Theatre artists are an essential part of any society, as they reflect and comment upon that society in the most fundamental ways
Theatre is an art form that brings people together to celebrate, challenge and provoke through the telling of stories. Theatre is both an escape and a moment of intersection between people. It is a process of transformation where human experience becomes the unique moment that constitutes dramatic performance.
The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School recognizes the importance of theatre artists and of their role within society. It is committed to the nurturing and development of talented and educated students who can effectively and creatively enrich our lives.
In pursuing the goals of developing the theatre arts and artists, the school believes that it must educate and produce graduates who are willing and ready to pursue the option of developing a career in the theatre arts regardless of social and economic circumstances.
The theatre arts course provides an intensive two-year program that guides and mentor’s students, providing them with access to actors, theatre makers and associated industry professionals.
The vocational training is to be taught within a broad educational framework, which encourages and enables students to engage in an informed and meaningful way with a rapidly changing world.
The school seeks to recognize, develop and foster the unique talent of each student.
The Theatre Arts extension Program was established for Year 11 and 12 students to provide focused and concentrated opportunities for them to learn about the theatre arts within a community of like-minded peers. The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School is located in the heart of Melbourne’s Arts Precinct and is a short walk from Melbourne’s most significant performing arts and cultural organizations.
One to one teaching is a key part of the Theatre Arts Program. Small class sizes in Years 11 and 12 ensure students have opportunities to learn about theatre art practices that encourage ambitious and exciting outcomes.
An essential part of the Theatre Arts Program is the chance for students to undertake broad experiences. Regular performances and learning throughout the year attribute to the powerful and rapid development of each student’s art practice. These opportunities seek to support them in developing their professional approach to presenting their work and understanding the stages of theatre design and development.
Partnerships with key cultural organizations alongside the promotion of student engagement with the wider arts community is integral to student learning within the Theatre Arts Program. Students visit performances spaces weekly to develop an expanded understanding of contemporary art practices and historical traditions in art.
A full Academic Program in addition to the Theatre Arts extension Program ensures each student achieves a comprehensive VCE education.
THEATRE ARTS FACULTY
CHRIS BUTTON HEAD OF THEATRE ARTS
Chris Button has been teaching in Victorian state schools for more than thirty years. Having attended ANU and Victoria College (Rusden) where he completed a B.Ed (Language and Literature), Chris taught in schools located in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. From the 1990s onward Chris’s focus shifted towards arts education, establishing Drama and Theatre courses in two schools. Prior to taking up his position at VCASS, Chris was leading teacher responsible for the performing arts at Mill Park secondary college. During this period, Chris was Victorian co-ordinator of the National Youth Shakespeare Festival and in 2003 he was recognized by the Globe Centre Australia (Sydney University) as an outstanding teacher of Shakespeare in performance.
Chris has performed with a number of independent acting companies, taught acting and stagecraft with the Actor’s Showcase theatre school and completed studies in direction, sound engineering and lighting design and operation. Chris has worked as a musician and accompanist and still works regularly as a stage manager for both theatrical and dance performance.
Chris is currently senior Literature teacher and Head of Theatre Arts, a new course for VCASS developed in collaboration with Goran Banyai and other arts educators and performers.
Mr Goran Banyai is a leading national and international performing arts practitioner and educator.
Mr Banyai has worked as a teacher, curriculum designer, digital filmmaker, director, choreographer, writer and actor. He has worked in state and private schools as well as teaching primary, secondary and tertiary age students across Australia and internationally.
Mr Banyai’s international experience has included working in the United Kingdom as a choreographer and dance specialist for the Springs Dance Company, London as well as acting and movement specialist at the Actor’s Centre, London. In the United States, Mr Banyai has toured and performed his theatre-in-education Commedia show, Commedia Dell O’Zi to students and teachers in California, Texas and New York. His work in the United States also involved taking innovative workshops on Modern Acting, Japanese Kabuki Theatre, Commedia Dell Arte and Musical Theatre at the Academy for New Musical Theatre, Los Angeles as well as for key United States based state and national education associations.
In 1997, Mr Banyai initiated The Australian Theatre School, which provided performing arts education consultation to Australian state-based curriculum authorities and schools through providing professional development for teachers and workshops for schools on a diverse range of acting and theatre styles as well as initiating the introduction new areas of study including Meyerhold’s Biomechanics and Kabuki Theatre. In 2009, Mr Banyai won the Myer Trust, Telematics Grant for research development for an online web-based drama education platform. He has developed strong networks Australia and the United States in both the educator and professional sectors.
He is author of several drama publications and most notably for his multi-award winning book, DramaClass. He has designed, produced and presented a DVD series on world theatre focusing on Commedia Dell Arte and Japanese Kabuki Performance Kata in the classroom, which has been sold successfully to educational institutes across Australia and internationally. He has run several acting specialist workshops for professional actors on traditional and modern theatre performance. In 2011, Mr Banyai won a Master’s research scholarship at the University of Melbourne focusing on Shakespeare in education, which involved researching Professor Jonothan Neelands teaching praxis on Shakespeare, who is a key consultant for the RSC Theatre education program.
In 2016, Mr Banyai is excited about teaching at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School as a Drama teacher and Theatre Arts specialist and is collaborating with Head of Drama, Mr Chris Button on the new dynamic Theatre Arts program.
MUSICAL THEATRE COORDINATOR - TANYA MITFORD
Tanya’s versatility has generated an extensive career with opportunities as a Director, Choreographer, Resident Director/Choreographer, Assistant Director/Choreographer, Dance Captain, Performer, and Musician. She has creatively managed and performed numerous roles in a variety of works including: The Boy from Oz, Billy Elliot, Guys and Dolls, Dusty – The Original Pop Diva, Sam Mendes’ Cabaret, Little Voice, Violet, Anna Karenina, Clinchfield, Ruben Guthrie, The Damned, Fiddler on the Roof, Leader of the Pack, Anything Goes, Sugar, Carousel, High Society, Mack and Mabel, The Boyfriend, Gypsy, Jolson, Company, Baby, Nana, Dancing with the Stars, and The Librarians, as well as children’s entertainment for The Wiggles, Disney, Warner Bros, Bob the Builder and ABC for Kids.
She is also in demand as a Personal Trainer, Adjudicator, Dance and Performance Lecturer with the Victorian College of the Arts Music Theatre Degree, and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts as a Director. Tanya, most recently, choreographed Promises, Promises for The Production Company and directed Into the Woods to critical acclaim in Perth, following her time as the Resident Director/Choreographer/Performer of An Officer and a Gentleman at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney. She recently directed Spring Awakening for Patrick Studios. She became Jazz Coordinator at VCASS in 2014 and Musical Theatre Coordinator in 2016.