The Arts

Junior School

Performing Arts

The arts are a powerful medium through which students can explore their sense of self and develop an understanding of the world around them. Our specialist classes and dedicated Performing Arts teacher at the Junior School works with students from Kindergarten to Year 5, building their awareness of dance, drama and music. The programme is designed to promote enjoyment and engagement as well as skills and understandings in performing arts. The students learn through a range of activities, games, songs and dances.

There are opportunities for students to participate in clubs and showcase performances throughout the year. Participation contributes to the student’s growth as a confident and creative individual. Engagement and learning across the Arts discipline promote critical thinking, problem-solving skills and positive social interactions.

Electives

Our Darlington Campus also hosts a creative Electives Programme giving our students access to a range of activities they would normally only get to experience outside of school. Students can sign up for visual arts and pottery, computing, classical ballet, mixed dance, drama and martial arts classes including Tetsuryu and Taekwon-Do, as well as music lessons in drumming, piano and guitar.

Senior School

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts programme focuses on providing our students with essential skills and knowledge in the artistic disciples of drawing, painting, print making, ceramics and mixed media. Our students are guided to explore their own mindfulness and identity through emersion in the production of works of art. Students and teachers are committed to providing a safe learning environment where our students can have fun, explore feelings, learn new skills, make mistakes and grow. Analysing aesthetics, sensing beauty and the exploration of self expression are vital aspects of each unit.

Student works are showcased at the Helena College Awards and Graduation Night, along with submissions to local and prestigious metropolitan selective exhibitions. ‘Pop-up’ exhibits in the art rooms and library, punctual the school year and afford our students moments to contemplate the artwork of their friends and peers.

Art club runs every lunchtime in the art rooms to facilitate free time for creative play and positive interactions with the Visual Arts Teachers.

Drama

While some students intend to pursue a career in drama and related fields, they also participate in drama for enjoyment and satisfaction. They experience the pleasure that comes from developing personal skills, knowledge and understandings that can be transferred to a range of careers and situations. The Drama course builds confidence, empathy, understanding about human experience, and a sense of identity and belonging.

Senior Drama

Play-building is a natural form of expression in young people and Drama students at Helena College are encouraged to explore their own imagination with confidence. Inclusive of performance, students are explicitly taught to operate the lighting and sound system in the Drama Performance Arts Centre.

 

Year 12 Drama, ATAR is a rigorous culmination of student’s knowledge and practice. Students devise an original solo production for performance at the Drama Showcase in Term Three. Students at Helena prepare for their performances with a range of opportunities across their study, enhancing their resilience and happiness with their achievements. Such experiences include the Whole School Musical, Senior School Production and facilitating younger students in their passion for theatre, in Drama Club.

These all assist in their final WACE practical exam, where students present a scripted monologue, improvisation and interview in their final practical exam.  A written exam assessing student’s critical thinking and analytical skills in the roles as director, designers and actors rounds out their educational experience in the theatre arts.

Devising and Creating: Year 10 Drama is an exciting opportunity for students exploring their performance capacity in front of an audience. Each semester,  students assemble a number of personal choice scripts and monologues and devise a student-driven show. They work independently and collaboratively, learning self-management skills, showing initiative and demonstrating leadership and interpersonal skills. After the first term of improvisation tasks and rehearsal, the Ensemble Night is presented in front of an audience of supportive parents and peers. Helena College Drama students continue their live theatre experience by presenting excerpts from contemporary Australian works and experimenting with costume and set design. 

Middle School Drama

Year 9 Drama allows students to explore re-imagining of existing texts such as Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and performing them, melodramatically, for a younger audience, namely Year 6 students. Students go on to create original choreography for musical theatre numbers and present duo performances using physical theatre techniques for experimental plays. In the unit, students demonstrate their capacity for creative thinking and application in written analysis of unseen and known playscripts in the role of actor and designer.

Units in Year 6 to Year 8 continue to align with the WA Curriculum, whereby students will study such styles as Realism, Ritual theatre and Commedia del’ arte. The enjoyment and freedom of improvisation and playbuilding skills are integral to all lowerschool units of study. 

Music

Music students at Helena enjoy many opportunities to develop their skills and build toward a range of performances within classroom music lessons, ensembles, and concerts on campus and in the community.

Every year we hold Autumn and Spring Concerts with a programme of instrumental and vocal performances across a range of genres, played to live audiences of parents and friends.

We also hold an annual Inter-house Music Carnival with around 50 or more students performing to compete for a place in the finale concert of awardees, with one House named the winner each year.

Music lessons across Years 6 to 9 include learning elements of tempo, dynamics, form, timbre, texture, melody and rhythm. Students will research different instruments and create their own compositions. Our Years 6s learn the ukulele, while Year 7s learn to play the gamelan – a traditional Balinese instrument ensemble. The also explore the works of famous composers such as Beethoven and Stravinsky.

In Years 8 and 9 the ‘Music for Musicians’ programme teaches students to use software to compose, record and produce their own songs and soundtracks – exploring forms of notation, jazz and screen music.

Our instrumental programme is a specialty performance tutorial, with weekly lessons and rehearsals, which again provides musicians with the opportunity to ultimately perform in front of an audience, assisting them to hone their performance skills.  Our ensembles include Senior and Intermediate percussion, Concert Band, Choir, Classical Guitar, Contemporary Guitar, Intermediate and Senior Strings and a Rock band.

In 2021, the Helena College combined Intermediate and Senior String Ensembles and Classical Guitar ensemble and soloists represented the College with pride at the Mundaring Bicentennial Scholarship Trust’s ‘School’s Concert’.

The College Classical Guitar ensemble also performed at the WA Classical Guitar Ensemble Festival at Carine Senior High School. They were awarded an ‘Outstanding’ for the second year in a row, the highest level achievable.

Wakakirri

Each year students in Years 3 to 6 are given the opportunity to participate in Wakakirri, a performance by a group of students that theatrically tells a story using a combination of dancing, creative movement and acting to pre-recorded music. Students rehearse on Wednesday afternoons in Term One and Two before performing in front of a live audience at The Perth Concert Hall in Term Three.

In 2021 our cast of 98 students is performing Reef Rescue, which tells the story of coral bleaching on our Coral Reefs. The story conveys the important message of creating a more energy efficient world, by reducing carbon emissions and minimising the use of fossil fuels. Following their performance at the Perth Concert Hall in August, they were awarded with the ‘Outstanding Environmental Story Award’.

The team was also commended on construction and clarity, overall costume design, overall set design, performance teamwork and its soundtrack mix.
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