A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Marion, South Australia
Early Learning to Year 12

Performing Arts

Westminster has a fine tradition in the performing arts and regularly holds concerts and musical events, and both large and smaller scale dance and drama productions.

Students are involved in Music, Drama, and Dance from Preparatory School level, and can continue to develop these skills throughout their Senior School years.

Students can explore all facets of production, including performance, set design, publicity, photography, costumes, make-up, lighting, and sound.

Our Michael Murray Centre for the Performing Arts is one of South Australia’s largest performance venues. It features an 800 seat concert hall, adjoining 200 seat intimate theatre, and modern facilities for contemporary music, drama, dance, workshops and seminars. It includes a music rehearsal studio, drama studio, keyboard and composition laboratory, and numerous music practice rooms. A separate, purpose-built dance studio is home to our growing number of dance students, giving Westminster the largest cohort of dancers undertaking both curricular and co-curricular dance.

Dance

Westminster offers Dance as part of the curriculum from Years 7 to 12 (including SACE Dance at Stage 1 and 2). Dance is also a popular co-curricular activity from Years 2 to 12, and performances occur regularly as part of this professional Performing Arts program. Students are trained by highly qualified and experienced dance teachers, in a variety of dance genre. Classes are held in the David Jarman Room, which is a large purpose-built dance studio, equipped with ballet barres, mirror, special dance flooring, and video facility.

Our Dance curriculum includes studies in Contemporary Dance, Improvisation, Composition, Performance, Body Conditioning, and Dance Theory and Analysis. Our co-curricular Dance program consists of classes in Commercial Dance, Ballet, Acrobatics, Aerial Silks, Coaching, Indigenous Contemporary and Creative Dance.

Students at all year levels have training in a variety of dance techniques, and have the opportunity to perform throughout the year in the highly equipped Michael Murray Centre. Students also create their own dance through learning skills in composition and choreography. Dance theory and analysis is a component of the program, to provide a deeper insight into the arts and culture.

Dance production (lighting, design, costume, creating soundscape, stage make-up etc.), safe dance practice, injury prevention and the research of dance in Australia and globally are studied throughout the senior years.

Live dance theatre performances by recognised Dance Companies are organised for students to attend off site to broaden their dance knowledge and experience.

There are 15 Co-curricular dance classes across the Preparatory and Senior Schools, and a vertically grouped Dance Collective company meet each week to create innovative and challenging dance material. Entry to the Collective is by audition.

A triennial dance tour to attend the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival in Beckett MA and study Dance in New York is an opportunity provided for further training and development in Dance.

Both male and female students are involved in Dance over 10 year levels at Westminster School.

Drama

Drama at Westminster School continues to grow from strength to strength in the development of the culture of surrounding learning in Drama. This worthwhile cultural tradition has developed, and continues to develop, with a learning program built around the work of four significant practitioners, our ‘Four Pillars’: Stanislavski, Laban, Bogart, and Armstrong. These Four Pillars are built upon to enrich and extend students practical skills acquisition, theoretical learning, and critical analysis from Years 8 to 12.

Subsequently, Westminster Drama students are well equipped to meet the challenges presented by our continuing tradition of staging significant and challenging theatrical works.

Two pathways which often intersect are available in Drama.

  • Students wishing to explore an interest in performance at an interest level only may audition for the co-curricular Year 8 to 10 Junior Play or the School Musical.
  • Students who wish to extend their knowledge, understanding and performance abilities to a greater extent, are encouraged to undertake studies in the course offered within the curriculum. Students may elect to study Drama sequentially from Year 8 right through to Year 12, or in Semester modules until Year 10.

These students are offered a number of smaller performance opportunities during their studies from Years 8 to 10, and significant performance opportunities as part of the SACE Stage 1 and 2 courses. Year 8 to 10 Drama students are strongly encouraged to audition for the co-curricular Junior Play, while the SACE Stage 1 Drama students provide backstage and technical support as part of their studies.

SACE Stage 1 and 2 Drama students are required by the curriculum to participate in productions for which they are awarded SACE grades.

In both curricular and co- curricular Drama there is scope for students to be actively involved in all facets of a production, including performance, technical (lighting, sound), backstage, set design, set painting, publicity, photography, costumes, and make-up.

Year 8 and 9 students are lucky to receive training in Stage Combat under the guidance of internationally recognised and experienced instructors, a short course which instils self-discipline, a disciplined approach to a creative task, ensemble work, attention to detail, spatial awareness, and choreographic and communication skills.

Year 10 Drama students enjoy tuition by former Cirque du Soleil performers and qualified trainers in basic acrobatics, counter balance, and other circus and physical theatre skills. Once again, this tuition instils self-discipline, a disciplined approach to a creative task, ensemble work, attention to detail, spatial awareness, and choreographic and communication skills.

Ultimately, these skills, along with the acquisition of skills from the four theoretical pillars, result in exceptional students in SACE Stage 1 and 2 Drama.

At a co-curricular level, the School runs an ongoing series of workshops in Technical Theatre, often in our renowned Michael Murray Centre, which provides excellent off-stage learning experiences for all our Performing Arts students.

Drama at Westminster School offers students a thriving, supportive culture, which transcends year levels in encouraging students to work together in the Year 8 to 10 Production.

Music

Students are encouraged to participate in a comprehensive program of musical activities, both curricular and co-curricular.

Students who do not wish to study music as a formal subject have the opportunity to learn an instrument or voice and receive tuition through the School. The School’s Music Department supports tuition in a full range of instrumental and vocal music and encourages students to perform publicly. Liturgical music is also prepared for liturgical celebrations.

Westminster School has excellent facilities for music. The music suite incorporates a large rehearsal area, a Preparatory School music room, a computer/keyboard laboratory, an instrument storeroom, offices and individual tuition rooms. The Michael Murray Centre is an outstanding facility, providing an opportunity for students to perform to large audiences. While recognizing a good need for balance, performance is given a high priority in the student’s musical development.

The value of such experiences outside the curriculum has been highlighted during performances in and around Adelaide, as well as interstate and overseas. Westminster Music Tours provide great experiences and outcomes, from building friendships and encouraging teamwork to appreciating different cultures and their enjoyment of music. Such performances extend the repertoire and experience of our musicians and provide an invaluable opportunity to excel.

Performance Groups

Big Band 1Preparatory School Junior Choir
Big Band 2Preparatory School Canto Choir
Big Band 3Preparatory School Chapel Choir
Senior Concert BandPreparatory School Concert Band
Senior OrchestraPreparatory School Flute Ensemble
Senior Vocal EnsemblePreparatory School String Ensemble
Senior Jazz EnsemblePreparatory School Year 3/4 String Ensemble
Vocal JazzPreparatory School Rhythm Section
Vocal Jazz 2Preparatory School Vox Pops
Senior Rock BandPreparatory School Guitar Ensemble
Senior String Ensemble
Senior Percussion Ensemble