Creative Arts

Music Drama Visual Arts


St Mary’s Cathedral College has a proud musical tradition, which is considered special and regarded as an important facet of life at the College. The students are surrounded by music every day of the week taking the form of rehearsals and concerts.

There is a thriving musical program within the College that includes ensembles, such as Training, Junior, Intermediate and Senior Bands. Added to these are two jazz ensembles, a brass ensemble, a string orchestra and chamber strings.

The College has a wonderful affiliation with the Cathedral choristers and has over fifty-five students who sing as part of that ensemble. The choristers have also integrated into our College SATB choir, which has given all boys in the College the opportunity to sing and participate in liturgies, ceremonies and concerts. A music program as comprehensive as this could not exist without the support of the College Executive, staff and of course, parents.

The Music department consists of two classrooms and six practice rooms that are used by students and instrumental teachers. Students have access to the latest music software as well as a vast array of musical instruments. Music classes occur in Years 7,9,10,11 and 12. Music 1 is offered in the senior years.

We are blessed to have a beautiful performance space which dates back to the early Cathedral days. It is known as the Chapter Hall and has been restored to its former glory as well as containing some modern additions. On the platform sits a Steinway D, which sounds even more spectacular in these surroundings.

Apart from College functions, this venue has been used by some of Australia’s finest musicians, most notably the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.


Drama is ‘a dynamic learning experience that caters for a diverse range of students, engaging and challenging them to maximise their individual abilities’ (Board of Studies Syllabus, 2003). This unforgettable learning experience is achieved through performing, appreciating and critically studying drama. The teaching programs at Cathedral College emphasise the necessity for experiential learning: doing, creating, reflecting, working collaboratively and appreciating drama and theatre, both past and present. The variety of inspiring programs call for learning strategies of exploring, creating, performing and self-reflection, to enhance all activities.

In drama, students can investigate, shape and symbolically represent ideas, feelings, attitudes, beliefs and their consequences. By studying this major art form students acquire skills in interpretation, communication, performance and critical analysis, and become aware of the technical processes and the technologies that may be used to heighten dramatic presentation. In the critical study of drama and theatre, students can recognise the collaborative contribution of actors, directors, playwrights, designers and technicians, to production. They develop an understanding of the cultural traditions and social contexts of Australian drama and theatre, and how to make those issues relevant to contemporary audiences.

Drama provides a unique contribution to the personal development of students. There is a need to provide students with the understanding that drama not only provides career opportunities, but is a legacy they will carry with them through their entire lives. Career opportunities in any field are enriched by drama skills, as students find their ability to think, plan and create is reinforced in this subject.

At St Mary’s Cathedral College students may study Drama as an elective in Years 9, 10, 11 and 12. The topic areas studied include:

  • Elements of production, theatre and scene structures
  • Australian drama and poster design
  • Playbuilding (a compulsory unit taught each year with a different focus)
  • Improvisation
  • Movement and mime
  • Scriptwriting and scripted performance
  • Costume and set design
  • Comedy and melodrama
  • Small screen drama (visual short films)
  • Theatrical traditions and performance styles
  • Contemporary dramatic traditions in Australia
  • Approaches to acting
  • Commedia dell’Arte
  • Irish Drama
  • Ancient Greek Theatre
  • HSC Individual project
  • HSC Group-devised project.

Drama is a rewarding and academic course at St Mary’s Cathedral College and the Year 12 students consistently achieve impressive academic results.
There is a strong co-curricular Drama programme in operation at St Mary’s Cathedral College. Activities include:

  • The Annual School Concert and Creative Arts Night for parents and the public, showcasing students’ work
  • Whole School Productions (in collaboration with other schools (for example in 2009, senior and junior students starred in ‘Les Miserables’ at Monte Sant Angelo College, North Sydney; and in 2010, our students participated in a large-scale production of ‘Crazy For You’ with MLC School, Burwood))
  • Drama Club (for junior students in Years 5-8)
  • Numerous excursions to Sydney Theatre Company and Sydney Opera House, among other venues
  • The opportunity to enter competitions, such as the Make A Scene competition with Bell Shakespeare in 2010
  • The chance to gain valuable work experience as part of the scriptwriting and technical team at Sydney Theatre Company.

Drama is an integral subject at the College and it will continue to go from strength to strength in 2017 and beyond.

Visual Arts

Visual Arts Education at St Mary’s Cathedral College aims to foster interest and enjoyment in the production, appreciation and consumption of art. The subject seeks to build informed citizens and discerning audiences for art, and to raise the standard of cultural awareness in Australia.
The programs from Year 8 to 12 are structured for the production of successful artworks and for the students to achieve the syllabus outcomes.
Visual Arts builds understanding of the role of art, in all forms of media, in contemporary and historical cultures and visual worlds. In contemporary societies many types of knowledge are increasingly managed through imagery and spectacle, and much of students’ knowledge is acquired in this way. The subject of Visual Arts serves to facilitate the interpretation of such information.

Visual Arts involves students in the practices of artmaking, art criticism and art history. In making art, students develop knowledge, understanding and skills about the purposes, forms, subject matter and materials that can be used to create artworks. In studying and appreciating art, students investigate how artists, craftspeople and designers represent ideas about the world in their artworks and how audiences, including themselves, might respond. Students are provided with opportunities to learn about artwork and experience how artworks have meaning, and can be valued personally and culturally.

Visual Arts is of great relevance to students’ lives and enables them to gain increasing intellectual autonomy, evident in interpretations of their own work and the work of others. The subject rewards individual thinking in the representations of students’ ideas both aesthetically and persuasively. It offers students opportunities to engage in creative and inductive forms of inquiry and to be assessed on their production — through the making of artworks — as well as on their critical and historical understanding of art, demonstrated in their writing and talking about art.
Visual Arts at St Mary’s is structured to lead to the gaining of excellence in the Higher School Certificate and builds a desire in students to continue learning after school in further education and training, employment, in informal and formal settings, and as informed citizens. Many courses are available in art, craft and design, and related fields in the university and TAFE sector, and an increasing number are being developed by private providers.

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