Collaboration, not magic, is the key to keeping our environment clean according to a play written and performed by Sydney Catholic Schools drama students.
‘Let’s Not Waste Away’ was performed by Sydney Catholic Schools’ Creative and Performing Arts (CaSPA) Junior Theatreworks group for students in Year 5 and 6 at eight primary and secondary schools across Sydney in four days. Their audience was of students in years 5 to 8, mirroring the grades and ages of the performers.
St Gertrude’s Catholic Primary School Smithfield Year 6 students Emiliano Sanchez and Gabriel Esposito were part of the cast of 10 students from a range of Sydney Catholic schools and performed for their classmates on 31 August.
They gained the parts from an ensemble of about 40 drama performers through an audition process, designed to expose performing arts students to industry standards.
You get a feel for … what it is like to perform in front of different people.
Drama tutor and director of the play Georgia Andreacchio wrote the script with five students who are part of CaSPA’s senior Drama ensemble.
The play is set in a regional town facing health problems, food shortages and poor school attendance because the town’s waterways are contaminated by rubbish.
Emiliano said the play included tips to reduce the number of plastic bags people use. He has also taken the knowledge gained through drama program on board for the performances.
“You get to tour schools and that is fun because you get a feel for other schools and what it is like to perform in front of different people,” Emiliano said.
“They taught us to research a character. As a townsperson we would make up a name and a profession to help get into the head of our character. The trick to memorising your lines is to learn your lines and then get the script away, because it gives you a challenge to try and remember.”
Gabriel said being part of the Junior Theatre Works performance was fun, and a chance to make new friends and learn something new.
“Once I performed it I could see how it was a good play,” he said.
“We did some work before this on sustainability in Science, and covered how we should use renewable energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal heat, and hydroelectricity.
“To prepare for the play I would have my script in front of me and read my lines while my brother was making faces and doing funny stuff. The aim of that was to try not to laugh and to keep a straight face and stay in character.”
The characters of a young boy and a wizard help illustrate the play’s key message – that there is no magic solution for pollution, and that group and individual effort – to recycle and dispose of rubbish responsibly – is the only thing that will reduce human impact on the environment.
Principal Linda O’Regan said the play reinforced the ways St Gertrude’s students show care for the environment.
Their school-wide Positive Behaviours for Learning ask students in Kindergarten to Year 6 to behave ways that are respectful, responsible and safe.
“In every area of the school we teach the children the skills around what that means,” Mrs O’Regan said.
“Those ideas of being respectful and responsible are seen in students’ behavior towards each other and towards the environment. They care about the environment and look after it.
“To be responsible at the canteen we place our rubbish in the bin. We turn the taps off in the bathrooms. Those behaviours are part of looking after our environment and water usage.”
Schools that saw the performance of ‘Let’s Not Waste Away’:
- St Martha’s Catholic Primary Strathfield
- De La Salle Catholic College Ashfield
- Marcellin College Randwick
- St Agnes’ Primary Matraville
- All Saints Catholic College Liverpool
- St Gertrude’s Primary Smithfield
- St John Bosco College Engadine
CaSPA’s Senior Theatreworks, Danceworks and Voiceworks ensembles also performed for Sydney Catholic school audiences in August.