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108 S COOP AUTUMN 2014
words Lily Yeang
Art, just like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and when the
beholder is a five-year-old child, anything goes. But freedom
of creative expression is exactly what Rose Skinner is hoping to
encourage through her Children’s School of Contemporary Art.
Rose, founder of CSoCA, created the school because she felt
there was a real need for more kids’ art education in Perth.
“I wanted to reach out and create a place where kids could
be inspired, challenged and excited about their creative experiences,
a place where they could create the things that they had dreamed-up
inside their heads,” Rose says.
The after-school and weekend classes run for a term at a time, and
are created to suit children at each developmental phase.
There’s the Tiny Artist workshop for 3-5 year olds, designed to help
develop motor and cognitive abilities through craft projects; the Young Artist
classes for 6-9 year olds that introduce students to a range of skills and art-
making concepts; and the Teen Artist classes, for 13-15 year olds, which teach
advanced skills in drawing, painting and sculpture. All the classes are taught
by practising artists who have a passion for children’s art education.
“At CSoCA we explore art in different and interesting ways to traditional
art school,” Rose says. “It’s hands-on, it’s messy and it’s fun. It’s a place to roll
up your sleeves and get your hands dirty and your mind thinking.”
To get involved visit csoca.net.
A learning experience
words Carol Flavell Neist
On the third Saturday of each month, a group of
30 or so people gathers in a community centre on
Perth railway station’s concourse. They’re a disparate
bunch, ranging in age from early 20s to late 70s.
While they wait for the president to call the meeting
to order, a retired physiotherapist is going over her
notes on As You Like It; opposite, a bank clerk is
engaged in deep discussion of the sonnets with
a student in her twenties. But while their
backgrounds may be varied, a shared passion for
Shakespeare and his works brings them together.
The Shakespeare Club of Western Australia
has been meeting for over 80 years to read and
study the Bard’s plays and poems. According to the
president, Frances Dharmalingam, these hard-core
devotees all derive “slightly different pleasures”
from the meetings. Some members, having studied
Shakespeare in school, seek the opportunity
to renew acquaintance with the “fascinating
characters and absorbing plots”; others enjoy the
figurative language and literary techniques; some
even love branching off into history-related topics,
such as the food and clothing of Elizabethan times.
“And of course,” says Frances, “we all enjoy the
social aspect and the lively exchange of ideas.”
The group is democratic in attitude – works
to be studied are chosen by vote at the annual
general meeting each March, and new members
are encouraged to just turn up.
The recent swell in the club’s membership is
further evidence of Perth’s deepening love affair
with The Bard. The group regularly goes out
together to see productions, and there’s no lack of
options. As the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s
birth, 2014 is shaping up to be particularly action-
packed; the annual Shakespeare in the Park over
summer proved popular, while The Black Swan
Theatre Company will bring Rosalind and Orlando
to life in As You Like It from May 17-June 1 at the
Heath Ledger Theatre, and Sydney’s acclaimed Bell
Shakespeare theatre company will introduce their
contemporary take on Henry V to Perth in
late July. From April 1-26, the Shakespeare
Anniversary Festival will take over the Greenmount’s
Marloo Theatre, with productions of Macbeth,
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Othello
presented by three community theatre groups –
Darlington Theatre Players, Garrick Theatre and
Kalamunda Dramatic Society.
“That the Hills theatre groups are putting on
three plays to celebrate the anniversary shows
community interest in Shakespeare must be
growing, despite Perth’s isolation,” says Frances
Dharmalingam. “I think it’s because filmed versions
of the plays as well as student productions at
WAAPA and presentations by community theatre
groups are readily accessible and relatively
inexpensive. That’s contributed to increased
interest in professional productions and in groups
such as ours. Long may it continue!”
The Shakespeare Club of Western Australia
meets at the Citiplace Community Centre on Perth
railway station’s concourse at 2pm on the third
Saturday of any month (except January). For more
details about the productions, visit scoop.com.au.
(photography Paige Newmark).
WA A PA’s 2013 Hamlet
John Bell (photography
The art lessons are designed
for children aged three and up.
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