This takes place in our performance space and although we have a revolving and rotating number of students who attend the program each term, it has done great things for our growing theatre program and for our school events.
They say that teachers should never do for a student something that they could do for themselves and we have tried to take this on board as best we can. It is sometimes hard to leave the responsibility of managing complicated or nuanced technological elements of an event to inexperienced students.
We countered this worry by making sure anyone handling expensive equipment or coordinating important events were supported throughout – that’s why we train them up in Technical Tuition.
Each term we come together a few times as a college to have an assembly. Not all families can be there to see their loved ones receiving awards, giving their speech, performing in the band, or roller-skating in lycra (whatever happens to be on that day). So we live-stream the assemblies with a one, two or three camera set-up with vision switching.
Add to that the live performances, microphones, and any media or footage we’re showing and we can easily use six students per assembly to help the event run more smoothly.
Our junior school has more regular assemblies and they have now started utilising our student theatre techs to design the lighting and coordinate any sound, or media requirements. The students end up running the event from the bio box and managing all needs.
We also have students in our recording studio producing a podcast about a topic of their choice. Here they are learning the basics of audio cabling, sound levels, proper microphone use and placement, basic editing, and it acts as a creative outlet as well.
These are just some examples of how students are used outside of the theatre environment to build their skills and knowledge. It is within our growing performing arts program that these students shine.
It has been a slow process over the last four years of me giving up control of each element of a show. I used to think it was easier if I just did it all myself, but I have been proven wrong! It has been a joy to let go of many elements of running an event and entrusting our capable young people to manage it.
Students are the designers, programmers, operators, callers and managers of the tech box during the run of a performance.
They create the cue sheet, they source audio, they call the show, coordinate microphones, check cabling, hazers and other equipment, they make announcements, and they pack down any and all gear after the show.
These students are also there backstage moving sets, props and staging elements. They are also the stage managers and, under the mentorship of VCA graduates, they handle senior musicals with 30 separate radio mics, over 300 lighting cues, and a range of specialised equipment, such as revolves, movers and rises.
All of these jobs I used to do, and now we can share them out among the 20 or more students keen for creative experiences behind the scenes, all thanks to an afternoon club.