RIA Platform
 Term Three at Rowville's Institute of the Arts

Director's Report


Daphne Clements – RIA Director


Term three has been another fabulous one for our creative and talented RIA students and has seen an increase in the number of students auditioning for 2017. The term has been filled with excitement and authentic learning experiences with teachers, students and parents working together to achieve the best outcomes for our students.
26 RIA students were members of this year's Victorian State Schools Spectacular (VSSS). The Department of Education and Training's Performing Arts Unit auditioned students from government schools throughout Victoria.  
This year's production showcased over 3000 Victorian government school students in a performance of music, song, dance, circus arts and for the first time magic at Hisense Arena on Saturday 10th September.  
RIA student Tim Mason worked his magic on Seven Network’s The Morning Show. Our Media students worked alongside professionals to assist in the recording and filming of the State’s Schools Spectacular. Other students were the puppeteers for the inflated giant CatBot and featured in the Herald Sun.    

Congratulations to the following VSSS team members:
Media Team: Taylor George, Jamie Earp, Chantel Kokke, Bailey O'Brien
CatBot Team: Elle Abdo, Gisele Kieffer, Anna Morrissey, Jamison Zmood ,Madison Brouwer, Lydia Corkill, Taylah Dietzel
Individual Performers : Tim Mason – Magician ,Daniel Tohill –  Acrobatic Performer, Verity Runje – Principal Dancer, Callum Hawthorne – Principal Vocalist, Nathan Hancock – Backing Vocalist, Joshua Douglas – Ensemble Dancer, Matilda Weaver – Ensemble Dancer / Vocalist, Elisha Blood – Ensemble Dancer, Brooke MacRae – Principal Dancer,
Emily MacRae – Ensemble Dancer, Shariz Roca – Ensemble Dancer, Skye Ladell – Principal Dancer, Kyle O’Brien – Assistant IMAG Director, Fletcher Brown – Lighting Follow spot operator, Broc Calwell – Camera Operator
The College production of Legally Blonde saw a large number of RIA students in lead roles, working as technical and back stage crews, makeup artists, dancers, actors, singers, prop. designers, the media students once again worked alongside professionals hired to film the production.   

Some other highlights have included: 
  • Auditions for RIA 2017 Intake.
  • Zeal Theatre workshopped with our Year 7 – 10 Drama students.
  • Music Gala nights were held at Sooki.  26 Performers for Seniors and 18 for Juniors performing Aussie rock classics.
  • Junior Visual Art students visited ‘The Hut Gallery’ for a Street Art on Canvas exhibition.
  • Years 11 & 12 Media visited ACMI for the Scorsese exhibition.
  • Junior Media spent an afternoon at the Alfred Nicholas gardens photographing.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all students, teachers and staff for your hard work and support of our talented young artists and a very special thank you to parents and guardians for your support of the school and the RIA program.  
Thank-you to the Friends of RIA and Friends of Music for the generosity of your time and fundraising efforts. Finally a huge thank-you  to Susan Thompson (RIA Creative Director) who I work closely with, for your dedication, passion, patience and brilliant organisation skills  evident in the slick Showcases and RIA auditions.    
 I wish you all a safe and enjoyable break and look forward to term four.

Principal's Report  

- with Julie Kennedy   


Rowville Secondary College in 2016 

Can you guess what this is? (Keep reading –the answer is in there somewhere!):

People are born curious. Did you know that preschool children ask their parents an average of 100 questions a day. By year nine, many have stopped asking questions. 

In school, students are often rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question. Which may explain why children who start off asking endless “why” and “what if” questions, gradually ask fewer and fewer questions as they progress through school. 

Curiosity and Powerful Learning 

The focus at Rowville Secondary College in 2016 is designing lessons that ensure young people are great learners and their curiosity is active whenever and wherever they learn. Our goal is for every student to be curious, literate and numerate. Lessons that promote curiosity often start with a great question that taps into students’ interests and experiences. 

A lesson from Alice in Wonderland

What does curiosity look like in the classroom? 



The photograph above is an extreme close up of a bee’s eye. Aren’t the hair follicles surprising!


State Schools Spectacular


A record 26 students from Rowville Secondary College formed part of the team which left thousands dazzled at Hisense Arena on Saturday.   
PHOTO: Knox Leader
Victorian State Schools Spectacular creative director Neill Gladman loved every moment of working with Rowville Secondary College.  
"It was a pleasure and an honour to work with you (RIA creative director, Susan Thompson), your school and your students," Gladman said.  
"To have the kind of support that you give the project is quite extraordinary. Please pass my thanks on to the school administration and to all involved."

From the stage to the editing suite, camera operations to inside the giganticCatBot, the College’s Institute of the Arts students had all bases covered.

The publicity build-up was a showcase in itself, with several of our students taking a walk down Media Street ahead of Saturday’s main event.

