GALLERY: Pendle Hill High students' dramatic turn

Pendle Hill High School students have embraced the transformative power of the dramatic arts with Parramatta Now.

Their self-devised play about a group of circus clowns who are made redundant and need to find a new career path will be staged at Riverside Theatres next week at the nine-week drama program’s showcase.

Director in residence Ali Kennedy-Scott said the two drama sessions each week had seen students’ confidence grow.

‘‘It’s a great leap of faith for them because they start to learn skills and to get comfortable, using their voices and their bodies, being creative,’’ she said.

‘‘We started with things like being able to step forward and proudly say your name. As the weeks got on everybody could suddenly claim their space, and now they can do that as different characters.

‘‘Drama has an incredible ability to build confidence, self esteem, resilience, determination.

‘‘You set a goal and these kids are achieving that goal. They have an experience of what success looks like, and success on a major scale because the audience will be cheering and clapping for them when they perform.’’

Elena Pavicevic, 15, said the group had worked hard on the play and hoped to see smiles on the faces in the audience.

‘‘It was so much fun,’’ she said.

‘‘We all laughed and learnt how to cooperate and support each other in any possible way. We worked really hard on this.’’

Nathan Dunstan, 14, narrates the play and said the group had learnt a lot of acting and vocal exercises.

‘‘For one of our voice warmups we would say a syllable at different pitches and speeds, and our voice would be a lot clearer, a lot louder,’’ he said.

‘‘It has helped my self confidence when I speak.’’

Cheyenne Patterson, 14, said it was fun for the group to develop unique characters.

‘‘It was fun writing our own lines,’’ she said.

 ‘‘Everyone has their own individual characteristics and personality which makes them unique and different from the other clowns so it kind of makes the play more interesting.’’

Kristian Barlow, 14, said there were challenges to the experience.

‘‘Its nerve-racking,’’ he said.

‘‘You have to go through this mental preparation and think even if you do stuff up on the night you just have to keep going.’’

Other Parramatta Now participants are Merrylands High School, Granville Boys High School, Granville South Creative and Performing Arts High School, and Holroyd High School.

■The showcase is at 7pm on September 9 and 10 at Riverside Theatres, Church Street, Parramatta. 

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