MTC joins forces with Virtual School Victoria to deliver ground-breaking VCE courses

In a first for arts education in Victoria, VCE Theatre Studies will be available online in 2020, and VCE Drama in 2021, thanks to a partnership between Melbourne Theatre Company and Virtual School Victoria (VSV).

MTC joins forces with Virtual School Victoria to deliver ground-breaking VCE courses

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This new offering is an extension of MTC and VSV’s partnership, which has seen the two organisations work together to co-deliver an online Year 8 Drama course since 2017.

In consultation with VSV, MTC is creating a suite of media-rich learning resources based on MTC’s professional theatre practice. These resources align with the VCE study design and VSV curriculum, and include interactive online experiences using the latest digital education platforms and software.

One of the first resources to be produced is an interactive virtual tour of MTC’s productionworkshop at its headquarters in Southbank, in 360 degree and VR versions, with a virtual tour of Southbank Theatre to follow early next year.

Students will have access to some of Australia’s best theatre directors, designers and actors through video interviews, animated design presentations, interactive photo essays andpodcasts. VSV Theatre Studies students will be the first audience for MTC’s new live stream initiative, enabling isolated students to experience the 2020 Education Production as though they are in the theatre. In addition, MTC and VSV are jointly producing VR rehearsal, backstage and onstage experiences.

MTC Executive Director Virginia Lovett & Co-CEO said, ‘MTC is working hard to break down socio-economic and geographical barriers for easy, informative and quality access to arts education. Our ongoing partnership with Virtual School Victoria helps us to reach more students across the State through the creation of innovative digital assets, enabling more students access to the magical world of the performing arts.’

The addition of VCE Theatre Studies in 2020 and VCE Drama from 2021 to VSV’s range of subjects will provide greater curriculum choice for their students, enhanced virtual learning and opportunities for every student to engage with the arts, including the geographically isolated.

Head of Arts at VSV, John Bartley said, ‘Partnering with Melbourne Theatre Company means we can provide high-quality teaching and learning to students across the state who may not be able to engage with the VCE Drama and Theatre Studies curriculum. Students who wouldn’t normally have access to these subjects will soon have the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and passion for theatre and drama.’

In addition to the new VCE subjects, MTC and VSV will continue delivering the successful Year 8 Drama program in 2020. In its first three iterations, the popular subject has featured respected theatre practitioners from companies like THE RABBLE, Western Edge Youth Arts and MTC as teaching artists, and averaged around 60 enrolments a year.

The evolution of MTC and VSV’s partnership is supported by the State Government’s Expanding the VCE into Rural and Regional Victoria Initiative. This initiative helps schools across Victoria form partnerships to broaden their VCE subject options for rural and regional students.

Thornbury-based Virtual School Victoria, formerly known as Distance Education Centre Victoria, is the state’s leading virtual school. It specialises in virtual and blended learning and has around 4500 students.

VSV currently delivers 274 subjects and an additional 18 VCE subjects will be developed by 2023, making it the first school in the State to offer all VCE subjects to Victorian students. Teaming up with first-class practitioners in a wide range of disciplines allows VSV to deliver their expansive curriculum.

VSV’s student cohort includes mainstream school-based students that don’t have access to the subjects they need in their own school. It also includes students who are unable to attend a mainstream school due to professional sports or creative commitments; family travel; geographical distance; or physical or social emotional health difficulties.

As the largest virtual learning school in the state, VSV plays a significant role across the education system in helping students and teachers connect, collaborate and learn through new online and face-to-face options.

Melbourne Theatre Company is one of Australia’s flagship performing arts companies and the State theatre company of Victoria. Under the leadership of Artistic Director & CEO Brett Sheehy AO and Executive Director & Co-CEO Virginia Lovett, MTC embodies the creative spirit that Melbourne and Victoria are renowned for, bringing remarkable theatre to the fore to inspire, entertain, challenge and enrich the lives of audiences. The Company has over 20,000 subscribers and stages over 560 performances annually. Through its mainstage season, tours, education productions, public readings and other events, MTC reaches more than 250,000 attendances each year.

Every year, MTC’s comprehensive Education Program provides students with unique insight into professional theatre practice, enriching their creative lives and inspiring the next generation of theatre-makers. At the centre of the program is the annual Education Production – studio-scale professional theatre targeted at students and young adult audiences that tours regionally. MTC also has an array of specialised programs including the Betty Amsden Youth Scholarship Course, MTC Ambassadors, Regional Enrichment Program, MTC’s First Peoples Young Artists Program, subsidised $5 Student Tickets, and curriculum-based workshops for students and professional development seminars for teachers.

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