Tim Mason, 16, appeared as a special guest on the Seven Network’s The Morning Show, ahead of performing his role as a magician.  Mason worked his magic on national television, spellbinding hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies.


Mason formed part of the College’s team of individual performers, including Daniel Tohill, Verity Runje, Callum Hawthorne, Nathan Hancock, Joshua Douglas, Matilda Weaver, Elisha Blood, Brooke MacRae, Emily MacRae, Shariz Roca, Skye Ladell, Kyle O’Brien, Broc Calwell and Fletcher Brown.

Sisters Brooke and Emily MacRae, ensemble dancers, were always keen on taking to Hisense Arena again having been involved in previous years.

“I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of VSSS last year, because I felt that I grew a lot as a dancer and it allowed me to perform and work with such an amazing group of inspiring people,” Brooke said.

“Being a part of last year’s show encouraged me to want to do it again this year.”

“(VSSS) is an amazing experience, and is such a friendly environment with many friends of same interests and similarities,” Emily said.

Daniel Tohill showcased his background in circus and gymnastics. Appearing in Knox Leader, performing has been a long-standing interest of Tohill’s, with the stage proving to be his element.

“I’ve always loved the stage and everything to do with it,” Tohill told Knox Leader. 
Lydia Corkill, 18, featured in last week’s Herald Sun, and was be part of the puppeteer team operating the six-metre tall, inflatable CatBot.  

Corkill was joined by fellow RSC students Elle Abdo, Gisele Keiffer, Anna Morrissey, Jamison Zmood, Madison Brouwer and Taylah Dietzel in operating the towering feline, with the team rounded out by Coburg Senior High School students. 

And while our performers take the stage, the College’s media team, featuring Taylor George, Jamie Earp, Chantal Kokke and Bailey O’Brien worked feverishly behind the scenes.

The media team had the red carpet rolled out for it for the big day, with Victorian State Schools Spectacular organising an exclusive Rowville edit suite. 
Amongst the 10,000-strong crowd was Year 10’s Broc Calwell, as he enjoyed one of the best seats in the house as a camera operator, likewise Fletcher Brown, who operated a spotlight.  
Gladman is excited to work with Rowville Secondary College again.  
"To know that the students are happy and have achieved great things is the best feeling in the world," he said.  

"Let's do it again!"

Legally Blonde: The Musical

Rowville Secondary College’s production of Legally Blonde: The Musical proved a smashing success, and, like productions of years gone by, raised the benchmark yet again.   

With a number of shows sold out and others near full capacity, lead role Hannah Pierce portrayed quirky Bostonian beautician Paulette Bonafonte in front of a pulsating crowd at a packed Rowville Performing Arts Centre.   

In her fifth and final College production, Legally Blonde: The Musical proved to be a fitting end to her time on stage as a student, in a role Pierce always wanted to play. 

“When I found out it was Legally Blonde, I knew straight away that I wanted to play Paulette,” she said. 

“I’ve always loved doing the productions, and this (was) my first year as a major lead, last year I was the Wardrobe in Beauty & The Beast - I’ve been in production since I was in year eight, and I’m in year 12 now.” 

The College’s Institute of the Arts (RIA) has helped Pierce overcome the nerves of the stage, with various events throughout a typical year in the program building the 17 year-old’s confidence in performing. 

“Since being in RIA, we’ve done Showcase which has helped build my confidence. It was a confidence thing for me, and RIA has helped me do that,” she said. 

“I have a Bostonian accent (in Legally Blonde) which I found really hard at the start – I had to do heaps of research to practice that.”  

Pierce is grateful for the integral role family has played in her life in production, with both parents working hard behind the scenes. 

“My mum and dad are both very involved with it,” she said. 

“Mum helped with all of the costumes and organising things as well, and my dad helped with the sets. It’s really nice to have them involved.” 

Earlier in 2016, an overwhelming realisation dawned on Pierce that the curtain would soon be drawing on her time on stage as a student in the College’s renowned productions.   

With Legally Blonde rounding out five years of hard work, Pierce is keen to help with future shows and pass on the wealth of stage knowledge gained after her time in RIA. 

“At production camp, I was already emotional. I was crying because it was my last one,” she said.
“You pour so much of your heart into it and now it’s over.   

“I’ll obviously come back and help next year but this is the last time performing.” 

For Hannah Pierce, the future holds what she dearly loves – performing arts – as she hopes to go on and study it at tertiary level.    

“I hope to go into some kind of performing arts subject, because it’s just what I love to do and what interests me the most,” she said. 
And as she readies herself for the real world, Pierce cannot be thankful enough for the opportunities granted by Rowville Secondary College and the RIA program.   

“It (was) an amazing opportunity. I’m so grateful to go to this school, be in this program and do what I love.” 


