Top Class Drama 2011 Review

On Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd April, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority once again showcased the best of 2010 in the Top Class Drama and Theatre Studies concerts at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

All performers in the concerts received exceptionally high marks in their 2010 performance exams, auditioning their pieces back in January for Top Class consideration. Not all invitees were successful in being included in the 2011 Top Class program. This year 19 performers were selected for the two concerts of Top Class Theatre Studies, while 28 were included in three concerts of Top Class Drama.

Below is the breakdown of representation from Government, Independent and Catholic schools for each discipline in this year’s concerts:

Top Class Drama

  • Government: 6
  • Independent: 15
  • Catholic: 7

Top Class Theatre Studies

  • Government: 3
  • Independent: 11
  • Catholic: 6

Noticeable in both participation lists, according to student enrolments in these subjects, is the over-representation of Independent schools and the under-representation of Government schools, while Catholic schools lay somewhere in the middle.

This year I attended two Top Class Drama concerts on Friday 1st April with Year 11 and 12 Drama students from my school.

Highlights in Drama, Concert 1:

  • Hamish Gould, Huntingtower School, Mount Waverley
  • Sally Webber, Yarra Valley Grammar School, Ringwood
  • Nick Eynaud, Loyola College, Watsonia
  • Marnie Banger, Avila College, Mount Waverley

Highlights in Drama, Concert 2:

  • Natalie Tencic, Methodist Ladies College, Kew
  • Steph Gonelli, Loyola College, Watsonia
  • Stephanie Panozzo, Kilbreda College, Mentone
  • Micheal Kay, Scotch College, Hawthorn

Once again, an amazing array of objects were transformed in Drama solo performances this year. We saw everything from hats and hat boxes to poles and candles. Although two of the ten examination structures from 2010 prescribed the use of song in the solo performance, noticeable this year was the successful inclusion of songs in performances that did not have song prescribed. Food for thought for VCE Drama teachers reading this post.

Without a doubt, Top Class Drama and Theatre Studies is one of the best learning experiences for VCE teachers and students, alike. Students walk away daunted by the skill of the performers, but inspired to tackle their own Year 12 solo and monologue performances with enthusiasm.

Congratulations to all the teachers and students connected with this year’s Top Class Drama and Theatre Studies concerts, Chief Assessors Philip Norman and Richard Sallis, and to the Season of Excellence office at the VCAA for yet another fine year of Top Class concerts.

The best of the best from all the Top Class performing arts concerts in music, drama and dance will occur at the Top Acts concert on Friday 13th May. Note the change of venue this year to the Palais Theatre, St Kilda, due to renovations at Hamer Hall.

What did other people think of this year’s Top Class Drama and Theatre Studies concerts? Comments welcome.


7 Responses

  1. Meg Upton says:

    Hey guys, are these comments going back to the VCAA? They need to cause they are the folk that need to hear what you are saying. Interesting to read the breakdown of gov/ind/cath on the site. Remember that for the independent schools to audition and be selected has a culture around it and often a set of assumptions. Often gov school kids have moved on in very large and diverse ways. So, don’t judge the breakdown too much

  2. tanya says:

    From heywood, 4:30am on train to catch 10:30 theatre studies top class – bit of gallery viewing and shopping, back on train at 7pm, get back at Heywood at 1am … Best thing? All the students said it was brilliant, worth it and now they can’t wait for Unit 4! Thanx VCAA!

  3. Borbs says:

    Sorry I couldn’t chat more on Friday Cashy; it has been a crazy few weeks … or should I say months!

    I was blown away by the standard on Friday, and I must say, Marnie and Nick were my favourites (along with Andrew Nolen from Mildura doing the Valet). Congrats guys!

  4. Michael (micoke) says:

    Yeah…. my students got a mention! Justin, caught you in the front row for the first concert.
    I stayed for the Theatre Studies as well. It was a fantastic day and my students got much from it.

    • Justin Cash says:

      Michael, your students were both fantastic performers with great solos! Congrats! My money is on Nick Eynaud for Top Acts inclusion. Definitely a sophisticated solo and a crowd favourite at Top Class on Friday. Fingers crossed mate …

  5. Jade says:

    I hope I can get the DVD. Yet another thing that is hard being 600kms from the city!

    • Justin Cash says:


      Unfortunately, there will not be a DVD produced of this year’s Top Class Drama and Theatre Studies concerts.

      While the combined performing arts concert, Top Acts, is sold as a DVD each year, Top Class has only been filmed for DVD twice in the past. The most recent of these was released last year, featuring 2008 students performing in Top Class 2009. It is an excellent resource with three Drama concerts of outstanding solo performances and one Theatre Studies concert of excellent monologues.

      Contact Drama Victoria to purchase the Top Class Drama and Theatre Studies 2009 DVD box set and the VCAA for the annual Top Acts DVD.

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