Home' Aurora : Aurora July 2011 Contents 16
| Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle | www.mn.catholic.org.au
IN THE FILM Field of Dreams, Kevin
Costner's character hears a voice
whisper, "If you build it, he will come."
'It' is a baseball field, hence the title.
Principal of St Pius X High School Robert
Emery may well have heard the same
voice, except that the school is building,
not a baseball field, but a theatre.
Those who know the Adamstown campus
may rejoice to learn that 'the factory' is
being completely rebuilt to incorporate
facilities for a variety of Vocational
Education & Training (VET) courses,
including Hospitality, Hairdressing
and Entertainment. Two years ago, the
school gained $5.5m funding through the
Commonwealth Block Grant Authority for
the refurbishment, which will include a
computer room, classrooms, art rooms, a
hairdressing salon, commercial kitchen,
cafe and cafeteria.
Perhaps the most exciting development is
the full scale, industry standard theatre,
with completion anticipated in February
2012. St Pius X was the first diocesan
school to offer Stage 5 VET Entertainment
(Certificate III in Technical Theatre
Operations) in 2009.
Plaudits go to Don McEwen, co-director
of Adenau, specialising in theatre, film,
design and education. Principal Robert
Emery knew of Don's skill in web design
and asked him to appraise the school's
edu.au). One thing led to another, and
as they discussed curriculum matters,
with the director naturally drawn to the
entertainment dimension, Don said, "Why
don't you just build a theatre?
Between the initial conversation and
the plans for an amphitheatre style
facility being drawn, Adenau and St Pius
X have developed a mutually beneficial
relationship. Don and his wife Sue, also
a thespian, have willingly led workshops
and classes for Entertainment students.
Between them, they are easily able to
cover set design, stagecraft, lighting and
costume as well as acting, scriptwriting
While working on a feature film project in
a Morisset studio, the McEwens made
the film set available to students. The
emphasis was 'hands on' with students
encouraged to have a go behind the
camera. Don is adamant that practical
experience is vital and that young
people need to be encouraged to
develop proficiency in all aspects of the
He freely admits that "theatre's a hard
gig" and that versatility is like gold. His
own career is testament to the wisdom of
this dictum: he is experienced in acting,
singing, production and design -- as
well as a number of business ventures.
It's widely known that acting requires a
willingness to do almost anything to fill
the void between roles. If solvency, much
less success, is so elusive, why offer
Entertainment courses in schools?
Don McEwen is passionate about the
way in which performance and production
skills can be applied in almost any
field. "It's about skills and working with
people and communicating effectively."
He cites examples of young people he
has mentored who now work in a wide
variety of fields, with a common element
of bringing people together to make
something significant happen.
As Sue McEwen says, "Work placement is
required to pass the VET course, so we've
offered that opportunity through Adenau's
production of the classic play, Gaslight, in
October." Sue's specialty is costuming
so she's currently designing and making
nineteenth century ensembles for the cast.
The Entertainment Course has been a
great success. Teacher Asha Lunarzewski
has worked tirelessly over the last two and
a half years to develop the course. One
crucial factor in the success of the course
is the many links with the entertainment
industry that Asha has developed. Adenau
was the first of these links.
Robert Emery is delighted with the way
the venture is unfolding; after all, his field
is physics, not creative arts! "There is so
much for both schools and industry to
gain from working together, sharing skills
and facilities. When a group like Adenau
becomes part of a school, students and
staff benefit in so many ways. I hope this
relationship will continue well beyond the
opening of our theatre."
Next year, the McEwens hope that JB
Priestley's An Inspector Calls will be staged
in the school's new theatre. There will be
not only a state of the art performance
space with seating for six hundred but
lighting and sound facilities, dressing
rooms and a smaller capacity theatrette.
As Don says, "It could be the school's
pride and joy."
(l-r) William Fagan, Jonathan Ryan,
Jordan Scully, Daniel Rogers
with Gavin Pickles.
Photo cour tesy of Natalee Multari.
By TRACEY EDSTEIN
Gaslight will be staged at the Civic
Playhouse at 8pm on 14, 15, 19, 20,
21, 22 October and at 2pm on 15 and
22 October. For tickets, P Ticketek
4929 1977 or visit
open in August.
Southern Cross Hall
Street Newcastle West Phone 4962
it ble fund
841 Hunter Street Newcastle West Phone 4962 5618
Canteen facilities • Air conditioned
All proceeds t
tle Social & Charitable fund
All proceeds to the D
the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Social & Charitab
All proceeds to
o the Dio
d Newcastle Social & Charitable
Subject to ticket sales
Thursday & Saturday nights 7.30-10pm
Sorry, no under 18s in the hall. Prize money subject to ticket sales. Is gambling a problem for you? Call G-Line (NSW) Counselling Service 1800 633 635
Links Archive Aurora June 2011 Aurora August 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page