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Students from Kent Street SHS Take in Tim Winton’s Shrine


On Wednesday, 11 September, thirty English and Drama students from Kent Street Senior High School took time out from the classroom to take in the latest play offering from Black Swan State Theatre Company.

The invited group experienced the local production of Shrine by Tim Winton, performed at the Heath Ledger State Theatre, after being awarded the excursion by WA property group Hawaiian, owner of The Park Centre, as part of the Hawaiian Alive program. For some in the student group, it was their first visit ever to a theatre or to see a play.

English teacher from Kent Street SHS, Karen Meloncelli said that “Shrine was a performance that offered a lot of thought provoking ideas, not only for teenagers, without moralising. It encouraged the audience to consider the consequences of driving when angry, how alcohol can have a dramatic influence on behaviour and the cruelty of judging others based on preconceived ideas. Although John Howard is, as expected, a strong presence on stage, the young actors resonated with a teen audience generating a powerful feeling of teenage angst. Overall an entertaining and insightful performance, which I thoroughly enjoyed.”

Shrine, a new play that was incubated through the Black Swan State Theatre’s script development program, sees Tim Winton exploring an issue uncomfortably close to many, the death of young people on wide-open country roads. It delves into the story of the death of Jack Mansfield. Set above the rocky headlands of the South Coast of Western Australia, the play carefully explores many themes that the youth of Western Australia face today, including alcohol abuse, careless driving and drug use, and the impact on a family following what is yet another pointless car crash.

Kent Street SHS student Gracen Woodcock was also thankful for the opportunity given to her class to see a live stage drama, she said. “I thought it was very beneficial to Year 12 students as stage drama is part of our course and it was helpful to see how a real play functions, especially the set and costuming. I thoroughly enjoyed it, being something I would not see often, and I am grateful for the experience.”

While fellow student Alexi Currie found seeing Tim Winton’s play “very helpful as we have just finished an assignment on scripts and their writing. By having the opportunity to see a play it has made stage drama a clearer concept and improved my understanding.”

Following the play the students were given the opportunity to participate in a question and answer forum with the cast of Shrine, including Silver Logie Award winner and legendary actor John Howard.

Hawaiian chief executive officer Russell Gibbs said, “We see it as an important part of the Hawaiian business of giving back into the communities we live and work in, and the Hawaiian Alive program is a great way to do that do this by enhancing the school experience for our young people.”

“We are aware that schools and community groups often have limited resources, so Hawaiian Alive offers groups a range of enriching excursions and activities,” Mr Gibbs said.

Hawaiian Alive were proud to bring this unforgettable theatre experience to the Kent Street SHS students.

To find out more about Hawaiian Alive visit http://www.hawaiianalive.com.au/.