In true Broadway style, lockdown might have made life challenging for the cast and crew of our many productions but, in one way or another, the shows did go on.
Costumes were dusted off, make-up was carefully applied, dance routines were rehearsed and voices were finely tuned. While most campus musicals couldn’t be performed live in front of an audience, plenty of enthusiasm, talent and the power of technology helped make the best of the situation.
About 120 cast members from Years 5 to 8, backstage and lighting crews and a set production team brought Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical Jr to life at Edrington campus. While the show couldn’t be performed live and it couldn’t be recorded due to licensing restrictions, the cast and crew didn’t let such minor details dampen their fun.
“The students involved in the show demonstrated remarkable resilience and perseverance, enthusiastically rehearsing together until the very last session! Although unable to perform, all participants will surely remember the talent and energy emanating from our wonderful cast throughout the experience,” says Tessa Kerekes, Head of Performing Arts Edrington.
The Newlands cast of Mary Poppins Jr moved seamlessly to online rehearsals. About 107 students learned songs, dialogue and choreography in the hope of appearing at Aikman Hall. While those hopes were dashed, the students found another way to showcase their hard work.
“Students recorded themselves practising at home and, with the magic of editing, created a montage of these recordings,” says Rachael Walsh, Head of Performing Arts Newlands.
Students at City campus worked quickly to bump into the Gasworks Theatre to put on the Lion King Jr. There was no live audience but Philippa Bell, Head of Performing Arts City, says the performance had ‘all the other bells and whistles’!
“The students didn’t miss a beat. They rehearsed their hearts out whether on stage or online. Though disappointed that they were not performing to an audience, they quickly moved their gaze to what they could do. The joy of performing was palpable,” says Philippa.
Theatrically and musically talented students at Castlefield rehearsed The Addams Family Young@Part. While the live performance was cancelled due to lockdown, the resilience and enthusiasm of the young cast and crew wasn’t as easily cancelled.
“Individually, our cast shone in their roles and characterisations but, as a group, they have been truly brilliant. And that is why we do this. The process is so much more important than the product. Throughout this challenging journey they have shown incredible resilience, determination, poise and compassion,” says Felicity Cartwright, Head of Drama Castlefield.