Why Is Santa Maria College Building A Cultural Centre – Jennifer Oaten
We know Catherine McAuley, our foundress, delighted in fun and liveliness. She recommended that there be a piano in every community room. She also had a natural talent for composing verses and would often sing them to a cheerful tune with admirable simplicity. Across the top of one of her letters, Catherine wrote in big letters, “Dance every evening”. She enjoyed and encouraged what we now refer to as the Performing Arts.
Music has had a special place in the heart of Santa Maria since its inception. The Sisters of Mercy ran music lessons for local residents and community members to help fund the school. Many of the Sisters were also talented musicians and singers, bringing about an added element of joy and culture to the College.
We are excited to announce that the proposed Cultural Centre has received huge support from our community and the City of Melville Council, as well as being officially given the green light by the State Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) last week. This is an incredible milestone for Santa Maria, and we can’t wait to get started.
What spaces will the Cultural Centre provide?
The development will be an incredible addition to the Santa Maria College campus. It will be purpose-built and equipped with the latest technology and acoustic treatments, offering a state-of-the-art space for the Performing Arts. Not only this, but it will also keep alive the iconic architecture of the original convent occupied by the Sisters of Mercy, ensuring that it remains a landmark within the campus for many years to come.
The Cultural Centre will be a place of creativity and innovation for the Santa Maria College community, with a 650-seat auditorium, black box theatre, orchestra and ensemble rooms, dance studio, music tuition rooms and two general learning areas. There will also be gathering spaces for socialising and connecting with others.
It will provide exemplary learning and rehearsal spaces for Dance, Drama and Music and showcase student talents through performances from our academic and co-curricular programs. Students will also have opportunities to learn technical skills of sound, lighting, and other aspects of performance through our blackbox theatre.
How will our students and community benefit?
The Cultural Centre will….
- Create a vibrant environment to foster imagination and creativity, collaboration and communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and other attributes from the College’s Connecting Learning to Life strategy.
- Develop students’ confidence and self-esteem, encouraging a culture of bravery and willingness to be challenged.
- Provide spaces for the brain, the body, and emotions to work together when learning, practising and performing, helping to explore and unlock each student’s potential.
- Stimulate our students to learn about others, their attitudes, mindsets and talents while fostering a culture of understanding and respect for all individuals and their abilities.
- Create opportunities for students to demonstrate and grow their leadership.
- Provide an opportunity for students, in a world where technology and social media are so prevalent, to disconnect from technology, develop some incredible skills and build long-lasting relationships.
- Support our Mental Health Strategy by promoting positive wellbeing and mental health through involvement in the Arts.
- Enable students to perform in a professional space and explore possibilities of careers in the arts.
- Provide inspiring professional learning spaces for our staff and our wider education networks.
- Promote connections with our alumni through opportunities such as an alumni orchestra or choir, production, or a dance showcase – so many possibilities.
- Offer our parents the benefit of quality spaces for orientation days, presentations, workshops and social events, to name a few.
At Santa Maria, we are devoted to creating an affirming atmosphere for girls where they can build the confidence, courage, and belief that ‘anything is possible’. These specialised spaces will offer a wonderful opportunity for our young women to expand their expertise in the Performing Arts disciplines. Girls should be empowered to take risks, pursue their dreams, and be brave in the face of adversity.
We look forward to getting started in the coming months with an expected completion date of Term 1 2025.
With the right environment, girls can unlock their full potential and reach heights above what they ever thought was possible!
We are really excited about what this space will offer our students and our community…it is going to be incredible!