The Australian Education Reporter - - CONTENTS - EMMA DAVIES

HEAD Hon­cho of the Aus­tralian Mu­si­cal Theatre Academy (AMTA) Quee­nie van de Zandt is no stranger to the stage.

The ac­tress and singer, who has ap­peared in Into the Woods, Cabaret, Les Misérables, and The Boy from Oz (to name a few), now shares her ex­ten­sive in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence in chil­dren’s theatre work­shops.

Ms van de Zandt be­came in­ter­ested in teach­ing theatre and au­di­tion tech­nique af­ter recog­nis­ing the mis­takes she and many friends made as young ac­tors.

“I saw so many peo­ple who were tal­ented but never got jobs be­cause they were re­ally bad at au­di­tion­ing. When I started to teach I saw an op­por­tu­nity to bring some­thing unique to the teach­ing field,” Ms van de Zandt said.

“Peo­ple didn’t know how to au­di­tion for mu­si­cals and so I started teach­ing that skill to my stu­dents.”

AMTA work­shops in drama, mu­si­cal theatre, cabaret and au­di­tion tech­nique are de­liv­ered all around Aus­tralia and have had an in­cred­i­ble rate of suc­cess in stu­dents be­ing cast in pro­fes­sional shows.

“When the Sound of Mu­sic came to Bris­bane more than half of the kids cast in the show had done my work­shop. That was a phe­nom­e­nal re­sult, and made me re­alise there was a real cause and effect; learn­ing au­di­tion tech­nique re­ally made a dif­fer­ence,” Ms van de Zandt said.

“These kids are get­ting cast be­cause they are well pre­pared, they turn up know­ing what they need to do, they feel con­fi­dent, and they walk into a room and can re­ally show their talent.”

Ms van de Zandt said her work­shops also teach par­ents what to ex­pect in au­di­tions, as pro­duc­ers of­ten take into con­sid­er­a­tion whether or not they can work with the child’s par­ents as well.

“We help the par­ents nav­i­gate how to act pro­fes­sion­ally, how to put to­gether a proper CV, how to get a re­ally good head­shot for their child, how to get an agent, what to do and what not to do,” she said.

“We also give them all the in­for­ma­tion about their le­gal rights and their chil­dren’s rights, which helps the par­ents feel more con­fi­dent.”

The skills learnt by stu­dents of any age are highly trans­ferrable to many dif­fer­ent fields and any au­di­tion sce­nario – like a job in­ter­view.

Ms van de Zandt said that, while the work­shops are run by pro­fes­sion­als in the in­dus­try to pre­pare young peo­ple for the in­dus­try, any­one can ben­e­fit from the content.

“The work­shops are great fun and great for build­ing con­fi­dence and speech skills and all sorts of skills, es­pe­cially for de­vel­op­ing kid’s cre­ativ­ity,” she said.

“Cre­ativ­ity is highly sought af­ter in the cor­po­rate world and is es­sen­tial to em­ploy­a­bil­ity be­cause cre­ativ­ity is what helps you prob­lem solve,” she said.

AMTA is bring­ing work­shops and in­cur­sions into schools to help teach­ers de­velop stu­dents’ skills in drama and per­form­ing arts.

“I’m pas­sion­ate about mak­ing the arts more val­ued by Aus­tralians and I think that starts at pri­mary school with schools em­brac­ing the cre­ativ­ity of drama at an early age,” Ms van de Zandt said.

“All our work­shops are de­liv­ered by high level per­form­ers, cre­atives, mu­si­cal di­rec­tors and pro­duc­ers in the in­dus­try – they are peo­ple who cur­rently work in the busi­ness in big com­mer­cial mu­si­cals. The same way as football play­ers from Carl­ton might visit schools and take work­shops – I want to do the same with per­form­ers,” she said.

“I want to bring the fa­mous per­form­ers into schools and have kids be so in­spired be­cause they know who they are – they’ve seen them in shows or on tele­vi­sion – and have them pass on their skill to chil­dren and teach­ers in schools.”

Ms van de Zandt said the work­shops would be ben­e­fi­cial pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment for drama teach­ers who may have ex­pe­ri­ence in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor but not in the pro­fes­sional per­form­ing arts in­dus­try.

“We want to teach the teach­ers how to put on a mu­si­cal, how to teach au­di­tion tech­nique for their stu­dents and in­spire them to be cre­ative,” she said.

All im­ages: AMTA.

Cameron Daddo with Sound Of Mu­sic kids. Per­form­ing arts skills ex­tend be­yond the stage and en­sure chil­dren de­velop cre­ativ­ity and con­fi­dence to ap­proach any au­di­tion or job in­ter­view sce­nario.

Quee­nie with her stu­dents in Sound of Mu­sic.

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