Penrith Selective High School logo

Penrith Selective High School

Penrith Selective High School

Altiora Peto - Striving for the highest

Telephone02 4721 0529

CAPA (Creative and Performing Arts)

Overview of Faculty

Through the Creative Arts, which encompasses drama, music and visual arts, students discover, explore, experiment and refine new and existing skills. Studying the creative arts, students learn to critically study, think creatively, compose, listen, make and perform. Each art form has its own unique knowledge, skills, elements and concepts which are a vehicle to allow students to explore their world and worlds beyond their own. 


Mandatory Year 7 and 8 Visual Arts & Music

Through the mandatory Year 7 and 8 Music and Visual Arts courses, students engage in a highly practical approach to learning that places great importance on collaboration, confidence and is focused on providing students with a broad range of experiences.

Years 7 and 8 Music, Performance, Composition and Listening experiences are interwoven and differentiated to meet the needs of all students. Students are provided the opportunity to learn keyboard and piano throughout their studies which can be furthered through private or small group tutoring available via Co-Curricular Tuition Program. 

In Year 7 and 8 Visual Arts student curiosity and creativity is celebrated as they explore the world around them in a highly practical manner. Students are exposed to and learn to manipulate a range of expressive forms that result in the creation of artworks that demonstrate technical and conceptual accomplishment.

These courses place great emphasis on showcasing student work and as such students participate in:

  • Penrith in Performance
  • Wendy DePaoli Gallery Exhibition
  • The school musical 

Further opportunities to extend their knowledge, skills and understanding is supported by our vast co-curricular programs which are accessible to all students. 


Elective Music

Student playing violin with a crowd of students in the background that are out of focus.


Elective Music is available to all students across the school and enables students to use our purpose built Music Block, Practice Rooms and specialist equipment. In Years 9 and 10, students extend and develop their musical skills, knowledge and experience. They are exposed to a range of learning experiences that help them identify and develop their strengths and skills as a performer, composer or musicologist. These strengths are scaffolded and fostered throughout the elective courses to prepare students for success in Higher School Certificate Examinations. 

As a result of our highly focused curriculum, students at Penrith Selective High Schools are regularly nominated for Encore and are frequent performers in events and showcases including PULSE at the Sydney Opera House, Schools Spectacular, Penrith Youth Orchestra, Penrith Eisteddfod and a range of other events facilitated by the Arts Unit.

The courses offered within our curriculum Music classes are:

  • Year 9 Music

  • Year 10 Music

  • Year 11 Music 1

  • Year 11 Music 2

  • Year 12 Music 1

  • Year 12 Music 2

  • Year 12 Music Extension 

Key Excursions:

  • Encore

  • Meet the Composer Workshops with Dr Jim Coyle from the Conservatorium

  • Concert and recital performances as needed to support learning.

Elective Visual Arts, Photographic and Digital Media

Elective Visual Arts from Year 9-12 and Photographic and Digital Media from Year 9-12 contain both practical and theoretical components that allow students to further refine the skills and knowledge provided in previous studies or through our co-curricular program. Students work in various forms to investigate concepts and ideas using installation, drawing, painting and digital media. As students progress through the elective courses the level of complexity increases and the capacity for more independent and autonomous decision making and experimentation takes place. Throughout the courses, students are guided by highly trained teachers and artists who have a high level of expertise, experience and skill to support student success.

From our refined and specialist programs our students have gained entry into a range of art exhibitions and competitions, including Nagoya Art Exchange, Operation Art, Harmony Day Art Competition, PULSE Visual Arts Exhibition, Youth Week Design Competition, Videos for Change. From these, our students have had the work exhibited both locally and internationally. 

The courses offered within our curriculum Visual Arts classes are:

  • Year 9 Photographic and Digital Media

  • Year 10 Photographic and Digital Media

  • Year 9 Visual Arts

  • Year 10 Visual Arts

  • Year 11 Visual Arts

  • Year 12 Visual Arts

Key Excursions:

  • ArtExpress

  • Sculpture by the Sea

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales

Elective Drama

Students who engage in drama participate in a vast range of experience including directing, performing, designing, critical analysis and critiquing live theatre. The Year 9 and Year 10 programs prepare students for success in Senior Drama by enabling them to find projects and performances that meet their strengths and interests. 

