The drama and dance winning entries in Sydney Catholic Schools’ Lockdown Arts Festival Family category came with a dose of humour and a telling soundtrack.

A dance by Paul George, Cicily Ponnor and their daughters Gemma and Alexa, who attend St Therese Catholic Primary School Sadleir-Miller, was one of 900 creative works submitted by Sydney Catholic Schools’ students, families and staff during the festival.

Their winning dance was a reenactment of one of the most iconic movie songs, Bee Gees’ “Stayin Alive” from the hugely successful soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever.

Year 4 student at Galilee Catholic Primary School Bondi, Cormac Maher, won the Drama Family Submission category for “I See Red”, which involved his entire family – even the dog!


Mr George said the festival was an opportunity for his family to change the monotonous home routine during lockdown and to lead by example.

“It was a great opportunity to get the kids to focus on each of their creative strengths, challenge themselves and realise that they have potential” – Paul George

“We also felt it was the easiest way to encourage the kids to get involved in some creative activity when we as parents are involved,” he said.

“We’re feeling very grateful and glad that we took the effort to participate.”

Alexa and Gemma took the opportunity to enter multiple categories of the festival, and discovered new skills along the way.

“There was cross pollination in the learning environment thanks to the arts festival,” Mr George said.

“Alexa’s monologue entry was inspired from the learning material that Gemma was handling in her English class at St Therese Primary on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“Gemma is generally a shy girl, so it was great to see her coming out of her shell. She was also motivated to submit entries in Visual Arts, Literature and Drama.

“We discovered she has a talent for Drama. That came as quite a pleasant surprise.”


Winner of the Drama Family category, Cormac Maher, scripted, edited and produced a video to the Split Enz song, “I See Red”, inviting his family to join in the performance over two weekends of filming.

“It was fun to have a break from screens” – Cormac Maher

While it was the first time Cormac had tried his hand at Drama, the Lockdown Arts Festival was also a good outlet for his interest in editing and coding.

“I always thought the song ‘I See Red’ had a story by itself,” Cormac said.

“Writing the script took a while but it was fun to have a break from screens.

“It feels nice [to receive the award] because it took a long time and it was quite frustrating to film again and again and again” – Cormac

The family sourced all the props from home, except for the vivid red wig that appears in the clip.

Cormac’s parents, Rhonda and David, admit the family’s dog was not as on board with the project as its “human talent”, but said filming was a lot of fun.

“It was good for Cormac to do something different and use different technology,” Mrs Maher said.

“We all had a lot of fun. It certainly made me think of how much skill it takes to create something that tells a story – I now look at TV shows and videos and films differently.”