OUR SCHOOLS | Liverpool High's takeover by the Sydney Opera House was a huge hit

Last month, the Sydney Opera House took over Liverpool Boys High for three weeks. Regular lessons were replaced with an intensive program of workshops, mentoring, presentations and performances across 12 classrooms. The Opera House's Creative Leadership in Learning program enables teachers to embed creativity in the school, using the Opera House's artistic resources and creative processes to teach risk-taking, collaboration and curiosity. Tahir Bilgic, of Here Come the Habibs and Fat Pizza, was special guest one day, running workshops on performance and presentation. Principal Mike Saxon brought the Opera House into the school to create the intensive experience for students to opt in to. It's the third year of the program at the school and 120 students from years 7 to 10 participated. The creative schedule was developed by the Opera House's Creative Learning specialist Frank Newman and the school's head teachers to explore passion projects through arts-based learning. Teachers from all departments participated to keep the students' passion projects on track with the curriculum.

  • Explain how your regular school day was upended?

Arduen Shnaishel, of year 11:It was better than usual school days because I was doing what I loved.

Pranava Challa, of year 8 + Hasanain Adnan, of year 8: Usual school days were very different from the Takeover since you could do whatever you liked to do and also do what you enjoy.

  • How did you feel going into this?

Arduen: At first I thought it was going to be bad but later on it turned out to be great.

Pranava: At the beginning I was excited to do it but later on I did feel nervous because I had to present my work. However, it was fun and very exciting to work on whatever we wanted.

Hasanain: I wasn't too sure when the Takeover project started but I was happy because I'd be with Mr Reid [head teacher of PDHPE].

  • What did you work on and which teams did you engage with?

Arduen:I did a short film about never giving up. The Opera House mentors supported me, Roy [Weiland] with recording and Kai [Raisbeck] helped me learn about editing.

Pranava + Hasanain: Our project was to create a webpage which featured two games and an information video. We worked mostly with Kai [Raisbeck] and Michael, the Opera House mentors.

  • What did you have to show for it at the end?

Arduen:My end-product was a short film about never giving up. It was set up in a room on a projector to be viewed at the Big Day In festival. It was one of four films screened on the day.

Pranava: My end-product was two games, Space Invaders and Snake Game, and an information video. We set up for the festival with three tables decorated with a bright green tablecloth and golden decorative tassels with feathers on the sides. We used six laptops to display the final webpage and there were two focus lights. This made it look like a galaxy space.

Hasanain: At the end Pravana and I created two games to play and an information video for people to watch about the games. When we screened our worked we had six laptops set up with information available for players.

  • What surprised you about what you've learned and experienced?

Arduen:I was impressed by how skilled the Opera House mentors were and how motivated they were. I learnt how to edit videos and how to act in a scene. Also I learnt that if I put my head into something it can turn out with really good results.

Pranava: I've learned a lot from the Takeover and even though there wasn't a programme mentor I could learn from I still pulled it off.

Hasanain: I expected it to be boring but it was fun and good. I learnt about coding games.

  • What were the main personal benefits?

Arduen: One important thing I've learned is how to edit very good videos thanks to the mentors.

Pranava: It did make a lot of difference since I could learn more about programming and editing.

Hasanain: I learnt to work in a team with Pranava and I can now edit videos.

  • Did it changed your outlook on anything?

Arduen:It's changed how I think about films and acting. There's so more to it than just acting. You have to record, edit, act and many more things to create a film.

Pranava: Coming into Liverpool Boys High I didn't know what opportunities there would be for me but then suddenly this term I could do whatever I wanted because of the Takeover!

Hasanain: It changed how I think about work. I know now you can have fun when doing a project at school.

  • Has it solidified, or changed, what you plan to do after you school?

Arduen: It's changed, because it made me think about more options that might be available.

Pranava: I'm still unsure.

Hasanain: I'm still thinking about it. I think eventually I'll work with my brother. I don't think the Takeover changed that thought yet but it's definitely opened my eyes up to other opportunities.

03/12/19: Name corrected


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