From years 9-12 students regularly perform for their peers, teachers and, at key points throughout the year, in public performances within and beyond school. Further, each year students participate in an excursion to see a performance to build skills in critical analysis and set a high expectation for the standard of work within the course.  

As a consequence of our highly focused and rigorous curriculum, students achieve success in the course as relevant from both strong results in the HSC, but through their acceptance into external programs and showcases, including OnStage, Multicultural Playwrights Program, LightsUP Drama Festival, PULSE Drama Ensembles and the Australian Youth Theatre Festival.

The courses offered within our curriculum Drama classes are:

  • Year 9 Drama 

  • Year 10 Drama

  • Year 11 Drama

  • Year 12 Drama

Key Excursions:

  • Yearly Theatrical Productions

  • Australian Youth Theatre Festival

  • OnStage

  • HSC Written Study Day

  • CO-Lab HSC Group Performance Workshops

Further details about additional opportunities for students

The staff of each faculty are highly involved in running and supporting student leaders to lead a wide variety of co-curricular, enrichment, clubs & societies as part of the school's strong commitment to  talent development opportunities. These programs also play a key part of ensuring that students work alongside not only their classmates, but with other like minded students from across the 6 cohorts within the school. 

To foster student success and provide further enrichment opportunities students engaged in curriculum classes also engage in the Co-Curricular Ensembles or Tutoring Program.

Creative & Performing Arts Co-Curricular Information

The Creative & Performing Arts Co-Curricular Programs are divided into two streams which are designed to complement each other and provide an extension of curriculum classwork. Students are able to participate in either or both streams and access opportunities that are of interest to them. 

Our first stream involves students engaging in small group or individual vocal, speech, drama or instrumental tuition which all take place in our purpose-built facilities using specialist equipment to support student learning. These students participate in focus lessons which culminate in informal termly recitals organised by their tutor. 

To look at opportunities in our Tutoring Program please click here. 

The second stream involves students participating in ensembles that showcase their skills and talents. These ensembles are a regular part of the student timetable and allow our students to connect with like minded peers in a structured learning environment under the guidance of specialist tutors, conductors and choreographers. Further, students who have demonstrated a commitment to the ensembles program through leadership and technical skill are provided formal leadership opportunities and assist the ensemble leader with the running of the ensemble. 

To look at opportunities in our Ensemble Program please click here.


Showcases and Musicals

At Penrith Selective High School, students’ unique gifts and abilities are nurtured and showcased within and beyond our school community. Our events are a valuable part of student development and an opportunity for students to work together in their pursuit of excellence. 

The creative and performing arts faculty facilitate the following whole school events:

Mid Year Ensemble Evening

This evening is a relaxed and informal concert which takes place as a part of our Education Week Celebrations. It is an opportunity for us to welcome our parents on site to meet our tutors and share the work students have achieved across Semester 1. 

Retrospect HSC Performance Evening and Exhibition

This evening is a showcase of our HSC students' performances, projects, bodies of work and submitted works. These evenings include a music recital, art exhibition and performances across our students in Music 1, Music 2, Music Extension, Drama and Visual Arts. It is an opportunity for our school community to celebrate our students’ work prior to their external HSC examinations. 

Penrith In Performance at the Conservatorium

Each year we showcase the works of our gifted and talented artists at Penrith in Performance. It is a wonderful afternoon that demonstrates creativity, technical skills and is an opportunity for our students to celebrate their growth and development as members of the ensemble program. 

The concert includes individual items from each ensemble, collaborative items across various ensembles and auditioned solo items. Further, each year, the Year 7 cohort will present one choral item to demonstrate their learning across our core curriculum classes. 

School Musical

Penrith Selective High School regularly presents a whole school musical. Rehearsals begin in Term IV for our principals and then the chorus are brought in at the beginning of Term I or through the January school holidays. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to be involved in a whole school initiative and all students are encouraged to participate. 

Performers work with a dedicated director, musical director and choreographer to stage the performance. Similarly, students not involved in performing work in small teams focusing on the elements of production such as costuming, sets, props and stage management. While working in these teams, students learn valuable skills such as collaboration, project management, communication and agency.

Student sitting with guitar tutor during an instrumental lesson.


String Ensemble sitting in a semi circle playing for the Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg at Penrith Leagues Club

Penrith Selective High School's String Ensemble standing as a group holding their instruments at a Penrith CBD Corp event after they had finished performing.