Newtown High School of the Performing Arts offers the opportunity for all students to be involved in the extensive co-curricular program.
The Co-Curricular Program is the name given to all Dance, Drama, Music and Technical companies and ensembles that run at the school. Entry to these companies is by audition during the first few weeks of Term 1.
To gain entry into the co-curricular program all students may audition regardless of their mode of entry. It is a mandatory requirement for students who enrolled via audition to participate in these auditions.
Companies and Ensembles
Each Performing Arts discipline has a different definition for a ‘company’ or an ‘ensemble’.
Drama refers to all groups as ‘Companies’ which are usually named after the director.
Music refers to all groups as either ‘Ensembles’ for large groups or ‘Chamber Ensembles’ for smaller groups.
Dance and Classical Ballet Company members are required to attend two additional training classes per week: Tuesday Ballet Sport (during school sport time) and Thursday Masterclass (2.45-4pm after school). Dance Ensemble members attend Ballet Sport as a training requirement and Masterclass is an optional additional training opportunity.
There are major performance opportunities during the year.
Additional performance opportunities may occur throughout the year depending on the type of company/ensemble required for various occasions.
All students MUST PAY their company/ensemble fees (and associated Ballet Sport and Masterclass fees if in Dance) immediately following their acceptance into a company/ensemble.
An updated list of students who have paid their fees is provided to each of the Performing Arts Faculties which completes acceptance/enrolment into the co-curricular program. Non-payment of these fees will result in students being replaced as members of these companies/ensembles.
Frequently Asked Questions
When are the auditions?
Auditions will take place in Weeks 2 to 4 of Term 1. An audition timetable is attached at the back of this document as well as on the school website.
Can I audition for more than one PA discipline?
Yes. There is no restriction on auditioning for more than one discipline.
What do I need to prepare for the audition?
Specific requirements for each discipline are detailed in the information attached.
What ability level do I need to audition?
The best policy is to ‘give it a go’. If you are unsure of any specific criteria or audition information please see the Head Teachers, PA staff as listed below:
Belinda Scanlan (Dance)
Daniel Kavanagh (Drama)
Ynping Mak (Music)
Benjamin Turner (Technical Company)
Gillian O'Connor (Film Production Company)
What cost is involved if I am successful?
Students who are successful applicants for the co-curricular program are required to pay the annual fee of $260.00 for Dance, Music and Film Company. The fee of $260 is applicable even if in more than one company or ensemble within the same discipline. Dance companies and ensembles will also be required to pay extra tuition and an annual costume fee.
What will my commitment level be if I am successful at my audition?
It is essential that you attend all rehearsals and performance commitments - both weekday and weekends (when necessary). If there are absences that are unexplained or constant, your place in the ensemble/company will be jeopardised as will further consideration for a position in future performance companies. You will also need to complete and sign a Company/Ensemble Contract outlining your commitment as well as your co-curricular payment(s) being received prior to commencement of rehearsals. This is to ensure the continual high standard of commitment and training that NHSPA is known for.
How do I know I have been accepted into an Ensemble/Company?
The finalisation of the auditions will take a few weeks. All candidates will be notified of their acceptance or non-acceptance by individual faculties.
What happens if I am unsuccessful?
Written and verbal feedback will be available to all students after the audition process and is provided by a member of the audition panel. It is expected that students who are not successful will accept the challenge to improve their craft by continuing to work at their personal best in school.
When do rehearsals take place?
Music Ensembles rehearse before school at 7:30am and in the afternoons from 3:30 to 4:30pm. Drama and Dance rehearse in the afternoon from 3:30 to 5:30pm. Closer to performances additional weekday and/or weekend rehearsals (particularly in Drama) may be required.
Do I need to reaudition each year?
Yes. All students need to re audition for their place in the co-curricular program each year.
Dance Companies and Ensembles represent the School at major International, State, regional and local dance festivals, prestigious public performances and the school concerts.
Classical Ballet Companies provide students with a particular interest and ability in classical ballet as well as offer the opportunity to engage in further performance experience. Members of the Classical Ballet Companies are required to meet the same general criteria for selection as members of the Dance Companies including attending TWO additional training classes a week.
All Year 7 Dance audition, and are given a place in the Year 7 Performance Group and will be rehearsing on Wednesday afternoons from 3.30-5.30pm. This is the set rehearsal time for Year 7 dancers as we know you have many commitments outside of school.
All Year 7 Dance auditioned students are invited to audition for a place in the Junior Classical Ballet Company and if successful rehearsals will be on a Tuesday afternoon 3.30-5.30pm. Not all dancers will be successful in gaining a place in the Junior Classical Ballet Company.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR DANCE AUDITIONS
When and where will the auditions be?
Auditions will take place during Weeks 3 and 4 of Term 1, 2023. These auditions will be held in the Dance Department, after school from 3.30-5.30pm.
What do I need to prepare?
You do not need to prepare anything for the dance or classical ballet audition. For each audition you will learn a small piece of choreography and perform it in small groups. The Junior Classical Ballet audition may involve some ballet class exercises and choreography.
