Students in the English Writing class have joined forces with their Theatre Performance counterparts to work on a novel initiative called The Unwritten Project, an original scriptwriting and theatre production set to premiere at the end of the school year.
What’s more, the entire production has been overseen by internationally renowned playwright, Finegan Kruckemeyer. An ex-drama teacher, Kruckemeyer has had over 80 of his plays commissioned, and has performed across six different continents.
The educational masterminds behind the idea are teachers Rowan Harris and Margaret Boyce.
“We thought, ‘how can we value-add and be involved in the process of making the script? And so we talked … about how we might involve the English Writing class as well,” Harris, who teaches theatre performance, tells Australian Teacher Magazine.
“Then we came up with the idea that Finnegan Kruckemeyer could come in and run some workshops for the students to create monologues, and write them into the play so that the play had an authentic student voice that helped to communicate issues that were relevant to the student cohort,” he adds.
Boyce says the scriptwriting process has united her class and really worked to boost students’ confidence in their own writing abilities.
“They had to come up with a play for the end of the year, and work together as a team. So there were some big voices, people who were reluctant, and Fin drew them out, because every character had to be included in the play.
“So each person had to own a character in a sense, and they had to workshop that together as group. So it was fantastic for them I think”, Boyce shares.
“For my class, I think they felt that their writing, what they had to say, was important. Everyone in the end, everyone who was doing this, it made them feel that their voices were special, and their characters mattered.”
The educator says that the project’s launch was spot on in its timing.
“It was the beginning of the year, so at one point they were feeling quite insecure about writing or sharing their words, and by the end of it, they were empowered”, she says.
The chance to work with such a famous figure has certainly not been lost on the students.
“At first they didn’t believe it, that he really was this experienced playwright, but I got people to Google him and they were like ‘Wow!” Boyce recalls.
Having now crafted a series of monologues and set the scene for the “world” in which their characters live, students have handed the creative license over to Kruckemeyer to pull it all together.
The final script will be made available for purchase to theatre companies around the globe.
“The kids of course are fascinated to see what he does with it,” Harris says.
“It could go on to have other lives, other interpretations in other parts of the world.”
“[But] they will perform it for the first time ever and they will always have that, and no one can ever take that away from them…”