Participation was a key value behind this year’s production of Annie, which saw more than 140 students from Years 7-13 involved in the cast, crew, orchestra and front of house.
“This was not just a project for drama kids or performers,” said Production Manager Doris Riegel. “All students who are interested in art, design, photography, hairstyling, make up, and instrumental music had an opportunity to be part of the process. It truly is a school-wide event.”
Staff and students overcame a number of challenges in pulling off the show: finding a large-cast musical with enough opportunities for students to shine; coordinating rehearsals with busy students; avoiding exam periods; and negotiating access to the gym with the school’s busy PE department.
Several times over the years, opening night has been the first full run through of the show.
“We have Friday evening and Saturday to transform the gym into a theatre with full lighting, sound, stage and set. Sunday is our technical day where we run the show and make sure everything works. Monday we have our final dress rehearsal and Tuesday evening we open,” Ms Riegel explained.
Despite the fast turnaround, the production was a hit with strong audiences and closing night was a sell-out.
Seeing students grow as performers, leaders, mentors and managers was a particular highlight, Ms Riegel said.
“I remember many of them as Year Sevens in the ensemble. It’s such a thrill to see them on stage in lead roles in the senior years. I am always impressed by how the older students mentor the younger ones. And it’s exciting to see the leaders who emerge in the backstage crew.”
She said participating in the production brings many benefits, from meeting other students and gaining a sense of belonging, to time-management, self-confidence, imagination and empathy.
“Performing is also great fun!”