Into the Woods certainly took us more than into the woods. The Year 10 musical last week highlighted so many elements of what education can be.
Our unique model of the whole Year 10 group performing a show seems so counter-intuitive to performing arts brains. The standard school musical of auditioning across year groups to capture the most talented seems so obvious. Yet as Into the Woods demonstrated last week, the standard that Glenaeon reaches in our stage shows from one year group can be quite remarkable. So why do we do it this way, when it could be so much easier to take the tried and standard route?
There are important educational elements at stake:
- the power of theatre to transform young lives needs to be an experience for all students, just like learning Maths or Science: there were students on stage in major roles who no one would have expected to step up. Those who know them best, parents and teachers, would never have dreamed some of those students could have got up and held an audience in the palm of their hand in the way they did.
- Some students will probably never again be in a theatre show. But at least once in their life they were, and they can be proud of it. They helped backstage, supported each other on cues and entrances, with props and sets, all contributing their own individual best to the magic that is theatre in creating an imaginary world for the audience.
- The experience of community building was so obvious. The mutual support gave a unique experience of shared achievement. The lead singers can only do what they do with the sets and props put in place by unseen hands: they can only do their starring role with the support of those unseen hands. Theatre is a unique team-building exercise.
- Being someone else grows emotional intelligence: theatre has a particular power in stretching an actor’s emotional repertoire to encompass “otherness”, a fundamental pillar of a mature, emotionally resilient personality.
Most importantly, each student did his or her best: some sang a lot, some didn’t sing much at all, but every one of the students did their absolute best. They each contributed their “virtue” to the community whole.
There is a saying from Dr Steiner that we quote from time to time: The healthy social life is found, when in each individual soul, the whole community finds its reflection, and when, in the community, the virtue of each one is living. The virtue, the best, of each of Year 10 was on display last week, and we are all the better for it.
Tim Ross, parent of two boys in our primary school and TV presenter, wrote to me after the show to congratulate the production team. I think his words speak for many:
…School plays are so formative and I got a little misty eyed at the standing ovation…hitting the stage as a teenager was a defining moment in my life.
I’m sure our year 10 students will look back on Into the Woods as a defining moment in all their lives!
End of term:
Farewell to Year 12 next week is a poignant moment when we say goodbye to our senior class. After a walk through all the classes from Kindergarten up on Monday, we will hold our Farewell assembly on Tuesday morning before Year 12 embarks on their Magical Mystery Tour. I look forward to cooking breakfast for Year 12 on the balcony, before they are farewelled by every class on the campus and they head up the hill to the bus that will take them to a destination unknown for a final and fun day as students. They will return after the HSC for the formal Graduation Assembly, but for now, it’s Farewell Year 12!
Spring festivals next week promise to be a joyful welcome to the warmer weather and the new life which this time of year brings. We hope to have a return to maypole dancing and and a happy in person celebration on the round oval at Middle Cove for Class 1 to Year 11.
As the last Newsletter of Term 3, 2022, I wish all families a restful and refreshing break and look forward to seeing everyone in term 4!