Give ’em the old razzle, dazzle – at the annual Schools Spectacular

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

The state’s biggest showcase of public education’s creativity and performing arts is turning 40, and students from 35 participating Western Sydney public schools – announced last week – are joining the ‘Fabulous’ party.

The students have been chosen to perform at this year’s Schools Spectacular – the world’s largest amateur variety show and one of NSW public education’s flagship arts events.

They will join a cast of thousands of public school students from on stage at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 November for a ‘Fabulous’ display of youth dance and musical performances.

A proud history of performing arts

This year’s ‘Fabulous’ theme celebrates a show that has wowed its audiences since its first performance to celebrate the opening of Darling Harbour’s Entertainment Centre in 1983.

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The performing arts extravaganza will feature a 2,600-person voice choir, 2,300 dancers, an 80-piece symphony orchestra, the signing choir, stage band, specialist ensembles and VET crew all under the guidance of more than 600 teachers.

One of those teachers is Brooke Lane, from Emu Heights Public School.

This will be our school’s second year performing in the Schools Spectacular, Ms Lane told EducationDaily. The students loved it last year so there was no question to audition again this year.

This opportunity, she says, means so much to the students.

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It gives them the opportunity to shine in a creative area they are passionate in, regardless of who they are, she told The Bursar. They have fun, they learn, they grow and they share unique experiences with one another that they will never forget. My students still talk about their experience in the 2022 Schools Spectacular and all of the memories they created. They loved it.

As a teacher, being able to see her students in a different education environment where they get to do what they love with like-minded performers from a range of schools, fills her with pride.

And when it comes to the benefits the experience brings the students, Ms Lane says, it is “invaluable”.

From the auditions to the rehearsals to trying on costumes to the shows – the positivity, dedication and excitement that circulates amongst the students is indescribable, says Ms Lane. They loved meeting new people and working with other students to create the show, a testament to the power and incredible skill of our upcoming performers. I am excited to see students up on that stage, loving every minute.

Executive producer, Richard Spiewak, said the one-of-a-kind production gives thousands of public-school students the opportunity to be challenged and engaged through the performing arts.

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“The Schools Spectacular is just that – a spectacular display of the incredibly talented students and staff in our public schools,” Mr Speak said.

“To be chosen to perform at this world-class event is not only testament to their talent, but also an opportunity for students to nurture their love for performing while working alongside some of the finest talents in the entertainment industry.

“Congratulations to all the students who have been selected to perform at this year’s event – it is going to be fabulous,” he said.

Western Sydney schools participating in the 2023 Schools Spectacular include:

Arthur Phillip High School
Banks Public School
Cambridge Gardens Public School
Cranebrook High School
Darcy Road Public School
Elizabeth Macarthur High School
Emu Heights Public School
Erskine Park High School
Evans High School
Fernhill School
Girraween High School
Glenmore Park High School
Greystanes High School
Hawkesbury High School
Homebush West Public School
Horsley Park Public School
Jordan Springs Public School
Katoomba High School
Lidcombe Public School
Mitchell High School
Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School
Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School
Parramatta High School
Plumpton High School
Quakers Hill High School
Richmond High School
Rooty Hill High School
Rooty Hill Public School
Ryde Secondary College
Samuel Terry Public School
Schofields Public School
Springwood High School
St Marys Senior High School
Toongabbie Public School
Windsor High School

Schools Spectacular is produced by The Arts Unit at the NSW Department of Education and proudly supported by Telstra, NSW Teachers Federation, School Bytes, RODE, Smartsalary, Teachers Health, Steinway Galleries, Event Partners: Qudos Bank Arena, Seven Network and Ticketek.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]