ZEAL Theatre visits RIA
Internationally-renowned touring company ZEAL Theatre visited the College's year 7-10 RIA students this term, performing and engaging in a workshop as part of the incursion.  

Dance and Drama teacher Natalie Torcaso and the students watched as Zeal performed one of their trademark works.   
"ZEAL Theatre performed a play entitled 'Lucky Country' which based on multi-cultural Australia and current global debates on the refugee crisis and the role the media plays in shaping public opinion," Torcaso said. 

"Lucky Country is performed in the trademark Zeal style of physical theatre, multi-character acting and a blend of outrageous comedy and thought-provoking drama.  
"Although the subject matter is quite serious, the tone of the production was a blend of Brechtian narrative, absurdist farce and Commedia dell Arte."  
Torcaso believes the incursion was a resounding success in developing the students' skills. 

"After the performance the actors/creators of the show ran a 3 hour long workshop which concentrated on further developing the students non naturalistic skills such as transformation of character, time and place," she said. 
"The incursion was a huge success."  
Zeal Theatre was founded in 1989 and has created over 45 original productions, with its plays performed in over  30 countries worldwide, including throughout Australia, Europe, North America, Asia, New Zealand and South Africa. 

Kathleen Harding embarks on AGC Euro tour

Rowville Institute of the Arts student Kathleen Harding is set to embark on the Australian Girls Choir European tour.

The three-week tour, from 16 September to 8 October, will visit England, France and Italy, including London, Paris, Rome and Venice, as well as a number of small towns including Villers-Bretonneux in France and Marostica in Italy.

“Kathleen was selected as one of 56 choristers from around Australia, and she is very excited to be touring for three weeks from mid-September,” mother Robyn Harding said.

Performing has been a passion of Kathleen’s for over a decade, having performed at a number of the country’s marquee venues and events, according to Robyn.

“Having been a member of the choir for 11 of her almost 16 years, Kathleen has always loved performing,” she said.

“Some of these performance opportunities have included singing with Hugh Jackman at Rod Laver Arena for five shows during his Boy From Oz Tour in 2015, the Boxing Day cricket test matches at the MCG, along with numerous other high profile and charity events.”

Kathleen, who is currently specialising in Drama at the College’s Institute of the Arts, understands the enormity of the upcoming occasion and the opportunity to represent the Australian Girls Choir internationally.

“For this tour we need to give the best performance in everything we do, to make Australia proud while we are overseas,” she said.

Performances will include several community and public performances throughout Europe, where the girls, ranging from age 14 to 18, will also be involved in musical workshops and choirs with a number of host schools.

Media Specialism 
Lauren Bertacchini - Media Specialism teacher   

Over the course of this term students have been engaging with a range of mediums and using them to create their own works. 

In VCE Media Specialism students have been working to finalise their major productions. Students have developed their concept, designed, planned, produced and edited a major photographic or film production.  
Students have then designed the space and method of presentation for this piece, carefully considering how the audience will engage with their product. Students also had the opportunity to visit the SCORSESE exhibition at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image.  
There they learnt about Martin Scorsese’s artistic process and about the genius in the construction of his films. 

Year 10 Media Specialism students have been learning about the forms of documentary film and about the conventions and nature of social media campaigns.  

They have been testing and improving their production skills by developing a promotional package for the Rowville Sports Academy, and they have carefully planned their content in reference to a brief from the Victorian State Schools Spectacular.
A team of students interviewed students from the National Youth Jazz Academy and Footscray City Primary School at schools and at the Victorian State Schools Spectacular. They will then be developing a series of Facebook promotional pieces for the VSSS and a documentary focusing on music education.

Year 7, 8 and 9 Media Specialism students have been honing their photography and digital editing skills. They have researched photographic composition, shot on-location in the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens in Sherbrooke.
They have strengthened their skills in manipulating the camera for a range of effects. They have used these images to learn about digital editing in Photoshop, and to develop their understanding of how to print and present their works.

Home-stay opportunities 

Providing home-stay accommodation for an international student offers the chance to learn about another culture and build lifelong friendships. 

This is an opportunity for you to join other families who are currently hosting international students at Rowville Secondary College.  Students are typically aged between 15 and 18 years of age and need accommodation ranging from a few months to up to three years.  
In return for accepting a student into your home and family you will be paid a generous weekly amount for your hosting and hospitality. 

Student application enquiries are increasing with interest being shown in all of our programs – in particular VCE, Sports Academy golf and cricket, RIA Dance and Drama and MSA. 

For further information or to register your interest in this unique opportunity, please all Chris Rodier on 9755 4555 or email


Performing Arts Centre Hire

Rowville's Performing Arts Centre is available to hire!

Contact Susan Thompson (Manager) on 9755 4629 or at

The PAC will provide a professional platform to deliver an outstanding result for your next event!

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