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Welcome to Wollongong’s Home of the Performing Arts

The Drama Studio

Drama classes for school students from Kindergarten through to Year 12 through the school year.

The Illawarra Performing Arts Centre is home to The Drama Studio, a dynamic drama school established in 1988 by Fiona Gabb-Finley.

Weekly classes run for 90 mins during school term.

In Term 1, students work on a variety of different approaches to theatre performance. This is dependent on their age group. These include physical theatre, characterisation, commedia dell’arte, devising theatre, text interpretation, absurdism, teacher-in-role, storytelling, improvisation and many other styles of theatre.

In Term 2, each class begins working on a scripted workshop performance designed to demonstrate the skills they have learned throughout the term.

In Term 3, students return to learning new acting skills.

The final term of the year culminates in a production performed in the Bruce Gordon Theatre at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. Primary classes work together, as do high school classes.

About Artistic Director: Fiona Finley

Fiona completed the N.I.D.A Director’s Course in 1995; following which she studied at the internationally acclaimed Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris.  Fiona also holds an Associate Diploma of Arts (Drama/Dance) at the U.N.S.W, a Bachelor of Arts (Drama/English) at the C.S.U, a Graduate Diploma in Education (Drama/English) at the U.N.E, Screen Writing and Cinematography at U.C.L.A, California.

As Artistic Director of The Drama Studio Fiona has directed over one hundred children and youth productions including three in conjunction with The Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York and five as part of the National Theatre of London’s ‘Connections’ Festival.  In 2010 Fiona wrote and directed the world premiere of Shaggy Gully Times: The Musical adapted from the book of the same title by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley.  This script is now available through Book Links and to schools across Australia.  Fiona has taught both Directing and Acting extensively throughout Australia teaching with the N.I.D.A Open Program for over a decade including workshops on how to implement Drama in the classroom for the N.S.W Department of Education.  Fiona alongside Musical Director Evan Kerr have written and produced ten original musicals.  Fiona was awarded the 2018 Lorrie Gardner UNIMA Australia scholarship.

Additional directing credits include: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Much Ado About Nothing (in conjunction with The Stella Adler Studio, New York), The Edelweiss Pirates, Bedbug, The School Film, The Sweetness of a Sting and Chaos (in conjunction with the National Theatre of London ‘Connections’ festival.  This Property is Condemned, Tears of the Poppy, The Caucasion Chalk Circle, Cross Purpose (N.I.D.A), Return to Sender (Canberra Playwrights Conference), Cordonnerie (Jacques Lecoq, Paris), Summer of the Aliens (New Theatre) and The Respectable Prostitute (Stables Theatre).  In 1996 Fiona was an Affiliate Director with the Sydney Theatre Company.  Assistant Directing credits include Macbeth, King Lear (Sydney Theatre Company), Light Up The Sky (Stella Adler School, New York).  Fiona was the Casting Director and Production Co-ordinator for the feature film The Elixer and the Production Co-ordinator for the SBS Series Bondi Banquet.

We would like to thank Peoplecare for their support in helping Merrigong engage with young people in the Illawarra by funding projects that create and facilitate inspiring theatre experiences.



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