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14 June 2005

High School Actors

Go behind the stage at an important theatre event.

SARAH SCHOFIELD: Last year over 5,000 year 12 students in New South Wales studied drama. Of those, only 47 were selected to perform at the Seymour Theatre Centre in Sydney. The performances were held twice daily this week, and all were sold out. The audience is made up of drama students and teachers.

GERRY PACKER, ABBOTSLEIGH SYDNEY: Well, I'm studying drama in year 12 at Abbotsleigh and, yeah, I'm coming to look at what people have done this year, and to get some ideas and motivation for this year 'cause I'm in year 12 this year.

CATHY O'GORMAN, ST CLARE'S HIGH SCHOOL, TAREE: Every year they look forward to it coming. I bring year 11 and 12. Sometimes it's intimidating for them. I always remind them it's the best of the best.

SARAH SCHOFIELD: The young people have come from Dubbo, Byron Bay, Wollongong, Armidale and from schools throughout the Sydney basin.

STEPHEN THOMAS, SUPERVISOR BOARD OF SENIOR STUDIES: It's an opportunity for the students to show their wares, and to validate the process; so it's not just something that's locked in the vacuum of an examination period. They can actually get up and perform it, or present it publicly, because it's very easy to think "Well, I'm just doing this as part of my HSC examination, no one's going to see it, I'm just doing it for the marks".

SARAH SCHOFIELD: As part of their assessment, the students must perform a solo piece, which they can either create themselves, or they can take a soliloquy from an existing play or a set monologue.

Caitlin Murphy has been studying acting since she was a small child, and wants to make acting her career.

CAITLIN MURPHY, KIRRAWEE HIGH SCHOOL, SYDNEY: Getting here, it's a dream. It's come true, and it's really made me want to push for my dreams, and my goal in life is to work in performing arts and theatre. It's been a really good thing for me.

SARAH SCHOFIELD: The HSC assessment also includes a group piece, where the students create a play from scratch, which is at least 12 minutes long.

STEPHEN THOMAS: They have to learn to work in a group. They have to learn to lead, to be led, to take responsibility, and they are life skills. They are the sort of things you need in any job, being able to work in a corporate environment and take responsibility for the decisions you make, and to listen to other people who may have suggestions.

GAVIN SELWAY, ILLAWARRA GRAMMAR SCHOOL, WOLLONGONG: We never imagined getting here. We joked about it. But, you know, we are here. It's pretty full on; like, big days, big nights. It's so rewarding, it's so worth it, you know.

story notes

Drama is the school subject that involves acting, plays and theatre.

Here held is the past participle of the irregular verb hold.
more information: hold

sold out
A concert that is sold out has no more tickets available for sale. They have all been sold

Example: The football final is already sold out.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb sell out, follow the link.
more information: sell out

Done is the past participle of the irregular verb do.
more information: do

Notice that when we write the short form of because we use an apostophe.
more information: 'cause

Here come is the past participle of the irregular verb come.
more information: come

solo piece
A solo piece is something performed alone, not with anyone else.

make it up

A soliloquy is a speech from a play. Itís a part where the actor is talking to themselves, or the audience, not to any other character on stage.

set monologue
A monologue is a long speech or whole play for just one person. A set monologue is a monologue that has been set, or chosen, by the examiners.


HSC is the higher school certificate. Itís the certificate that all students in New South Wales receive when they finish school.

An assessment is a judgement, itís the noun from the verb to assess. To assess means to judge the quality of something.

group piece
This means that they do something with a group of other students.

from scratch
From scratch means from the very beginning.

Example: We lost everything in the flood and had to start from scatch.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

Here led is the past participle of the irregular verb lead.
more information: lead

full on
Full on is a slang expression for anything that is carried out to the utmost.

Example: Skydiving is a full on experience.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.