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Drama students delight judges with their theatrical improvisation skills

Meriden took out first place in the All Girls’ Shield for Theatresports this year, competing against teams from three other schools in a lively three-round competition.

Judges complimented the members of Meriden’s winning team, Sienna Kang (Year 11), Katerina Kojevnikov (Year 11) and Elissa Freney (Year 8) on their creativity and humour throughout the improvisational drama contest.

In Theatresports, teams of three to five students create scenes live on stage and are scored based on the story they tell, the techniques that they use, and how entertaining the performance is for the audience.

“It takes real courage to compete in Theatresports,” said Mr Jonathan Borg, who is Meriden’s Drama teacher and Theatresports Coordinator.

“Under the pressure of a live performance, you have to think quickly on your feet, accept and give offers to your team members, shape a narrative and try to be funny – all in real-time,” Mr Borg said.

Team member Elissa Freney said she really enjoys the creativity that comes with participating in Theatresports, which is offered as a cocurricular option at Meriden.

“Theatresports is a great way to develop skills like storytelling, entertainment and comedy,” she said. “And I also enjoy making people laugh.”

Year 10 student Katerina Kojevnikov, who also represented Meriden this year in Theatresports, was inspired by watching her older sister compete. “I thought it was the coolest thing that you could do in drama,” she said. “It is really fun and a great way to brighten your mood, especially on a tough day.”

Students prepare for Theatresports competitions through weekly training sessions where they play a range of Theatresports games with their teammates while working on improvisation, theatre and performance skills.

“Communication within the team is key to establishing that everyone is on the same page and prepared,” said Katerina, adding that feedback from the coaches is also really helpful.

Elissa agrees and said that training sessions also help the girls get to know their teammates better, understand how each person likes to perform and also refine skills like ‘endowment’, where you give your scene partner a characteristic or back story through a statement.

“The most challenging part of Theatresports is coming up with our ideas,” said Elissa.

For Katerina, it’s the on-stage exposure that is the most challenging aspect. “You need to learn how to be vulnerable on stage, be up for anything and give 100 per cent no matter the circumstances,” she said.

“You are on stage in front of other teams and have no idea what prompt you’ll be given to perform for the scene or how the scene will turn out. As scary as it sounds, it is such an incredible feeling when everything goes well.”

Elissa said that Theatresports has improved her ability to talk to large crowds. “I have developed my public speaking and improvisation skills and made friends with girls from all years,” she said.

“I am so proud of our Theatresports members for their enthusiastic participation on the stage,” said Mr Borg. “The girls have learnt about improvisation skills and techniques, and it has been a pleasure to see them grow in confidence as performers and individuals.”

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