Fresh from their performing arts exams, the best of the best from year 12, 2020, came together to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of creative students.
The top performers from HSC drama and dance gathered at Southern Cross Vocational College in Burwood to record their pieces and give interviews and advice about their experiences.
Coordinated by the Catholic Schools Performing Arts (CaSPA) team, the footage and interviews will be turned into podcasts and videos for future HSC students and provide helpful insights into navigating the difficult process of performance exams.
CaSPA is the dynamic performing arts program of Sydney Catholic Schools, providing opportunities for student and teacher learning, collaboration, and growth through the performing arts.
Among the students was Asha Kerr from Marist Sisters College at Woolwich performing her piece, Climbing Uphill, a musical theatre performance about an American actress’s experience of auditions and searching for her big break. The performance has been nominated as a potential piece for OnStage 2021, an exhibition of exemplary individual projects by 2020 HSC drama students.
Performing both in and out of school since she was 6, Asha started out in dance before moving to singing. She first became involved with CaSPA in the 2012 Sydney Archdiocesan festival Tell Me a Story.
“I remember I was a member of the choir and the whole stadium was packed,” said Asha.
“After that I did a talent show involving schools in the Archdiocese. I sent in an audition with my friend as a duet and we got in.
“After that lots of different opportunities presented themselves and I’ve been lucky to be able to work with different CaSPA staff.”
After performing her piece for the cameras, Asha sat down to be interviewed and pass on her advice to the next cohort of HSC drama students.
“I chose musical theatre because I know that’s really what I love so when I was researching I wasn’t bored, I wasn’t uninspired and I was creative and willing to do whatever I could.”
“My advice to year 12 drama students is play to your strengths,” she said. “I chose musical theatre because I know that’s really what I love so when I was researching I wasn’t bored, I wasn’t uninspired and I was creative and willing to do whatever I could.
“It makes performing enjoyable and not a chore and that’s when you’re at your best.”
Also there to be filmed performing her dance piece “This Will Be the Day” and record her advice for future students was Isabella Mateus from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at Kensington.
Isabella also started with CaSPA in primary school at St. Bernard’s Botany when she was also involved in the Tell Me a Story festival, where dance coaches immediately spotted her talent.
Studying dance and performing her piece, Isabella demonstrated that dance was about more than just the movements that make up a piece, showing a commitment and understanding of an experienced and professional dancer.
Her advice for year 12 students embarking on the journey is simple, manage your time well and ask for feedback.
You have to find balance which is integral to do well in all subjects. I wanted to practice all my dances as much as I could but I had to say ‘ok, I need to study for other things as well’.”
“My HSC dance exam was a week before the Catholic School Trials. You have to find balance which is integral to do well in all subjects,” she said. “I wanted to practice all my dances as much as I could but I had to say ‘ok, I need to study for other things as well’.”
“Utilise any space and time you have to practice and make time to work with your teacher. Getting feedback is the best way you can prepare and better yourself.”