Students keen to leap into the spotlight can now tap into their passions at Sydney’s first comprehensive Catholic performing arts high school.
Starting from next year Sydney Catholic Schools’ (SCS) Southern Cross Catholic College at Burwood will offer full-time courses for students in Years 9 to 12 seeking a specialised education in the performing arts.
Courses are in Dance (Classical or Contemporary), Drama, Music – Instrumental (Classical or Contemporary), Music – Voice (Classical or Contemporary), and Music Theatre – Singing, Dancing and Acting.
This will be in addition to the popular part-time ViVA! and CaSPA performing arts programs that will continue to be offered to all SCS secondary students at the college, located in Inner Western Sydney.
“The Certificate course is aimed at triple threat performers, who can sing, dance and act” – SCS’ Specialist in the Creative and Performing Arts, Eva Spata
The college will also open its doors to Year 9 and 10 students for the first time in 2021.
“As part of our repositioning we have dropped the ‘Vocational’ out of Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College but only to better reflect who we are: a Catholic college where students of all abilities can shine brightly, whether they are born to dance or to ply their trade,” principal Tony Patton said.
“I couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of nurturing and training the young performers of tomorrow, alongside students completing our outstanding full-time occupational training programs and apprenticeships.”
The college is expected to grow by more than 200 students with the addition of the full-time performing arts cohort, Mr Patton said.
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Welcoming the changes, SCS’ specialist in the creative and performing arts, Eva Spata, said Southern Cross is the perfect place for students looking to be taught by dynamic, energetic and experienced teachers – and mentored by the on-site Sydney Archdiocesan Arts Team.
“Surrounding primary and secondary schools, including private ones, book out our auditorium for full-scale productions because of the professional state-of-the-art facilities and recording studio,” Ms Spata said.
Sydney Catholic Schools’ specialist in the creative and performing arts, Eva Spata. Photo: Kitty Beale
“We have two highly sought-after technical operations specialists on staff, who are able to support productions, recording and live streaming, and our students are fortunate to have professional connections, from whom they can learn and develop their skills.”
She cited as an example Chris King, associate musical director of Aladdin and Wicked and musical director of Cats the Musical, all of which toured Australia and New Zealand.
Mr King accompanied the college’s ViVA! students during their 2020 HSC exams and assessments.
Of this cohort, two students – Zoe Stragalinos (Music 1) and Adam Adov (Music 2 and Music Extension) – have been nominated for the NSW Education Standard Authority’s (NESA) annual concert of exemplary HSC performances and compositions, Encore.
Adam has also been pre-accepted into Boston Conservatory’s Bachelor of Music – Piano Performance program.
“I couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of nurturing and training the young performers of tomorrow, alongside students completing our outstanding full-time occupational training programs and apprenticeships” – Principal, Tony Patton
“It is no secret that learning an instrument and playing in an ensemble strengthens the neural pathways in the brain and improves executive function,” Ms Spata said.
“Singing, dancing and acting builds confidence, improves overall wellbeing and encourages students to be ‘comfortable with the uncomfortable’, helping students to become better learners overall as they continually strive to improve and refine their work.”
The college’s 2021 full-time performing arts program will include the NESA board developed Music, Dance and Drama courses (all levels), as well as a Certificate III in Community Dance, Theatre and Events.
“The Certificate course is aimed at triple threat performers, who can sing, dance and act,” Ms Spata said.
Students will perform in a major production every year and have the option to take part in co-curricular offerings such as CaSPA ensembles onsite, songwriting, dance, drama and singing ensembles, and a newly-formed chamber orchestra.
“Each week, students are mentored by industry professionals in masterclasses where they are able to refine their technical and performance skills, culminating in weekly performances and opportunities for feedback,” Ms Spata said.
Over the next five years, she envisions even more courses will be offered, the introduction of a Sydney Catholic Schools Eisteddfod, a musical, and performing arts teacher conferences.
Southern Cross Catholic College (SCCC) is enrolling now. See SCCC to enrol your child and to start their creative learning journey.