Seven students from Murrumburrah High School took part in the Dramatic Minds Festival in Young on Friday, August 4, and were awarded the ‘People’s Choice Award’ for their monologue.
The Dramatic Minds Festival is an annual short play festival involving high school students. This year, Murrumburrah High School was one of several local schools invited to take part in the festival, including Young High, Hennessy Catholic College and Cootamundra High School.
The festival is designed to promote mental health knowledge and reduce the stigma of mental illness. Students research, write, and perform an original 10 minute play about a mental health issue. The students from Murrumburrah chose ‘coping’ as their theme.
“The Dramatic Minds Festival engages young people in a creative way to explore the issues associated with youth mental health,” said Youth Mental Health Worker for Young Health Service Ashleigh Shipp.
According to the Murrumbidgee Local Health District adolescence and young adulthood is the age of peak onset of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.
“With mental health problems affecting one in four young people every year, it is important that communities are aware that early intervention for these difficulties is vital in preventing the long term complications of mental illness,” Ms Shipp said.
Murrumburrah High School Drama teacher, Nicole Buttriss was thrilled with level of commitment her students showed in taking on the task of researching mental illness, which included doing a lot of on-line research and contacting organisations such as ‘Beyond Blue’ and ‘Black Dog’.
“I am so proud of them” Ms Butriss said. “There were seven monologues performed on the night and we were the last to perform. When we were announced as the winners of the ‘Peoples Choice Award’, the whole room went wild”
Year 9 student Deanna Minogue was very pleased she had the opportunity to take part in the festival.
“It was a fantastic experience and I learned so much about mental illness” Miss Minogue said. “I learned that what we thought was real about mental illness was really a stereotype, and it went a lot deeper than what we thought.”
“I would definitely recommend participating in the Dramatic Minds Festival to other students. It was an experience I will never forget.”
Another Year 9 student to take part, Maria Raptis, was quick to agree with her classmate.
“We learned heaps, and it was fun to mingle with all the other performers.” Miss Raptis said.