I am not sure if local teachers who follow The Drama Teacher are aware the Melbourne Theatre Company has a number of excellent annual programs for high school students, each with a particular focus running at different times of the year. Several of my own students have been fortunate to have had direct involvement in some of these programs in recent years, so I can confidently speak about the amazing job MTC Education does with youth who are passionate about the theatre.
MTC Student Ambassador Program
Each year the Melbourne Theatre Company offers a select group of Year 11 students the opportunity to be a ‘MTC Ambassador’. This outstanding program involves meeting as a group once a month to see a mainstage MTC show, with the opportunity to discuss the show beforehand with creative personnel connected to the production, such as an actor, dramaturg, director or other MTC staff member. Word has certainly spread that this is a great gig to be involved in, so places in the MTC Student Ambassador program are hard to get. Even after the program has concluded, the MTC follows up with the students involved, offering them the opportunity to continue attending shows at the MTC with other successful student ambassadors as part of their Young Grad initiative. Students who were not successful in obtaining a place in the program are also catered for, being offered the opportunity to attend an MTC show once every two months with a student ambassador. The drama teacher and student are both involved in the application process and my school has had a student in this program three of the past four years it has been running, including this year.
MTC Youth Scholarship Course
Once a year in the September school holidays, the MTC runs a Youth Scholarship Course, a week-long intensive of theatre workshops run by MTC staff. Applications for this program are completed only by the student’s teacher, are completely free of charge, and offered to students who would otherwise have not had the opportunity to experience an extra-curricular drama program. One of our students was thrilled to be a part of the MTC Youth Scholarship Course last year, as it further intensified her passion for theatre and aspirations for the future.
Work Experience @ MTC
One thing often leads to another in the world of theatre, and it was our student who took part in the Youth Scholarship Course while in Year 11 (above) that was successful in obtaining a place as a work experience student at the MTC while undertaking Year 12 this year. This is the MTC investing in the future, as a student who shows considerable promise in one program may also excel in another and perhaps be employed in the industry. Places for work experience at the Melbourne Theatre Company each year are very limited and preference is given to students in Year 11. Successful applicants are assigned to a production during their week at the MTC and become involved in rehearsals with professional actors and directors, plus undertake small stage management tasks. What an amazing experience! You can always check out our student’s blog post about her week at the MTC in the recent April school holidays and see what fun she had!