Convenor Jenny Darley has touted the speech, drama and public speaking section of the Gunnedah Eisteddfod a triumph.
“It was a very successful eistoddfod this year with numbers having increased due to the involvement of primary schools and out of town,” she said.
“We had Coonabarabran come and join us this year which boosted numbers.”
Mrs Darley said adjudicator Bron Lim from Sydney was “excellent”.
“She was very encouraging and only had positive comments to give to the students, which is what we like as we like children to have the experience and want to do it again,” she said.
The convenor said this year Larni Christie introduced new sessions into the syllabus –mime, monologue and duologue – and had encouraged entries through drama classes at Gunnedah South Public School.
We’re lucky to have such talented students who are going to be our future.Convenor Jenny Darley
Adjudicator Ms Lim said she enjoyed the new sessions, particularly the class performances by Gunnedah South Public School.
“I think the level of ensemble work is fantastic,” adjudicator Ms Lim said.
“There was one play and two whole group mimes. It was remarkable to see that many people engage in a mime.
“It was wonderful to see a whole group of people telling a story without words.”
Mrs Darley said a highlight of the speech, drama and public speaking section was the Speak Off, which saw students from St Mary’s College and Gunnedah High School present prepared speeches on a range of topics.
“I think it was the best one we’ve ever had and I think that it is a credit to the 24 speakers that we had and also the teachers who prepared them and got them there,” she said.
“We’re lucky to have such talented students who are going to be our future. We were all just very blown away and the adjudicator was just so impressed with their speeches.”
It’s adorable seeing the youngest competitors because they're often finding their feet and you know the support you give them in these early stages will affect them for the rest of their lives.Adjudicator Bron Lim
Ms Lim said the standard of speeches was high and there were some “wonderful duologues and monologues and poems”.
“I think it’s really important for children to start speak in public as early as they can so that it becomes a regular thing to do and it becomes so much easier for them to speak in public later on… It’s a second nature act,” she said.
“I loved the Australian poetry - some beautiful takes on older poems and some new contemporary Australian poems.
“It’s adorable seeing the youngest competitors because they're often finding their feet and you know the support you give them in these early stages will affect them for the rest of their lives. And the wonderful choral speeches – you’ve got wonderful teachers.”
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The Speak Off, however, stands out in Ms Lim’s mind the most.
“I loved the speeches,” she said.
“There was such a diverse range of topics. There were some extraordinary descriptive speeches and there were speeches that included a great deal of research and some speeches that allowed for some political commentary, so it ranged from humourous to political.
“It’s important for children to be exposed to different points of view.”
Ms Lim had not visited Gunnedah before but had a family connection, which she explored.
“I had a great grandfather who was a miner at some point in his life in Gunnedah,” she said.
Overall, she had “an absolutely wonderful time”.
“A big thank you to the convenors, Jenny and the whole team of volunteers who put in an extraordinary amount of hours for the love of it, to see that speech and drama continue in Gunnedah,” she said.
“It’s such a wonderful thing and so worthwhile.”
Mrs Darley echoed Ms Lim’s sentiments.
“Without the volunteers, the eisteddfod doesn’t run any more,” she said.
“It ran so smoothly… due to the wonderful volunteers who help me each year.”