creating important theatre.
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School