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Workshop 1: Choosing the Story to Tell (on-demand)

Curriculum focus of Drama/Theatre, Music, Humanities and English

Join author and playwright Jane Harrison as she explores the cultural significance of The Visitors and how she came to the decision to tell this story. Students then use Jane’s advice to choose and begin writing their own story and converting this into a libretto (the lyrics) for an opera. The students work can be as short or as long as they like. The challenge is telling a story through song lyrics.

Workshop 2: Music and the Art of Storytelling (on-demand)

Curriculum focus on Music

Composer of The Visitors, Christopher Sainsbury explores techniques he has used to write melodies and ways of manipulating music elements to draw out the meaning of and characters in a story. Using these techniques as a guide student then write melodies to a story of their choice.

Workshop 3: From Page to Stage – 1 (on-demand)

Curriculum focus on Music

Christopher Sainsbury joins us again and takes us through the orchestration process with the aim of encouraging students to choose instruments that enhance the time and space of a story and apply this to the melodies they wrote in workshop 2. Christopher talks through his challenges and offers advice to budding arrangers.

Workshop 4: From Page to Stage – 2 (on-demand)

Curriculum focus of Drama/Theatre and English

In this workshop we meet Lighting Designer, Rachel Burke and Director Isaac Drandic who talk through the decisions they make to bring a story to life on stage. We also meet some of the performers from The Visitors who explain how they make decisions about their characters and how they remember the directions they have been given. At the end of this workshop students are asked to create a mood board and create a simple blocking map for the story they have written in workshop 1, or for a story of their choice.

Performance (on-demand)

Curriculum focus of Drama/Theatre, Music, Humanities and English

The Visitors explores the arrival of the First Fleet from the perspective of the First Nations Elders observing from the shore. Imbued with Aboriginal customs and humour from Muruwari librettist and playwright Jane Harrison, and with music by Dharug composer Christopher Sainsbury, it tells the story of the first days of colonialism and its impacts on the First Peoples.  Through metaphors of birds falling from the sky and changes to the weather, we watch as the Elders question how to respond to ‘the visitors’. Joining us for the first time, Queensland Theatre Associate Artist and Noongar man, Isaac Drandic, will work alongside Victorian Opera’s Head of Music, Phoebe Briggs, as conductor, with a cast assembled from across Australia.

The performance of The Visitors was livestreamed from the Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne on Thursday 19 October 7.30 pm and is available on-demand until 28 June 2024. The performance itself is a great way to enrich the Humanities and English classrooms and doesn’t have to be to be just for extension students in Music and Drama.

Runtime: 60 minutes

Language: Sung in English with Dharug language. With English surtitles and scene descriptors

Year levels: Grade 5 to Year 12

Subjects areas: Music, Drama, Humanities, English

Warnings:  Themes of racial violence, intergenerational trauma and grief, description of a hanging on a convict ship, strobe lighting and some loud noises.

Workshop 5: Discussion and Evaluation (in-person and webinar)

Curriculum focus of Drama/Theatre, Music, Humanities and English

IN 2023, this workshop will be held on Tuesday 14 November at 10.30 am at our headquarters (31 Victoria Street, Melbourne), limit of 30 students. The workshop will also be offered as a live and interactive webinar where students can ask questions about the performance and share the work they created in the workshops.

In 2024, this workshop will occur in Term 2 (date to be confirmed).

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Beyond The Stage

All workshops are free for State Schools, but places are limited.