Blaxland High School senior drama ensemble in LightsUP festival

The new senior drama ensemble at Blaxland High School will perform at the regional drama festival, LightsUP, at The Joan in Penrith on Thursday, August 15.

The ensemble is an extra-curricular group of 28 students from years 9-12 from a variety of performance backgrounds.

"Over the past few years we've seen a merging of students' skills across our creative arts faculties," said teacher Thomas Jauncey. "Students come in with a wide range of talent; from voice-works, dance, circus, design, music and theatre. Extra opportunities like the festival allow students to really showcase their abilities on stage."

The piece, titled The Ruby Void, has been composed and directed by students Ruby Masters, Michaela Merkas and Ryan Barbaro.

"What would happen if everyone in the room had your name?" said Ryan. "The Ruby Void explores this question. It utilizes the sides of the stage to create the 'void' from where new Rubys appear and features chaotic scenes of swarming Rubys. We've definitely created a piece unlike any other which pushes the boundaries on how much an ensemble can do with a stage."

This is the second piece in two years that has been successfully auditioned in the festival from the students, who last year formed their own ensemble after finishing their years in the middle years drama ensemble.

This ensemble was started in 2015 by Mr Jauncey and Paula Buttenshaw for students in years 5-8, involving the feeder primary schools. Interest in the group has continued to grow, from initially having only 30 applicants to now more than 80, with a competitive audition process. A wonderful mentoring program has developed as older students who have been part of the group remain to help lead and nurture talent in younger students. The middle years drama ensemble has performed at the LightsUP festival for three of its five years.

The Blaxland High School P&C is a proud supporter of performing arts at the school and has applied for funding through the 'My Community Project' scheme to upgrade the school's performing arts centre which is also used by other community groups.

Successful applications will be decided by online voting which closes on August 15.