Ever wondered what NSW’s young people are thinking? What makes them tick? What lurks in the depths of their imaginations and what stories they might tell if we give them the chance?
Sharp Short Theatre, Riverside’s annual schools short play competition, is now in its 3rd year of providing a platform to students 18 years and under from all over NSW to showcase their talents and tell their own stories on a professional stage.
As project coordinator and mentor, I am always intrigued by the diversity of the subject matters, the creativity of the directorial choices, the truth of the acting and the strength of the ensembles this competition offers us mere adult mortals who are lucky enough to witness them.
It’s true, participatory projects for young people like this do have so much to offer them and this project is no exception. Sharp Short Theatre gives the participating students the experience of writing, directing and performing their own work in a professional theatre for a paying audience. They get the use of professional artists, theatre technicians and stage managers to provide their expertise and navigate them through the creative opportunities and practicalities of presenting their work in a top quality venue. Those that get selected for the final get the chance to win prizes that aim to expand on that experience, such as play scripts, theatre tickets, workshops and even short internships. This year, we even have a professional playwright on hand to give students feedback on their scripts before they go into production. This is truly a worthwhile experience for any young aspiring playwright, director or performer.
But the part that always surprises people most is what us grown-ups get out of it. As someone both in interested in theatre and making creative opportunities available to young people, as well as someone raising two young people, I get this wonderful insight into young minds. I get to see what is relevant to them, what worries them, what makes them laugh, what they notice about the world and about humanity and, most of all, what incredible insights they are capable of sharing with ME – things I never thought of and could never have dreamed up. And frankly, it’s the highlight of my year.
Program Coordinator – Education, Youth and Families
The winners of Sharp Short Theatre 2017 are as follows:
BEST SCRIPT – The Exhibition – Alexandra Jensen and Sam Hawkins – Hunter School of Performing Arts
BEST GROUP DEVISED WORK – The Winner Bakes it All – Abbotsleigh School for Girls
BEST DIRECTOR – PRIMARY – Mia Trifiro – Hills Drama School for Title Unknown
BEST DIRECTOR – SECONDARY – Sofia Nolan – Hunter School of Performing Arts for I Spy
BEST MALE PERFORMER – Sebastien Thornton-Walker – Hunter School of Performing Arts for I Spy
BEST FEMALE PERFORMER – Madalene Siet – Abbotsleigh School for Girls for The Winner Bakes it All
BEST OVERALL PRODUCTION – Burn – Hunter School of Performing Arts
AUDIENCE PICK – Numberville – Hills Drama School
MENTORS CHOICE – Alex – Hunter School of the Performing Arts AND The Funky Janitor – Rutherford Technology High School