Register 2020

DRAMA 2020 … what a year: disruptions, discoveries, developments, decisions. Our senior Drama boys reflected that we provided the “best course” under Covid-19 lockdown. Flattering as that is, we just continued what we have always done, with a mix of theoretical investigation and practical group work, all in the virtual world of the “Zoom breakout drama spaces”. Teachers Robyn Peers, Nikki Bleyendaal and I set work, gave lectures, showed videos, stimulated discussion and dropped into virtual rehearsal spaces offering advice and guidance as boys planned and created their performance pieces. When they returned to school, they hit the ground running. We were thrilled with their resilience, adaptability and commitment to learning. This is nothing new really, as there are always boys who go the extra mile. Since 2004 boys have “dug deep” and again, at the end of 2019, three of our Year 12 students – Dominic Edmond, Jamie Yee and Ben Young – joined Year 13 student Edward Bayliss to prepare and present NZQA Drama Scholarship award-winning performances. The College Drama curriculum is very much an interconnected spiralling staircase where rooms can be revisited and where content builds a student’s understanding of the four key aspects of drama: techniques, conventions and forms, elements, and technologies. From Year 9 to Year 13, the rooms contain experiences with melodrama, clowning, Greek theatre, Brechtian form, Elizabethan form, realism and absurdism. We developed a Drama Masters Progression to challenge our senior students to explore, discover and present the magic of the masters of different drama classics, with specific reference to their historical, sociological, political and literary roots, and to adhere to their presentational style.

Mike Field has named most of these guests in the Agribusiness report, however, I would also like to thank and acknowledge the contribution of Johnny Cochrane, Director and Wealth Management Adviser at Jarden, for his work with our students. This year, Accounting teacher Jennifer Wong reviewed the computer system used at Level 2 accounting and moved to the Xero platform. This enables the boys at Level 2 to learn first-hand how to use Xero – a widely utilised small business platform – to successfully complete accounts. It also develops the importance of knowing the manual processing skills developed at Level 1 to recognise errors and to correctly interpret system outputs. Additionally, this year we were fortunate to have some staff professional development from the University of Canterbury looking at the changing nature of accounting. The overarching message was that skills learnt and developed in accounting as a subject are still relevant and valuable, but it is the service provided to clients at the other end that is changing. With the continued success and growth of Commerce, I am delighted to announce Neil Porter will continue as part of the team in 2021, and we will welcome a new teacher –Robbie Turrell – who joins us from Onslow College, Wellington. Originally from the UK, Robbie is an experienced Commerce teacher and will be teaching Agribusiness and Economics. Thank you to all members of the Commerce department – Graeme Christey, William Bell, Jennifer Wong, Mike Field, Nicole Billante and Neil Porter – for a fantastic year. Your dedication, support and collegiality has been very much appreciated. Thank you, too, to the students and parents who have been part of and supported us throughout 2020.

Always up for a challenge, we have increased the number of performances for parents and

friends, thereby raising the stakes and providing an extra degree of urgency and importance to the boys’ presentations. So, on separate performance nights in the middle of the year, the Year 11 classes presented extracts from Mervyn Thompson’s Children of the Poor in a Brechtian presentational style, before reviving the work of Term 1 and performing Ride A Cock Horse to an appreciative audience; the Year 12 class presented monologues and duologues from Shakespeare’s Othello; and the senior boys tackled short scenes from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot . The joy of drama is that boys get to explore and refine ideas to create something of meaning to them. Sometimes it is a bit trite, other times it is a tongue-in-cheek challenge, and sometimes it is profoundly astounding. Parents were able to share the diversity of themes, variations and talents that make up the Dare to be Remarkable devising challenge. It was rewarding to see Year 12 students Jamie Barr, Oliver Hlavac, Monty Hamilton and Charles Lord extending the physical theatre motifs they were introduced to in 2019 by the Court Theatre educators, who workshopped our boys thanks to the generosity of the Rolleston Family Trust.

Katie Southworth HoD Commerce


Christ’s College Canterbury

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