It just never gets old, hearing stories about achievements, connections and life changes that happen following our short courses.
Students at our recent Acting and Playwriting classes have fleshed out their short course experience through involvement at Crash Test Drama – a regular event in Darlinghurst where writers can see their work performed by actors practicing their skills.
Pete Malicki, who teaches a range of courses for SCC – including Acting for Beginners, Writing Short Plays and Creative Industries Business Skills – has run this artist development program for ten years. Original short plays are submitted, with actors given just 90 minutes to rehearse before performing live. It’s an opportunity for writers to test what’s working, while performers stretch their skills in learning lines and interpreting the drama in a very limited time. “It’s great for developing audition skills”, says Pete.
September’s event saw five students for Sydney Community College join in after completing one of our courses.
Law student Ta-seen Monzoor was in the winning play on the night, the audience’s choice to go through to finals in December. A full time uni student, Ta-seen signed up to learn acting “just for fun” on the side. “It’s a good break from studying,” she says. It uses a different way of thinking.” It’s a practice she says she’ll take into the future, to balance creative activities alongside her working life.
Like Ta-seen, IT professional Raef Kandil also took up acting as a creative side pursuit. “I was looking for something to enhance my confidence and push me towards a management role”, he says. But Acting for Beginners 1 led to the level 2 course as well for Raef, when a friendship group formed among the students and they signed up to continue learning. He doesn’t want to be a professional actor, he says, “I’m just exploring. But it’s taken me outside my comfort zone and given me a lot more confidence”.
Actor Lorraine Toweel attended Short Playwriting at SCC. Also taught by Pete Malicki (who’s penned an impressive number of one-act plays as featured in Short & Sweet Festival – but that’s another story), the practical writing course gets students working on single-act and short plays. While Lorraine got to experience her words come to life on stage, her piece “King Kuddlies” took out the Playwright’s Encouragement Award on the night. As acting experience enriches her writing, so writing plays adds skills and understanding to her work as an actor.
Whatever the reason for signing up for a short course – be it a career goal or curiosity, boredom or a need for social contact – a learning experience can take you beyond what you had in mind, and off in a new direction.