In 2018, eP!C Youth Co. was officially launched – and what an epic first year it was.

Perth College’s own youth theatre company saw more than 50 students in Years 7 to 10 attend two workshops per week, participate in showcase performances, form backstage design teams, represent the School at theatre sports competitions, and produce Roald Dahl’s The BFG… all whilst having a whole lot of fun!

The School’s Creative Director, Danny Parker, said the average eP!C session was “noisy, filled with movement and energy – lots of energy!

“The benefits to all of the students who are part of it are clear. They come into a safe space where they can connect with others, build confidence in their own abilities, and do something they enjoy.”

Danny said the feedback from parents had also been positive.

“We are providing a space for our students to ‘do their thing’ in a supportive, yet challenging, and always fun environment,” he said.

eP!C Youth Co. meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

A snapshot of an eP!C 2018

In Term One, the focus was on performance skills, culminating in a short showcase for parents, with students performing an excerpt of ‘Coffee Break’ from the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

“This was a wonderful way to kick off the year and engage the students,” Danny said.

In Term Two, students continued workshopping performance skills. Some Years 8 and 9 company members also took part in a preparation course before representing Perth College at the 2018 Interschools Theatre Sports competition.

The idea for a production of The BFG took flight at the start of Term Three.

Students learned circus skills such as ‘hula hooping’, juggling, acrobatics and aerial skills before exploring the script and the magic of Dahl’s storytelling.

Perth College Theatre Assistant Ian Tregonning was also involved – helping to create puppets as part of the show.

Samanda Sankowsky, the Academic Co-ordinator of Dance and Drama, said working with circus skills, masks and puppetry was an invaluable experience for the young performers.

“They will take these skills with them as they continue their performance journeys both in and out of the classroom,” she said.

Learning circus skills encouraged the girls’ co-ordination, risk-taking and self-discovery and, combined with the collaborative nature of the performance project, the girls became physically stronger and “now also pack a punch with their newfound leadership, friendships and interpersonal talents.”

“With The BFG, the stage space was probably the biggest challenge for both the creative team and cast members,” Samanda said.

“We decided to utilise a traverse theatre stage to allow opportunities for large puppetry/mask design and the treadmill-style movement that The BFG lends itself to.

“With this, our young performers had to master having an audience on both sides at any one time.”

eP!C in 2019

This year, the team from eP!C Youth Co. has more grand plans, with the ultimate aim of exposing the students to a wider range of performance opportunities and styles.

“This will include providing our Years 11 and 12 Performing Arts fans with their very own projects and workshops that will be run by them and for them,” Samanda said.

The eP!c team will also create more design and technical mentoring and production endeavours for students who may want to be involved behind the scenes.

“We are really excited about having our own youth theatre company here at Perth College,” Samanda said.

“After a successful year of eP!C in 2018, we know for sure that it will send shockwaves of strength into each individual involved both on and off the stage, and continue to cultivate our warm performing arts culture and audience community.”

Want to find out more about the eP!C fun planned for 2019? Email Samanda at Samanda.Sankowsky@pc.wa.edu.au.