Arts Staff

Faculty Leader Tanya Gilbert Painting and Junior Art
Head of Drama (Acting) Louise Tourelle Drama 
Head of Academic Music Tim Atkinson Music
Head of Instrumental Music              Natalie Tantrum Music
Teachers Alex Grant Art
  Beth Kayes Drama
  Oscar Mardell Senior History of Art
  Monique Williams                Junior Drama


Drama – Confidence and performance

Drama is compulsory for students from Years 7 to 9. The topics we cover develop students’ confidence, group-work skills, performance skills and evaluation skills. Students build on their drama theory and practice each year so that they develop a deep and thorough knowledge of the subject. From Years 10 to 13, Drama is offered as an option course. In this time, students develop their knowledge further, exploring various performance genres, theatre pracititioners, scripts and expanding on their performance skills.

Music – Practical and theory

St Mary’s College provides a compulsory music programme in Years 7 to 9 where every student learns a musical instrument. Theory is incorporated within practical activities and performance. All students have the opportunity to sing as part of the programme. The course encourages students to actively participate and develop their motor and social skills through ensemble awareness. All students are encouraged to continue playing their instruments and be part of extra-curricular ensembles even if they are not taking Music as an option in Year 10.

Music can be taken as an optional subject at Year 10 and is intended to introduce students to a wide range of musical styles and instruments. Students extend their reading and performing skills with many opportunities to compose and perform. The Senior Music course develops skills in the areas of composition, performance (group and solo) and music history. Music develops students’ confidence in public performance and allows creativity with composition. Analysis and score reading develops skills in problem solving. Students improve their aural ability through listening to many different styles of music.


Junior Art – Experiencing techniques, exploring ideas

St Mary's College provides a compulsory art programme from Years 7 to 9. Each year level course enables students to experience a wide range of art making processes, procedures and techniques based on artists and art movements. Assignments will involve combinations of the following – painting, drawing, sculpture, design, photography and mixed media. Students will have the opportunity to explore their own ideas using research as a starting point.

Year 10 – Thematic projects ready for NCEA

Art in Year 10 is an optional subject and is intended to prepare students for Visual Arts NCEA Level 1. Students will work on thematic projects, enabling them to extend the depth of their knowledge and skills.

Year 11 Art – Foundations of visual communication

The Year 11 Art course is designed to teach students key drawing, art making and thinking skills which are the foundation of all areas of visual communication. Students will develop the ability to generate, develop and refine visual ideas within a thematically-based programme. They will be encouraged to build upon their own strengths while extending their technical skills and understanding of art and artists. A range of wet, dry media and photography is explored.

Art Painting – Techniques and creativity 

Painting is an ever-changing exploration of media, techniques, concepts, locations and expression. At St Mary's the Painting courses focus on promoting and encouraging student's critical, reflective and creative thinking skills. Students work independently to create art work based on theme they have chosen,  extending their technical skills, ideas and knowledge of art and artists. Using a range of materials and media is encouraged.

Painting at St Mary's gives students fundamental skills needed for any Visual Arts-related course at tertiary level. It also provides the opportunity for students to produce the portfolio of work required for entry into these courses.

Art Design – Forms, trends and software

Design at St Mary's College gives students an understanding of the principles of design and the tools to be able to communicate visually. During this course students study different forms of design including:

  • Logo design
  • Typography
  • Layout design
  • Merchandising
  • Advertising
  • Website design
  • 3D product design

Students will gain a sound knowledge of industry-based software such as Adobe Creative Suite, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. They will also learn about current design trends, established designers and popular genres.

Art Photography – A medium of creative expression

This course is an introduction to the world of digital photography, giving students an understanding of the principles of photography and how to use photography as a medium for creative expression. During the year, Year 12 and 13 students will research both traditional and contemporary photographers, developing their visual literacy and analytical skills.

Students will gain a sound grasp of the industry-based computer programme Adobe Photoshop while having the opportunity to develop and generate their own personal ideas, producing a body of work that demonstrates knowledge of established Photography practice.

History of Art – Techniques, styles and context

History of Art is introduced at Level 2 and further developed in Level 3. The programme of study involves the examination of artist techniques and the effects of these on artworks. These works are interpreted against historical, social and cultural contexts and examined in terms of thematic concerns and stylistic expression.

Level 2 – All about change

At Level 2 the course focuses on a period characterised by intense social and artistic change. In Towards Modernism, students will investigate the painting, sculpture and architecture from the close of the 18th century in France to the end of the 19th century in France and Britain.

Level 3 – Art appreciation

The Level 3 course is focused on the Renaissance period (1300-1500) in Italy and how art works express the changing nature of the society in a range of aspects. Further study in the classroom will be supported by visits to art galleries and art sites.

Students will gain confidence in discussing and appreciating art while developing many useful transferable skills, such as selecting explanatory detail to illustrate clearly constructed written work. Art History is a 'language rich' subject and well-regarded by tertiary institutions as a prerequisite for many courses of study.