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Chatswood High School

Chatswood High School

Inspiring excellence - achieving success

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Creative arts

Creative & Performing Arts at CHS

The Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) faculty stimulates independent creative and critical thinking by engaging students in 21st century learning to increase individual growth within a Creative and Performing Arts framework. The CAPA team inspires, nurtures and develops the capacity for our students to become lifelong learners by providing enriched learning opportunities that foster the aspirations of all students. Integrating technology into classroom practice, the team delivers engaging and innovative lessons providing students with a range of opportunities to achieve their personal best. Across the many specialist subject areas, students become equipped for the numerous dynamic and exciting post-school careers by mastering their learning and how to adapt their learning in cross-disciplinary contexts.

The CAPA team comprises expert teachers across Dance, Drama, Music Photographic and Digital Media, Visual Arts, and Visual Design. Our team possess highly sophisticated skills and knowledge resulting from diverse teaching backgrounds within a range of school settings and professional arts experiences. Teachers collaborate within the CHS context and cross-school settings to maximise student learning. The CAPA team regularly engages with Professional Learning Experiences to continue to sharpen and refine knowledge to facilitate high leverage learning opportunities for CHS students.

Chatswood High school offers Stage 4 Mandatory Music and Stage 4 Mandatory Visual Arts. The Stage 5 Elective courses include Drama, Music, Photographic and Digital Media, Visual Arts and Visual Design. In Stage 6 (Years 11 – 12), CAPA offers Drama, Music 1, Music 2, Music Extension (HSC only) and Visual Arts.

Expert teachers in the Creative and Performing Arts team continue to lead students to outstanding success in the HSC course across all subject areas. These results are evidenced in regular Band 5, Band 6 and E4 results for HSC students along with regular nominations and inclusion in the NSW Arts Unit Art Express, Encore, and OnStage showcase events.

CHS Arts Enrichment Program

The CAPA faculty provides an Arts Enrichment Program (AEP) to students across Years 8 – 11. Students complete an Expression of Interest Form to participate in the various events scheduled through the school year. The team reviews the EOI form to assess student suitability in the program. The Arts Enrichment Program includes teacher-led workshops, invited artist-led workshops, excursions to arts institutions such as the National Art School or the Sydney Dance Company so that students can learn directly from practicing professionals. In addition, engagement with these agencies form foundations for our students who may work in the industry in their post-school life. The Arts Enrichment Program provides opportunities for students across Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts.

Dance Ensembles

At current, CHS provides two Dance Ensembles (Junior and Senior Dance Ensemble) and these rehearse weekly. CHS is undergoing a new building project and it is anticipated that Stage 5 Dance will be offered in 2023 or 2024. Students in the Dance Ensemble are provided opportunities to perform at formal school events and School Spectacular.

Drama Ensemble

The outstanding Drama team offers a Drama Ensemble for students across Years 8 – 10. These students rehearse weekly and work towards showcasing an annual play to the broader school community. In 2022, the CHS Drama Ensemble presents The Crucible. Engaging and dynamic units of work scaffold student learning in play building, character development, role, and improvisation so that students build the confidence to deliver coherent and sustained performances as individuals and in small groups. Along with the Drama Ensemble, students in Elective Drama perform for the broader school community to strengthen their technical skills in preparation for their HSC course.

Music Ensembles

The dynamic music team offers a smorgasbord of co-curricular opportunities through many music ensembles. Participation in Music Ensembles provides a strong foundation for all Elective Music students and continues to equip Music students with the necessary performance skills and technical skills to master the HSC Music 1, Music 2 and Music Extension Course. In addition to the performance evenings and performance opportunities at whole-school events, Music students are provided with Music Performance Nights to strengthen the solo performances and ensemble performances in preparation for school-based and external assessment.

Visual Arts Opportunities

Through the Arts Enrichment Program, Visual Arts provides many opportunities for teacher-led workshops and invited artist-led workshops. These experiences enable students to develop and strengthen skills via master classes in drawing, painting and printmaking. In addition, this has culminated in two collaborative exhibitions with partner school NSBC MacKellar Girls Campus, including Collaborative Press at Gallery Lane Cove (2021) and Re-imaging the 9x5 at Willoughby Arts Centre, Ewart Gallery (2022). By doing so, students experience life as a practicing artist by exhibiting their works in professional gallery spaces. In addition, students participate at in-school exhibitions comprising elective classes from Years 9 – 12. CHS provides experiences for students to engage in art making at specific sites by excursions and three-day art camps, such as Bundanon (2022). These exhibitions become the corner stone to the exemplary standard of Visual Arts within Chatswood High School and testament to the expert teaching across the CAPA faculty.

Collaborative Press at Gallery Lane Cove (2021)

The exhibition showcased collaborative printmaking from Yr 7 - Yr 12 students. The exhibition included a range of printmaking approaches including zinc etching, copper etching, solar plate etching, lino cut, monoprint, multiple plate etchings and a number of collaborative projects. In addition to these works, the exhibition provided an opportunity for 25 young talented artists to engage in a Print Exchange Program (PEP). In doing so, students created an edition of 25 prints and gifted one print to each participating artist. Subsequently, students learnt to edition a print, learnt about a range of printmaking approaches by other artists and begin building their own art collection. The project between Mackellar Girls Campus and Chatswood High School was a very exciting opportunity for students to build their confidence and art making practice so that students could exhibit their works in a professional gallery.

Re-imaging the 9x5 at Willoughby Arts Centre, Ewart Gallery (2022)

The emergence of Covid-19 in 2021 led to some alteration in the intended artworks for exhibition because of restrictions to scheduled excursion. Despite this, students demonstrated superb tenacity and perseverance to create highly resolved artworks and showcase these in a professional gallery space. Re-imaging the 9 x 5 communicated how artists engage with en plein air methodologies. Two partnering schools investigated specific sites to explore how artists perceive their environment. Sensory experience, atmospheric conditions, and the subtle observed nuances within sites steered artists in their approach to make preliminary works leading to studio-based works as well as resolved on-site drawings and paintings. 

Seasonal Bloom, A Visual Calendar by Tina Li

Tina Li

Seasonal Bloom: A Visual Calendar

  	Tiia Marsh Regeneration Painting

Tiia Marsh


A passage Home, The Epistolary of a Migrant by Maya Giannou paintings

Maya Giannou

A passage Home: The Epistolary of a Migrant