Connections make a dream come true
What does Monaro High School have in common with NIDA and the NSW Schools State Drama Company?
They have all been selected to be part of the Connections program, run annually by the National Theatre in London, and will be staging new, original plays for young people.
Monaro High School's head teacher of English and drama, Ian Greig, had long had a dream of the school being involved in this prestigious program and was actively encouraged by school principal Adrian Bell to chase the idea.
"My principal saw this as an opportunity to enhance the school's reputation as a quality centre for learning," Mr Greig said.
"I have led drama excursions to London in 2007 and 2008 where we saw a number of productions at the National as well as participating in their backstage tours."
Mr Greig said that last year he applied for the school to participate in the Connections program, with the result that the school will produce the play, Shooting Truth by Molly Davies, and hold its Australian premiere in Cooma.
"For a town of 8000 in rural NSW it is a huge honour to participate," Mr Greig said.
Last year Mr Greig travelled to London for workshops on Shooting Truth, which he said was a play where past and present collides in an unsettling tale of witchcraft, filmmaking and practical jokes gone wrong.
"The play has been the biggest production we've ever undertaken, with a cast of 16 characters," he said, adding that the school had brought in special staging and lighting for the premiere.
"The students will remember the whole experience for the rest of their lives - from the planning, the rehearsing to the actual performances over the three nights.
"Putting on a production like this isn't easy, but the end results make everything worthwhile."