Performing Arts

VCE Drama: Taking the stage at Top Class to Top Acts

Rufi Zimbudzi (OH 2021) is centre stage at Melbourne Recital Centre for the Top Acts 2022 concert. She pauses, looks out to the audience and reprises the soulful tune and lyric from Sam Cooke’s 1963 classic, A Change is Gonna Come.

Her voice reverberates with the promise and challenge of the song. As she sings the last line, Rufi is met with silence. The audience is spellbound. It’s a perfect, suspended moment of theatrical magic. It’s the kind of silence that’s rare… except during Rufi’s solo that poignant silence happens twice.

When Rufi performs at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse Theatre for the Top Class Concert, the audience is also silent before hundreds of students and teachers break into applause.

In just seven minutes, Rufi brings to life the story of Ida B Wells, an incredible African American journalist, educator and activist. Born into slavery and emancipated after the Civil War, Ida dedicated her life to exposing the lynchings happening in the Southern States and advocating for civil rights and the women’s movement.

Rufi’s performance is a masterclass in the transformational theatre that VCE drama aspires to. With just a gilded portrait frame as a prop, Rufi sings, raps, and presents her research in an innovate and poignant way.

Her performance examination was selected for the final evening of the VCE Season of Excellence—Top Acts. The prestigious event celebrates the top music, drama, dance and theatre studies examination pieces.

This year, Haileybury was also represented by Freya Stills-Blott (Year 12) and her exceptional dance performance.

Freya’s infectious energy and hip-hop routine immediately captured the imagination of the audience. The cheers were spontaneous and she owned the stage. Freya’s was the first Hip-Hop performance at Top Acts since its inception—an incredible achievement from an outstanding student.

Haileybury was the only school with two performers selected in Top Acts, which illustrates that the school’s performing arts culture is alive and thriving.

Nick Waxman

Head of Drama and Theatre Studies


Annual Concert Hits the Right Note

On a bitterly blustery Thursday night, the 2022 Senior School Annual Concert for Semester One took place in Aikman Hall. However, the weather didn’t deter our dedicated audience who braved the cold to hear an outstanding and diverse program.

The Senior School large ensemble concert included performances from the Symphony Orchestra, Senior Percussion Ensemble, Senior Brass Ensemble, Haileybury Singers, String Orchestra, Senior Guitar Ensemble, Viva Voce, Stage Band, Contemporary Singers and Wind Symphony. More than 250 students performed during the 90-minute event.

Grand scale concert events like our Annual Concert are only possible with plenty of participants and a significant talent pool. With over 65 specialist instrumental music tutors and more than 800 students receiving an instrumental music lesson every week, Haileybury’s Music Department has depth, diversity and expertise that cannot be delivered in smaller schools.

Thank you to our wonderful students, music families, staff and audience for your dedication in supporting the Performing Arts. As Aristotle wrote of music specifically: “It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything; it is the essence of order and lends to all that is good, just and beautiful”.

Thanh Vu, Locklyn Luu, Santrix Redston, Nadia Serato, Genevieve Gray, Ellen Reddell, Alexis King, Sophie Alonso, Wendy Dwyer (Head of Keyboard and Associate Artist for Aria Night) James Dong
Thanh Vu, Genevieve Gray, Santrix Redston

Rod Marshall

Director of Performing Arts & Head of Haileybury Music

Visual Arts

The Art of ‘Sweding’

During last semester, the Units 1 and 2 Media students have been learning how to ‘swede’. The term was made famous by the 2008 film, Be Kind Rewind, directed by Michel Gondry and starring Jack Black. In the film, after accidentally erasing all their VHS tapes, two video store owners attempt to recreate the films they’ve lost by ‘sweding’, using available random props and actors.

The Media students were asked to do this with a film scene of their choice. They analysed the scene in class to recreate it as closely as possible, using their creative flair. Some students substituted LEGO to represent spaceships or used their televisions to create backdrops and recreated scenes from films such as The Karate Kid, Interstellar and The Social Network.

After filming their scene, students worked through the editing process, used feedback to re-edit and then recreated their final sequence to mirror the original scene. The results were

highly successful, with the groups mirroring the scene that inspired them through performance, timing, framing and editing. This helped build sophisticated Media production skills and techniques that will be useful for Unit 2.

Rachelle Rae

Head of Visual Arts Senior School

Pipes & Drums

Mid-year Band Camp

During the first weekend in June, the Pipes & Drums students from our B Band travelled to Mount Evelyn to take part in a two-day ensemble music camp. The aim of the camp was to sharpen their skills ready for the Australian Championships in October.

Students arrived at Oasis Camp on Friday afternoon and spent the following two days attending rehearsals, playing games and enjoying the incredible food. Saturday rehearsals finished with a mini concert and competition led by the student groups and were followed by individual solos with students performing pieces from their competition repertoire.

The competition was decided on a tie-break with a P&D quiz where Group B, led by piper Charlie Bell (Year 10), achieved victory at this year's Camp Royal!

‘Smiles all round’ is an excellent phrase to sum up the success of the musical weekend. The camp was very productive, it was plenty of fun and new friendships were born. We look forward to doing the same camp with our A Band in August.

Lincoln Hilton

Director, Pipes & Drums