Aboriginal performance art
Learn how a school used performance art to inspire over 100 pupils, develop their skills and confidence, and support talented pupils as part of a whole-group approach.
This success story describes an arts project involving Creative Partnerships and a school. With the help of an Aboriginal artist and performer, together with other professional artists, were were able to stimulate and inspire exceptionally talented pupils in the arts to create their own drama performance. The project was jointly conceived and planned by the arts staff and Creative Partnerships representatives.
The main aim of the project was to develop skills and confidence. The pupils used colour and design to express their own thoughts and feelings, as well as influences from Aboriginal performance. In drama/expressive arts the aim was to empower pupils with creative and performance skills, to enable them to produce a unique piece of theatre.
The initiative involved an introductory day on the arts, followed by a subsequent series of activities leading to a production. The project began with an Aboriginal artist and storyteller, who performed for the whole group at an introductory session. He used two one-hour sessions to instruct and inspire over a hundred students. During the remainder of the school day, students worked within their chosen art forms. They attended a series of workshops that gave them the opportunity to work in textiles, mask-making, music, art, dance and drama.
The decision was made to set the play in two time periods: the mystical period of the original folk tale and the 18th century when the European settlers first encountered the Aborigines. The drama explored the relationship between an Aboriginal boy and the Governor's daughter.
We have created the characters of Joe and Hannah. I enjoyed improvising their first meeting. said one pupil.
This project was very successful, with a format that worked well for the school and the pupils. We are determined to undertake a repeat project, using what has been learnt to make it even more successful. The pupils were genuinely inspired by working with the Aboriginal artists. They responded very positively to the presenter's ideals, philosophy and knowledge.
I loved (his) stories. said one pupil, demonstrating that he obviously captivated and inspired them.