SARAH:Last year over 5,000 year 12 students in New South Wales studied drama. Of those, only 47 were selected to perform at the Seymour Theatre Centre in Sydney. The performances were held twice daily this week, and all were sold out. The audience is made up of drama students and teachers.
GERRY PACKER: Well, I'm studying drama in year 12 at Abbotsleigh and, yeah, I'm coming to look at what people have done this year, and to get some ideas and motivation for this year 'cause I'm in year 12 this year.
CATHY O'GORMAN: Every year they look forward to it coming. I bring year 11 and 12. Sometimes it's intimidating for them. I always remind them it's the best of the best.
SARAH: The young people have come from Dubbo, Byron Bay, Wollongong, Armidale and from schools throughout the Sydney basin.
STEPHEN THOMAS: It's an opportunity for the students to show their wares, and to validate the process; so it's not just something that's locked in the vacuum of an examination period. They can actually get up and perform it, or present it publicly.
SARAH SCHOFIELD: As part of their assessment, the students must perform a solo piece, which they can either create themselves, or they can take a soliloquy from an existing play or a set monologue.
Caitlin Murphy has been studying acting since she was a small child, and wants to make acting her career.
CAITLIN MURPHY: Getting here, it's a dream. It's come true, and it's really made me want to push for my dreams, and my goal in life is to work in performing arts and theatre. It's been a really good thing for me.
SARAH SCHOFIELD: The HSC assessment also includes a group piece, where the students create a play from scratch, which is at least 12 minutes long.
STEPHEN THOMAS: They have to learn to work in a group. They have to learn to lead, to be led, to take responsibility, and they are life skills.
GAVIN SELWAY: We never imagined getting here. We joked about it. But, you know, we are here. It's pretty full on.