The Creative and Performing Arts Festival (CAPAF)

The annual Creative and Performing Arts Festival is an opportunity to showcase the huge range of creative activities at St Mary's. It is a feast of talent across the arts and includes:

  • Interhouse Singing,
  • a music and dance concert, 
  • a public speaking contest
  • a cake-baking competition,
  • a display of handicrafts including cross-stitch, decoupage, knitted scarves, cards, patchwork, jewellery and dressmaking,
  • a photography competition
  • art display
  • computer-generated art
  • spelling bee competition
  • a wearable art fashion parade.


St Mary's runs a Wearable Art Programme during Term III which involves a series of weekend workshops, fashion parade auditions and culminates in a breathtaking, multi-sensory performance held during CAPAF. In September, St Mary's holds its annual Senior School Art Exhibition. The exhibition showcases the work of students from Years 7 to 12, with particular focus on the works of Year 12 students.

Students have an opportunity to enter their work in a number of prestigious competitions and exhibitions during the year. Over the years, many works have been selected for exhibition in the Art Gallery of Western Australia's Year 12 Perspectives Exhibition.

Year 11 and 12 students are encouraged to participate in artist workshops; life-drawing classes, art gallery visits and drawing camps are compulsory for Year 12 Visual Arts students. There are often opportunities to participate in holiday and weekend workshops, which complement their class projects. Students are encouraged to apply for local government scholarships and summer school programmes, which are supportive of the Arts.

An annual Art Camp for Year 12 students provides an opportunity away from the classroom for students to find inspiration from the countryside and new surroundings.

School Production of AnnieDrama and Dance

The Lady Wardle Performing Arts Centre bustles with activity throughout the year as students prepare to perform in the annual Interhouse Drama, Dance Competitons and School Productions.

House drama and dance captains audition, cast, direct, choreograph and rehearse groups of students, from Years 7 to 12, who are eager for the chance to perform. A range of one-act plays are presented over two nights for Interhouse Drama, and a range of dance styles are showcased for Interhouse Dance, including junior and senior troupes and ensembles.

The highlight and focus for the year is the senior school production involving students from Years 10,11 and 12. In recent years, we have staged an eclectic range of productions including the Australian classics Away and The Man From Mukinupin, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night Dream, Peter Pan and the musicals; Cabaret, Godspell, Fame, The Matchgirls, Whistle Down The Wind, 42nd Street, Grease and Annie. The 2012 Senior School Production will be The Wizard of Oz.

In 2011, the school the inaugural Lower School Production, which offers the opportunity for students in Years 7 to 9 to perform. The 2011 production was Beauty and the Beast and in 2012 it will be Alice in Wonderland.


Each year, there is a rich and varied music calendar of performances. In addition to several school concerts held at St Mary's Lady Wardle Performing Arts Centre and Hale School John Inverarity Music and Drama Centre, featuring bands, orchestras and choirs, there are a number of special event concerts. These concerts include the popular outdoor concert Music Under the Stars, Concerto Night, which gives senior musicians an opportunity to perform one movement of a concerto with a symphony orchestra, and to conclude the year, the Service of Six lessons and Carols at St George's Cathedral.

CAPAF gives our musicians an opportunity to perform for their house, before an external adjudicator. CAPAF Day also sees the culmination of the House Singing competition, in which the six house choirs compete for the House Singing Cup.

Music Under the StarsDebating

Debating is offered to all students at St Mary's as an extracurricular activity. Girls from Years 7 to 12 are involved in interschool and interhouse competitions.

Each year, St Mary's hosts a series of debates for the West Australian Debating League (WADL) and teams also have the opportunity to debate in an Independent Schools' competition (AHISA). Both these competitions attract a large number of girls, all of whom acquire valuable skills in public speaking and the art of argument.

Debating provides an opportunity for students to present and hear logical discussion on a range of topical and entertaining issues. Skills acquired through debating include development of general knowledge, ability to distinguish between rational and irrational arguments and the ability to challenge other people's ideas in a controlled, tolerant and polite atmosphere. The mental discipline gained from debating experience can also help students improve their written and verbal performance in other subjects. Above all, debating is a sport with rules, and of course, winners and losers.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is, without doubt, a life skill. At St Mary's, students are provided with an opportunity to learn how to speak with confidence, expression, purpose and meaning.

There are several highly regarded public speaking competitions open to high school students across Australia. These include The Rotary Four Way Test Speech Competition, The Apex WA High School Public Speaking Competition, The Plain English Speaking Award and Rostrum Voice of Youth Speaking Competition. St Mary's is well represented in these competitions, with our students often achieving great success.

As part of CAPAF students from Years 7 to 12 are able to further improve their public speaking skills through participation in the popular Interhouse Public Speaking competition.

View the St Mary's Arts Calendar 2017 here