What is the selection criteria for the audition?
The audition panel and dance staff will consider technique, performance quality, work skills and commitment when making their decision.
What do I wear to the audition?
Suitable dancewear for girls consists of plain (colour and style) leotards, tights and bare feet (Ballet/Pointe shoes where appropriate). Suitable dancewear for boys consists of tights and a form fitting T-Shirt or leotard. Clothing which restricts or covers movement is unacceptable. No jewellery.
What is the next step after the auditions?
You will be given written feedback on your audition and notified whether or not you are successful in being placed in a company or ensemble. You must then pay fees before rehearsals commence.
About our Drama Companies
There are 16 – 20 Drama Companies that operate per year and students perform as part of the school’s performance season. Companies are mostly organised by similar age ranges – Junior and Senior groupings.
Senior Companies run for Semester 1 and will perform as part of the Drama Showcase season in Term 2.
Junior Companies (Year 7 and 8) will run for the full year and perform as part of the Semester 2 Showcase Concerts with other performances throughout the year as requested.
The fee structure will change for Junior Companies as Year 7 and 8 students will be $260 for the year. (Years 9,10 and 11 will stay at $130 per Semester.
The audition process for Drama Companies will take the form of a workshop where students will be asked to collaborate and create devised work based on a variety of stimuli. The Drama staff will be looking for students with an ability to problem solve and think creatively, ability to collaborate effectively, and demonstrate exemplary performance skills through a range of performance tasks.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR DRAMA AUDITIONS
When and where will the auditions be?
Auditions will take place during Weeks 3 and 4 of Term 1 2023 and again in Term 2 for Semester 2, 2023. These auditions will be held in the Drama Department after school from 3.30-5.30pm as shown on the attached schedule.
What is the selection criteria for the audition?
The criteria for a good performance are as follows:
Clear Performance Skills – vocally and physically
Effective Characterisation – belief and conviction
Staging Choices and effective use of space
About our Music Groups
Music auditions are held in instrumental groups across all years; for example violinists from Years 7 to 12 will audition on the same day. For all music auditions, students will perform in front of the audition panel (usually two people) and other students of that instrument.
Selection criteria for the audition
The Music staff will consider the following in selecting and placing students within ensembles:
Technical facility including intonation, rhythmic accuracy and general technical ability
Dynamics and Expressive Techniques including phrasing and articulation
Stylistic understanding appropriate to the piece performed
The panel will also consider year group, balance of Ensembles and prior commitment to Ensemble (where appropriate).
Music Ensembles within the school
Orchestra, Symphonic Wind, Junior String Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, Concert Band, Junior, Intermediate and Senior Choirs.
Students must be a member of a large ensemble to be considered for selection into smaller chamber ensembles. These smaller ensembles include Extension Junior, Intermediate and Senior Choirs, String, Wind, Sax Quartets, Guitar, Junior Jazz Band, Senior Jazz Band, Senior String Ensemble and Senior Percussion Ensemble. Rock ensemble(s) will be formed on a project basis rather than a regular ensemble format.
Frequently Asked Questions for Music
When and where will the auditions be held?
Auditions will take place during Weeks 2 - 4 of Term 1 2021 and held in the Music Department after school from 3.30-5.00pm. Refer to the attached timetable for dates and times.
What do I need to prepare?
You will not need to prepare any material for the Vocal Audition as you will be taught a song and perform it in small groups and/or individually.
Instrumental Auditions - Woodwind, Brass and Strings including Guitars
You will need to prepare a 2 minute piece of music in a scale of their choice.
Wind and Brass auditions will require you to attempt a short unprepared sight-reading.
You are required to prepare a short piece in the style of your choice.
Please note that the number of places using keyboard/piano in ensembles are limited. Therefore you are encouraged to audition for voice, percussion or on another instrument.
If you are interested in auditing for WOMP (Weapons of Mass Percussion) you are not required to prepare anything as you will be taught several patterns in the ensemble.
Percussion and Drum Kit
You will need to prepare a short piece and may also be required to demonstrate different drumming patterns.
The Film Production Company
The Film Production Company will work as a team to plan, film and edit short film/s during the year. Themes and genres will be chosen depending on student and teacher interests as well as level of expertise. Students will work towards various film festivals throughout the year and screening of their work will be during Performance Seasons at school.
The Film Production Company is open to students in Years 7 to 10. An application form can be collected from the Visual Arts staffroom and must be submitted by 3.30pm on Monday 17 February 2023.
Selection criteria for the Film Production Company
Students are required to produce a short film (1-2 mins) that demonstrates their interest and skill in various aspects of film production.
Technical Company, under the direction of the Technical Director Mr Benjamin Turner, organises the production aspects for all school events throughout the year.
The Company is open to students from Years 8 to 12. Interested students can apply on Monday 13 February at 3.30 - 5:15pm in the Studio Theatre.
Selection criteria for Technical Company
Students will complete a written assessment and perform a series of basic tasks designed to demonstrate their current knowledge of/ability in technical production.